Welcome to Ron Pulcer’s Music Blog

As a graduate of Marlboro Grad Center in 2007, for my Capstone Project, I created a prototype for a Music Theory Web Engine (MTWS).  This web service has two parts.  First, there is a web service for asking music theory questions and getting back answers.   Second, the answers are rendered as dots on a virtual guitar fretboard on a webpage in user’s browser.

I am hoping to use this WordPress blog to summarize and link to the online lesson pages.  Since WordPress has Category and Tagging capability, I can use this feature to categorize lessons (notes, intervals, scales, chords, beginner, intermediate, advanced, etc).

So welcome to my blog for online guitar lessons.  This is a work-in-progress, and I would appreciate any feedback or questions you might have.

Ron Pulcer

Guitar player and instructor, Rutland, VT

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Martin Richard’s words in song (Peace)

I send my thoughts and prayers to the people of Boston; those who lost their lives, the injured, and their families and friends.

Like many, I was touched by the words from one of the youngest victims.  Eight year old Martin Richard lost his life due to this terrible bombing.  While in second grade, Martin had made a poster with this message to his classmates, teachers and parents, and now for the world:

“No More Hurting People, Peace”

My condolences go to Martin’s family, and I pray for healing for his mother and sister who were injured by the bomb blast.

I hope Martin’s words will live on, in song, and other art forms.  I was inspired to put his words to music.

Song based on Martin Richard's words: "No more hurting people, Peace"

On Sunday, April 21st, at Grace Congregational Church in Rutland, VT, I was to play “People Get Ready” by Curtis Mayfield at the annual Laity Service.  Given the events of the past week, I instead played and sang “Let There Be Peace On Earth, And Let It Begin With Me”.  I used the above musical setting of Martin Richard’s words as a bridge between the verses, and a song ending, so it was a medley of two Peace songs.

Martin freely gave his words to America and the world (marathon runners come to Boston from all over the world).  So I share this song with other musicians.  Perhaps others can compose other settings to these beautiful words, in a variety of musical genres, and even various ethnic music styles.

May Martin’s words live on.  But even more importantly, may we all as humankind heed Martin’s message and work to create Peace for future generations.

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Guitar Chord Prototype

Here is an updated prototype for online lessons / exploration tools.  This is based on earlier prototypes that I created as part of my Capstone Project at Marlboro Grad Center.  This one has a tabbed interface, to allow for additional information: lesson description, result note information, instructions (help), audio help, lesson index and web links.

http://www.ronpulcer.com/music/mtws/lessons/sample_guitar_lesson_note_chords.shtml

This page allows you to explore chords, which are a group of notes, which are related to a Root Note and key (i.e. C Major or E Minor).  Choose a Root Note and a Chord and click View Notes.  You can use the other Display Options to focus on specific positions or sections of the fretboard, or the entire fretboard.  If you are viewing chord notes that span more than about 4 frets, then you typically won’t be able to finger the entire set of notes.  But you can see clusters of notes in various fretboard positions, and may start to notice fingering patterns for certain types of chords.  You may also see alternatives / choices of notes to play in a given fretboard position.  You can also choose whether to use Open string notes.  If you are higher up the fretboard and are able to use an open string, it can often allow you to get a fuller sound, and sometimes have a ringing bass note.

You have two choices for note (dot) colors, one for the Root Note and the other for the related chord notes.  This is intended to help you visualize where the notes are and the fretboard fingerings.

You can also click on the notes, or click the Downstroke / Upstroke buttons, or the Play buttons on Note Info tab.  This will allow you to hear the notes and learn how each Chord sounds, and relate this to the chord type (i.e. Major or Minor or Dominant Seventh, etc).

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Guitar Scale Prototype

Here is an updated prototype for online lessons / exploration tools.  This is based on earlier prototypes that I created as part of my Capstone Project at Marlboro Grad Center.  This one has a tabbed interface, to allow for additional information: lesson description, result note information, instructions (help), audio help, lesson index and web links.

http://www.ronpulcer.com/music/mtws/lessons/sample_guitar_lesson_note_scales.shtml

This page allows you to explore scales, which are sequences of notes, which can be a key or mode (i.e. C Major or D Dorian).  Choose a Root Note and a Scale and click View Notes.  You can use the other Display Options to focus on specific positions or sections of the fretboard, or the entire fretboard.

You have two choices for note (dot) colors, one for the Root Note and the other for the related scale notes.  This is intended to help you visualize where the notes are and the fretboard fingerings.

You can also click on the notes, or click the Downstroke / Upstroke buttons, or the Play buttons on Note Info tab.  This will allow you to hear the notes and learn how each Scale sounds, and relate this to the scale type (i.e. Major or Minor or a given Mode).

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Guitar Note Interval Prototype

Here is an updated prototype for online lessons / exploration tools.  This is based on earlier prototypes that I created as part of my Capstone Project at Marlboro Grad Center.  This one has a tabbed interface, to allow for additional information: lesson description, result note information, instructions (help), audio help, lesson index and web links.

http://www.ronpulcer.com/music/mtws/lessons/sample_guitar_lesson_note_intervals.shtml

This page allows you to explore intervals, or the distances between notes (# frets) and how they sound together and how well they harmonize.  Choose an Interval by clicking one of the 13 radio buttons (0-12).  Each Interval has a name, and sometimes an alias name (for example A4=d5 means augmented 4th = diminished 5th).  Each Interval also has a Half-Step count, which basically is just counting frets between notes.  Zero (0) half-steps is Unison or P1, or the same note.  The distance of 12 half-steps (equals 12 frets) is one full octave (P8), and is like playing an open string, and then at the 12th fret for the same string.  For the octave case, the note names would be the same.

Intervals are related to Scales and Chords.  For Scales and Chords, there is a Root Note, and then other notes that are related.  These other notes have an Interval distance or relationship to the Root Note.  For example, if the Root Note is A, and the Interval is m3 (minor 3rd = 3 frets), then the other note is a C.  The A+C note pair appears in an A minor scale (A-b-C-d-e-f-g-a) and also in the A minor chord (A-C-e).

You have two choices for note (dot) colors, one for the Root Note and the other for the related note by Interval.  This is intended to help you visualize where the notes are and the fretboard fingerings.

You can also click on the notes, or click the Downstroke / Upstroke buttons, or the Play buttons on Note Info tab.  This will allow you to hear the note pairs and learn how each Interval sounds (how well it harmonizes).

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Song List

Here is a list of instrumentals and songs that I play on guitar.  The songs and pieces are organized by musical genres or guitar playing styles.  I enjoy playing fingerstyle guitar for a variety of music genres.

This is the printable version of my Song List.

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Thank You & Best Wishes to Artist Mary Fran Lloyd

A few years ago, I was a volunteer and committee member for the monthly Rutland Art Hop (and occasionally a paid musician).  My two favorite spots to play acoustic guitar back then were the gallery “Arts and Antiques on Center” (Center St.), and the Chaffee Art Center (great acoustics).

The gallery owner of Arts and Antiques on Center was Mary Fran Lloyd.  It was a great little gallery downtown, and I enjoyed playing guitar and meeting all the great customers and artists.

Mary Fran first opened the gallery after she retired from her “day job”.  Now she is starting a new chapter (Retirement II perhaps), and has closed down her gallery.

As I have many great memories and times playing music at AAOC, I will miss the place.  But I wish Mary Fran all the best in her future and artistic endeavors!

I’m sure Mary Fran will continue painting, and will keep on encouraging other local artists!  Check out her website, and see her art and upcoming exhibit events.

http://www.artantiquesoncenter.com/

Best of luck Mary Fran!

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Old Songs Festival, Altamont, NY, June 28-30

Here is the website for a very nice annual outdoor folk music festival not too far from Vermont (Old Songs Festival):

http://www.oldsongs.org/festival/

In checking out the list of Old Songs Festival Performers, I am very much interested in seeing flat-picking acoustic guitarist Beppe Gambetta!

Molto Bene! (Very good!)

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Ukulele Virtuoso Jake Shimabukuro in concert April 27 (Troy, NY)

I recently saw a very cool music documentary on PBS (WMHT – Albany, NY) about ukulele virtuoso Jake Shimabukuro from Hawaii.  He not only plays traditional Hawaiian music, but he plays many different styles of music on the uke, from classical to rock, etc.

The film “Life On Four Strings” was shown on WMHT on March 11th, 2013 (PBS debut).  The  “national” debut on other PBS stations is on May 10th, 2013 (don’t miss it).

As a supporter of WMHT I was inspired to donate for this particular “pledge drive”, since it provided a CD and two tickets to see Jake Shimabukuro live in concert at the “Troy Savings Bank” Music Hall in Troy, NY on April 27, 2013 @ 8 PM.  I very much look forward to this show.

Here is a video of interview with Jake Shimabukuro, by Jeffery Brown of the PBS NewsHour.

Jake also provides chord charts for the Ukulele on his website! When I looked these over, the fingerings are similar to guitar chords on bottom 4 strings.  The main difference is the chord names.  For example, the C Major chord on the ukulele has similar fingering to the 4-string version of G Major chord on guitar.  The same goes for most of the other chords (hmm … I’ve seen those chord fingerings somewhere before).  That entices me to look into learning more about the ukulele!

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Prototype – Guitar Note Locator (Tabbed Interface)

Here is an updated prototype for online lessons / exploration tools.  This is based on earlier prototypes that I created as part of my Capstone Project at Marlboro Grad Center.  This one has a tabbed interface, to allow for additional information: lesson description, result note information, instructions (help), lesson index and web links.

http://www.ronpulcer.com/music/mtws/lessons/sample_guitar_lesson_note_locator_rpm_html5_tab.shtml

You can locate notes in standard guitar tuning (EADGBE) and other tunings on the guitar fretboard diagram below.  Have you ever experimented with alternate tunings, like Open G or Drop D tunings, and wondered, “now, where did the notes go?”.  Well, now you can find them.  You can also hover/hold your mouse over any given fret/string and see the note name appear. You have various options to choose from, so feel free to experiment.

The Guitar Note Locator allows you to specify a given musical note (ABCDEFG + sharps and flats = white and black piano keys).  When you click the “View Notes” button, the location of the notes with that note name will appear on the virtual fretboard.

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Prototype – Guitar Note Locator

Here is one of the prototype online lessons / exploration tools that I created as part of my Capstone Project at Marlboro Grad Center.

Guitar Note Locator

Description: You can locate notes in standard guitar tuning (EADGBE) and other tunings on the guitar fretboard diagram below.  Have you ever experimented with alternate tunings, like Open G or Drop D tunings, and wondered, “now, where did the notes go?”.  Well, now you can find them.  You can also hover/hold your mouse over any given fret/string and see the note name appear. You have various options to choose from, so feel free to experiment.

The Guitar Note Locator allows you to specify a given musical note (ABCDEFG + sharps and flats = white and black piano keys).  When you click the “View Notes” button, the location of the notes with that note name will appear on the virtual fretboard.

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