Dr. Marigaux presents music theory from the other side of the tracks. There’s music theory for classical players, and then there’s music theory for rock jazz and blues.
I’m a sax player, and I’ve been playing blues, rock and jazz for more than forty years. I’ve got music degrees from universities, but the best stuff that I ever learned were the tricks I picked up from illiterate musicians who could really, really play. The stuff I learned at music school helped me package up what I learned from illiterate masters, and deliver it to you in a straightforward and clear way.
Why "blackmarket"? Because this course is full of dirty tricks - this is the under-the-counter, back door version. We’ll cover all the stuff you need to know, but there’s also some cool tricks in this course that will jump-start your knowledge.
This course is a complete “start from scratch” course. I’ve really worked hard on writing it so you don’t need to know anything at all at the start – there is no assumed knowledge. There’s a lot of material in this course: it might be that some of this is too simple for some of you, but it’s easy to skip over material that you already know. Also each video concludes with a “Takeaway Menu” which has the key points that have been covered – so if you think you already know the material in a video, jump to the end and check the Takeaways so you can be sure you didn't miss anything important.
At the end of this course you’ll be able to…
- Improvise a solo against a backing track (and hopefully that will prepare you to play live with you own band).
- Find the notes in any chord using two different methods - you can use either one, or use one as a backup for the other.
- Find the notes in the major and minor scales using the cycle of fifths.
- Read music - not enough to play in an orchestra, but enough for a rock or blues player to figure out what’s on a page of sheet music (and not enough for you to get bored or confused by).
- Use the Marigaux Scale, a simple scale that works against any chord.
- Develop phrases in your solos from understanding that not all notes in the scale are equal – each note has its own job to do, and its own role to play.
What’s in the course?
- How the piano keyboard relates to music theory. A lot of the course uses an animated piano keyboard to show how chords and scales fit together. I use the piano keyboard since it’s tied into sound; it’s more practical than a music stave.
- How to read music – we’ll start with reading rhythms – the different values of notes and rests, and how the most grooving rhythms are written down. Then we’ll move on to pitch and cover the music staff and how the notes fit on that (it’s all alphabetical, so if you know the first eight notes of the alphabet this should be pretty easy).
- Intervals – the gap between two notes, and how pairs of notes work together. Also we’ll cover the way you count the gap, which is not at first obvious, and leads to some weird addition (in music 3 + 3 = 5!)
- Scales – lots of notes played one after the other. We’ll cover major, minor, blues scales, the chromatic scale, and my secret weapon, the Marigaux Scale
- The Marigaux Scale is what I recommend you use to start getting a handle on what notes to play. Sometimes when you are playing with a band it seems like there’s a whole ocean of notes that you could play, and many of them seem wrong. The Marigaux scale is a “keep it simple, stupid” type of approach. Start with a very limited palette of notes – maybe just the root, 3rd and 7th – and build out your note choices from there. Actually, as I’ll demonstrate, you can do a whole solo with just those three notes and it will sound just fine.
- The Cycle of Fifths – this really is a “go to” diagram that is so useful in so many ways. We’ll learn how to draw it, and what to do with it. And we’ll learn why “Father Charles Goes Down And Ends Battle” is the most useful sentence you’ll ever learn.
- Three-note chords(triads) – major and minor chords. These are the building blocks of music theory. Even though four-note chords are more common in blues, rock and jazz, we need to get a handle on these basic ones.
- The second most useful sentence you’ll ever read: “Freaky And Creepy Eddie Goes Back Down” (“Creepy Eddie” is a mnemonic that allows you to find the letter names in any chord. All you have to do then is figure out if the notes are sharp, flat, or natural).
- How to work out if the notes in a chord are sharp flat or natural. I’ll show you how to do this in the simplest way – or at least this is the way that worked for me when I was learning this stuff. You’ll need to memorise one chunk of information – the types of chord that you get if you use only the white keys on the piano – and then you can use that to work out what the notes are in any chord. And that one chunk of information isn’t that big either (it’s this: chords starting on A, D and E are minor 7th chords. Chords starting on C and F are major 7th chords. Chords starting on G are major chords with a flat 7th, and chords starting on B are minor-7-flat 5 chords).
- How to use the Cycle of Fifths to work out the notes in any chord
- Four note chords – all the good chords have four notes!
- Power Chords, a classic example of “less is more”. Power chords are the staples of hard rock, and are two-note chords (so technically they are not really chords, but they get used as if they are chords)
- The modes – these open up more possibilities. We’ll keep this section brief, but the modes are pretty easy to get a basic understanding of.
And then we’ll wrap it all up with a section on putting all this together and improvising against a backing track.
So who is Dr. Marigaux? Dr. Marigaux is the stage name of Phil Davison. Phil began playing professionally in the late 1970s and studied composition at Auckland, Waikato and Otago universities. Phil has been performing in Dunedin under the stage name of Dr Marigaux as both a soloist (playing guitar) and with his band, Highway 88, which is a hard rocking R&B band with a three-piece horn section. Phil has been involved with almost every genre of music in his time, including classical, punk, and free improvisation, but tends to feel most at home with blues and jazz.
- You don't need anything to start this course other than a passion for playing music. We start from scratch, with no assumed knowledge.