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Old 2005-09-10, 01:24
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Adagio Adagio is offline
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Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: UK
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Ok here we go. This is what pitch axis is all about.

Itīs actually called the "Pitch Axis" technique. Itīs not really a playing technique, itīs a composing technique. It was used by composers way before Satriani started to use it, but he was the first one to use it in the context of rock music, thatīs why many people refer to it as "Satrianiīs Pitch Axis technique". So he didnīt invent it, but he introduced many guitarists to it. The ideo of the PItch Axis technique basically is to take different scales and modes, starting from a common tonal center, and use them in the context of i.e. a solo. You could i.e. take the note A as your tonal center and then use different modes and scales ( and chords ! ) based on the note A ( i.e. playing a solo consisting of: One bar of soloing in A major, then A phrygian, then some hybrid scale or whatever based on the note, all over a strict pedal tone... A ) Some Satriani songs are composed that way... i.e. the famous tapping-break in "Satch Boogie"... Satch said that his best pitch-axis-composition was the tune "Not Of This Earth".

Hereīs a quote from some feature about Satriani and the pitch axis-technique: "It has an impressive name, but pitch axis theory need not be complicated or intimidating. This compositional method is grounded on a simple idea, so the level of complexity or sophistication depends purely on application. The principle is that any number of harmonic settings can be linked by the same tonal center. Say you're in C major ( C D E F G A B C ) for four bars and C minor ( C D Eb F G Ab Bb C ) for the next four. The major and minor keys share the same tonic, C, and this note provides a pivot point on which to shift harmonies. You could then take four bars in, say, C Phrygian ( C Db Eb F G Ab Bb ) and then four in C Mixolydian ( C D E F G A Bb ). Now a series of four distinct harmonies are adjoined, all of them revolving around the same key center, C. Thus, one pitch provides an axis point for the scales and chords of a variety of harmonic situations.
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