As I have often rambled on about, mistakes are gifts. This is true in improv, in life and definitely in music. This fact was reinforced for me the other day when I went to play a chord on the guitar but, because one of my fingers didn’t do what it was supposed to do, I ended up with a completely different chord AND a completely different emotion.
To E or Not to E
Okay guitar nerds, follow me on this one. My intention was to play an E Major chord and then move my fingers up so that I would essentially play an F# minor over E. To be technical, I was going from playing the A & D strings on the second fret and the G string on the first fret (everything else was open) to playing the A & D strings on the fourth fret and the G string on the 2nd fret. However, when I moved to that second chord, I did not play the D string on the fourth fret but instead, I left it open. I was immediately struck with how beautiful and evocative my mistake and made this 2nd chord. Note: if none of that made any sense to you, check out the video below where I show you exactly what actually happened.
From Happy to Introspective
The new chord I hit created a completely different emotional vibe than what would have come had I played what I had intended to play. A straight old E Major chord on the guitar is grounded, happy, settled and secure. My intended 2nd chord would have felt like there was something a little deeper going on, almost as though the guitar was saying everything will be alright, we can all find peace within ourselves. I mean, that’s what it says to me. Maybe to you it says everything will suck and life is a horrendous construct in which we are all imprisoned. Or maybe something in between? Who knows. I am hoping for the former for you.
What Does it All Mean?!?!
Music has the capacity to move us to so many varied and rich places in our hearts. We can feel scared, excited, nervous, expectant and, of course, love. It’s amazing what one little mistake can do. I say bring on those mistakes. Take me where I didn’t mean to go so I can find out who I am when I get there!
Do you have a chord or a melody or a harmony that evokes something in you each time you hear it in a song or play it on your instrument? Please leave a comment and let us all know what that is for you!