This really is an engaging way to discover music theory as the examples given are a fun way of appreciating the seven intervals and allowing your own ear to get acquainted to the essence of each one.
Delving into the world of intervals
This book is packed with interesting facts like how the tri-tone interval, otherwise known as diabolus in musica, was banned by the church for centuries because of its evil quality. In the modern world however it has found its place in heavy metal, blues, jazz and many other genres. Following on from intervallic tones, the book then explores the modes based off each interval and gives examples of riffs made from each mode of the major scale. It might sound a bit confusing, but the examples are real-world examples of these sounds and a brilliant way of absorbing their qualities.
It’s great to see a book like this focus on all genres of music, referring to artists like Duane Eddy in the 1950s as much as modern artists such as Limp Bizkit. Quite rightly too, the riff is a term that translates to all forms of music and interestingly came about as a slang term in jazz back in the 1920s. Riffs takes a long look at riffs made up of the blues and pentatonic scales, and it’s remarkable how the same building blocks of music translate through many forms of music over the course of the past century.
Masterclass with a legend
The next section is a masterclass with the one and only John Paul Jones of Led Zeppelin fame. Not many books out there have an entire chapter written by one of the most prolific PRS for Music songwriters of all time. Even now in Them Crooked Vultures, this is a musician that is continually shaping the face of modern music and we’d bet our last penny that he knows a thing or two about songwriting.
The book ends with its own examples of riffs and melodies built of the different modes and scales studied. Rikky Rooksby looks at what notes make these riffs belong to which chord families and ultimately what gives each piece of music it’s flavour. These examples are also on a CD so you can actually hear, see and read about what you are learning. Riffs is a very useful, detailed and interactive guide for any musician or songwriter.