A little while back, I received a very interesting package from my friend Patrick Borezo, an artist, musician and show promoter from Western Massachusetts. It contained a small, beautiful paperback book called Nonmusical Patterns and their Musical Uses, written by Chris Weisman, a guitarist who has recorded extensively for Greg Davis’ Autumn Records, and is also a member of Happy Birthday (Sub Pop Records). Patrick and his wife Amy printed and assembled the books, and are releasing it on their own Radical Readout Press.
It’s an interesting idea, to be sure… a collection of non-conventional scale patterns, chosen on their visual rather than their musical merits. I conducted the following email interview with Chris, to find out more about the project.
W&W : What inspired you to write the book?
In 2003, I started noticing more visual stuff happening on the fretboard, mostly when I was playing changes, playing over standards. Me and my buddy Bryan Bergeron-Killough (also a guitarist) used to have these long sessions every night when we both lived in Portland, Maine. I started getting interested in “scales” that would work visually (like the pattern is complete and strictly in the visual realm of dots on a grid, you don’t need to know anything about music at all to see them) but also be musically somewhat conservative in terms of pitch collections; the pitches in Nonmusical Patterns are the same as in conventional scales (or close) but due to this visual compass that’s also being respected, there are leaps all over the place. And the 2 octaves that fit roughly in a guitar position are different, usually when you play a scale it’s the same notes in every octave (and the scales don’t really look like anything). All this stuff is in the introduction. I started the book in the spring of ’05 and finished it 2 years later. Continue reading