Tycho Style

by Gabriel Leopardi

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  • Hi GMC!

    Welcome to my new lesson based on the style of Tycho. I’m sure that many guitarist don’t know this name while it’s a very popular composer and musician, it’s not very popular on the guitar scene, the name is more related to electronic and ambient music. However, as I've found myself listening a lot to their music, I decide to cover their style here. The idea was to share their secrets behind composition, arranging but also create a tune that is perfect to work on timing and dynamics.

    Some info about him:

    “Scott Hansen (born 1976 or 1977), professionally known as Tycho (Ty-cho), is an American ambient music artist and producer from San Francisco, California, who is known as ISO50 for his photographic and design works. His music is a combination of downtempo vintage-style synthesizers and ambient melodies. The style of his music is very organic, typically incorporating clips of the human element into his songs (i.e. weather broadcasts, simple talking, or even breathing). “ - from wikipedia.

    Music Style:
    His music is usually defined as ambient and it’s a combination of downtempo vintage style synthesizers and ambient melodies where the guitar has a very important role, even more when playing the songs live. His compositions are very organic and incorporate clips of the human element (breaths, talks, broadcasts). If you only enjoy music with guitars, I recommend you to start checking some live stuff from him, there are many high quality sessions at youtube. There you'll note how guitars are created based on loops and simple repetitions that I've heard before in styles like post punk and post rock, but combined with the other instruments sound totally new and fresh.
    I noted the use of loop machines in their live sessions, and that’s why you'll note that some ideas that I create keep sounding in the background when I start playing the following part. This is a very nice way to compose music. I invite you to try it and share with me your demos and ideas to give tips and suggestions to continue and improve them.

    Tonality, Chord Progression & Scales:
    I noted that their progressions are usually very simple based on minor progressions that allow him to create nostalgic atmospheres and melodies. This tune is in A minor and as you can see in the tabs, all the chords belong to this tonality and the only “advanced” thing that you'll find is the use of ninth and sixth chords which are the most beautiful sounding chords I know.

    As I said before, this is not a tricky lesson but it’s perfect for beginners who want a musical exercise to work on timing and dynamics. These phrases require a very precise timing, and specific accents to make the ideas fit with the groove of the song. Please pay close attention to these two elements. Timing, feeling and dynamics are everything in ambient music.

    I used Amplitube 3 software to create the guitar tone for this one. Check out the settings:

    Click HERE to download my Patch.

    I used Cubase to record audio and midi, EZdrummer for drums and Trillian for bass.

    Tuning: standard EADGBE tuning

    Tempo: 90 BPM

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