What Is A Phrase In Music And How To Make One

Phrasing in music

Get out of your rut, once and for all and become a refined player!


Curious about what is a phrase is in music? It's very simple. A phrase in music is just a short section of music composition. 

For example, I am sure you remember playing that repetitive 'E' Minor pentatonic lick. I am referring to this one:This is probably THE most overused lick in guitar playing. 

As you can see though it's just a short section of notes being played. 

Building a phrase library is essential to becoming a good improviser on guitar, as well as having diverse phrases. 

The less you know, the more repetitive that you will sound.

 HOW TO CREATE A MUSICAL PHRASE Part 1 - Trial & error

There are many different ways to create a phrase in music. The most popular method is to watch other guitarists play and copy them. 

This is a great start point if you want to start learning how to phrase on the guitar. Other guitar players also make their own scales which they build licks from. 

You need to find what works for you the best.One method that you may find helpful is to simply learn by trial and error. 

If you start noodling around on guitar, you will accidentally come across something that sounds cool, and you can add it to your phrase arsenal.

This is great because you will sound unique.If you are copying other guitar players note-for-note, then you will sound exactly like them. 

You might notice that a lot of rock and blues players sound the same, as they use the same phrases on guitar.


A popular method of sounding different is to use motifs.Motifs are just a fancy term for changing something. 

If you learn, for example a familiar pentatonic lick from another guitar player, then you can create different variations of that. 

By creating different variations of a musical phrase, you are creating your With motifs, you can add notes, remove notes, it doesn't matter. 

Just play around and experiment until you find the sound that you like.You will run into some obstacles on your guitar journey; you will realize that the phrases that you have learned on guitar may not apply to every scenario. 

A trick that you can do is to play the lick that you have learned and blend it in the style of the backing track you are trying to play. 

If you have a super slow backing track, but the lick that you have learned is fast, slow it down.

Slowing down the lick, so it matches the tempo of the backing track will make it sound good, and it will make sense. 

 Here are some cool guitar phrases that you can use, that will make you stand out. Remember to make different variations and practice constantly!

These licks are taken from guitar player Marty Friedman's "99 Secret Lead Guitar phrases". 

If you listen to Marty Friedman and listen carefully to his phrasing, you will immediately notice how he stands out from other guitar players.

 HOW TO CREATE A MUSICAL PHRASE Part 3 - Hirajoshi Scale

Another trick that you can do to create impressive guitar phrases is to learn different guitar scales and start experimenting with them.

One scale that many guitars are not aware of is the Hirajoshi guitar scale. The Hirajoshi scale is a Japanese like scale.Here is what the Hirajoshi scale looks like.

Check out this link HERE to find all the licks from that DVD, and the best part is that it's presented in a live tab format!


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