Let’s Honk!

Hi Friends,

Today I would like to start us on a musical adventure that will blow all of our minds and end – where? Nobody knows.

First let me define a couple of things. There are basically two kinds of music. Tonal and Non-Tonal. Tonal music, Key-center music, and Diatonic music, are all names for music in keys. All music that is composed, played, or heard in keys is called Tonal music. Non-Tonal music is music that has no key center relationship and is not written in keys. There are many systems for writing both Tonal and Non-Tonal music. These are called techniques of composition.

When I was a teenager in Texas, my friends and I would get together and jam. There were a lot of good musicians in San Antonio at that time and we would have a kind of jam session we would call Honking. 

So here’s how you Honk. First of all it doesn’t matter how good or bad, or what level of music or musicianship you’re at. And that’s one of the things that makes Honking so interesting.  

You have to forget every preconceived notion of music you know. Forget about harmony, melody, rhythm, and everything you would normally use to play. The real meaning of the word educate is “to bring forth from within”.

So start playing with absolutely no rules. The hardest part of Honking is to start. Just play something. Anything you want. Loud, soft, one note, lots of notes, etcetera. It is truly improvising free-form.

In those late night Texas sessions we would all start playing together anything and any way we wanted. The result is just pure music. It can be haunting, funny, slow, fast, complex, simple, etcetera – but it’s straight from your soul and it’s amazing what can come out.

Many 20th century composers invented lots of compositional techniques to destroy key center identity: Serial music, Twelve Tone, Pan-Diatonicism, and many others. Honking is probably the most primal form of non-Tonal compositional techniques.

So here’s what I’d really like from you. Join me in this adventure.

I want as many people as possible to just play ten seconds and send it to me. We’ll put it all together and we’ll all be creating music together simultaneously and we’ll be able to see and hear what we get. I’ll add my ten seconds, we’ll listen to and talk about it all and keep going. 

When you take two songs and play them together you get neither song. Instead, you get a third song. Honking is a lot of fun. It’s exciting, and an inspirational music experience.

What I’m really excited about is that this is the first time Honking will be done in cyberspace, world-wide. Wow! This could be the start of something big. (I mean musically of course. I’ve never cared much for the influence of money on music – it can really get in the way of your soul expressing itself.)

So, let’s honk!


P.S. David Underwood and I have a couple of CDs out with a track of two guitars doing a free improvisation together. If you’d like, I’ll make it available to you for free. The rest of it is me improvising over classical music (such as Bach, played by David Underwood, but that’s a whole other technique we can talk about sometime.) FYI, I’ve finally reached a point in my career and life where I don’t have to sell my music. So I’m not trying to sell anything to you here – just offering to share.

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2 Responses to Let’s Honk!

  1. Hello Jackie,
    I hope you’re still around…
    Honking sounds like fun! (-:
    If you have a link to what you put together for
    one of these I’d love to hear it.
    Maybe even try a Honk?
    Also would like to hear your improvisation with

    Have a museical day!
    Olivia/Turquoise Rose

  2. Hey Jackie,
    That’s right, it’s Jim Kelly, your last and of course your favorite student ;-) at The Southwest Guitar Conservatory. I say the last because if you remember I studied with you at your house after the school closed down. We started out in that country house you were in and finished up in that big house you built on the North side of San Antonio. Remember?
    I’ve tried to contact you several times over the last few months but never got a response. All I could find were email addresses on different sites, that’s all I could find.
    Remember The Pickin’ Tool? Well I’m back at it and have produced a better looking one than I had before. Check out my profile at http://www.indabamusic.com/people/ThePickinTool.
    It’s interesting to see you are hanging out with David Underwood, he gave me a glowing review of The Pickin’ Tool many years ago, he said “I wish all of my students would carry one around until it was all memorized”. It is also at http://www.thepickintool.com. Check it out and tell me what you think.
    Now about Honking. How do we get started with this? Sounds like fun.
    I hope to hear from you soon.


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