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Scared of Music theory? Faggggedaboudit!

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Mary in Kentucky 01 Dec 01 - 10:50 PM
Gary T 01 Dec 01 - 10:52 PM
Gary T 01 Dec 01 - 10:55 PM
Mary in Kentucky 01 Dec 01 - 11:04 PM
katlaughing 01 Dec 01 - 11:06 PM
Gary T 02 Dec 01 - 01:35 AM
katlaughing 02 Dec 01 - 01:48 AM
Mark Clark 02 Dec 01 - 02:31 AM
Peter T. 02 Dec 01 - 02:21 PM
M.Ted 02 Dec 01 - 11:05 PM
Jeri 02 Dec 01 - 11:30 PM
Gary T 03 Dec 01 - 12:48 AM
Night Owl 03 Dec 01 - 02:59 AM
M.Ted 03 Dec 01 - 10:33 AM
Mary in Kentucky 03 Dec 01 - 12:26 PM
Jeri 03 Dec 01 - 01:56 PM
Rick Fielding 03 Dec 01 - 01:56 PM
Peter T. 03 Dec 01 - 03:02 PM
Rick Fielding 03 Dec 01 - 05:16 PM
GUEST,Night Owl 04 Dec 01 - 02:32 AM
GUEST,Roger the skiffler 04 Dec 01 - 04:11 AM
Mary in Kentucky 04 Dec 01 - 08:37 AM
M.Ted 04 Dec 01 - 08:42 AM
English Jon 04 Dec 01 - 08:44 AM
Gary T 04 Dec 01 - 10:03 AM
English Jon 04 Dec 01 - 10:25 AM
M.Ted 04 Dec 01 - 12:17 PM
English Jon 04 Dec 01 - 12:29 PM
Gary T 04 Dec 01 - 01:49 PM
Night Owl 04 Dec 01 - 02:01 PM
Gary T 04 Dec 01 - 02:10 PM
JohnInKansas 04 Dec 01 - 02:25 PM
Night Owl 04 Dec 01 - 03:07 PM
Night Owl 04 Dec 01 - 03:33 PM
Night Owl 04 Dec 01 - 03:39 PM
Mary in Kentucky 04 Dec 01 - 04:34 PM
GUEST,Joan 04 Dec 01 - 08:44 PM
Gary T 05 Dec 01 - 01:57 AM
Night Owl 05 Dec 01 - 02:50 AM
JohnInKansas 05 Dec 01 - 11:45 AM
GUEST,Les B 05 Dec 01 - 04:07 PM
Mary in Kentucky 05 Dec 01 - 05:39 PM
Big Mick 05 Dec 01 - 11:22 PM
marty D 05 Dec 01 - 11:30 PM
Night Owl 06 Dec 01 - 12:59 AM
JohnInKansas 06 Dec 01 - 06:22 AM
Rick Fielding 06 Dec 01 - 12:14 PM
GUEST,Frank 06 Dec 01 - 01:55 PM
M.Ted 06 Dec 01 - 01:55 PM
Marion 06 Dec 01 - 07:04 PM
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Subject: RE: Scared of Music theory? Faggggedaboudit!
From: Mary in Kentucky
Date: 01 Dec 01 - 10:50 PM

kat, I can really sympathize with folks who don't understand all this half step/keyboard stuff. When "they" start talking about open strings I just glaze over. *BG*

I'm so intuned to the piano, for me to transcribe a MIDI, I have to listen to it on the computer here upstairs, then run downstairs to play it on the piano. It is soooooooo easy and intuitive on the piano, but a foreign language just listening or seeing the dots. That's why I'm envious of people who can play any instrument "by ear" without really reading music.


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Subject: RE: Scared of Music theory? Faggggedaboudit!
From: Gary T
Date: 01 Dec 01 - 10:52 PM

Hey, kat, going back your earlier question about how to tell what key someone is in--given what information? Looking at sheet music? Looking at melody notation, or chord notation, or tab? Hearing just the melody? Hearing harmonization, or accompanying instrumentation?

In other words, under precisely what circumstances do you find yourself wanting to know what the key is?


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Subject: RE: Scared of Music theory? Faggggedaboudit!
From: Gary T
Date: 01 Dec 01 - 10:55 PM

Oh, and part two--why do you want to know? What will it help you do--play accompaniment, sing, write something down, other?


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Subject: RE: Scared of Music theory? Faggggedaboudit!
From: Mary in Kentucky
Date: 01 Dec 01 - 11:04 PM

Gary, I'd like to know how to find the key from just a melody line because of trying to harmonize O'Carolan's stuff. I suspect there are many different chord choices, so it's just historical precedence that makes one version more popular than another. It's fun for me to get hold of a melody that I've never heard before and put my own chords/harmonizations to. Then when I find a "book" with that song, and it's different...


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Subject: RE: Scared of Music theory? Faggggedaboudit!
From: katlaughing
Date: 01 Dec 01 - 11:06 PM

Good question, Gary! I guess I am anticipating that I may someday live where I can join in on some sessions and would like to know what is meant when someone yells out what key they are going to play in, BUT, my ear serves me well enough, I can pick it up, intuitively, without really needing to know the technical data, so I guess I don't really have to know. Plus, it's never mattered when I played in the orchestra or piano or violin alone, from written music. Now, if I was going to be fiddling a lot, then I could see a real need for it, because I could relate it to the instrument, but, again, my ear serves well,once i know the piece or hear it a few times. I am not geared to guitars, so would have a tougher time relating it to them in the same way. Hope that makes sense!

Thanks, Mary for the further comments. Despite my lack of this knowledge, I think I've been pretty lucky to have learned the rest of it from my family. Grand ear training, that!

kat


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Subject: RE: Scared of Music theory? Faggggedaboudit!
From: Gary T
Date: 02 Dec 01 - 01:35 AM

Mary--I don't have a method to tell you other than what I do, which is try to find a chord progression that fits the melody. I use trial and error, especially to identify the key (trying out different chords until one fits), and experience with/knowledge of typical chord sequences. On songs that have less familiar or less common chords, I may not get them all. It seems that some songs--modals?--defy being aligned with a chord progression, although the key can usually be determined.

I often find it helpful to have a book with the chords in it--but not always. Usually, an authoritative source (which usually means sheet music) will have chords that sound right, sometimes showing me an interesting chord that I would not have realized was there otherwise. On the other end of the spectrum, some books are almost jokes with the chords they have for some songs (I'm afraid "Rise Up Singing" comes to mind), which clearly do not fit the tune. And it's not unusual to find different sources having some different chords for a given song, where either version is acceptable. Sometimes you go by the book, sometimes you go with what feels right to you.

kat, I'm still not quite sure what you want to do, but it sounds like play along with an instrument, not using chords. That is not something I have experience in. It appears to me that people who do it have experience-based knowledge of what notes to try if they know what the key is, and the reverse--what key they're in based on the notes that fit.

As far as figuring out the key in a session situation, some of the techniques are: ask;
watch an instrument you know well enough to see what key (or chords or notes) is being played;
trial and error.

Sorry I couldn't be of more help, ladies. Perhaps someone else has some wisdom here?


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Subject: RE: Scared of Music theory? Faggggedaboudit!
From: katlaughing
Date: 02 Dec 01 - 01:48 AM

It's okay, Gary. I think it would be good if we let the thread progress beyond this one thing. Like i said before, I didn't mean to hijack it. I am sorry I am not expressing what I am getting at very well, but I think I've figured things out pretty well with what's at hand.

THANKS, everyone!

kat


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Subject: RE: Scared of Music theory? Faggggedaboudit!
From: Mark Clark
Date: 02 Dec 01 - 02:31 AM

Just some odds and ends that may help clarify some the great information that's already been posted.

The term degree is also used to designate the numbers assigned to the notes of a scale. So in the key of C major, the note E represents the third degree of the scale.

The term tonic—from tone—refers to the first degree of a major scale. In the key of C, C is the tonic note. A tonic chord is just the chord with the same name as the root key.

The term subdominant refers to the fourth degree of a major scale. In the key of C, F is the subdominant. A subdominant chord (F in the key of C) is the chord with the same name as the fourth or subdominant note of the scale in the root key.

The term dominant refers to the fifth degree of a major scale. In the key of C, G is the dominant.

(I hope all this talk of dominance isn't getting anyone too excited.)

A dominant seventh chord, then, is the major triad (1-3-5) based on the dominant note of the root key with the addition of the flatted seventh. The seventh is a flatted seventh because the major seventh note in the scale of the dominant chord (F# for the G chord in the key of C) is not found in the major scale of the root key.

      - Mark


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Subject: RE: Scared of Music theory? Faggggedaboudit!
From: Peter T.
Date: 02 Dec 01 - 02:21 PM

While I admire all this, I think that it is handling the situation Rick started with incorrectly. As far as I can tell, he was aiming at people who were either slightly beyond beginners or people who were musically sophisticated but were somehow blocked over time from learning music theory. I think it is better to try and get at the blocks and misconceptions than to try and inundate people with theory, however simplified.

For the second group, what would be useful are things that people already know that could be enhanced by theory. For instance, on the guitar, there are these diminished chords that hold their pattern up the neck, repeating. How does that work? That would get people into a huge array of theory. And so on.

For the first group, among the big blocks are misconceptions that are obstacles that sophisticated musicians would be stunned to hear about. I speak from bitter experience, and talking to others. Among them:

On the guitar, certain chords are difficult to play, so they are assumed to be complicated -- early on, for example, I always assumed that the F chord was some bizarrely complicated chord, much more esoteric than a G chord. An A chord must be really simple because it is just three strings beside each other. Later I thought the an "augmented" chord, God it must be insanely complex because it looks complex.

Internalizing the half-step, whole step structure is often a disaster for learners. It takes people a very long time to connect going up a key on a piano or a fret on an guitar to that. It ought to be obvious, the most obvious thing, but isn't, partly because of the visual confusion (on the piano, for ease) between going from certain "main letter notes" like B to C or E to F which are right beside each other, and jumping up to something with a flat or a sharp, which must be different, smaller or maybe bigger.

On a guitar, this is even more confusing because the strings are different, and the jump from one string to another in scales seems random. It takes a long time to focus on the pattern of the scale over the range of strings, and not the pattern of the 6 strings themselves.

What else can I think of off the top of my head. People think that a minor chord must have a flat or a sharp in it, because it has the word "minor" in it and sounds flat or sharp; when it is really just the dropping of the 3rd of the chord one half step (which is of course sometimes the equivalent).

I am sure there are lots of other weird things that block people's understanding of chords.

Here's another big obstacle, the ridiculous chord notation system. Hands up all those who know the difference between a G9, a Gadd9, and a Gsus2?

I could go on.....

yours, Peter T.


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Subject: RE: Scared of Music theory? Faggggedaboudit!
From: M.Ted
Date: 02 Dec 01 - 11:05 PM

Thanks for the comments, Peter--I was wondering when you would step in--being the one who is the most inclined to pursue questions about theory--

As a teacher, you can spend all of your time answering questions that come out of the misconceptions, but when you do, you loose control of your lessons, and the end result is that the student doesn't get anywhere.

Students have to start out learning things by rote, and praticing them til the teacher is satisfied that they have them. Explanations come later--You need to know your scales, your chords, and how to construct them, but the why is not initially important--

You memorized the capitals of the states, provinces, and nations,but you didn't need to know why they were the capitals when you learned them--those questions are saved for much later, same with music theory--


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Subject: RE: Scared of Music theory? Faggggedaboudit!
From: Jeri
Date: 02 Dec 01 - 11:30 PM

M.Ted, with all due respect, that approach may work for some, maybe most students, but it has never worked for me. If you don't start out with the explanations so I understand why something works, I don't learn it.


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Subject: RE: Scared of Music theory? Faggggedaboudit!
From: Gary T
Date: 03 Dec 01 - 12:48 AM

I gotta go with M.Ted on this one. I'm not about to get into WHY a major chord uses notes 1, 3, & 5. I don't even fully know myself, but I understand it gets into the physics of frequencies and related psycho-neural aspects of how we perceive them. For those who would like to pursue this aspect of music, I'm sure there are appropriate texts available.

For my contribution here, I'm aiming for enhanced ability to use and understand chords and chord patterns in songs. The chromatic scale, the major scale pattern, and knowing what a chord is are building blocks of information that I believe are very helpful, probably necessary, toward this goal.

I acknowledge that what I have to share may not be the best approach for everyone, but it works for me and for some of my friends, so I offer it here in the hopes it will help a number of Mudcatters.


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Subject: RE: Scared of Music theory? Faggggedaboudit!
From: Night Owl
Date: 03 Dec 01 - 02:59 AM

Just want to report back in here......I took a "recess" and went out to play. The group I was with included a Hammered Dulcimer player.....WONDERFUL music etc. I took with me new information from this thread which was useless tonight for my guitar playing (premature). BUT I was given a brief lesson on how to play a simple scale on the HD......and GUESS WHAT....I PLAYED A CHORD!! Starting from what he said was "Do", I played..(both hands!!) 1,3,5,8(?) AND it sounded NEAT!!! (Wondering why 8 isn't included in the info here?) Anyway, thank you guys!!! and paragraphs 5, 6 in Peter T.'s post are part of my problem here. BUT, I'm gonna hang in......remembering how Peter struggled to learn Modal tuning stuff a while ago. I CAN play guitar, have been playing for thirty years now. I know a bunch of chords, finger-picking patterns and strumming patterns, have a fairly good ear and am a solid rythym guitar player in groups. But like many others here, I learned from chord charts; playing with other people; listening and watching and some tablature. Dunno why it's important to me NOW to learn this stuff...just IS! (AND I feel really dumb with this stuff!!!!)

I do have a favor to ask before I go study..when you all are writing info that has more than one # in it, could you space between them??? found it hard here to count them up in some of the posts.


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Subject: RE: Scared of Music theory? Faggggedaboudit!
From: M.Ted
Date: 03 Dec 01 - 10:33 AM

Jeri,

You mean that you didn't learn the names of the notes in scales till you understood:

Why there were eight notes in them
Why they are the pitches that they are and not eight other pitches
Why notes in different octaves have the same names, even though the are obviously different notes
Why there are three minor scales but ony one major scale
Why there are different keys
Why the intervals are the same in different keys
What the difference is between a major scale and a mode
Why the last note in a pentatonic scale is called an octave when there are only five notes in it, not eight
Why the keys move in a circle of fifths(or fourths)
And why does that make any difference, anyway?

I presume, from what you've said, that you can either answer these questions or that you don't know the names of the notes, and their intervals in the scales--


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Subject: RE: Scared of Music theory? Faggggedaboudit!
From: Mary in Kentucky
Date: 03 Dec 01 - 12:26 PM

I think Jeri is saying the same thing I was saying about Advanced Organizers. I don't have to understand every detail and nuance of some content matter, but if I don't have an outline in advance, my mind refuses to memorize bits and pieces. Oh, I have a very good ability for memorizing unrelated bits and pieces, such as strings of numbers. But it's just not my preferred learning style.

One reason my friend who is an aural learner/teacher frustrates my learning so much is that my mind just shuts down when she starts talking. An example: when looking at a new software program I prefer to scan the pull down menus first to see what all is possible or to just see the vocabulary. I can't begin to understand all the possibilities, but when I later hear them explained I have a place in my brain to make the connections (and that is what learning is, making connections in the brain). When my friend taught the software program Quicken, she would say, "Now let's write a check." (and show us how) Then, "Let's go to our register." (and show us how.) I could have grasped it mush faster just going through the pull-down menus.

Another example: When I first get a textbook, I scan the table of contents. I hate to just start reading a narrative (textbook), possibly because so many are really poorly written, and I don't realize it until I've invested time.


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Subject: RE: Scared of Music theory? Faggggedaboudit!
From: Jeri
Date: 03 Dec 01 - 01:56 PM

You mean that you didn't learn the names of the notes in scales till..."

Ted, I still haven't memorised the notes in scales. I've never found it necessary to have instant recall of the notes in a given scale, although it makes playing with others a lot easier. I know some scales, but for most of them, I still think about intervals and where I stick my finger on the string tuned to "X" to get that sound, then figure out what the note is. If I play in an unfamiliar key, I can figure out how to play the scale by knowing intervals, but I'd have to think to tell you what notes I was playing.

I learn better when I can visualise: the little charts I made earlier, sheet music, imagining the fingerboard or fretboard. If you give me the name of a note to play, I will still have to visualise it in a way that makes sense to me. If you ask me what the notes in the scale of F# are, I will probably draw a picture (either literally or imaginary) and figure out the names of the notes from counting intervals.


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Subject: RE: Scared of Music theory? Faggggedaboudit!
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 03 Dec 01 - 01:56 PM

Hmmmmm, I won't put any more data in here 'cause the idea at the beginning was to keep it REALLY simple...but that's difficult, 'cause everybody's got different ideas about 'simple'. And it's a fascinating subject that most people have very definite opinions on. Once again, I guess it can be useful if people take "one" post that they understand and like, and use it the best they can. Thought I might do a bit of an overview on the "kinds" of students I've worked with over the last 15 years (got my 'book of names' here, in case memory fails.

"The prodigy"

I see about 2 or 3 of these folks a year. Absolutely natural. The youngest, about 20 (I try to work only with adults) the oldest, late sixties. Usually completely unaware of how little they have to work, to achieve what others may take years to get. Mudcatter Marion (who now lives in Toronto) certainly qualifies. The problem with these folks is sometimes they move too fast and I really have to drill the 'basics' into them. The most irritating player in the world to me is the one who can play flashy complex leads, and still can't keep a solid rhythm.

"The Tab veteran".

Makes up about 50% of the folks I work with. Often they've been playing for years, but still have trouble playing ONE song from beginning to end at proper tempo with some feeling. Usually they've been weaned on Tablature, and haven't developed their ear at all. It makes it very difficult for these folks to play with others. I try to get them "off the paper", to start training their ear, and almost always to work on their 'dynamics' in order to 'swing'.

The 'bad habits' bunny.

Usually someone who has been playing for years and knows that 'something's wrong' 'cause they haven't progressed beyond that first year. Can be as simple as better left hand fingering, a DISCIPLINED right hand (gotta get them to start memorizing again) or even that they've been playing an instrument that is totally unsuitable to their body-type (that happens a lot!) or musical ambitions.

The "unmotivated" (that was ME at the beginning)

The person who wants to learn, but hasn't yet found music that 'pierces the heart'. These folks are fun to work with 'cause I get to play (and tape for them) a LOT of great music from old records and tapes. Watching as someone suddenly "discovers" the beauty of Leadbelly, Django, Big Bill, Charlie Christian, Dave bromberg, Lydia Mendoza, Doc Watson etc. is a real hoot. Helps me relive those same moments when I was 15 or so. Usually once they're hooked... THEY'RE HOOKED! Often during this process, the person will discover it's really the MANDOLIN (or banjo or dulcimer or dobro) that they really want to play. Fiddle even (in that case, I send them to Jamie Snyder, 'cause my fiddle technique is highly suspect...and I don't want to screw 'em up right at the beginning!)

The "Questioners"

The hardest for me, 'cause as has been stated here, ya gotta memorize a few things, before the 'answers' have any meaningful contexts. When someone asks "what's the deal with repeated diminished chords"? I really want them to know what a diminished SOUNDS like, and WHY it's used in the first place. Gotta PLAY it to REALLY understand it.(by the way, Peter's a diminished 'monster' now) This is related to that "investment thing" that I've mentioned frequently on the Cat. I don't believe you can watch "Oh Brother..." and know anything about Trad. Music. You (IMO) should at least 'invest' a bit in Buell Kazee, Tom Ashley, Cousin Emmy, or the Stanley BROTHERS, to understand WHY Hollywood now feels that Trad, and pseudo-trad is a money maker.Same with instrument technique...invest in a bit of the 'grunge-memorization-work' before trying to anylize it.

The 'tips' student.

Great fun. Makes up about 20% of my clientele now. Usually professional players who want extra tips, tricks, and in general, stuff I've learned over almost 40 years of pickin'. This is where I pick up a lot of great stuff as well......but I can't afford to give them back their money!!

The rest(!)

Their AIN'T no 'rest'. Everyone is different, and I use different approaches with each. Some folks are so 'visually oriented' that not being able to see over their fingerboard (and watch their left hand) totally screws them up. Some folks have let me in on a 'learning disability' that prevents them from 'seeing' chord charts after weeks of frustration. (Now I ask, right from the git-go) A common situation is the student who practices SO quietly ('cause of sleeping babies etc.) that when they try to play with a little volume, they get really messed up. There are hundreds of little 'differences', and trying to 'customize' sessions certainly keeps me on my toes...but that's the fun of teaching, for me.

Rick


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Subject: RE: Scared of Music theory? Faggggedaboudit!
From: Peter T.
Date: 03 Dec 01 - 03:02 PM

Hmmm. I think I am a seriously diminished restless Tab drinking bad habits questioning bunny. No wonder I ain't getting nowhere fast!

yours, Peter T.


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Subject: RE: Scared of Music theory? Faggggedaboudit!
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 03 Dec 01 - 05:16 PM

No Peter. You are (in no particular order) a Saint, possibly God, and DO look like George Martin.

Rick


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Subject: RE: Scared of Music theory? Faggggedaboudit!
From: GUEST,Night Owl
Date: 04 Dec 01 - 02:32 AM

clear to me I NEED to do that "grunge-memorization-work"!

I played around in "C" today on a small Casio keyboard I have here, which is allowing me to visualize the chord construction. (I also discovered that each key is already lettered in one of the octaves on it.)

Rick....I went back and re-read your first post here..and see that you've already answered my question about 1, 3, 5 AND 8 that was in the chord I was hearing yesterday. I guess in elementary school I learned that the scale was 8 notes....low Do to high Do..so ending on 7 made no sense...initially. The exciting news for me was that on re-reading your initial post, it ALL made sense, as did some of the others......theoretically anyway BG

I also played around, counting I,IV,V in different keys I know on guitar. I know the base chords, for example, in "C" on guitar are C,F, and G7. Is there a SIMPLE explanation as to why the G7th is the V instead of just G??

I'm "harvesting" info posted here about which keys have what in them (#,b's)to memorize.......AFTER I've learned the individual notes in C on my guitar. I HOPE you meant just the first three frets, Rick. If not....I need some STRONG humor here!!!

I know I'm not the ONLY 'Catter here who has studiously avoided learning this stuff for years...so I will keep coming to class as long as school's open. I assume if I pay attention and don't gaze out the window too much, it'll help me learn to play the Hammered Dulcimer as well. Thank you ALL for doing this!!!!


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Subject: RE: Scared of Music theory? Faggggedaboudit!
From: GUEST,Roger the skiffler
Date: 04 Dec 01 - 04:11 AM

(sobbing quietly in a corner) Before I read this I thought I'd never understand music theory. Now I know I never will.
RtS (back to the kazoo, I guess)


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Subject: RE: Scared of Music theory? Faggggedaboudit!
From: Mary in Kentucky
Date: 04 Dec 01 - 08:37 AM

Now Roger, I taught teenagers algebra, so I know you can learn a little music! As I told my sister when she was taking algebra, the first thing to do is to NOT THROW THE BOOK ACROSS THE ROOM when you first read an explanation.

Night Owl, in the key of C, the G chord IS the V (Five) chord. We use the V7 because it sounds good. Correct me here historians if this explanation is not quite right...historically people just started using what sounded good and then it got to be familiar to them they continued to use it. (Western music). I taught beginning piano students (even 4 year-olds) how to play the tonic chord then the V7 chord in the first 6 easy keys so they could play "Mary Had a Little Lamb" in 6 different keys. (In the key of C, the tonic chord is just the home chord, C...and the V7 chord is the G7 chord) I would also tell them to "drive Mom crazy" by playing a V7 chord and then walking away from the piano. It seems that our ear wants to hear it "resolve" or go to the home/tonic chord after it's played.

Hang in there. This stuff makes sense as we hear it explained in different words again and again.


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Subject: RE: Scared of Music theory? Faggggedaboudit!
From: M.Ted
Date: 04 Dec 01 - 08:42 AM

Nightowl,

Yes, there is a simple explanation, and that is that the G7(G-B-D-F) chord has tension in it that can be resolved only by moving back to the C (C-E-G). The tension is a strong dissonance between the G and the F in the chord.

If you don't understand what I mean, just play the two chords--Play C, and it sounds like you can stay on C--Play G and it sounds like you need to go somewhere.

This tension/resolution is a basic element in music. In classical western music(and in western folk music), we resolve it in by moving back to the fundamental (C).

Some composers a long time ago liked working with musical tension in this way, and so almost all of our music is built around it--it isn't the only way you can do it, and other musical traditions do things differently(though they still work with the tension/resolution thing).

That is music theory.


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Subject: RE: Scared of Music theory? Faggggedaboudit!
From: English Jon
Date: 04 Dec 01 - 08:44 AM

7 of V resolves downwards to 3 of I

Hence, G7 - C, the F in the G7 chord has a strong harmonic pull towards the E in the C chord.

Sounds crap though.

EJ


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Subject: RE: Scared of Music theory? Faggggedaboudit!
From: Gary T
Date: 04 Dec 01 - 10:03 AM

I'm still planning to post on chord progressions, when I have a long enough block of time to do so--should be soon.

But for now, I'll tie up a few loose ends and address a few questions that have been raised.

I did see a book that used the terminology X minor major seventh chord, written Xmin(maj7). Means the same thing as X minor sharp seventh--Xmin#7.

I don't know if the 11th and 13th chords I talked about earlier lack certain notes because that's the definition of the chord or because the book I was looking at was accomodating the fact that guitars offer a maximum of six different notes. I'm sure there are texts that have the info, for those who are curious. The main point in my mentioning those chords was that they (and 9th chords) are built on 7th chords. Sometimes a plain old 7th chord is a reasonable substitution for a 9th, 11th, or 13th chord. Other times it's not satisfactory--trust your ear.

Now, about that #8 note:

It's significant in terms of an octave (A to A, C to C, Db to Db, etc.)--our word octave stems from the Latin word for eight. "Do-re-mi-etc." back to "do" comprises eight notes.

In 9th, 11th, & 13th chords, you're obviously going to pass 8 on your way to those numbers, so you've got to have a #8 note.

BUT--in terms of major, minor, seventh, suspended, diminished, etc. chords, it's just a repeat of note #1. Another way to look at a C scale is this:

 C  D  E  F  G  A  B  C  D  E  F  G  A  B  C  D  etc.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 1 2 etc.

Sometimes you'll see the second course labeled "1a, 2a," etc. and the third course "1b, 2b," etc. This is because they are different notes--that second C is a higher pitch than the first C. But for our purposes, we're concerned about the essential character of its being a C, rather than a D or an E.

In an earlier post, I mentioned that a typical guitar F chord has the notes F, C, F, A, C, F. The important thing is that the F major chord has the notes F, A, & C (notes 1, 3, & 5 of the F scale) and ONLY those notes. Whether it has one, or two, or three F notes (or A notes or C notes) doesn't really matter. It's still an F major chord. You could call the F notes in that chord 1, 8, & 15, which is technically correct, but for our purposes irrelevant. Look at the seven different notes of the scale, look at the definition of the chord in question, and select notes with the correct note name. For most chords, there is no need to count above 7.

Some mention has been made of the fact that there are no notes between B & C or between E & F, while there is a note (black piano key) between A & B, C & D, etc. Well, here's the explanation:

Because.

I'm sure there's a history of music text that explains how and why this came to be, but in terms of practical application, there is no more definitive nor satisfying answer than--because. That's the way it is, it ain't gonna change, we just gotta learn it and deal with it.

Now, about that V or V7 chord:

When a three chord song is said to have the I, IV, & V chords, those numbers are often meant in a general sense. It might have a I, I7, IV, IV7, IVm, V, V7--the point is it has a I-something chord, a IV-something chord, and a V-something chord.

In a great many songs found in folk, Irish, bluegrass, country, etc. music, it really doesn't matter much whether it's a V or a V7. I notice that bluegrassers hardly ever use seventh chords, whereas folksingers use them a fair amount. You can even find that one book use the V chord in a given song where the next book uses a V7. So often, either one is fine, and it comes down to personal preference.

Sometimes, using the seventh chord is significant. Play I--I7--IV (in C, C--C7--F), and you'll see that it's just not the same as playing I--I--IV. And in blues, often the IV7 is used instead of IV, and sometimes even I7 instead of I. Other blues patterns use V7 in the main phrasing, but use a V as a turnaround between verses. These uses of seventh vs. major chords are part of the character we associate with blues music, so it can matter which one we use.

These distinctions tend to become easier to pick up with experience.


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Subject: RE: Scared of Music theory? Faggggedaboudit!
From: English Jon
Date: 04 Dec 01 - 10:25 AM

...that's because I to IV is the same relationship as V-I.

Hence I (in C is CEG) + 7 =CEGBb, the Bb wants to resolve to the 3 (A) in IV (FAC)

Or:

I (in G is GBD) + 7 =GBDF, the F wants to resolve to the 3 (E) in IV (CEG)

Cycle of fifths again.

It still sounds crap

EJ


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Subject: RE: Scared of Music theory? Faggggedaboudit!
From: M.Ted
Date: 04 Dec 01 - 12:17 PM

If you are looking up these things, trying to interpret them, and then passing them on, Gary, I think you have to be very careful not to overstep what you understand--You have made some good points, but you have also said a number of things that, if not exactly wrong, are not exactly right either--

There is a difference between situations that use a V chord, and situations where a V7 chord is used--often, the V is followed by a V7--Any song whose melody falls within a diatonic major scale(The C scale, for instance) is a three chord song, because an accompaniment can always be written using only three chords--the I,IV, and V. the IV7 and IVm technically take you into another key--Not that you can't use these things alternately as a matter of taste, but that they have rules and reasons--

For that matter, there *are* notes between E and F and B and C, but the reason that there are half spaces in two places in the scale simply is that if you use all whole steps, you only get six notes to the octave, and no perfect fifth or fourth--

Anyway, and this should extend to everyone, don't speculate on things that you aren't sure of in your explanations, because it only makes things more confusing--


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Subject: RE: Scared of Music theory? Faggggedaboudit!
From: English Jon
Date: 04 Dec 01 - 12:29 PM

The whole I, IV, V is slightly bogus anyway.

I, II, V is more reasonable, as II is V of V, hence perpetuating the tonic/dominant relationship.

(Note that II is the equivalent minor of IV)

Instant calypso...

EJ


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Subject: RE: Scared of Music theory? Faggggedaboudit!
From: Gary T
Date: 04 Dec 01 - 01:49 PM

M.Ted, more confusing is quite the opposite of my intent, so thanks for the alert.

I'm trying to keep things in the realm of what I believe the average person can find practical application for, which I think was Rick's intent. As you may have figured, I really don't know music theory, which you and some others apparently do know rather well. But I do have a working knowledge of some basic conventions and definitions "on paper" (hence loosely referred to as theory) that have helped me do things with my instrument. I hope sharing what I know will likewise be helpful to others.

In the matter of using a V chord vs. a V7 chord, I don't doubt that there are technical and theoretical considerations that apply in many instances, and I imagine composers give it careful thought. My approach was related to my experience in jams and song circles with other amateur musicians, where the basic I-IV-V song is sometimes done with a V, sometimes with a V7, and more often than not with no obvious or compelling difference between the two. I often feel that one is preferrable to the other when I listen closely, but the songs seem to flow as well either way, so I don't see it as a significant point in those circumstances. I was not attempting to actually say why a V7 might be called for rather than a V, and I apologize if I muddied up that issure.

I am aware that there are an infinite number of possible notes between B and C, but I was referring to there not being a piano key or a guitar fret that produces such notes.

So there's my rationale. I don't hold to be an expert. I'm trying to keep things fairly simple in the hopes others can get their heads around the basics. I certainly don't want to give wrong, misleading, or counterproductive information. Feel free to keep me honest.


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Subject: RE: Scared of Music theory? Faggggedaboudit!
From: Night Owl
Date: 04 Dec 01 - 02:01 PM

Thank you Mary and MTed for the SIMPLE explanations!! My ear and heart in the music understands EXACTLY what you said...and it's encouraging to know it's there just because it SOUNDS good and wants to be...(right??) Could you just give a brief definition of what "dissonance" means?? I thought it was the sound I hear when I hit a wrong note and it clashes against a prior note. A negative thing!!

Mary..can we make a "rule" here?? NEVER, never mention the word "Algebra". lol

RE the 8 note which for some reason is a problem here. I had decided that I would just translate it to 8/1 to help absorb some of this info. Gary...are you saying it would be 1b for the high do instead of my 8/1?? If so, works for me!

Rog....I have a box of kleenex in my desk here. I just moved my seat away from the window cause I started watching a squirrel play in a tree. Blow your nose and take my seat there. Anyone remember how to make spitballs??


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Subject: RE: Scared of Music theory? Faggggedaboudit!
From: Gary T
Date: 04 Dec 01 - 02:10 PM

Night Owl--RE the 8 note which for some reason is a problem here. I had decided that I would just translate it to 8/1 to help absorb some of this info.

Good thinking. That works.

Gary...are you saying it would be 1b for the high do instead of my 8/1??

Actually, if you say 1-7, then 1a-7a, then 1b-7b, the 8/1 would be 1a and the 1b could be 15/1. I hope that's clear.


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Subject: RE: Scared of Music theory? Faggggedaboudit!
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 04 Dec 01 - 02:25 PM

Night Owl

For working purposes, you've got it right. A dissonance is simply two notes that don't sound good together.

When you play two notes together, you will usually hear the two notes and also two other notes - one with a frequency equal to the sum of the original two frequencies and one with a frequency equal to the difference between the original two.

The difference frequency is usually perceived most clearly - and is the "beat" many folk use to tune one string to the other.

If the "beat" frequency doesn't fit with the original two notes - it sounds bad. As an example, an A at 440 Hz and an A# at 466 Hz will produce a beat at 26 Hz - which is fairly strongly perceived, and "it don't sound right." Hence the half-step interval is dissonant.

John


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Subject: RE: Scared of Music theory? Faggggedaboudit!
From: Night Owl
Date: 04 Dec 01 - 03:07 PM

Thanks for the giggle here Gary!!! What IS clear is that you said "Good thinking. That works". Enough for me..the rest looks tooooooo much like Algebra!!! (I must not chew gum in class...I must not chew gum in class.........I must pay attention in class......I must NOT let my imagination run wild in class...I must NOT play with the squirrels.) bg

btw....just read your apology above. Just because some of the information posted in here is over my head, does NOT invalidate the info itself. I CAN recognize some GOOD info here and will harvest it IF and WHEN I can accept it as English!!! I'm sure there are others reading who DO understand more than I can now. and even the stuff I don't understand is interesting to read - different approaches and corrections. Some of the posts I want to understand NOW......but haven't even done my homework on the guitar yet. ( Anyone got a straw??) Thank you ALL again!!!


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Subject: RE: Scared of Music theory? Faggggedaboudit!
From: Night Owl
Date: 04 Dec 01 - 03:33 PM

Thanks Jon......I missed your post while I was typing here. I'm gonna repeat back what you said..HOPEFULLY!

When I'm tuning my guitar,I can hear when the "vibrations" (note) is right on or not (usually..bg) When the string is tuned, there is NO "dissonance" right??


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Subject: RE: Scared of Music theory? Faggggedaboudit!
From: Night Owl
Date: 04 Dec 01 - 03:39 PM

whoooops sorry...JoHn


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Subject: RE: Scared of Music theory? Faggggedaboudit!
From: Mary in Kentucky
Date: 04 Dec 01 - 04:34 PM

Mow Night Owl, algebra isn't a dirty word. A really dirty word is trigonometry or...calculus!

I have a theory that nearly any discipline can be understood on some level once the vocabulary is familiar. The concepts in algebra or chemistry or polymers or music are really simple...it's just the vocabulary that inhibits our thinking. And if you're intellectually curious (and patient) the vocabulary becomes familiar with time.

Knowing a little jargon certainly doesn't subsitute for real understanding, but it's up to you to realize your limitations. Now about those spitballs...


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Subject: RE: Scared of Music theory? Faggggedaboudit!
From: GUEST,Joan
Date: 04 Dec 01 - 08:44 PM

What a good thread!!

Great to see theory laid out so clearly with explanations of why we play what we play. I'd taught guitar (with theory in small, easy-to-swallow doses) for years. It took me a while to understand about the different learning styles of the people who came for lessons: the kinesthetic and global learners who must feel the chord shapes with their fingers, do the right hand picking, and listen to the sounds they make. Then there are those who do best with methodical step-by-step instruction and charts, who only THEN can go on to play.

Vive la difference!


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Subject: RE: Scared of Music theory? Faggggedaboudit!
From: Gary T
Date: 05 Dec 01 - 01:57 AM

Before we move on to chord progressions, let's review (oh, what fun!).

We know that our music (music of Western civilization, as opposed to say, much Oriental music) is based on certain tones which, by definition, comprise the notes of the chromatic scale.

From those notes, certain groups can be selected by a set formula to form major scales.

From the notes of a given major scale (and other notes defined in relation to that scale--for example, the flatted 3rd note used in a minor chord), we can form various chords, each of which has its own formula or definition.

Okay, so now we got all these chords, what do we do with them? Lay down the framework for songs and tunes.

In discussing chords, we can save a lot of effort by using a number system that applies to any key, rather than talking about each of the twelve possible keys individually. We numbered the major scale with Arabic numerals to talk about the notes used to form chords. Now we'll number it with Roman numerals to talk about chords themselves.

Let's look at our good friend, the C major scale.

C D E F G A B C

The notes of this scale can be numbered thus:

 C  D  E  F  G  A  B  C
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 1 (or 8, if continuing)

If I mention 1, 3, 5, it means those NOTES, which can form a chord.

Now we're going to number it this way:

 C   D   E   F   G   A   B   C
I II III IV V VI VII I (no need to ever go above VII)

Now, if I were to mention I, III, and V, it would mean a C chord, an E chord, and a G chord. We know that each of those chords is made up of several notes taken from the C, E, and G scales, respectively, but we're not talking about those notes. We're referring to the chords themselves.

Now "3" and "III" are both forms of "three", and obviously based on the fact that E is the third note of scale here. But other than that, the "3" and the "III" have nothing to do with each other. One's a note, the other's a chord. Apples, oranges. When I talk about chords as units, rather than about the notes used to construct chords, I use Roman numerals. When I use Roman numerals, I'm talking about chords.

A jillion songs use the I, IV, & V (or V7) chords. On Top of Old Smokey, Amazing Grace, Oh Suzannah, etc., etc. etc. In folk, bluegrass, and country music, it's by far the most common grouping of chords. These songs are the "three chorders."

A lesser number use I & IV (Wild Mountain Thyme), or I & V(7) (Short'nin Bread).

There are lots of typical chord groupings that are used in a great number of songs. Some of these are:

I-VIm-IV-V(7)--classic "doo wop" progression--Silhouettes, Santa Catalina

I-IIm-V7--Don't It Make You Want To Go Home

I-VI7-II7-V7--classic ragtime--Salty Dog

I-VIIb--Old Joe Clark, Little Maggie

That's just a tiny sample. There are booklets available that listen many common chord progression.

So why talk about, say, I, IV, & V? You can't play a "IV" on an instrument--you can play a C chord, or a D chord, or an A chord, but what's a IV chord?

Talking about these numbers helps you see patterns. Grasping patterns helps to make sense out of things.

Say you usually play a song in the key of C, and the chords are C, F, & G. Someone says they're going to play that song now, in the key of G. What are the chords to play along in G?

In the key of C, C is the I chord, F is the IV chord, and G is the V chord. The G scale is:

 G   A   B   C   D   E   F#   G
I II III IV V VI VII I

The I chord is G, the IV chord is C, the V chord is D. So this song uses the chords G, C, & D.

Any song can be played in any chosen key. If it uses I, IV, & V in one key, it will use I, IV, & V in every other key, and in the same respective places in the song. You can transpose it to any desired key so long as you know the scales of the "from" key and the "to" key.

Say you have a book that shows chords for a certain song, as follows:

Eb, Gm, Cm, Bb, Ab, Bb, Eb

This is almost certainly in the key of Eb (the I chord is the first chord in a song more than half the time, and the last chord more than 95% of the time). Suppose your vocal range, or the fact that you play guitar, or the fact that you have an autoharp without half of those chords, dictates that you do it in the key of C or G. Just look at the scales:

 I   II  III IV  V   VI  VII I
Eb F G Ab Bb C D Eb
C D E F G A B C
G A B C D E F# G

The sequence is I, IIIm, VIm, V, IV, V, I.
In Eb, that's...Eb, Gm, Cm, Bb, Ab, Bb, Eb.
In C, that's....C, Em, Am, G, F, G, C.
In G, that's....G, Bm, Em, D, C, D, G.

You can also transpose a song's chords by moving EVERY chord up (or down--but not both) the SAME number of half steps. To go from Eb to C, everything would go down three half steps. To go from Eb to g, everything would up four half steps. You don't need to know the keys involved to do this, but knowing them could help ensure you get into the right key with one attempt.

This may sound tedious, but I suggest charting out a number of songs you currently do and identifying the chord sequence with Roman numerals. Do it with songs in various keys. I'll bet you start to see some patterns in terms of the chords used (not necessarily the exact order of the chords, but the selection of chords in the piece). Keep an eye out for these patterns, especially in songs you run across in oddball keys. When various patterns start becoming second nature, things tend to get a lot easier to understand and work with.

Here's a chart of chords commonly found in songs and tunes, along with the actual chords in the keys of C and A. These are in roughly estimated order of frequency of use in popular styles of music:

 I IV V V7 I7 VIm IIm IIIm II7 VI7 III7 IVm VIIb IIIb VIb
C F G G7 C7 Am Dm Em D7 A7 E7 Fm Bb Eb Ab
A D E E7 A7 F#m Bm C#m B7 F#7 C#7 Dm G C F

Sometimes if I'm trying to work out a song's chords by ear, and the more common choices don't fit, going through a chart like this helps me find the right chord.

Next--tying it all together with the cycle of fifths.


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Subject: RE: Scared of Music theory? Faggggedaboudit!
From: Night Owl
Date: 05 Dec 01 - 02:50 AM

yes, Mary??? You remember how to make them?? bg

I'm so focused on trying to learn here, it didn't occur to me, until after reading Joan's post, that teachers may need help to teach. This hopefully will be brief and helpful.

I learned to play guitar in college by watching, listening and playing with other people. I learned AFTER I heard the music, felt it and fell in love with it.

My brother was learning to play guitar at the same time, by taking "Music Theory" classes at MIT in Cambridge. He was "labeled" early in life as having a "genius" IQ, received scholarships to MIT, got his degree as an Electrical Engineer and later became staff in the computor labs there.

We were both new to the music and played our guitars together during holiday visits and school breaks. I came home one year with a 12 string guitar and had JUST learned to play "San Francisco Bay Blues" on it....excited about how the bass runs I was doing in the song SOUNDED. He stopped me and asked "why" I did something.(still no clue what) and had me slow the song down. He then informed me that I had added something in the beginning of the song, and "theoretically" it made no sense. He taped my playing and back we went to our respective schools.

About a week later, I received a phone call from him, telling me that he had figured out how I "got away" with what I was doing. Evidently, later in the song I omitted something to make up for what I had stuck into it at the beginning...so I ended in the right place.

It took him years to FEEL the "heart" in the music.

This is already wayyy to long a post for this thread, but I found it sad to think learning to play music for him was another Mathematical challenge that required solving. But that was HIS truth and the way he learned..mathematically and theoretically, pages of equations, paper etc. My truth, I think, is that I need to hear it, and see it...and this little Casio keyboard I have here is helping a LOT to understand a bit of the stuff in this thread.

Apologies for being long-winded...


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Subject: RE: Scared of Music theory? Faggggedaboudit!
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 05 Dec 01 - 11:45 AM

Night Owl

Re the tuning thing: yes - when it's in tune it sounds better.

The "dissonance" is a characteristic of the sound. What makes it "dissonant" is the presence of a "beat" between two notes that is in an "unfriendly" frequency range.
If you fret one string to the same "note" as the adjacent open string and play them together, you hear an additional note - the difference between the two you played - that shouldn't be there. You can exagerate this by "mistuning" them a little, just to see if you can recognize the "beat frequency."

When you are in tune, the difference frequency is zero - and the "bad noise" goes away.

The whole of our "Scale Systems" is actually based on using only those "notes" that don't produce noticeable "beats" when played together. But that's Physics, and we probably don't want to talk about that here yet.

John


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Subject: RE: Scared of Music theory? Faggggedaboudit!
From: GUEST,Les B
Date: 05 Dec 01 - 04:07 PM

Sorry, my computer has a mind of its own today!!

What I started to type was; Is there any way - using a guitar & a series of chords, perhaps - to identify the different kinds of learners ?? Those who have to hear, or be told first, or feel it under their fingers ?

It seems like there would be a simple little musical exercise that would sort this out, and then you'd know which approach to take. (of course there's probably a "paper & pencil" test that does this easily!)


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Subject: RE: Scared of Music theory? Faggggedaboudit!
From: Mary in Kentucky
Date: 05 Dec 01 - 05:39 PM

Les, this is a VAST oversimplification, but I used it with piano students and could identify extreme cases of right/left brain thinkers.

THE TEST: Ask the student to count how many letters in the alphabet that rhyme with E. Then ask them to count how many letters that have a curved portion in the printed capital letter. There is no right or wrong answer, just ask them which process is easier. Left brain people like the rhyming better, right brain people like visualizing the letters better.

As far as your question, I think if the student is aware of differences in ease of learning, they can identify what helps them most.

IN TEACHING: Left brain people read well and are sequential in their thinking. (like my husband, disgustingly logical, one track mind!) They can learn from explanations and sheet music. They often need more help with flow, timing, expression; feeling the music.

Right brain people are more wholistic and what I call divergent (in computer jargon, random access) thinkers. They can multitask. They often learn better by feeling the chord shapes and imitating what they hear. Sometimes they are poor readers. They can transpose just by moving the pattern or shape of the notes to another place on the keyboard or fret. They often understand a melody as chord chunks played one note at a time.

I like to first learn (and teach) using the preferred or dominant learning style. Then later reinforce or strengthen weaknesses with familiar material.

Remember, this is a VAST oversimplification. Most of us are pretty much balanced in our right/left brain preferences. Then there are other types of learning styles: kinesthetic, aural, visual, etc. A good teacher uses all the tricks. As a student, I like Socrates' advice: KNOW THYSELF


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Subject: RE: Scared of Music theory? Faggggedaboudit!
From: Big Mick
Date: 05 Dec 01 - 11:22 PM

One of the very best threads yet. I am devouring all of the wonderful information that you are all providing. Keep it coming!!

Way to go, Rick. I want you to give yourself a 100% increase in your salary from Fielding, Patterson, Swan and Lane, Layabouts at Large and For Hire.

All the best,

Mick


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Subject: RE: Scared of Music theory? Faggggedaboudit!
From: marty D
Date: 05 Dec 01 - 11:30 PM

Gary T. Thank you. Your chart puts a lot of this all together. I've never been SCARED of theory Rick, but I sure was bored by it. I think I'm picking up some good things here.

Another reason to be glad for Mudcat.

marty


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Subject: RE: Scared of Music theory? Faggggedaboudit!
From: Night Owl
Date: 06 Dec 01 - 12:59 AM

Mary.."wholistic"???? "balanced"???? awwwww shucks ma'am.....thank you......I put the straws back in my desk. (Trying to keep a POSITIVE attitude here).

John-I want to make sure I understand this terminology. In your last post (THANKS btw) and only in THIS context, does "beat" equal "vibration"?? When I'm tuning, I hear the string dancing around the one I'm tuning to. I raise or lower the string until it stops "dancing". (Not sure if I've ever heard a third note in there.) Soooo, for THIS conversation do........dancing; vibration; beat; beat frequency.....all mean the same thing??

I also just noticed a neat thing you did Gary.....you put more advanced info in parentheses. If I ignore what's in the parentheses, I can grasp what you said. People with more knowledge can INCLUDE the info...pretty coool!!


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Subject: RE: Scared of Music theory? Faggggedaboudit!
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 06 Dec 01 - 06:22 AM

Night Owl

If we assume we're talking about "musical" noises, each "tone" (or note, or pitch) has (or is) a vibration at a particular frequency.

Any time that two "tones" mix together, you actually hear four pitches - or frequencies.

When you pluck a guitar string, you're actually making a "kink" in the string. When you turn it loose, that kink travels along the string, until it hits the bridge or the nut, where it is reflected, turns around, and runs back the other way on the string.

When the "kink" hits the bridge, it shakes it, and some of the "noise" gets out of the string and into the air - so you hear it.

If you pluck two strings at the same time, the "kinks" in the two strings may hit the bridge at the same time on one trip, but at different times on the next.

If the strings are tuned alike - to the same frequency - the kinks in the two strings stay the same distance apart as they travel back and forth, so they make the same "noise" everytime they get to the bridge.

If their tuned to different notes, they may arrive together one time and "add" to each other, or they may "arrive" going opposite directions, and cancel each other out.

Probably by coincidence - the frequency with which they go through the "add - subtract - back to add" cycle is the difference between the frequencies of the two strings.

Example: If one string is at A, 440 Hz, or 440 cycles per second, and the other is at A#, 466 Hz, or 460 cycles per second, 466 - 440 - 26 Hz. They will arrive at the bridge together 26 times per second, and you will "hear" each time this happens. Thus there is a "tone" at 26 Hz.

Probably because this tone is caused by the interference of one string's frequency whipping against the other against the other string's frequency, it's commonly called a "beat."

Since 26 Hz is also about 4 octaves down from the "notes" we usually play, it may be hard to recognize as a "tone," and you may hear it just as a "modulation" of the loudness of the other two original notes. It sounds like the notes "throb" - kinda like a heartbeat.

If you tune one of the strings so that they come closer together in pitch, the difference between the frequencies of the two strings decreases - so the "beat" note gets lower in pitch, or the perception that the note is "throbbing" decreases. When the two strings are tuned exactly the same, the "beat" frequency is zero - and a zero frequency don't make no noise.

The fourth note you hear (theoretically) happens because the bridge gets a shake whenever either of the strings slaps it. This happens once for each cycle of either string, so the "frequency" at which the bridge actually gets hit with something is the sum of the two string frequencies. In the example, 440 + 466 = 906 Hz. This "note" is up in the area where the "harmonics" of the original notes make things cluttered enough that it is very difficult for most people to "hear" the "upper beat" tone, although the "feeling that there's something there" can be used by most of us to adjust things until it sounds "better." That's called "tuning."

John


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Subject: RE: Scared of Music theory? Faggggedaboudit!
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 06 Dec 01 - 12:14 PM

To the folks who did (and can do) "charts". I envy you! You can put in one picture, what I need a thousand (often confusing) words to describe. I use LOTS of charts in real life!

Cheers

Rick


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Subject: RE: Scared of Music theory? Faggggedaboudit!
From: GUEST,Frank
Date: 06 Dec 01 - 01:55 PM

1-3-5 designates the spelling of a major chord. I-IV-V is a chordal progression.

There is a difference between spelling an individual chord (ie: spelling an individual word) and fitting a chord into a chord progress (ie: fitting a word into a sentence).

It's important to keep these two functions separate.

1-3-5 are taken from the first, third and fifth note of a major scale.

I-IV-V are taken from triads (three note chords) built on each note of a major scale.

In a pure major scale (no alterations of the notes) the I chord will be a major chord. The IV chord will be a major chord. the V chord will be a major chord. The rest will all be minor chords or in the case of the chord built on the seventh note, that's a diminished chord. I-IV-V (major chords and traditionally used more than the others which are called "secondary chords". (Simplified general statement with lots of exceptions particularly in the world of jazz).

This being said, the best way to learn theory is to be able to hear it first. The best way to learn scales in every key is to be able to sing them. That's why every music theory course in school is taught with another along with it called ear training.

If you try to separate music theory from hearing it, it's bound to drive most people nuts. When I have taught it, I always insisted that the student was able to sing the chord, sing the scale, then find them on the instrument. It doesn't matter if you have a great voice or not but the best musicians regardless can sing what they play or write.

Best approach, take a musicianship course with a good teacher or enroll at a local community college.

Frank


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Subject: RE: Scared of Music theory? Faggggedaboudit!
From: M.Ted
Date: 06 Dec 01 - 01:55 PM

To paraphrase someone, "I can't define dissonance, but I know it when I hear it"

Generally, when the term "dissonance" is used, it refers to any interval that is not part of a major/minor triad, or its inversions. The triad is based on the interval of either major or minor thirds, so seconds and sevenths would be "dissonant".

The problem, of course, is that there are dissonant sounding intervals within the diatonic triads--for instance, the interval between E and C, which is an augmented fifth--

Of course, this even ignores the fact that in some kinds of music, most notably Balkan music, the major second is a widely used harmony, and often, a melody will end on this interval.

In 20th Century Music, the term "dissonant" often refers to any music system(like Shoenberg's 12-tone system) that doesn't use major/minor triads as a basis.

Anyway, you don't really need the word, particular if you play folk music, so, "Fergedaboutit"--


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Subject: RE: Scared of Music theory? Faggggedaboudit!
From: Marion
Date: 06 Dec 01 - 07:04 PM

Gary wrote: " When referring to NOTES, use Arabic numerals--thus 1, 3, & 5 are the notes of a major (or tonic) chord. When referring to CHORDS, use Roman numerals--thus I, IV, & V are the chords in a typical three-chord song."

The spoken equivalent to this convention is to use ordinal numbers for notes or intervals, and cardinal numbers for chords. That is, in the key of C you would say that C major chord is the "one", F major is the "four", and G major is the "five"; whereas if you're talking about the chord C major then the C note is the "first" (or tonic), the E note is the "third", and the G note is the "fifth".

I also want to reiterate what Gary said about transposing: "You can also transpose a song's chords by moving EVERY chord up (or down--but not both) the SAME number of half steps. To go from Eb to C, everything would go down three half steps. To go from Eb to g, everything would up four half steps."

This is really simple, but it changed my life the day I realized I could transpose chord progressions just by moving everything up or down a certain number of semitones, just like I had learned to transpose melodies in my childhood piano days. This is really useful if you're too cool to use a capo or if you want to lower somehing slightly (i.e., to go from E to D you'd have to capo ten frets). It can also help you avoid chords that you don't like.

Marion

PS to Rick re: "The most irritating player in the world to me is the one who can play flashy complex leads, and still can't keep a solid rhythm."

You'd better not have still been thinking about me when you wrote this! I wasn't dropping a beat, you were adding one.


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