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Old 05-14-2012, 01:56 PM   #1
Rythm
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The Theory Thread

Since we still don't have a thread in here for general music theory discussion I thought I'd start one.

Personally I'm pretty new to it and have no formal education in it so far. Earlier this year I started looking a little more for basic theory stuff online and started learning a few more fundamental things. Prior to that my theory knowledge pretty much consisted of knowing the intervals of a few different types of scales, being able to form basic major and minor triads and, in the past year and a half to two years, starting to become comfortable with various inversions of the basic 3-note triads and picking out melodies using mainly those notes.

Going forward again to early this year, the first thing I found to help me progress from the above was Introduction to Music Theory, which I would recommend to anyone who feels like their understanding of the very fundamentals of music theory is lacking.

After getting acquainted with the material above, I found something on Youtube a month ago (to the day, I think) that felt like it was exactly what I'd been missing for years. I don't even think the results of joining cardrunners as a 25nl player back in 2007 can rival the impact these counterpoint lessons had on my music.

It's a 15 part series made by an enthusiastic and seemingly quite knowledgeable Italian guy when he couldn't find any information on the subject on youtube. The first 14 parts are all under 10 minutes and as long as you're somewhat familiar with the introductory content in my first link you should be able to get most of it.

Unfortunately one or a few of the later videos have no audio, making them a lot less useful for a notation/theory noob like me who relies on the explanations and actual music a lot. Watching the ones with audio is still well worth it though and I'd recommend the series to pretty much anyone who has some sort of interest in writing melodies and isn't already quite familiar with counterpoint. He also has a series on harmony that I have yet to really get into because I needed some time to digest the counterpoint ones first.

Anyway, this is turning into way too long of an OP for just a couple of links. Hopefully the links will be helpful to some of you and those of you already familiar with the content will be willing to help the more noobish of us when we have questions that we can't find the answers to amongst ourselves.
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Old 05-14-2012, 07:06 PM   #2
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Re: The Theory Thread

Definitely a good thread topic. As hard as it may be to believe, as a drummer, I enjoy theory and really enjoyed the courses I took in it for my degree. This thread should be a good place for me to revisit some of the ideas I haven't touched on since graduating. The diminished seventh chord is a great tool for key changes. 4 notes, all a minor third apart. Good stuff. First.
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Old 05-14-2012, 08:28 PM   #3
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Studied jazz theory and improvisation in college. Bachelors of music in said concentration. Would be happy to contribute and answer questions. My life revolves around teaching guitar and piano lessons as well as theory and jazz/pop composition. I have composed and arranged for everything from guitar/guitar, guitar/piano, guitar/bass etc on up to full jazz orchestra. Also have written and arranged music for rock instrumentation and guitar/harp. I absolutely love jazz theory
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Old 05-14-2012, 10:28 PM   #4
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Re: The Theory Thread

Taking theory III and IV next year after not having had theory for 3 years. Notttt looking forward to it.
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Old 05-15-2012, 12:16 AM   #5
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Re: The Theory Thread

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Taking theory III and IV next year after not having had theory for 3 years. Notttt looking forward to it.
aww c'mon, it'll be fun.

i wasn't great at theory as a music major, but had to learn to be. unfortunately i didn't delve deep enough to learn to do much on the fly while playing. more just analyzing pieces of music as i would for a score. would love to have to think musically again. i really think this thread could open up for some great discussion of peoples thoughts on questions. nice work.
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Old 05-15-2012, 03:02 AM   #6
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Re: The Theory Thread

I cleaned out my filing cabinets yesterday and I have ALOT of sheet music I analyzed that I barely remember and would love to be reminded of. If only I had a scanner.
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Old 05-20-2012, 03:20 AM   #7
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Re: The Theory Thread

Any general tips for phrasing in improvisation/improv theory? I play a primarily rhythm instrument so looking for stuff that's not specific to melody like scales and such, although general concepts are cool.
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Old 05-20-2012, 07:10 AM   #8
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Re: The Theory Thread

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Any general tips for phrasing in improvisation/improv theory? I play a primarily rhythm instrument so looking for stuff that's not specific to melody like scales and such, although general concepts are cool.
Listen to recordings and transcribe solos. Play along with records. Start off with easier and less technically demanding solos and focus on the way each note is played - sound, dynamics, articulation, time feel etc. This is way more useful in learning to improvise than the theory you learn from any book.

Stop worrying about which notes to play and focus on how you play them. Sound, time feel, dynamics, and articulation are way more important than stressing over which particular upper structure pentatonic scale might sound hip over a certain chord.
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Old 05-20-2012, 02:33 PM   #9
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Re: The Theory Thread

Agree. Use the melody of the tune as a way to create thematic rhythmic and melodic phrases. Let your solo lead somewhere like a short story. Don't just play aimless unrelated licks
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Old 05-20-2012, 03:01 PM   #10
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Re: The Theory Thread

I linked a Gary Burton (jazz vibraphonist, professor at Berklee) vid in another thread that was really good imo.
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Old 05-20-2012, 05:39 PM   #11
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Re: The Theory Thread

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Listen to recordings and transcribe solos. Play along with records. Start off with easier and less technically demanding solos and focus on the way each note is played - sound, dynamics, articulation, time feel etc. This is way more useful in learning to improvise than the theory you learn from any book.

Stop worrying about which notes to play and focus on how you play them. Sound, time feel, dynamics, and articulation are way more important than stressing over which particular upper structure pentatonic scale might sound hip over a certain chord.
Good advice. I feel like I'm OK at phrasing and improv but I easily slip into just drilling techniques and patterns that I've done a million times as opposed to being more "free". The tip about starting off with simpler stuff and putting more focus into what I'm doing with it is a good tip, gonna work on that for sure.
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Old 05-24-2012, 08:01 PM   #12
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Re: The Theory Thread

Hi all -- I found this thread recently and thought I'd throw my hat in the ring. I'm a musical studies faculty member at a rather prominent East Coast conservatory (pm if you're interested in finding out, would rather not publicly divulge), and as such would be quite interested in contributing to a discussion on all things theoretical!

I teach a good deal of counterpoint, harmony, and a specialized course on 20th-21st century theory, as well as composition (I'm a composer myself).

I do have a question for everyone here: I am going to start the first Popular Music Analysis course my conservative-ory has ever held -- what are the popular works of ANY time, genre, and culture that you feel it would be a crime NOT to present? "You're the Inspiration" and pretty much any CHICAGO comes to mind...

Cheers, Alt

Last edited by alt; 05-24-2012 at 08:06 PM.
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Old 05-24-2012, 10:38 PM   #13
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Re: The Theory Thread

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Hi all -- I found this thread recently and thought I'd throw my hat in the ring. I'm a musical studies faculty member at a rather prominent East Coast conservatory (pm if you're interested in finding out, would rather not publicly divulge), and as such would be quite interested in contributing to a discussion on all things theoretical!

I teach a good deal of counterpoint, harmony, and a specialized course on 20th-21st century theory, as well as composition (I'm a composer myself).

I do have a question for everyone here: I am going to start the first Popular Music Analysis course my conservative-ory has ever held -- what are the popular works of ANY time, genre, and culture that you feel it would be a crime NOT to present? "You're the Inspiration" and pretty much any CHICAGO comes to mind...

Cheers, Alt
rush has some pretty complex stuff is seems. also (not as popular), but phish has a lot of classical influence in their music.
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Old 05-27-2012, 06:29 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alt View Post

I do have a question for everyone here: I am going to start the first Popular Music Analysis course my conservative-ory has ever held -- what are the popular works of ANY time, genre, and culture that you feel it would be a crime NOT to present? "You're the Inspiration" and pretty much any CHICAGO comes to mind...

Cheers, Alt
You couldn't not cover the Stones. They have so many influences, span many genres, and the longevity of Connor MacLeod.

And after America sold rock n roll to the UK, the UK sold them back the Beatles. They have to be included too.

But all that seems pretty obvious to me.
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Old 05-27-2012, 10:30 PM   #15
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Re: The Theory Thread

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Originally Posted by ladybigmac View Post
I cleaned out my filing cabinets yesterday and I have ALOT of sheet music I analyzed that I barely remember and would love to be reminded of. If only I had a scanner.
looking forward to this.
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Old 05-27-2012, 10:46 PM   #16
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Re: The Theory Thread

hey alt,

"try a little tenderness" has a pretty interesting progression for a pop song, and is obviously an absolute classic.

a study of some of james jamerson's great bass lines would be really illuminating, he was so gifted at bringing voice leading and phrasing ideas from all different genres into his playing, i love his little chromatic flourishes and his ability to blend melody and rhythm. GOAT RIP

i think you kind of have to cover the progression of southern folk, country, delta blues, etc into early rock and roll... i'm reading levon helm's autobiography right now and he has some great stuff in there about witnessing that evolution firsthand growing up in arkansas in the 40's and 50's

prince, because prince is a ****ing genius

current stuff, i think the drummer for the national is really good and interesting, most of their stuff is not super fascinating from a tonal perspective but he's an example of a drummer working within the rock genre who is able to get outside the box somewhat

radiohead. not sure what exactly but definitely radiohead.

i have always personally liked rock bands that incorporate unusual time signatures... whether it be fairly popular stuff or somewhat more obscure. could do a class on that.
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Old 05-30-2012, 12:09 AM   #17
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Re: The Theory Thread

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looking forward to this.
OK. I had some stuff come up so I'm going to be busy for a bit I think but I'll try and organize it and we could start from the beginning and work through it or something if I can find the score jpgs online or something.
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Old 05-30-2012, 04:02 AM   #18
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Re: The Theory Thread

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OK. I had some stuff come up so I'm going to be busy for a bit I think but I'll try and organize it and we could start from the beginning and work through it or something if I can find the score jpgs online or something.
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Old 05-31-2012, 10:46 PM   #19
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Re: The Theory Thread

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.....

i have always personally liked rock bands that incorporate unusual time signatures... whether it be fairly popular stuff or somewhat more obscure. could do a class on that.
I do too. Soundgarden, Alice in Chains, Zappa and Rush come to mind.
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Old 06-01-2012, 01:13 PM   #20
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Re: The Theory Thread

Without a discussion about micro tonality, and theory thread is useless...

I've been micro tuning my guitar for years despite the basic layout of a guitar being based on a western scale.
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Old 06-01-2012, 03:44 PM   #21
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Re: The Theory Thread

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Without a discussion about micro tonality, and theory thread is useless...

I've been micro tuning my guitar for years despite the basic layout of a guitar being based on a western scale.
More details, please...
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Old 06-01-2012, 05:53 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MSchu18 View Post
Without a discussion about micro tonality, and theory thread is useless...

I've been micro tuning my guitar for years despite the basic layout of a guitar being based on a western scale.

Most people that do this don't actually benefit from what they are doing or understand why they are doing it. They just see "hey, this is something that makes me different ill do it". Let's hear some of your pieces in this micro tuning
Q
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Old 06-01-2012, 05:55 PM   #23
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Re: The Theory Thread

Id like to further impart my opinion.

You say this thread is USELESS without discussion without microtonality (which is largely a gimmick in western music). I think the onus is on you to prove it matters
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Old 06-02-2012, 12:41 AM   #24
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Re: The Theory Thread

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Id like to further impart my opinion.

You say this thread is USELESS without discussion without microtonality (which is largely a gimmick in western music). I think the onus is on you to prove it matters
just ignore that stupid comment.
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Old 06-02-2012, 04:39 AM   #25
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Re: The Theory Thread

99.9% of western microtuners are tone-deaf folks that use mathematics to assimilate the division of an octave and then compose nonsense to validate their hypothesis.

And lol @ tuning 3 strings a 1/4 step sharp and thinking it's ultra-modern. Yeah, let's discuss the theory behind playing a guitar out of tune.
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