View Full Version : Pace for learning theory?
07-20-2003, 05:31 AM
I've been trying to learn theory for quite a while now. but I don't think I've learned the amount of theory that I should have learnt considering the time I put into it.
So far, I didn't have too much trouble swallowing all the thins I've read, but I haven't really been practising it a lot, neither on paper or onthe fretboard. So, I understand the concept of the circle of fifths and such, but I wouldn't be able to tell you how many sharps are in the key of say, E.
How should I tackle this problem? I was thinking of maybe writing out all the majour scales, and all the possible triads ( and inversions of these traids) derived from it, and so on, so I have a better grasp on the things I've read about. Would this be going the right way, or should I try to apply this more on the guitar? Thanks.
07-20-2003, 10:48 AM
I learned modes before scales (im probably incorrect in saying this, but ive always thought of a scale as a mode plus a key [c major = ionian + c]). once you have and understanding of the mode, you can be functional without knowing all the notes on the fretboard, or how many sharps or flats are in a scale in a given key. in otherwords, instead of playing notes, you play intervals. intervals dont change when you change key.
eventually youll end up learning note names and key signatures from exposure, but i dont think its an absolute necessity for many people (unless you play jazz or plan on working as a session musician).
an aid i used to learn the notes of the fretboard is the c major scale (which has no sharps or flats).
e major has 4 sharps (or 8 flats if you move in the flat direction). starting in c, and going around the cycle of fourths in the sharp direction:
c - 0
g - 1
d - 2
a - 3
e - 4
e minor has 1 sharp (e minor is the natural minor of g).
07-20-2003, 12:38 PM
I was thinking of maybe writing out all the majour scales, and all the possible triads ( and inversions of these traids) derived from it, and so on, so I have a better grasp on the things I've read about.
This is a good idea!
When writing out the major scales, you need to keep the rules in mind. Each note can have only 1 accidental (sharp or flat).
This means no Fbb or E## etc...
Each note name must be used exactly once per octave.
This means you need to use exactly 1 of each or the letters A B C D E F G in each octave. So scales with one missing or two of any one.
If you think about these two rules compliment one an other because if one is true they both have to be true.
I like to use a mathematical equation to do this.
If you are going through cycle 5 (to the root note up a 5th ie C to G), you raise the 4th degree and start on the 5th.
If you are going through cycle 4 (ie C to F)you lower the 7th and start on the 4th.
If you really think about it, these are mathematical inverses of one another.
When you write out the Complete Cycle you will have 7 sharp scales and Seven flat scale along with C major (no sharps or flats).
There are only 12 unique starting tones in the octave so three of these must be enharmonic equivalents. F#=Gb , C#=Db , B=Cb
Writing out the triads in close voice inversions is also a good idea.
When you have finished this I suggest open voice, but since ther are infinatre possibilities here, I suggest limiting them to close voice triads which have all of their intervals inverted (3rds become 6ths). It would also be a good idea to map these concepts to the fret board.
07-20-2003, 06:02 PM
I began by writing, and re-writing the following table. It's ONE way to memorize some things, not necessarily the best way. I remember the pattern "BEAD", the tonic of each 8 of these scales (in both natural and flat). This sequence helps me remember the number of sharps and flats. For flats, Bb (2), Eb (3) Ab (4) and Db (5). For sharps: D (2), A (3), E (4) and B (5). It's just one of those goofy ways to remember things. Here's the table--I know you've already said you're familiar with the cycle of keys, but this somewhat graphical representation may reveal some patterns to help memory. What was important for me is NOT to print this and refer to it, but to create it from scratch (i.e., the C maj scale) repeatedly, each and every time.
07-21-2003, 08:01 AM
I've decided to go around the circle (and backtrack it), and write each triad that is created by stacking thirds in that particular scale. So I'm trying to get the circle of fifths and the notes in some triads. I've noticed that a lot of the triads are repeated within the circle, so eventually, I'll have to memorize every kind of triad made from each note in the C majour scale.
07-22-2003, 03:57 AM
Hi, I heard of an exercise associated with the circle of fifths. It said to try out all the different one octave and two octave scales in every key, and eventually, said something about perpetual motion, and told you to back cycle the circle of fiths by changing keys smoothly. Does this mean to play the C majour scale, and then on the second time playin it, change one of the B to a Bb? and continuing on?
08-10-2003, 06:48 PM
i think all u need to know is the 1 - 2- 34 - 5 - 6 -78 pattern for a major scale and then write it out for any scale u need. whats the point of memorising scales like Gb note for note? doing the same for the 3 minor scales means ur set for that.
then for each mode u could learn each one by cycling through that 1-2-34-5-6-78 pattern (w-w-h-w-w-w-h)
C major = 1-2-34-5-6-78
D Dorian = 2-34-5-6-78-1
so the pattern is (w-h-w-w-w-h-w) etc and so on
if u write it down, just go back to it when u need it. u'll learn it quicker than u imagine and i find theory seems to all fit together and become easier to understand the more u learn.
08-10-2003, 09:22 PM
Originally posted by jasond
i think all u need to know is the 1 - 2- 34 - 5 - 6 -78 pattern for a major scale and then write it out for any scale u need.Yes, I agree--that's a nice fundamental.
whats the point of memorising scales like Gb note for note?Probably isn't a point, necessarily, in starting out that way. But...you'll end up with them memorized anyway, eventually. I do agree with what you've implied: the intervallic patterns are a more fundamental and more universal tool...and as I'm beginning to learn, this is especially true 'at the fretboard'.
08-11-2003, 06:11 PM
Did you ever consider mnemonic devices? They help in the beginning to learn the stuff and after a while it just sticks without really even thinking about them.
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