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Thread: Music theory?

  1. #1
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    Music theory?

    I've been playing guitar for almost a year and I don't feel I know much about theory, apart from basic stuff my teacher has taught me.

    For example, I don't know the note positions on the fretboard, I just tend to play from ear or using online guitar tab. If someone said to me play a C power chord I wouldn't really know how or where to play it, for example would you play the root on the low E string or the A string? I don't have much knowledge of scales either, I've only just learnt the pentatonic minor but that's it. The other thing is tuning, I only know standard and drop D tuning. Anything else and I don't really have a clue. Many rock bands seem to de-tune all the strings and I'd like to learn how to do this.

    I may be getting a bit impatient, I'm just very enthusiastic about moving forwards and increasing my theory knowledge.

    Could anyone give me some advice on what to learn?

    Thanks.

  2. #2
    Registered User Malcolm's Avatar
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    This is one of the better music theory forums - the articles you will find here (button in the upper part of this screen) are well done, however, may be over your head as they take for granted you already know the basic facts of music theory. So..... I'm going to send you to several places first then come back here after you have built a firm foundation.

    Take it one step at a time and music theory will make since. If you skip around before you have built a firm foundation you will keep running into stone walls.

    First: As everything we do starts with the Major scale let's start there. http://www.ibreathemusic.com/article/105 Notice at the end of each lesson - bottom of the page - is a button to proceed to the next lesson.
    Or do a Google using this key word -- WWHWWWH -- that will send you to several papers on the Major scale and how it is formed. The following chart helped me see the entire Major and Natural Minor scale, i.e the big picture on one sheet of paper:

    Major Scale Chart
    C D E F G A B...............Notice the C scale has no Sharps
    G A B C D E F#.............and the G scale has one, the F#
    D E F# G A B C#...........and the D scale keeps the F# and
    A B C# D E F# G#.........adds the C#. Then the A scale keeps
    E F# G# A B C# D#.......everything and adds the G#. See how
    B C# D# E F# G# A#.....it builds on it's self.
    F# G# A# B C# D# E#
    C# D# E# F# G# A# B#
    F G A Bb C D E.............Look what happens with the flat scales
    Bb C D Eb F G A...........F has one the Bb, then the Bb scale keeps
    Eb F G Ab Bb C D.........it's self and adds the the Eb. Same thing
    Ab Bb C Db Eb F G.......the sharp scales did...
    Db Eb F Gb Ab Bb C
    Gb Ab Bb Cb Db Eb F
    Cb Db Eb Fb Gb Ab Bb
    Memory pegs:
    See God Destroy All Earth By F#irey C#haos. Order of the scales with sharps.
    Fat cats go down alleys eating birds. Order of the sharps.
    Farmer brown eats apple dumplings greasily cooked. Order of the scales with flats.
    The key signature is showing three sharps. What scale has three sharps? C has none, G has one, D has two, A has three. Which sharps? Fat = F#, Cat = C# and Go = G# so the A major scale has three sharps, F#, C# and G#.

    Natural Minor Scale Chart
    A B C D E F G ................Notice how the 6th column of the
    E F# G A B C D................Major scale becomes the 1st column
    B C# D E F# G A..............in the minor scale and how the 7th
    F# G# A B C# D E............column of the Major scale is now the
    C# D# E F# G# A B..........2nd column in the minor scale. And
    G# A# B C# D# E F#........yep, the 1st column in the Major scale
    D# E# F# G# A# B C#......is now the 3rd column, etc. etc.
    A# B# C# D# E# F# G#....Ask your self why? Hint, think relative minor.
    D E F G A Bb C
    G A Bb C D Eb F
    C D Eb F G Ab Bb
    F G Ab Bb C Db Eb
    Bb C Db Eb F Gb Ab
    Eb F Gb Ab Bb Cb Db
    Ab Bb Cb Db Eb Fb Gb

    As scale charts are hard to find I recommend you print this off and keep it handy. And while we are at it http://www.thecipher.com/fretspell_guitar.pdf will give you a guitar fretboard chart showing where the notes are on your fretboard. Print this off you will refer to it all the time. if you play a 4 string bass ignore the top two strings (the E & B) or here is the 4 string bass fretboard.
    http://www.guitarhangout.com/wp-cont...itar-notes.jpg.

    Second: After you understand how the specific notes got into each scale I'd suggest some time with how the specific chords get into each key. When we use the word key we are speaking of a range of sound. That range of sound contains one specific scale and the chords made from that scale. To find which chords are in a key you could apply the key structure formula to the specific scale you have in mind. Let's take the E scale and figure what chords are in the key of E.

    Scale interval....... .... 1, .2,..... 3, ...4, ....5,.. 6,...7,.........8 new octave
    E Scale......................E, F#,... G#,. A, ....B, .C#, .D#,...... E
    Major key Formula ......I, ii,...... iii,.. IV,... V, .vi, ..viidim,... I
    Chords in the key of E..E .F#m, G#m, A,.... B, C#m, D#dim,. E

    Notice the formula I, ii, iii, IV, V, vi, viidim -- the upper case numbers become Major chords and the lower case numbers become minor chords. You have three major chords, three minor chords and one diminished chord in every Major key. For the specific notes in the chord go here; http://www.looknohands.com/chordhous.../index_rb.html

    Formula for the natural minor key is:
    i, iidim, III, iv, v, VI, VII. Notice the three major, three minor and one diminished chord -- same number of major, minor or diminished chords as the Major Key had.

    For a chart of the chords found in the major keys go here http://www.traditionalmusic.co.uk/chords/chordchart.htm. Using the key formula for the natural minor key (i, iidim, III, iv, v, VI, VII) make your own chart for the natural minor chords.

    Third: It's now time to learn how to use our scale chart and make those chords, i.e. how to make those powerchords your asking about. http://www.smithfowler.org/music/Chord_Formulas.htm.
    Or write out the scale and take every other note, for example E scale = E, F#, G#, A, B, C#, D# -- what notes are in the E chord? E - skip a note G# - then skip a note to get B. So E-G#-B are the notes found in the E major chord. Notes for the F# chord do the same thing I bet you get F#, A, C# which is the F#m chord spelling. Skip a note gave you the major AND the minor chord spelling. Learn both methods, because knowing the interval (1-3-5) is sometime more important than knowing the actual notes involved.


    Forth: Time to learn what to do with those chords, i.e. how to put them into a chord progression. Go here http://www.musictheory.net/ then Lessons and Common Chord Progressions. Pay attention to what chords like to move to which other chords, i.e. why does the ii and IV like to move to the V or viidim chord. Build an understanding of how lyrics and chord progressions work together to form verses.

    Fifth: Scale patterns next. As a beginner (to music theory) scale patterns right at first will get you playing your scales. If you use the pattern the pattern will place the notes of the scale under your fingertips automatically, if you stay within the scale. Go here http://www.cyberfret.com/scales/basic/print.html for the patterns to the Major and minor scale -- the Major and minor pentatonic scale and the Blues scale. This will help you play melodies, tunes, songs, etc within the same scale/key that the vocalist and rhythm section is using . If you use a 4 string bass ignore the top two strings or here are the 4 string bass patterns. http://www.cyberfretbass.com/scales/basic/page2.php Scales are a right of passage thing, running our scales will get our fingers knowing where to go on our fretboard and also let our ear recognize the good notes from the bad notes. No matter what instrument we play scales must be a part of our practice routine.

    Sixth: Melody - saved this for last. Melody notes are comfortable over chords that have some of the same notes. In other words, when the melody moves on to new notes - not found in the old chord -- your ear will tell you something is not right. When that happens it's time to change chords -- find a chord that does contain some of the melody notes now being used. Yep. That's it. This chart will help.
    If you are trying to harmonize the ........
    1 degree of the scale try I, IV, vi or ii7 chords of that key, as they will have the 1st degree note in their makeup.
    2 degree of the scale try V, ii7, iii7 chords of that key.
    3 degree of the scale try I, vi, iii chords of that key.
    4 degree of the scale try IV, ii, v7 chords of that key.
    5 degree of the scale try V, I, iii chords of that key.
    6 degree of the scale try IV, ii, vi chords of that key.
    7 degree of the scale try V7, iii, Imaj7 chords of that key.
    That's why people tell you to play chord tones. That's why pentatonic scales played over the chord changes work so well. Keep this in mind as you travel on down your music road. Here is a great paper on how to write melodies: http://books.google.com/books?id=Hty...age&q=&f=false
    This site talks about wave action. http://smu.edu/totw/melody.htm

    In the following video watch his right hand. Copy down the hints that appear on the screen. His left hand is a great example of one bass line riff being used over the entire song.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r0iZ1j00wSU


    Here is a site that will answer questions for you. http://www.guitarlessonworld.com/lessons/index.htm It and www.musictheory.net should answer most of the question that might come up. And of course ask them here, someone will always be ready to help.

    The above will keep you busy for several months --- keep doing what you are now in your practice session, but, schedule some extra time each day to go over the above. When you understand the basics there are some great articles waiting for you on this site. http://www.ibreathemusic.com/browse/index.php?ltr=A
    IMHO music theory should be learned in a specific order - like I've given you - some of it will not be clear today, but next week you will read something unrelated and everything will clear up. Just keep plugging along.

    Good luck.
    Last edited by Malcolm; 04-24-2011 at 08:01 AM.

  3. #3
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    Hey everybody,

    First let me take responsibility for bumping such as old thread, but I did a forum search for music theory and felt like this was an appropriate place to post my message. The main question I have is if this forum has done anything to develop any kind of video tutorials for music theory. Everything out there on the interweb right now seems very scattered or overly expensive. Do you guys have a recommendation or video tutorials you have done yourselves? I'm a visual learner with a great audio set-up, including solid floor standing speakers.
    Last edited by MetroGnome; 06-27-2011 at 06:38 PM.

  4. #4
    Registered User Malcolm's Avatar
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    I thought I was the only one that knew that string existed. Took five years for someone to add to the string........

    So much of the videos today are specific, I would assume because of limitations on time and space allowances. What I attempted to do on that post was give a dirt simple introduction to music theory in six steps. Each step being specific, but, branching off into other related sites for in-depth study. As it includes six basic functions of theory probably more than one Internet video would want to tackle.

    I keep it alive and pass it along when I'm answering newbie questions. Notice I keep it updated. I'm amazed you were able to find it. I guess anything we leave out there is open for anyone to see.

    Quote Originally Posted by MetroGnome View Post
    Do you guys have a recommendation or video tutorials you have done yourselves? I'm a visual learner.
    I let Google find videos for me, and yes the free ones usually only scratch the surface. Most of the younger guys do have blogs. Be interesting what they have available.



    .
    Last edited by Malcolm; 06-21-2011 at 10:09 PM.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by MetroGnome View Post
    Hey everybody,

    First let me take responsibility for bumping such as old thread, but I did a forum search for music theory and felt like this was an appropriate place to post my message. The main question I have is if this forum has done anything to develop any kind of video turorials for music theory. Everything out there on the interweb right now seems very scattered or overly expensive. Do you guys have a recommendation or video tutorials you have done yourselves? I'm a visual learner.
    It takes a huge full time effort to make really good instructional films or write the best books. And we already have a fairly big section of tutorial articles anyway.

    But whatís wrong with paying for the best instructional books and DVD's? What do you consider expensive?

    Imho - learning to play a musical instrument is a case of "where there's a will there's a way", by which I mean - you need to overcome much bigger hurdles than merely thinking you can't afford the price of the teaching material.

    So Iíd always advise guys to do that if they are serious about playing - ie, buy, beg, borrow or "steal" the best books and DVDís, or do the same to get the best private teaching.

    If guys really donít want to pay then the net is overflowing with free guitar stuff. Whether the free stuff is likely to provide the best structured learning program is another matter.
     

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