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Thread: Harmony et Guitar

  1. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Crossroads View Post
    There is still something not right here. Something you are not telling us lol.

    Look ... I am far from great on music theory, but I was able to use that book Jazzology straight away in a practical sense to play through the theory and the examples the book discusses, even though they never mention guitar in the book and the examples are written there for piano.

    Since you obviously know a great deal more theory than I do, and are vastly better at sight reading, it does not make sense when you say " I cannot relate anything in these harmony books to guitar or apply it " ... something just does not add up there.

    You say " I want to be doing more on the guitar than reading theory ". OK, fine. Well why not just do exactly that? Just start practicing like crazy on everything you can get your hands on that is related to the style of music you want to play!

    Also re Jazzology, and when you say " You guys are punting Jazzology, so I'll try get hold of it as soon as possible ", that book is fine for me, but it sounds as if it will be way below your current standard. I would not bother with books like that if you already know much beyond basic theory ... especially if you don't want to take their piano examples to play on guitar.

    Why is a music degree out of the question? If you want to do it, then you'll just do it ... that's the way a first degree and then PhD work, ie - people who end up doing a PhD and post Doc and then research, are the ones who won't take "No" for answer ... you just do whatever it takes.

    I wish I could advise you, really! But it sounds like you are self-defeating by default in your approach to what you want to achieve.
    I have no route to a music degree. It doesn't quite work like that here. And with the next 36 years of financial turmoil in this country, I will never be able to finance a degree anyway. so that's very much out of the question. I saw that the OpenUniversity had a course dealing with this, but it has been dropped for the last few years.

    I doubt I know more theory than you. Like I say, I understand the concepts in each chapter, using them is the real barometer of understanding in my opinion. The big stumbling point when going through these books is the voice leading and part writing. That's always in the earliest chapters, and so if you cannot get that down then you cannot work through any part of the rest of those texts. I have never seen an example of voice leading and such of harmony for guitar. That's the big issue. Giving me piano examples just doesn't work. It's so wide spread it's impossible to transfer to guitar. You can't just rearrange those chords any old way. Like I say, it's very frustrating. I tried like you say to just look at everything that I like, but it's not so easy to do. At least for me, it isn't easy to do. Maybe I need to reconsider whether this is ever going to work out.

  2. #17
    BMus (Hons), MA, PGCE JumpingJack's Avatar
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    Thinking about it, it shouldn't be that hard to transfer the salient points from the "classical" harmony texts into something that would be relevant on the guitar.

    Basic principles such as not doubling the leading note, not leaping augmented intervals, sevenths falling by step and so on should apply regardless of whether the chord is played on a piano or guitar. Granted there will be some differences, but working this out for yourself will be a very useful experience IMO.

  3. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by JumpingJack View Post
    Thinking about it, it shouldn't be that hard to transfer the salient points from the "classical" harmony texts into something that would be relevant on the guitar.

    Basic principles such as not doubling the leading note, not leaping augmented intervals, sevenths falling by step and so on should apply regardless of whether the chord is played on a piano or guitar. Granted there will be some differences, but working this out for yourself will be a very useful experience IMO.
    I get what you are saying. There is definite logic to it. It just isn't something that I find very easy. There are lost of things that I have taken to very easily, such as modes etc; everyone though has something they don't quite grasp as easily and I definitely need some help on it. I struggled to long on my own and know this emphatically. A few examples of each principle would be very, very appreciated! I know I'm a complete idiot, so please bare with me.

  4. #19
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    Okay, this thread is starting to run out of steam quickly! I am going to have a stab at some voice leading for guitar and post some of it here. Would any of you mind in looking over them for me? And then maybe take it from there? Also, I don't really want to use tab, so is it okay if I use standard notation exclusively? Again, I'm very grateful for all of you posting to try and help. I don't want to be any more of a pain in the butt, so I'll try nip this in the bud quick.

  5. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blaez View Post
    Okay, this thread is starting to run out of steam quickly! I am going to have a stab at some voice leading for guitar and post some of it here. Would any of you mind in looking over them for me? And then maybe take it from there? Also, I don't really want to use tab, so is it okay if I use standard notation exclusively? Again, I'm very grateful for all of you posting to try and help. I don't want to be any more of a pain in the butt, so I'll try nip this in the bud quick.
    It's not a pain in the butt. No problem .

    If my posts have seemed a bit “pushy”, it’s because I’m trying to get to the heart of what you actually want to achieve, and how think that may be done.

    Perhaps I should have asked this at the very start, but - are you taking purely and entirely about classical music? Is your aim to compose classical pieces using theory based on classical rules for writing multi-part orchestral harmony?

    If that's what we are talking about then you can completely disregard my posts, because I don't really have any experience with classical music. I can only make suggestions from my own practical experience, which is limited to my beginnings with rock and blues, but now mostly working on jazz-fusion.

    Of course the basic theory is the same whatever style of music we are talking about, but afaik the demands are greater and the details more complex if the aim is classical composition for multiple instruments playing together.


    At any rate I doubt if I can help much in analysing examples of voice leading. Not because I don’t want to, but because it takes me a bit too long to work it out. Though JonR and a few others here have analysed pieces like that here in the past, and they are much more efficient on it than me.

    On the other hand, if your aim is not really in classical music, then I don’t think you need all the stuff about 4-part harmony, do you? At least, I have never found a need for it in my playing.

    However, I have to admit to having more respect for musicians who actually play an instrument rather than writers and composer who may produce songs or even classical pieces without having very much at all in the way of playing skills. Often, of course, those are one and the same people, ie the composer is a great player anyway, and that happens in all musical genres. But I’m just saying that my approach is to just play as well as I can, rather than to compose what I think may be “hit” or "important" songs.

    Are we actually talking about that? Ie, is your aim to compose/write commercially successful songs?

    This may not seem directly relevant, but I’m reading it in the context of what I said about the need for always refusing to take “No” for answer, and also re. whether you or anyone else can find a way to pursue a degree if they really have the commitment, but try reading this reply from a guy called FatJeff on JazzGuitar,com, (scroll down that page of replies and read the reply from FatJeff) -

    http://www.jazzguitar.be/forum/getting-started/20700-some-one-help-me-out-improv-help.html
     
    It may not be the right/best way for you, but the way I have approached my playing is similar to what FatJeff is getting at in that link above. That is - it would be nice if I could quickly understand all the music theory that I read in books and if I could quickly master the playing of all sorts of pieces. But I’m not that smart: I’ve never actually been able to do things that easily.

    But the key to success is never to give up or to take “No” for an answer. So what I do is I keep going over the stuff again and again until I do understand what the theory books is saying and until I can play the piece.

    Often it seems as if that is going to be impossible for me … but I’ve found that if I keep at it long enough, in a really focused dedicated way, then eventually it always works … in fact sometimes that process almost seems like magic … you think it can never work or is completely unintelligible … but every time I’ve hit a problem like that, which is literally countless times now, it has always been solved in the end just by sheer persistence.

    What has that to do with you? Well, it sounds to me like you are placing too many defeatist obstacles in your own path when you are trying to overcome what seem to you to be insurmountable problems, such as the problem of learning how to understand and use the theory of classical harmony composition. And what I’m suggesting is that, as with FatJeff’s post and as with my own limitations, I think if you really want to succeed then you can always a find a way simply through sheer persistence.

    I’m not sure that book Jazzology will go as far as you want, even as a beginning step, so if I were you I’d try to check out books that were either more specifically focused on classical composition, or if as you say they seem very few in number, then maybe look at a more advanced jazz theory book, perhaps the ones from Bert Ligon which are often recommended on jazz guitar forums (though I have never seen his books).

    Or check local colleges to see if any are running short informal courses in relevant aspects of classical music. Once you really start looking for this stuff, whether it’s books, or classical internet forums, or local college courses, it’s surprising how much help you can eventually find and how much you can achieve just through sheer persistence in music.

     
    Last edited by Crossroads; 03-13-2012 at 06:03 AM.

  6. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blaez View Post
    That's a good point. But I don't actually know anything about Piano!
    It's easy, trust me. Much easier than guitar. Every jazz musician I ever met, whatever their main instrument, knew how to play piano well enough to make chords and experiment with harmony. Some could even play well enough to perform on it, but you don't need to do that - only learn which note is which, and that's a matter of a few minutes (if that).
    You need no piano technique whatever. Anybody can plonk a few fingers down on the keys to make a chord.
    (Of course it needn't be a piano as such; any MIDI keyboard will do.)

    Of course, I appreciate that seems like a sidetrack from where you are (and want to get to). I do understand your sense of frustration: why should you learn keyboard, when you're a guitarist, and guitar is a chordal instrument? Why can't there be harmonic theory related to what the guitar can do?

    I guess the answer is that guitar is too limited to help you really understand how harmony works. You can't play all the necessary inversions. (You can play any triad inversion, but close-voiced 7ths are a problem; the guitar needs to play "drop voicings" with most 7th chords.)
    IOW, you can investigate really basic harmonic principles on guitar, but it's not flexible enough to get you far off the ground.

    Of course, guitar can play a lot of very fancy jazz chords! It has certain sounds not available on piano. But IMO it's a mistake to treat that as somehow a different kind of harmony from piano or whatever. The principles are identical. There is no kind of chord you can play on guitar that can't be played on piano.
    Quote Originally Posted by Blaez View Post
    And the big problem is that I cannot relate anything in these harmony books to guitar or apply it.
    Why not? You can read music, yes?
    It's true, as I say, that certain voicings of chords (such as 7ths, or some wide voicings) are not playable on guitar. But all the basics are.

    One of the beauties of guitar is that it covers all the main 4 classical vocal ranges. Low E is the bottom limit of bass; and the upper limit of soprano is top C, fret 20 on 1st string. So there's no problem with the range of SATB exercises. Problems may come with certain voicings.

    I have done some SATB exercises myself, and I did a lot of it without reference to either piano or guitar: I tested out sounds on computer software (notation sequencer).
    I can't say it was of tremendous use to me in my rock or jazz playing or composing, but it did help ground me in basic harmonic principles - filling in some holes in my (self-taught) theory knowledge.
    Quote Originally Posted by Blaez View Post
    Having me doing tons of four part writing exercises isn't going to help me at all when doing harmony for guitar, it just doesn't make sense. That's the problem. If it was somehow relatable then I wouldn't mind at all! And whenever I have asked about this nobody has an answer.
    I can't really understand why you can't relate it, that's my problem here!

    Music is music. Chords and harmony are not instrument specific. It's sounds, represented by dots on a page. Any instrument could play it. (If it's chords, it needs a keyboard, guitar, or a group of horns, strings or voices.)

    The idea of each note in a guitar chord as a separate "voice" is actually a really useful one.
    Quote Originally Posted by Blaez View Post
    So I'm just kind of stuck. And that's the whole reason why I started this thread, because this time I want to be doing more on the guitar than reading theory. I understand the theory, but there's been literally very little application of it other than modal stuff or random riff writing or just stringing progressions together by ear. It just isn't enough anymore. I hope that makes sense. You guys are punting Jazzology, so I'll try get hold of it as soon as possible. I'm looking into the other books mentioned as well.
    Cool.
    Be warned that Jazzology (like any other theory book) illustrates its concepts in piano double stave. That's only a problem if the bass goes below the E on the ledger line below bass clef, which is your bottom E.
    But generally you can transpose octaves, and/or get the notes required in some form or other.

    I'm not trying to sell piano or keyboard as some kind of superior instrument to guitar - far from it!
    Personally I don't really regard piano as a "musical instrument" at all; it's a machine, capable of very limited musical expression. Even in conventional terms, it's classed as a "percussion" instrument, not a string instrument - IOW, it's something you hit . But for people like us, it's a useful workhorse for chords and harmony, reaching places guitar can't reach.
    And as I say, a cheap and nasty MIDI keyboard is perfectly adequate for that - and if you have notation software, you don't even need a keyboard. You can be lazy like me and enter notes with a mouse and hear them played back.

  7. #22
    Registered User JonR's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blaez View Post
    Okay, this thread is starting to run out of steam quickly! I am going to have a stab at some voice leading for guitar and post some of it here. Would any of you mind in looking over them for me? And then maybe take it from there? Also, I don't really want to use tab, so is it okay if I use standard notation exclusively? Again, I'm very grateful for all of you posting to try and help. I don't want to be any more of a pain in the butt, so I'll try nip this in the bud quick.
    Absolutely - I prefer notation. You can attach JPGs or whatever here.

  8. #23
    BMus (Hons), MA, PGCE JumpingJack's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JonR View Post
    I don't really regard piano as a "musical instrument" at all; it's a machine, capable of very limited musical expression. Even in conventional terms, it's classed as a "percussion" instrument, not a string instrument - IOW, it's something you hit .
    As a pianist, I do take exception to this. It is true that the piano is a percussion instrument, but so is the xylophone, marimba and tubular bells - are they not proper instruments either? And you can certainly get a lot more "musical expression" from a piano then you could from say a harpsichord, which is actually a string instrument! Horses for courses.

  9. #24
    Registered User JonR's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JumpingJack View Post
    As a pianist, I do take exception to this. It is true that the piano is a percussion instrument, but so is the xylophone, marimba and tubular bells - are they not proper instruments either? And you can certainly get a lot more "musical expression" from a piano then you could from say a harpsichord, which is actually a string instrument! Horses for courses.
    Apologies - my tongue was slightly in my cheek back there.
    Everything you say is quite correct, of course. A piano is at least more expressive than a harpsichord. And there is a lot of piano music I like. I just get a little irritated sometimes by the hegemony of piano, and by often overstated claims about how expressive it is. (Let's not go there now )

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