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#1 XMark

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Posted 14 August 2007 - 09:16 AM

Anyone taken formal instruction about music theory? For the past month the guitar shop where I take lessons had some special theory lessons that I signed up for, and just finished yesterday. That was a hell of an eye-opener. I've always been of the frame of mind "just go by ear and do what sounds good", but I've really been looking into my older compositions and figuring out what's a I chord or a IV chord, where I'm using modal interchange, whether it's natural or harmonic minor, etc.

Really neat stuff. I think if I can get some of it into my head and consciously use it my future compositions would gain a lot.
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#2 0073735963

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Posted 14 August 2007 - 09:23 AM

Anyone taken formal instruction about music theory? For the past month the guitar shop where I take lessons had some special theory lessons that I signed up for, and just finished yesterday. That was a hell of an eye-opener. I've always been of the frame of mind "just go by ear and do what sounds good", but I've really been looking into my older compositions and figuring out what's a I chord or a IV chord, where I'm using modal interchange, whether it's natural or harmonic minor, etc.

Really neat stuff. I think if I can get some of it into my head and consciously use it my future compositions would gain a lot.


Done with Music Theory I-IV at the college level (A's in all 4)
Theory rules, but it drives me kinda crazy when im trying to write something. Im too "by the book" when it comes to music theory. Super interesting though
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#3 jvincion

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Posted 14 August 2007 - 09:24 AM

Innumerable stars
Won't tell us where to go
It's a long long run
To the palace in the sun

With hopes and dreams
Our ship will cross the sea
To the whole new world
Shining like a pearl
The whole new world

...

Hehe, sorry - just riffing on your subheader. I could probably use a bit of a theory brush up, but I'm not too interested in getting deep into it. I just use this site for atypical scales and go for it. :P

BANZAI
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#4 XMark

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Posted 14 August 2007 - 09:41 AM

One really cool thing to do is if you have a fairly boring chord progression, just figure out which chords are dominant, tonic, or subdominant and substitute them with other chords of their type. And try adding sevenths here and there to see if they sound good.
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#5 0073735963

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Posted 14 August 2007 - 09:53 AM

One really cool thing to do is if you have a fairly boring chord progression, just figure out which chords are dominant, tonic, or subdominant and substitute them with other chords of their type. And try adding sevenths here and there to see if they sound good.


Did you get into anything like Augmented 6th chords or secondary dominants?
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#6 Paragon

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Posted 14 August 2007 - 09:57 AM

Ummm. . .I like thirds.
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#7 Pongball

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Posted 14 August 2007 - 09:58 AM

I kind of have a fear of music theory. I've learned the basics over and over again (piano lessons when I was a kid, music class in high school, band class in high school, music theory in college, etc.), but I've never really gone beyond that. And even a lot of the basic stuff just has a way of completely slipping out of my mind. I guess I have really mixed feelings about it. Like, on one hand, I know that having a better understanding of theory would make me much more efficient as a composer. Like, I wouldn't have to spend as much time dicking around: moving notes around until a harmony sounds right, trying to figure out what note I need to complete the chord that's in my head, trying to figure out what the chord is that I need to transition back to a certain other chord, etc. I know that there are essentially formulas for all these things, but at the same time, I'm terrified of learning them. I'm never consciously aware of what key I'm in or what chords I'm using, and honestly, I prefer not to be. I'm scared that if I were aware these things that it would limit my creativity. I guess what I'm really afraid of is pretty much what 0073735963 said:

Theory rules, but it drives me kinda crazy when im trying to write something. Im too "by the book" when it comes to music theory. Super interesting though


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#8 Arm Cannon

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Posted 14 August 2007 - 10:05 AM

At the very least everyone should know their scales. It makes improv and jamming a breeze.

Being too "by the book" is definitely a clear problem.
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#9 0073735963

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Posted 14 August 2007 - 10:20 AM

I kind of have a fear of music theory. I've learned the basics over and over again (piano lessons when I was a kid, music class in high school, band class in high school, music theory in college, etc.), but I've never really gone beyond that. And even a lot of the basic stuff just has a way of completely slipping out of my mind. I guess I have really mixed feelings about it. Like, on one hand, I know that having a better understanding of theory would make me much more efficient as a composer. Like, I wouldn't have to spend as much time dicking around: moving notes around until a harmony sounds right, trying to figure out what note I need to complete the chord that's in my head, trying to figure out what the chord is that I need to transition back to a certain other chord, etc. I know that there are essentially formulas for all these things, but at the same time, I'm terrified of learning them. I'm never consciously aware of what key I'm in or what chords I'm using, and honestly, I prefer not to be. I'm scared that if I were aware these things that it would limit my creativity. I guess what I'm really afraid of is pretty much what 0073735963 said:

Theory rules, but it drives me kinda crazy when im trying to write something. Im too "by the book" when it comes to music theory. Super interesting though


well, its definately true that knowledge of theory can make some people fear doing things "wrong" when it comes to music. I'm just really really picky and over-analyze shit, which is my problem. I have a hard time with just letting creativity take over sometimes. It all depends, I guess, why you like music. Not many people like Bach, for example. When I look at scores of bach fugues I'm completely blown away at the level of detail and intelligence. Schoenberg is another example. Many people HATE twelve tone, but if you look at some of his music, its really genius in how it's crafted. I, personally, would much rather know music theory extremely well. It limits me creatively because I'm not confident in shit that I write, but as I learn more about it, if I ever want to sit down and compose something specific I have a good idea of how to go about it. Music theory also kinda makes you realize how incredibly simplistic a lot of mainstream music is too (good or bad depending on how you look at it i guess)
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#10 El_Camello

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Posted 14 August 2007 - 10:24 AM

theory can help, but often it can also be a crutch. i get by with next to no knowledge of theory. just the really basic stuff. music theory like any other theory is a system that predicts a result. its important to know when to toss it aside. but its impossible to stop thinking about it once you know it. i find that without theory i have no limitations and my creativity is less tainted with tradition. so i can write things that sounds entirely entirely different. inventing music theory is really fun to. i like to set myself little boundaries or give songs musical themes to both help me focus and give the song a unified feel.
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#11 0073735963

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Posted 14 August 2007 - 10:32 AM

theory can help, but often it can also be a crutch. i get by with next to no knowledge of theory. just the really basic stuff. music theory like any other theory is a system that predicts a result. its important to know when to toss it aside. but its impossible to stop thinking about it once you know it. i find that without theory i have no limitations and my creativity is less tainted with tradition. so i can write things that sounds entirely entirely different. inventing music theory is really fun to. i like to set myself little boundaries or give songs musical themes to both help me focus and give the song a unified feel.


well, with strong knowledge in music theory, your brain can somewhat hear the quality of chords/combination of notes in your head before you play them. By which it can actually make being creative EASIER. The stuff I have trouble with mostly involves me wanting to do very smooth/subtle modulations and not being able to improvise them on the fly. I have a hard time writing shit that I have to turn in for school or if it's going to be heard by someone else mostly. The thing about theory is just knowing when and how to break the rules.
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#12 I Am Spamtron

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Posted 14 August 2007 - 12:51 PM

One really cool thing to do is if you have a fairly boring chord progression, just figure out which chords are dominant, tonic, or subdominant and substitute them with other chords of their type. And try adding sevenths here and there to see if they sound good.


Did you get into anything like Augmented 6th chords or secondary dominants?

holy shit, that sounds awesome. I need to google that.
oh wait, is an augmented 6th chord just an augmented chord, or something else?

I'm exploring the diminished scale recently.
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#13 Nick The Newbie

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Posted 14 August 2007 - 12:53 PM

B7majDim
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#14 atomic-guy

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Posted 14 August 2007 - 01:03 PM

where's pingo?
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and maybe even bring your lovable friend ratboy. or evilsonic, whatever his name is.


#15 XMark

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Posted 14 August 2007 - 01:09 PM

I remember hearing something about augmented 6ths, but I god kinda overwhelmed by the stuff during the classes and didn't retain everything in memory. Got lots of notes to look through and work off of, and I'm going to keep on examining my past works, and my favourite songs by other people to figure out what works good.

I'm gonna have fun finding out what the hell I did here: (Waltz of the Machines, from the 2006 songaday)
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