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Music Theory & Composition Questions & comments about composition, arrangement, and music theory. Music rules and how to follow or break them.

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Old 04-08-2013, 08:22 PM   #21
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Re: Music Theory Question

Watch this video:


This is part one of an awesome series on, yes you've guessed it: How music works. It covers actually much of the history of modern music theory and how it evolved over the years, which is very interesting, but by doing that it also clarifies some of the concepts of key and scales and everything.

If it doesn't teach you anything, but I sure hope it does, then it could at least inspire you; for ideas and to actually do some more research on the stuff.

My mother is a music teacher, so I naturally got taught some theory, but not really in-depth. I know what major and minor scales are, pentatonic scales etc... But that's where it ends; don't give me a staff with notes and tell me to resolve between the notes, I won't be able to do that, I can do it by ear though.


What I would suggest you do:

First learn what intervals are, take your book or laptop or iPad with you to the piano, or keyboard with its ebony and ivory keys and play the notes of the intervals one after the other, to hear what it sounds like(Take note of especially whole tones and semitones).

Go and study what minor and major scales are; how they are constructed, it shouldn't take you long, just the basics, not the technicalities about frequencies etc. Take your material with you again to the piano, start at middle C and play the major scale, up and down. Hint: it's only the white keys, but just for C-major. Listen to and look at the intervals between each note. Just take mental notes about your observations, play it over and over so you could get an idea of how it sounds.

Next, do the same for the minor scale. Try A-minor, it's C-major's related minor and it also just uses the white keys - and take mental notes once again...

After doing and knowing all this, and if you know how the black and white keys of the piano works(each step is a semitone), then you'll be able to construct a scale in any key you wish.

If you have done all of this, I really hope that you're inspired to study some more theory, with that basic knowledge, the next would be easier. Go and read up on harmony; tetrachords, their inversions.

The final step is to sit in front of your favourite synthesiser and compose. Play a tetrachord(a combination of three notes) in your favourite key, then play a next, if it fits, use it, else play another one. Rinse and repeat.

With time you'll get a feeling for what works and what not. And one important other thing: Listen to lots of music, every kind of music; classic, rock, pop, trance, metal etc. If you appreciate the theory, you'll(hopefully) appreciate the music.

P.S. Here are just the links to other videos in the series, I don't want the post to be taller than the Burj Khalifa.

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P.P.S.

Please read this: [Only registered and activated users can see links. Click here to register]
. Other people already posted it for you as well. The first few chapters are all you'll need for what I've described... and reading the rest won't hurt.

Last edited by Xenon; 04-08-2013 at 10:31 PM..

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Old 06-08-2013, 05:41 AM   #22
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Re: Music Theory Question

Reading all everyone's words here makes me more realize music isn't that easy to create, yet exciting, artistic, and most important, fun and challenging.

Maybe music doesn't need any theory to produce practically approved to many people, but with my own experience, the more I'm into this, the more I'm aware that I have super massive black hole on my music knowledge. So. When practice stuck and becomes numb, theory comes to rescue.
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Old 06-08-2013, 06:51 AM   #23
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Re: Music Theory Question

Quote:
Originally Posted by synn View Post
Reading all everyone's words here makes me more realize music isn't that easy to create, yet exciting, artistic, and most important, fun and challenging.

Maybe music doesn't need any theory to produce practically approved to many people, but with my own experience, the more I'm into this, the more I'm aware that I have super massive black hole on my music knowledge. So. When practice stuck and becomes numb, theory comes to rescue.
I agree. But also the more exposed you become the more you will learn to hear what sounds good too. I come from a strong theory background/ear training starting from the age of 6...and it's true when the creative fairy is out for the night I can at least either play music from sheet music or mess around with chords/scales that go together.

Just start with chords, scales. Learn which chords go together. My Dad taught me that you can play any basic rock song by ear with 3 chords. For example the chords C F and G.

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Then you can get more detailed as each new thing sinks in...

***Not that you would want to play rock...just giving an example of how certain chords go together...
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Old 06-08-2013, 12:42 PM   #24
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Re: Music Theory Question

Woah! Suprised and very pleased with the amount of responses! Thank you to everyone. I'll check every link posted in this thread and get back to you with a result.
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Old 10-08-2013, 06:08 AM   #25
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Re: Music Theory Question

I think that having a strong musical background is important if you want to create anything actually unique. Once you get the basics down and you start to have an ear for things, start questioning everything. Everything will start to sound the same, and once it does, then you can find your own way. I also suggest listening to music that is not electronic. Listen to solo piano classical tunes, or solo piano Jazz tunes. Once you are musically literate enough you will start to notice that not everything resides in one key. In fact, things are so much more boring in one key. But people say "Ouy if I hit a 'wrong' note" it sounds so bad, it doesn't even bang". Listen to some classic Big Band music. Stuff that Buddy Rich has composed is some of the most "bangin'" music I've ever heard! The shout sections are so complex and musically rich, they're so much more interesting than any series of growl basses.

Okay this might be a rant but I am so sick of electronic music not pushing the boundaries of musicality. :killme:
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Old 17-08-2013, 12:18 PM   #26
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Re: Music Theory Question

The best part of learning a bit of theory is that it makes it easier to understand and draw inspiration from other peoples ideas.

If you have been writing music for a while without studying any theory you will probably have a lot of fun re-learning what you have already figured out by yourself with trial and error.

Before I learned any theory it was much more difficult for me to understand what separated my good melodic ideas from my bad ones. When you have a basic understanding of theory it is much easier to analyze your good and bad ideas alike, and understand how you can build upon and expand them.

After all, most of us aren't exactly John Cage or Karlheinz Stockhausen interested in devising our own unique sets of musical principles and rules, we just want to make some catchy tunes that people can dance to or chill out to. For that sort of thing classical western music theory is not a bad addition to your toolbox.

Oh and another thing: Don't try to learn music theory as a separate thing. You need to combine it with playing an instrument. That makes it much more fulfilling.

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