What tips, tricks or advice do you have for learning music theory?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Steven Mal, Mar 7, 2021.

  1. Steven Mal

    Steven Mal New Member

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    Nothing specific, I only meant the beginning of a student's lessons in music theory.
     
  2. jak3af3r

    jak3af3r Jake

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    I've thought about this a lot and asked my wife, who also has a music degree but in voice, where she would start.

    She said she would and has started at a fundamentals level like you've said on how to build scales and chords from the scales.

    Neither of us studied pedagogy for theory so I'm not 100% sure what would help in your situation.


    Edit: I tried to explain why I thought theory was important and the challenges it poses to guitarists because of the different ways to play the same chords/intervals but she got lost in the attempt.
     
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  3. ScottR

    ScottR If nobody saw it, it didn't happen.

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    When I hear the word theory...I generally run away arms a flailing. It's a built in survival mechanism for me.
     
  4. Axis39

    Axis39 New Member

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    So, a few years ago, I was asked to play with a somewhat famous player. She was in a band that was the #1 seller for Alligator Records for 10 years. She has several W.C. Handy awards. She'd been a professional musician for 40 years, no other job or income stream.

    We were going over a new (to me) song and I asked something about the chords and she said, 'I dunno. I don't know anything beyond a 7th chord and don't start talking all that I-IV-V ****. I know what I know and do what I do'. If I ever tried to show her something with a 9th chord, I always had to suggest a 7th... She literally had no interest in learning how to finger any 9th chord. (She did like to add Sus 2 and 4 chords here and there, even the odd diminished chord) At 70-something I wasn't about to start trying to teach her something she didn't want to know. My only regret is that sometimes she struggled to explain to me what she was doing. But, it never stopped us from playing, gigging and loving every time we got to do it together. I certainly never looked down on her for any of that. I miss playing with her so much! Hopefully, I'll be able to travel back to Virginia before too long.

    My point is that you don't NEED theory to enjoy music, or make a decent living at it, even. Although, you better have a natural ability to write music and not plan on being any kind of a session guy.
     
  5. PRSWILL

    PRSWILL New Member

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    Understanding theory has really helped my playing in the church group I work with. With so much driven off the piano and some weird chord structures, A lot of add 9, add 13, dim 4, a lot in E flat- and I hate using a capo so knowing how to structure e flat in a couple of places helps.
     
  6. DreamTheaterRules

    DreamTheaterRules Julie's back!

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    Understandable! Brings back memories of those scary times when we were all monkeys! Nobody wants to go back to that.
     
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  7. DreamTheaterRules

    DreamTheaterRules Julie's back!

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    They guys I played with who knew theory and would ask me those "what did you play here" questions, were solved with a simple facing their directly, fingering the chord, or playing through the notes, and saying "this." :) Or, if they were bluegrass guys, "this here." :p
     
  8. DreamTheaterRules

    DreamTheaterRules Julie's back!

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    You bring up another interesting aspect with the capo. I know some bluegrass guys who use them CONSTANTLY. Every song that is in a different key than the last one, has them moving their capo. I've never used one and do not like them. Always thought of it as "cheating." But I've seen accomplished pros using them so...
     
  9. PRSWILL

    PRSWILL New Member

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    I'm not a snob about a Capo, just tends to pull strings sharp and it's a retuning issue on the fly thing.
     
  10. alantig

    alantig Zombie Four, DFZ

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    My first guitar teacher felt that way, and I felt that way for a long time. Then I saw what some guys like Davy Knowles, Tommy Emmanuel, and others do with them, and I see it now more as a way of getting voicings that would otherwise be unobtainable.
     
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  11. DreamTheaterRules

    DreamTheaterRules Julie's back!

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    One guy I play with will just use it so he's always playing familiar chord shapes, G,C, D, F etc., but up higher on the fretboard, to do key changes for singers. He asked me how I DIDN'T use one when she show up and the singer goes "that's a bit too high, can you lower it" or vice versa. My answer, barre chords. LOL One step up? No problem. Two? No problem. Wherever you want it, I can barre it there.
     
  12. alantig

    alantig Zombie Four, DFZ

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    I've used mine to overdub and play different voicings to complement a main part. Some of them I could do with barre chords, some not so much - not enough fingers! Although I did recently record one song that I used a capo on just because the capo'd version had a little different chime to it that I really liked.

    I do have a couple Spider capos that I've used to give a 'fake' altered tuning. I was really happy w/how that song turned out. I need to relearn how to play it some day.
     
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  13. ScottR

    ScottR If nobody saw it, it didn't happen.

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    I dunno...this one pretty much RULES!! Well it's technically a chimpanzee but he has a gun, so it's irrelevant.
     
  14. DreamTheaterRules

    DreamTheaterRules Julie's back!

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    no, according to some, we used to be one of those too, if I have the "theory" correct. :D

    Heck, according to my wife, I act like one sometimes even now. Apparently we never completely "evolve" out of it. :)
     
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  15. alantig

    alantig Zombie Four, DFZ

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    No - it means we had a common ancestor. I think his name was Carmine.
     
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  16. DreamTheaterRules

    DreamTheaterRules Julie's back!

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    No way! Wait... you have an Uncle Carmine too??? No freakin way.

    Is yours like a really hairy guy too?
     
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  17. aphantomvaper

    aphantomvaper New Member

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    The Big Ragu? Probably dating myself with that one...
     
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  18. DreamTheaterRules

    DreamTheaterRules Julie's back!

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    Don't worry. We have several guys here who "date themselves" if you know what I'm sayin' o_O
     
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  19. CandidPicker

    CandidPicker Energized

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    I had a leaf blower once that got away from me...ended up without clothes on and only a scriptural reference for a leaf.
     
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  20. alantig

    alantig Zombie Four, DFZ

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    True - but he might be the first to bypass Shirl to get to the Big Ragu.
     

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