#1
Since most people come here to learn more about theory or to share what they know about music theory I will get some pretty similer replies but I thought it would be interesting anyway.

I honestly don't know much. I know a few scales, chords and the notes on the fretboard but other than that, I know nothing.
When I write songs I usualy write a progression simply going by waht sounds good so I don't really use any theory there. Then I write the chords down and figure out the key and what scales would work best. This is pretty much the only time I'll use theory of any sort. After that I just noodle around adding bits here and there until I have a full song.

I like this method however, I would really like to learn a bit more theory so I can write even better progressions and melodies without strating to far from the whole "feeling" way of writing.

What about you people? How much theory do you know and how do you apply it?
#2
That's not really theory. Knowing scales is textbook learning, and remembering how to do them without thinking is muscle memory. Theory is more about discovering why things sound good, how chords progressions actually work, what sort of timing and tempos are popular and why and what sort of scales you can use over certain rythyms and why.

The problem with music theory is that answering one question usually opens the door to more questions. It's damn fun, though.
mmmmmmhmmm

That's exactly what I've been trying to say.

Quote by munkymanmatt
brilliant
#3
lol maybe this can be theorish

my songs arranged for the acoustic sound like mumbled CRAP when ran through an amp.

so i forced myself to learn root notes and it sounds freakin sweet rearranged for electric in a different form of those chords& sweeps.

when it comes to song writing my best songs come on accident but re arranging them for electric is always fun.

i usually just pick a few notes that i like and go for it
*note i am a rhythm guy* solo writing is a pain so i just mostly tremolo a few notes around 10+ fretish and go back to a slightly dif rhythm then bax to the original.

i learned a few scales and found it to be boring/meaningless (if you know where roots are) so i tend to concentrate on good chord progressions and sweeps.
(wish i could upload some of my stuff online but all i have to record with is my girlfriends cell phone lolz mine is a cheap paygo :-P)
any1 know how to get .amr files on here or am i stuck to doing something else???

ps my suggestion to you guys is try picking a few notes/chords that you like and try playing all kinds of variations of it for the song.
i mean isn't that like most songs anyway (take the Pixies -Where Is My Mind for instance)

another fun thing to do is to take songs and put em in power chords, just make your own stuff.

Ain't music just great???
#4
Quote by HardAttack
That's not really theory. Knowing scales is textbook learning, and remembering how to do them without thinking is muscle memory. Theory is more about discovering why things sound good, how chords progressions actually work, what sort of timing and tempos are popular and why and what sort of scales you can use over certain rythyms and why.


I could have sworn these scale things had something to do with theory. At least that is what my music theory teacher taught me in music theory class.
Quote by UtBDan
this man hits the nail on the head.
#5
Like I said, I don't know much theory. I know that's the really basic stuff but it's all I know and up until now it's all I really wanted to know. I'm going to pick up a book on theory on wednesday hopefuly
#6
Quote by blueriver
I could have sworn these scale things had something to do with theory. At least that is what my music theory teacher taught me in music theory class.
Funnily enough I was also taught by my music teacher in my music theory class that scales had something to do with music theory

OT I tell you how much theory I know - Not enough
.
#7
^ I could go on saying that for the rest of my life (and ten million lives after that)

You never know enough. If you ever could know everything, than creativity pushes that theoretical knowledge to further heights.
#8
I managed to finish my first year of theory with A's in both semesters in a school that requires 2 years of theory, with an optional 3rd year. So the sections of the textbook I've gone through would be everything about diatonic harmony, melody, voice leading, basic chromatic harmony and counterpoint.

But then there's a lot of other miscellaneous things not covered in 1st year that I learned from rock/metal. Not once has there ever been any mention of the phrygian dominant scale in class, only phrygian. And we're taught that in the minor key the vii* chord is used almost all the time, as opposed to the VII chord.

I can't wait till my next year of theory, 12 tonality ftw!


But as said above, there's no such thing as knowing enough theory.
#9
I have an honours degree in music. I've studied harmony, counterpoint, orchestration, etc.

CT
Could I get some more talent in the monitors, please?

I know it sounds crazy, but try to learn to inhale your voice. www.thebelcantotechnique.com

Chris is the king of relating music things to other objects in real life.
#11
Quote by axemanchris
I have an honours degree in music. I've studied harmony, counterpoint, orchestration, etc.

CT

Does orchestration require a strong grasp of the skills you learn in skills class?
#12
I know a good bit. More than anyone I've actually played with, but I'm no expert.
Only play what you hear. If you don’t hear anything, don’t play anything.
-Chick Corea
#13
@pwrmax - it requires a knowledge of all that stuff, yeah. If you have a melody, say, O Canada, and you want to orchestrate that, you need to know:

-ranges of instruments (don't want the trumpet player telling you he can't play that low G...)
-harmony and counterpoint - have to know how to lead the voices for each instrument, etc.
-typical instrument combinations and how they blend., including some that you might not anticipate, but actually sound quite nice.

CT
Could I get some more talent in the monitors, please?

I know it sounds crazy, but try to learn to inhale your voice. www.thebelcantotechnique.com

Chris is the king of relating music things to other objects in real life.
#15
Quote by HardAttack
That's not really theory. Knowing scales is textbook learning, and remembering how to do them without thinking is muscle memory. Theory is more about discovering why things sound good, how chords progressions actually work, what sort of timing and tempos are popular and why and what sort of scales you can use over certain rythyms and why.

The problem with music theory is that answering one question usually opens the door to more questions. It's damn fun, though.

It is knowing a certain level of theory for sure, he could know less
#16
For my senior year in high school last year i took AP Music Theory which goes over all the college Music Theory 101 class stuff but was easier cuz it wasnt ACTUALLY a college level course. So i get the gist of everything that goes over that 101 class stuff. Cadences, Keys, Chord structure, other specific stuff that was actually a little boring.

When people say "take theory so you can understand why music sounds the way it does" it still kinda confused me. Like i understand how a chord could be a major chord (cuz of the major 3rd) and how one could be minor (because of the minor 3rd) and etc...but WHY does that chord sound that way? What makes a major chord sounds happy and minor chord sounds different. Now i know those chords arent just for those sounds but do you know what i mean?

Why does a chord sound major to our ears? why does dissonace sound dissonant? I guess that question could be taken on a philosophical level too tho. I hope you guys know what i mean.
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We roll tonight, To the guitar bite
#17
You're right, explaining the position of the third, or explaining that the interval is a minor second doesn't explain 'why' on certain levels.

Dissonance is a cultural thing in a lot of respects. Even in Western culture. Beethoven was considered a heretic by critics because of his dissonance. Go figure. Now we define dissonance in terms of Charles Ives, Eric Satie, etc., using Stravinski as a starting-off point.

Surely, there is an explanation steeped in phsyics as to how the sound waves actually behave in relation to each other such that the numerical values associated with the notes in a perfect fifth will have a certain relationship to each other, and the numerical values associated with the notes in a minor second will have another relationship.

My guess is that consonance will have more even ratios and dissonance will have more decimal places. But you're right, theory doesn't explain ALL of the whys.

CT
Could I get some more talent in the monitors, please?

I know it sounds crazy, but try to learn to inhale your voice. www.thebelcantotechnique.com

Chris is the king of relating music things to other objects in real life.
#18
What I know about theory is to open FireFox, search for some obscure pop song or nursery rhyme, rip it off and put in some 3 note per string major scale shreds somewhere.
Quote by AlanHB
Yeah well in special UG land chords = noob, scales = intermediate and modes = advanced. Most users are trying to finish the game on hard because then you get the trophies for noob and intermediate difficulties upon completion anyway.
#19
Quote by axemanchris
I have an honours degree in music. I've studied harmony, counterpoint, orchestration, etc.

CT

i've studied these things, i have no paper saying i did however. basically i know enough to be a danger to myself and a nuisance to others.
#20
Quote by z4twenny
basically i know enough to be a danger to myself and a nuisance to others.


LOL.

CT
Could I get some more talent in the monitors, please?

I know it sounds crazy, but try to learn to inhale your voice. www.thebelcantotechnique.com

Chris is the king of relating music things to other objects in real life.
#22
I know enough theory to be able to apply it well in writing music, and to have my mindset focused around it.

But I will never really know enough theory; there is always something new to learn, but I guess that's what keeps it fresh.
#23
Quote by z4twenny
i've studied these things, i have no paper saying i did however. basically i know enough to be a danger to myself and a nuisance to others.

What do you call someone who graduates at the bottom of their class in medical school?

Doctor.


The guy who made musictheory.net is a software engineer, but he still has a good grasp of theory even though he has no paper saying so. I'm not sure how you can be a danger to yourself though.
#24
Quote by pwrmax
I'm not sure how you can be a danger to yourself though.

so you don't doubt my ability to be a nuisance to others
#25
Quote by z4twenny
so you don't doubt my ability to be a nuisance to others
I doubt your ability to be a nuisance to others is limited by your knowledge of music theory

On topic - I don't know nearly enough.
#26
^ touche'

i've found you never really know enough. the best you can hope to do is be able to examine and rationalize answers in a clear way that other people of equivalent knowledge could understand what your brain thinks it gets.
#27
I'm a theory junkie, so I know more than anyone I jam with, save one maybe. I don't know enough, and the more I learn, the more there is to learn. It's insanely aggravating and still it makes me smile since there's so much more fun to be had.
Quote by Zaphod_Beeblebr
Theory is descriptive, not prescriptive.


Quote by MiKe Hendryckz
theory states 1+1=2 sometimes in music 1+1=3.
#28
Probably enough to fill a small book.

Or a large book because I tend to ramble and go into too much detail at times.

Of course no one would read it.
Si
#29
I remember I always used to think I knew enough but then I learned something new and wondered how I lived without it.
#30
I probably know like about nothing... Did you guys learn theory at school or did you guys learn it yourself? I'm 14 now and I'm wondering if I should start learning theory.
#31
Quote by bmgod3002
I probably know like about nothing... Did you guys learn theory at school or did you guys learn it yourself? I'm 14 now and I'm wondering if I should start learning theory.
I think you should learn it. There's no reason not to. It will help you interact with other musicians who don't play guitar and probably help improve your songwriting abilities. My guitar teacher taught classical guitar so I started learning from day one. I got most of what I know about scales and such from guitar magazine and some of the more formal elements I learned by taking GCSE music (For all you americans GCSE's are the courses you take in your last two years of secondary school)
.
Last edited by Nietsche at Jul 28, 2009,
#32
Never hurts to learn. Nearly always helps. Knowing theory improves your ability to communicate with other musicians and helps you to understand why a lot of the things you do work, and helps you to efficiently do stuff that works 'right out of the box' as opposed to futzing around stabbing in the dark.

CT
Could I get some more talent in the monitors, please?

I know it sounds crazy, but try to learn to inhale your voice. www.thebelcantotechnique.com

Chris is the king of relating music things to other objects in real life.
#33
Quote by axemanchris
My guess is that consonance will have more even ratios and dissonance will have more decimal places.

Unison = 1:1
Octave = 2:1
Fifth = 3:2
Fourth = 4:3
Maj 3rd = 5:4
Min 3rd = 6:5
Maj 2nd = 9:8
Min 2nd = 16:15

Though because of the compromises equal-tempered tuning makes, none of these besides octave and unison are perfectly accurate. The rest are off by at least a few cents. The equal-tempered major 3rd, for example, is 400 cents; whereas its harmonic counterpart (5:4) is 386 cents.
#34
I've studied quite a lot of theory. I've studied species counterpoint, 4 part harmony, romantic harmony (lieder/melody and accompaniment) and also a little bit of fugal writing. I still suck at modes and non-standard scales, though.
Nietsche, I don't really remember having to do that much theory for GCSE. Obviously there was some, but as I remember it was fairly basic.