#1
I've been playing guitar for three years now but I know extremely limited theory and for somebody who wants to be taking Music at A-Level next year I feel that I really need to. I really don't know where to begin as there are so many aspects of theory learn so I'm just asking for a few pointers more than anything.

Ideally I'd like to be able to just pick up a guitar and play 'something' without necessarily having learnt it before.

Thanks for any help.
#2
go to http://www.musictheory.net and start from the start there, it has some pretty good resources to get you started
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#3
Quote by mnf50
I've been playing guitar for three years now but I know extremely limited theory and for somebody who wants to be taking Music at A-Level next year I feel that I really need to. I really don't know where to begin as there are so many aspects of theory learn so I'm just asking for a few pointers more than anything.

Ideally I'd like to be able to just pick up a guitar and play 'something' without necessarily having learnt it before.


Well, there are two related issues here.

The first is ear training. The second is theoretical knowledge.

These two things are related, because you don't really "know" theory until you can hear it.

However, these are not subjects that are solved by "pointers." If you want to learn them, you need to make a point of studying them in an organized and comprehensive way. Otherwise you end up as one of those guys who show up, insisting that they're playing modal music when they're just playing something tonal with an accidental.

So I would recommend three things:

First, download the free functional ear trainer from Miles.Be, and use it. It will seem crazy to you when you start, incredibly difficult ... but it really does work!

Second, get a good book on ear training. I recommend Wyatt et al's "Ear Training for the Contemporary Musician."

Third, get a good book on theory. I recommend Schroeder and Wyatt's "Harmony and Theory." This is a workbook, which goes hand-in-hand with the ear-training book. It's not specific to guitar but that's actually useful in some ways.

Work through all of those books in a dedicated way, and you will have a much greater understanding of, and appreciation for, the music you're listening to. It will help you translate your thoughts to your instrument.
#4
I agree with Hotspur, the only way to go about this stuff is to study them out of books. There are a lot of them out there, go for ones that are used at schools and universities, I myself used the Clendennings set, textbook, workbook, score collection...but any sort of book will help.

To be able to pick up your gtr and just play something, like it was said, takes both knowing what is happeniong, and knowing what it sounds like. Be able to recognize when you hear a I chord (the tonic chord, key of the song) be able to hear the V chord, the IV, etc... That takes some practice, and you gotta keep at it. Aural Skills and Music History are the two biggest reasons why students drop out of any given music program, it takes a lot of work to comprehend, so keep at it and don't get discouraged, it will all make sense soon enough
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#5
I'd agree with what has been already posted if you want to really learn theory and ear training. However, if you just want to dive in and won't be going into longer study, I'd recommend:

1. Learn all the notes on the guitar neck both sharps and flats. Be able to point to any note and identify it right away.

2. Learn about key signatures, which notes are sharp or flat through all 12 keys. Study this with sheet music so you learn both together. If you see a staff with 3 sharps you should be able to identify what key that is, for instance.

3. Learn the cycle of 5ths which goes hand in hand with key signatures.

Learning those things will give you the fundamentals. This will help you know why someone uses a certain mode over a certain chord progression, why chords have the notes they do, what the 9th, flat 5th, and all that other stuff means, etc...
Last edited by ChicagoJ at Mar 6, 2012,
#6
I did A level music last year and I didn't know any music theory what so ever when I started... I have now passed my grade 5 in classical music theory so you will be taught If you can learn your basic major, minor, and 7th chords you should be alright aswell as the key signatures for C, D, F, Bb and there relative minors, that's a good start pm me if you would like me to explain it all fully for you in a basic way
#7
I also agree with HotspurJr, do what he says

I'm taking A level music at the minute, and analysing when set works you do need good foundation theory - how to build chords, harmonic and melodic devices etc.

But I wouldn't worry, the teacher is there to teach you, they will explain it to you and you will understand, so do take A level music, I'm doing it and I love it.
Performance, Composition, and Set Works and the main focuses. I'm on Edexcel board if your wondering
#8
If it's a good music theory book you're after, this one is the one I've had a lot of success with.

I actually heard about it on a different thread on here from a while back and the person said that the chord formation sections is brilliant - he wasn't lying. Its about a tenner and its good value.

Hope it helps
#9
Quote by mnf50
I've been playing guitar for three years now but I know extremely limited theory and for somebody who wants to be taking Music at A-Level next year I feel that I really need to. I really don't know where to begin as there are so many aspects of theory learn so I'm just asking for a few pointers more than anything.

Ideally I'd like to be able to just pick up a guitar and play 'something' without necessarily having learnt it before.

Thanks for any help.


Start with the theory of intervals. These describe the distance from one note to another and are the fundamental building blocks of chords and scales. Once you know you intervals by sight and by ear, you can build chords and scales simply by knowing which intervals they contain.

I have a free lesson on intervals at

http://theaugmentedseventh.com

That's my best recommendation.