#1
Hey everyone,

In few weeks I will have the occasion of meeting and interviewing some expert (and in some case famous) guitarists. Can't name names right now - but you know some of them. The topic of the interview will be music theory in the most general sense i.e not only "what scales goes on what chord", but also songwriting and composition, ear training, creativity, the role that music theory has in the big picture for a professional musician, how to practice your theory skills, etc etc.

So I thought of asking your input. If you could meet your favorite players, what questions would you ask them about the relationship between their playing and music theory?

Please stay on topic, do not answer other people's questions, just tell me the things you'd like me to ask to these expert players.

Every suggestion from you guys will be appreciated. Thanks!
#2
Ask them if they actively apply music theory while writing music, if yes, how, ask for examples from a well known song, if not, what they consider to be important to their song writing process (try to nail them down to giving actual advice and not just vague answers).
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#3
do you feel that theory should encompass contempory composition at a lower educational level? ie should we expose beginners to serialism, atonality, microtones, non-pythagorean tunings and noise music at an early stage rather than focus entirely on techniques based on classical theory and the conventional major scale

EDIT: Are you gonna post his answers here?
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Last edited by Eggmond at Mar 28, 2012,
#4
"How do you notate your music? Do you actually write it down on in traditional notation, tabs or do you just make abstract sketches that only you can understand?"
#5
Eggmond: I may post it here or on my website - this is something I have to discuss with these players and (especially) their labels. If I can't post them here, I will be sure to post a link!

Great questions guys, keep 'em coming!
#6
This thread has been read more than 200 times and only 3 people have questions? Can't believe it. Come on guys, if you could have at it with people of the caliber of Satriani, you would have nothing to ask? Everybody here knows everything already?
#7
Quote by tommaso.zillio
This thread has been read more than 200 times and only 3 people have questions? Can't believe it. Come on guys, if you could have at it with people of the caliber of Satriani, you would have nothing to ask? Everybody here knows everything already?


Err, what questions would YOU ask them? I wouldn't say I know "everything", but I can listen to a guitarist and use theory to explain what's happening.

Perhaps if it's relevant to your target audience you can ask questions about theory, to guide the audience towards music theory, but personally if I was given the opportunity, I probably wouldn't waste questions on matters I could figure out myself.

When I was at a Paul Gilbert clinic, during the question time (limited questions) one guy asked "how do you play a pinch harmonic?", and the audience was like "err, I could have told you that". Gilbert being the awesome guy he is explained how to play one and demonstrated it but yeah, that's a good example of a wasted question.

Instead I'd opt to ask about how they like to structure their guitar parts in a song, with reference to other instruments present. For example Satriani plays a lot more restrained in Chickenfoot than his solo work. Also their songwriting process would be interesting, or questions about writing certain songs. Perhaps other guitarists they like now. You know, the sort of stuff that only they can answer.
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#8
I guess i'd be curious if anyone else hears the finished piece in their head before they start the process of transcribing it.
#9
I'd guess that no matter what the question, the expert would feel that you're overthinking things. You probably be surprised at how much of a general non-theory answer you'd recieve. I think of a guy like Ted Greene and his discussions on "theory" how they were so basic and simple and it revealed that in his mind, its all really about sounds.

Best,

Sean
#10
Alan: Indeed I included "composition" in my original post. Your considerations on that are good, I will make them into personalized question for each interview.

On the other hand I have to disagree with you on the "wasted" questions. There are no wasted question if somebody is learning something. Sure, that time I was at a Petrucci clinic and someone asked if it's important to bend in tune... yeah, I could have explained him that. But HE learned something, and that's the important thing.

So even "easy" questions are fine here.

Sean: I do agree, most people over think their theory. For me theory is mostly ear training.


These are all good considerations guys. Again, keep 'em coming.
#11
I wouldn't ask an expert guitarist any theory questions, I'd probably know more than them already. I might ask them about their songwriting process and try not to get an answer like "I eat lot's of brain-food and get lot's of rest and it effects my songwriting" I'd try my best to get a real answer out of them that directly applies to writing on an instrument.
#12
Sean: I do agree, most people over think their theory. For me theory is mostly ear training.


Theory is just a way to understand what you hear/read and knowing how to recreate it using its mechanics rather than through imitation.