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LeeAlacoque
Registered User
Join date: Nov 2010
1,104 IQ
#1
I was just reading up on some basics. I got to scales and I still don't know why I should know this stuff. Major scale is WWHWWWH, minor scale is WHWWHWW. The same thing but starting at a different spot. I don't get why this is important or why it would help me. All I can tell is that this order of notes sounds like they go together
mdc
UG's Mr Chord Man
Join date: Feb 2008
722 IQ
#2
I wouldn't worry about it mate. Just play music and enjoy it. Some ppl just aren't theory orientated.

Besides, you're in to metal, so who gives a fuck? Actually, metal players know a decent amount of theory lol.
Last edited by mdc at Feb 9, 2013,
supersac
Tab Contributor
Join date: Aug 2009
630 IQ
#3
music theory is basically an the study of what sounds go toghether you dont need it to be honest but it doesnt hurt to be able to explain what youre doing especially when youre playing with people
PSimonR
PSR
Join date: Nov 2010
83 IQ
#4
If you want to be a "rock star" then it really does not matter, you will either be successful or, more likely, you will fail.
If you want to be a professional musician and earn an living from it, you really need to learn a whole lot of theory - and why not - it won't hurt you and will make it a lot easier to work out how to play stuff.
cellofreak42
Registered User
Join date: Dec 2011
274 IQ
#5
If you plan on getting really advanced at any instrument, theory will help you know how to get around the neck/keyboard/whatever, and it will also help you if you plan on writing music of your own. Also, it really helps to be able to discuss theory with other musicians and actually know what you're talking about. So yeah.
Macabre_Turtle
UG's UGer
Join date: Oct 2006
640 IQ
#6
Do you just want to learn other people's music for fun, or do you want to make your own? Because if you want your own, the advantage some good music theory can give you absolutely unmissable. Yes, some great musicians manage to make great music without knowing theory, but even those musicians would be so much more if they actually bothered to study up on their craft. Ignore those that say you don't need it. Don't hold yourself back just because theory takes a bit of study time.
Jacques-Henri
Registered User
Join date: Aug 2012
55 IQ
#7
I like to know theory to help me understand why the music I write sounds good.
rybread3
Registered User
Join date: Jan 2012
92 IQ
#8
It was said in other words above, but I saw this, so I have a response. Music theory is great for a few reasons. One, it's good for being able to tell if a tab or lesson is accurate, because you'll be able to tell if a note being played is out of key. Learning stuff by ear, because you'll be able to detect a scale or rythmic pattern easier than without a background in theory. Lastly, when you write something, because there's less chance it will suck.

~Rybread3~
rockxwl
Registered User
Join date: Jun 2006
335 IQ
#9
Because with theory you can explain what you're doing to others and because you can form the structure of a song in your head.
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travislausch
UG's Haibane Renmei fan.
Join date: Apr 2002
6,499 IQ
#10
Trying to become a musician without learning theory is like becoming a Pulitzer-winning author without a proper grasp of the English language. You might manage to do it, but you sure as hell won't know what you're talking about, or be able to easily communicate your ideas to other musicians. Music is a language, and learning the vocabulary, grammar, and spelling help with understanding why music works the way it does.
I can't help wondering things like "What's Bob Dylan doing now? Is he at home, eating a big bowl of corn flakes just like I will, later on when I return back home?"
AeolianWolf
Tonal Vigilante
Join date: Jul 2009
186 IQ
#11
Quote by LeeAlacoque
I was just reading up on some basics. I got to scales and I still don't know why I should know this stuff. Major scale is WWHWWWH, minor scale is WHWWHWW. The same thing but starting at a different spot. I don't get why this is important or why it would help me. All I can tell is that this order of notes sounds like they go together


because there's a big, big, big difference between playing music and understanding music.

it's the sort of thing that makes the difference between a high school 5 paragraph essay and a treatise by a literary master.
Anfangen ist leicht, Beharren eine Kunst.
AlanHB
Godin's Resident Groupie
Join date: Aug 2008
1,703 IQ
#12
Basically so you know what sounds good instead of guessing.
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
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cdgraves
Registered User
Join date: Jan 2013
43 IQ
#13
Learning your scales isn't exactly "Theory". It's on the level of basic spelling and grammer. Just as you don't have to be a trained Linguist to speak a language decently, you don't have to know a bunch of theory to play guitar. BUT having a standard level of literacy will certainly help you develop.
Akherousia
Registered User
Join date: Sep 2010
68 IQ
#14
The more you understand the mechanics behind something, the more efficient you can be with it. Additionally, learning theory takes the 'luck' out of the equation and incorporates a tangible foundation of knowledge to work with rather than relying solely on intuition.

It's not absolutely necessary if you're just playing as a hobbyist or in a moderately serious band, but theory can't really hurt you so I don't see any reason not to explore it further. Once you start to get more familiarized with it, you'll start to make connections and it'll spark additional creativity while widening your capabilities as a whole. So really.. why risk depriving yourself of that?
LeeAlacoque
Registered User
Join date: Nov 2010
1,104 IQ
#15
So I've gotten to key signatures now. As far as I can tell this is just a way to simplify writing. I thought keys had something to do with what notes were in a piece of music?

I might want to make my own songs someday but I still don't see how this is going to help. By the way, I'm using the lessons on musictheory.net. Maybe they're just not in-depth enough or something?
TheHydra
Registered User
Join date: Aug 2011
421 IQ
#16
Music theory is a reptilian invention designed to subjugate mankind by draining its most important means of expression, music, of all inherent emotional value. Do not attempt to learn it, whatever you do.
Akherousia
Registered User
Join date: Sep 2010
68 IQ
#17
^The best way to learn something is to utterly submerge yourself in it.
I recommend grabbing every book (physical or otherwise), documentary, and online resource you can possibly get your hands on and just diving in. MusicTheory.net is pretty simplistic in its approach (though I wouldn't call it a bad site) but even if it were the most extensive it's still a good rule of thumb to approach a new subject from as many angles as possible.

People have a habit of avoiding that approach because we hate being taught things we 'already know' but this is crucial in the learning stages, it's repetition that helps us properly solidify something into our memory.
LeeAlacoque
Registered User
Join date: Nov 2010
1,104 IQ
#18
Also, something I've been wondering is, is there a science to music? Like why certain combinations of notes sound good to the human ear? And why is all music made with the same notes? What if I moved the frets on my guitar to 2/3 their normal lengths?
AlanHB
Godin's Resident Groupie
Join date: Aug 2008
1,703 IQ
#19
^^^ Probably conditioning - you probably wouldn't have the same thoughts on traditional Indian songs or Gregorian chants.

And the answer to your frets question is that the resulting notes on the frets would fall in between the notes which make up western scales.
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
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AeolianWolf
Tonal Vigilante
Join date: Jul 2009
186 IQ
#20
Quote by LeeAlacoque
I might want to make my own songs someday but I still don't see how this is going to help


i suggest you try. you'll fall flat on your face without theory unless your ear is phenomenal.
Anfangen ist leicht, Beharren eine Kunst.
LeeAlacoque
Registered User
Join date: Nov 2010
1,104 IQ
#21
Quote by AlanHB

And the answer to your frets question is that the resulting notes on the frets would fall in between the notes which make up western scales.


But would you be able to make music that sounds good with it?
GoldenGuitar
Organiser of Sound
Join date: Apr 2007
291 IQ
#22
Quote by LeeAlacoque
But would you be able to make music that sounds good with it?

'Sounds good' is highly subjective, but the short answer is yes. If you're skilled enough you can even make the sound of someone dropping a coin onto a coffee table 'sound good'.
food1010
Bassist
Join date: Jun 2007
1,660 IQ
#23
Quote by LeeAlacoque
But would you be able to make music that sounds good with it?
Define "good" for me. If you were to describe it as something that sounds relatively pleasing to the general population, then I would say probably not. Centuries of using 12 tone equal temperament has conditioned people to hear music as a specific set of intervals. Any intervals outside of that set may sound "weird" or "wrong" to most people.

Then again, feel free to try. If you can pull it off, more power to you.

Be aware that there are other possible tuning systems that have been used before, such as 53 tone equal temperament.
Only play what you hear. If you don’t hear anything, don’t play anything.
-Chick Corea
Last edited by food1010 at Feb 10, 2013,
TheHydra
Registered User
Join date: Aug 2011
421 IQ
#24
Quote by LeeAlacoque
But would you be able to make music that sounds good with it?


http://www.ethanhein.com/wp/2010/blue-notes/

http://www.amazon.com/Easley-Blackwood-Microtonal/dp/B000009KIL

http://www.cityoftheasleep.com/music

http://launch.groups.yahoo.com/group/MakeMicroMusic/message/16277

Yes.

And just for fun, to the comment about making anything sound good:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a9mg4KHqRPw

Trust your ears and you can go anywhere.
CarsonStevens
Rocksmith
Join date: Sep 2010
688 IQ
#25
Quite honestly, anyone who asks "Why do I need to learn theory?", or who doesn't see the point of it after learning the major scale, simply doesn't know enough to be able to form a valid opinion.

It's like how when I was in freshman Geometry and got annoyed at stuff like surface normals. Why the hell would I ever need to know which way a plane was facing? When am I ever going to use that in life?

Fast-forward twenty years and I'm a graphics programmer doing backface culling. Ohhhh, NOW I get it...

Just keep learning. It'll pay off eventually, even if all that happens is that you learn enough to know for sure that you won't need it. You have to know the rules in order to know when to break them.

At the very least, it'll keep you from looking like a derp when you jam with people who don't know the song you're trying to play and ask you how it goes. I was playing bass with a few friends once, and they wanted to do this song I hadn't learned, so I said, "What's the chord progression?", and the guy looked at me like a dog looks at a ceiling fan. I had to walk him through his guitar part note by note and look at where his fingers fell on the fretboard, because he didn't know what he was playing.
Last edited by CarsonStevens at Feb 10, 2013,
jazz_rock_feel
UG Resident
Join date: Jun 2006
2,342 IQ
#26
Quote by TheHydra

And just for fun, to the comment about making anything sound good:



Trust your ears and you can go anywhere.


I can't tell if you're being anti- or pro-Varese, so I've prepared an answer for both scenarios.

Anti- : Don't talk shit about Varese.

Pro- :
Macabre_Turtle
UG's UGer
Join date: Oct 2006
640 IQ
#27
Quote by LeeAlacoque
So I've gotten to key signatures now. As far as I can tell this is just a way to simplify writing. I thought keys had something to do with what notes were in a piece of music?

I might want to make my own songs someday but I still don't see how this is going to help. By the way, I'm using the lessons on musictheory.net. Maybe they're just not in-depth enough or something?


The key is the note that a piece resolves to, and whether it's 'major' or 'minor' tells you specifically what chord it resolves to. Each key also contains a certain set of notes, which are important to remember, even though you're more than free to use the notes between them. If you can't see how this is going to help, then you haven't actually used the information in the lessons your reading. Don't just read the lessons and memorize them. Write something with them. musictheory.net is more than in depth enough for beginners.
OurRequiem
Registered User
Join date: Jan 2010
1,804 IQ
#28
In my experience theory has not helped me write anything, i've tried to incorporate it into my playing and it's useless. I'd much rather just run around on the neck and figure it out like that, i know what sounds good together and jumping around until you get it right for me works a whole hell of alot better. Never wrote anything good or unique trying to use theory. Maybe i never learned the right parts or didnt learn it the right way, but at this point i don't care, i see it like this, theory is like a manual for writing music, and the last time i checked no one used a manual to make anything unique or oringinal. I got tired of reading about all theory shit and trying to make it all make sense, when i could have used that time to play my insturment and improve my skills. Theory will do a good job improving your reading skills tho.

So my advice don't even waste your time studying it, when you could be using that time to practice your insturment and actually get better. work on techniques of playing rather than a theory of playing. So stupid...
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Macabre_Turtle
UG's UGer
Join date: Oct 2006
640 IQ
#29
Quote by OurRequiem
In my experience theory has not helped me write anything, i've tried to incorporate it into my playing and it's useless. I'd much rather just run around on the neck and figure it out like that, i know what sounds good together and jumping around until you get it right for me works a whole hell of alot better. Never wrote anything good or unique trying to use theory. Maybe i never learned the right parts or didnt learn it the right way, but at this point i don't care, i see it like this, theory is like a manual for writing music, and the last time i checked no one used a manual to make anything unique or oringinal. I got tired of reading about all theory shit and trying to make it all make sense, when i could have used that time to play my insturment and improve my skills. Theory will do a good job improving your reading skills tho.

So my advice don't even waste your time studying it, when you could be using that time to practice your insturment and actually get better. work on techniques of playing rather than a theory of playing. So stupid...


I have never facepalmed this hard in my life.

If it didn't help you, you didn't learn it. That's all there is to it.

By the way, the band in your avatar knows no music theory and utterly fails at making anything original. Coming from somebody that actually likes them.
Last edited by Macabre_Turtle at Feb 10, 2013,
Morphogenesis26
UG Nerd
Join date: Apr 2011
468 IQ
#30
Quote by Macabre_Turtle
I have never facepalmed this hard in my life.

If it didn't help you, you didn't learn it. That's all there is to it.

By the way, the band in your avatar knows no music theory and utterly fails at making anything original. Coming from somebody that actually likes them.


It's not surprising given his avatar.

EDIT: Ninja'd by the person I quoted...
Last edited by Morphogenesis26 at Feb 10, 2013,
Macabre_Turtle
UG's UGer
Join date: Oct 2006
640 IQ
#31
Quote by Morphogenesis26
It's not surprising given his avatar.

EDIT: Ninja'd by the person I quoted...


LeeAlacoque
Registered User
Join date: Nov 2010
1,104 IQ
#32
So I'm getting farther and still don't understand how this could help me write music. One lesson was an analysis of a piece of O Canada and all it did was name each chord. Nothing about why these chords were used or anything. It just seems like stuff you would need to know if you wanted to write sheet music
Macabre_Turtle
UG's UGer
Join date: Oct 2006
640 IQ
#33
Quote by LeeAlacoque
So I'm getting farther and still don't understand how this could help me write music. One lesson was an analysis of a piece of O Canada and all it did was name each chord. Nothing about why these chords were used or anything. It just seems like stuff you would need to know if you wanted to write sheet music


By this point in the lessons, if my memory serves me correctly, you should a.) know every triad that fits diatonically in whatever key you want, and b.) be able to construct any triad you want by knowing which notes fit in them. If you can't do these things, and it's not helping you write music, then you haven't learned it right yet.
Morphogenesis26
UG Nerd
Join date: Apr 2011
468 IQ
#34
Quote by LeeAlacoque
So I'm getting farther and still don't understand how this could help me write music. One lesson was an analysis of a piece of O Canada and all it did was name each chord. Nothing about why these chords were used or anything. It just seems like stuff you would need to know if you wanted to write sheet music


What kind of music do you admire the most and want to write like?
Macabre_Turtle
UG's UGer
Join date: Oct 2006
640 IQ
#35
I know somebody has said this already, but you won't fully understand the usefulness of theory until it's already benefiting you. Do you intend on writing music. Because I can tell you that my ability to write improved tremendously immediately upon just taking a bit of time to learn (AND USE!) the basics of theory, and I promise most users on here will tell you the same.
LeeAlacoque
Registered User
Join date: Nov 2010
1,104 IQ
#36
Quote by Morphogenesis26
What kind of music do you admire the most and want to write like?


Metal. I would probably end up making black metal type stuff
AeolianWolf
Tonal Vigilante
Join date: Jul 2009
186 IQ
#37
Quote by LeeAlacoque
So I'm getting farther and still don't understand how this could help me write music. One lesson was an analysis of a piece of O Canada and all it did was name each chord. Nothing about why these chords were used or anything. It just seems like stuff you would need to know if you wanted to write sheet music


i'm really getting annoyed by your attitude. clearly you don't see any value in learning theory.

so just shut up and do things your way, and don't reap the benefits. it's that simple.

do it or don't. don't disrespect our time and yours by bitching about how you don't see the benefits.
Anfangen ist leicht, Beharren eine Kunst.
LeeAlacoque
Registered User
Join date: Nov 2010
1,104 IQ
#38
Quote by AeolianWolf
i'm really getting annoyed by your attitude. clearly you don't see any value in learning theory.

so just shut up and do things your way, and don't reap the benefits. it's that simple.

do it or don't. don't disrespect our time and yours by bitching about how you don't see the benefits.


Obviously I do see value in it if I'm attempting to learn some. Don't get all mad
Morphogenesis26
UG Nerd
Join date: Apr 2011
468 IQ
#39
Quote by LeeAlacoque
Metal. I would probably end up making black metal type stuff


Have you ever wondered what makes the Black Metal bands you like sound good to you? If you take knowledge of intervals, harmony, rhythm, voiceleading, and etc. you can pinpoint what makes stuff you enjoy work faster and recreate it with ease. That's the point of theory and you won't understand how useful it is until you put it into practice.

So, to summarize; Go and analyze some Mayhem riffs or something and think about why it works.
D..W..
Registered User
Join date: Dec 2012
21 IQ
#40
Quote by LeeAlacoque
Also, something I've been wondering is, is there a science to music? Like why certain combinations of notes sound good to the human ear? And why is all music made with the same notes? What if I moved the frets on my guitar to 2/3 their normal lengths?


Yes, there is a science to why things sound good in music.
It's called Music Theory.
Certain bunches of notes sounding good can be explained in theory. As for all music being made with the same notes- You have 12 notes, and then you have the same note repeated an octave higher. So technically there are endless different notes (as none sound exactly the same), but we label them by what sounds the closest (albeit higher or lower). And if you use a chromatic tuner, you'll notice that one octave is equivalent to twice the frequency. (for example, open E on a bass is 42-i think- and open E on a guitar is 84-Again, i think. The numbers may not be exactly correct but the point is there, the octave is twice that of the octave before it). Also, we only have those twelve notes because of how tuning works. (This part gets more science then theory, we just take being in tune as a given factor when applying music theory) When you tune your guitar, you usually are tuning it with the reference point being A=440Hz. Therefore B,C,D and so on are in relation to that. I have heard of people with interesting reasons as to why 440Hz is bad and tune to 432Hz instead (you can adjust most chromatic tuners). But then try jamming with those guys- you'll sound like crap (i.e. out of tune) because you're tuned differently. Although his sounds good with his own guitar and to anyone else tuned to 432Hz, you can't make notes in between A and Bb sound good with notes that are directly at A, or Bb or whatever note you want. They will always sound off (ever played an out-of-tune guitar? You know what I mean). Why they sound off, I can't say, I just know that they do. (If that makes no sense, let me know, I'm not sure if it does or not.) In a sense it's just irreparably dissonant (to the point where it's just bad, not dissonant as in diminished chords, which can in fact sound good), which is why use half-steps and never quarter and eighth steps when talking about notes.
That's the theory portion of the answer.

The science behind your smaller frets thing would be actual science, but less in terms of why things sound good, and the physical science of making the right note come out of a string.
I'm I don't know for certain what would happen if you did that, although if you spoke to a good luthier he could probably tell exactly what it would do. I'm relatively sure, however, that you would need to put thinner strings on it and have a higher tuned instrument (like mandolins, ukuleles etc. Pretty small frets, pretty high notes). However, there a 1/2 and 3/4 size guitars out there, which I have never come up with a reasonable explanation for why they sound the same as a normal guitar (anyone know? I'm pretty curious about that lol). That's more of a physical thing then a sound thing.

It sounds like you might be going a bit too fast if you don't get it. Look for Josh Urban's series 'the crusades' for a decent beginner theory guide. It's here on UG, just give it a search. It starts at the beginning and I highly recommend reading each piece ALL THE WAY THROUGH, no matter how much you think you don't need to. He analyzes a few songs and does in fact explain why. And well, he's kinda funny too, which makes the 40 or so pages of reading enjoyable. (Try copying and pasting to your computer, printing and reading bit by bit if you don't want to read 40 pages off a screen). I would start there (read all 13 of them. By the end you get to some relatively complicated stuff, but it's good stuff to know, and he explains everything you need to understand that stuff).

Also, theory helps you more if you actually really get it. Musictheory.net has some good stuff but it never really helped me much, it just never seemed to go detailed enough.