#1
Hi guys need a little help,

I'm finally embarking on theory because I want to know it after 4yrs of playing, what things should I be learning? I've printed off a list of the major scales, how do I learn the natural minor scales? what should I be searching for?

I've almost learnt all the notes in the major scale in each key, next step I'm just going to learn each chord which occurs in each key etc.

Any advice appreciated.

Edit: What exactly is circle of 5ths all about can anyone explain?

Edit: also I can't figure out which key chords come into it's confusing as hell? for example I know for maj scale there are 3 major chords but for example what key am I playing in if I use chords D to A to C to G. Thats 4 majors?
Last edited by Captshiznit at Apr 24, 2013,
#3
The website that Geldin recommended is a very good website for music theory, but just be warned that it is not tailored to guitar, but rather music theory in general (in other words all examples are in standard notation & not tab. But I believe the first couple of lessons teach you to read standard notation.) But don't let that stop you, it's a much better way to learn music & you will probably have a better grasp on theory than people that just learn finger patterns & such.

Edit: What exactly is circle of 5ths all about can anyone explain?


I answered that in another thread just recently, Check it out
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#4
Quote by J-Dawg158
The website that Geldin recommended is a very good website for music theory, but just be warned that it is not tailored to guitar, but rather music theory in general (in other words all examples are in standard notation & not tab. But I believe the first couple of lessons teach you to read standard notation.) But don't let that stop you, it's a much better way to learn music & you will probably have a better grasp on theory than people that just learn finger patterns & such.


I answered that in another thread just recently, Check it out


Fantastic,

makes perfect sense,

thanks
#5
I would suggest the http://www.ibreathemusic.com/ forum.Never seen a sub par article there about anything....technique,theory whatever(and guitar oriented).Excelent solid site that has everything you wish for without the bullshit .
Last edited by Dreamdancer11 at Apr 24, 2013,
#6
Quote by Geldin
This belongs in Musician Talk, methinks.

Basic theory is pretty easy to approach if you have the right tools. http://www.musictheory.net/ does a really good job of explaining the basics in a structured and digestible way.

Methinks this too.

And theory is theory, the best way to learn it initially is to remove the guitar form the equation because you need to first understand that it IS univeral and not just a "guitar thing". Get a basic understanding of the concepts and what it is you're truly learning, then look at how it applies on the guitar.

Otherwise you're in danger of getting bogged down in a crapload of seemingly arbitrary shapes and patterns before you realyl know whay you're learning them
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#7
Quote by J-Dawg158
The website that Geldin recommended is a very good website for music theory, but just be warned that it is not tailored to guitar, but rather music theory in general (in other words all examples are in standard notation & not tab. But I believe the first couple of lessons teach you to read standard notation.) But don't let that stop you, it's a much better way to learn music & you will probably have a better grasp on theory than people that just learn finger patterns & such.

Personally, I find that learning theory in general (as opposed to the dumb'ed down guitar-based version which frequently focus on fretboard patterns and such) is much better anyway.
#8
Quote by steven seagull
Methinks this too.

And theory is theory, the best way to learn it initially is to remove the guitar form the equation because you need to first understand that it IS univeral and not just a "guitar thing". Get a basic understanding of the concepts and what it is you're truly learning, then look at how it applies on the guitar.

Otherwise you're in danger of getting bogged down in a crapload of seemingly arbitrary shapes and patterns before you realyl know whay you're learning them


I'm memorising all major scales etc first trying to figure out what chords go where etc,

Then later i'll do it on guitar. For now though just trying to get my head around it!
#9
Quote by Captshiznit
I'm memorising all major scales etc first trying to figure out what chords go where, etc.

Ok, one piece of advice I would have. You don't need to memorize all of the "major scales".

What I mean is, the intervals (number of steps or half-steps from one note to the next) will always be the same in any major key. So, rather than learning that, in C major, the chords will be: Cmaj, Dmin, Emin, Fmaj, Gmaj, Amin, and Bdim...learn the intervals. In other words, the tonic chord (the chord which the key resolves to) in any major scale will have the tonic as the root, have a major third, and have a perfect 5th. Learn the same process of understanding the notes each other chord in any major key will have. (I realize that terms like "tonic", "major third", "perfect fifth", etc. may not make sense to you yet, but you'll get very familiar with such terms as you study basic theory.) In Cmajor, the tonic chord happens to be any variation of a Cmajor chord. The intervals of the chords is more important than learning chord shapes or what chord fits what major key. Does that make sense?

Btw, one thing to note is that the chords of a major key (commonly called "diatonic chords") are not the only chords you can play in that key. They're simply the chords that are constructed using the key signature, and they will always sound "right" in a major key. Again, make sense?

Also, learn what notation like I, ii, iii, IV, V, vi, vii° means. (Hint: that's a way of notating the diatonic chords of the major key. But learn why some of those are lowercase Roman numerals and some are uppercase Roman numerals and what the "°" symbol on the last chord means.)

Edit:
I know that's a lot to take in right now, and you probably didn't understand most of it. If you go through site Geldin linked though, it should all make sense in good time.
Last edited by crazysam23_Atax at Apr 24, 2013,
#10
Pretty much all the advice you've been given so far is great, listen to it xD
Also, if you want a quick way to learn natural minor scales, just learn about relative minors - I'm on Grade 5 theory and it hasn't failed me yet:
If you don't know already, every major scale has a relative minor scale, of which the notes are exactly the same. For example, the notes of C major are C, D, E, F, G, A, B, C. Meanwhile, the notes of its relative minor key, A minor are A, B, C, D, E, F, G, A - exactly the same.
The relative minor of a major key its root three semitones below that of the major key: so for C major its A minor, for D its B minor, etc etc
Hope that helps
#11
Quote by Captshiznit
Edit: also I can't figure out which key chords come into it's confusing as hell? for example I know for maj scale there are 3 major chords but for example what key am I playing in if I use chords D to A to C to G. Thats 4 majors?

What key you are in is about where the chord progression resolves to (ie, the chord that feels like "home" and you would most likely end your song with this chord. You'll find it out just by listening to the progression). Those chords could be in any key. But in this case you would be in D major and the C would be a borrowed chord. You can borrow chords from other keys. This might sound very confusing and I don't know if you understood anything about what I said.

You don't determine the key just by looking at which scale most of the notes belong to because different chords function differently in a different context. You need to use your ears and hear where it resolves to. And that's your key.
Quote by AlanHB
Just remember that there are no boring scales, just boring players.

Gear

Bach Stradivarius 37G
Charvel So Cal
Fender Dimension Bass
Hartke HyDrive 210c
Ibanez BL70
Laney VC30
Tokai TB48
Yamaha FG720S-12
Yamaha P115
#12
Quote by Captshiznit
Hi guys need a little help,

I'm finally embarking on theory because I want to know it after 4yrs of playing, what things should I be learning? I've printed off a list of the major scales, how do I learn the natural minor scales? what should I be searching for?

I've almost learnt all the notes in the major scale in each key, next step I'm just going to learn each chord which occurs in each key etc.

Any advice appreciated.

Edit: What exactly is circle of 5ths all about can anyone explain?

Edit: also I can't figure out which key chords come into it's confusing as hell? for example I know for maj scale there are 3 major chords but for example what key am I playing in if I use chords D to A to C to G. Thats 4 majors?


Natural minor scales: take a major scale, flat the 3rd, 6th, and 7th. You have a natural minor scale.

chords in major keys: Major I, minor ii, minor iii, Major IV, Major V, Minor VI, Diminished vii
(In the key of C, this would be C, D minor, E minor, F, G, A minor, B diminished
#13
Quote by MaggaraMarine
What key you are in is about where the chord progression resolves to (ie, the chord that feels like "home" and you would most likely end your song with this chord. You'll find it out just by listening to the progression). Those chords could be in any key. But in this case you would be in D major and the C would be a borrowed chord. You can borrow chords from other keys. This might sound very confusing and I don't know if you understood anything about what I said.

You don't determine the key just by looking at which scale most of the notes belong to because different chords function differently in a different context. You need to use your ears and hear where it resolves to. And that's your key.


Oh crapp so I've just been thrown into more confusion LOL, I see what you are getting at though. I thought you could tell a key a song is in by looking at the chords that occur and comparing them to the major scale. Ie key of C has 3 major chords C F and G. So if you are using those that's the key you're in? but say you use those chords but start and end of F that means you are in key of F? but none of those chords major occur in F scale?

Really appreciate all the help though.... this is damn tough but i've put it off for years so it's time to learn.
Last edited by Captshiznit at Apr 24, 2013,
#14
Quote by Captshiznit
Oh crapp so I've just been thrown into more confusion LOL, I see what you are getting at though. I thought you could tell a key a song is in by looking at the chords that occur and comparing them to the major scale. Ie key of C has 3 major chords C F and G. So if you are using those that's the key you're in? but say you use those chords but start and end of F that means you are in key of F? but none of those chords major occur in F scale?

Really appreciate all the help though.... this is damn tough but i've put it off for years so it's time to learn.

Yeah, you can use whatever chords in whatever key. And yeah, that progression could be in F major. For example F-G-C-F could be in an F major song. In this progression the G chord functions as a secondary dominant (I-V/V-V-I, V/V being the secondary dominant of V). But remember that F-G-C-F isn't always in F major. It depends on the chords played before and after it. So even if you start and end with an F major chord, it doesn't necessarily mean you are in F major.

OK, this started sounding too complicated. You need to learn the chord functions. For example in F major they would be I = F, ii = Gm, iii = Am, IV = Bb, V = C, vi = Dm, vii(dim) = E diminished. All these chords are derived from the F major scale and they are diatonic chords (ie, not borrowed from any other key). You can do the same with any scale and you get the diatonic chords.

If the progression was G-F-C-G, it could be in G major (I-bVII-IV-I). In this case F would be a borrowed chord.
Quote by AlanHB
Just remember that there are no boring scales, just boring players.

Gear

Bach Stradivarius 37G
Charvel So Cal
Fender Dimension Bass
Hartke HyDrive 210c
Ibanez BL70
Laney VC30
Tokai TB48
Yamaha FG720S-12
Yamaha P115
#16
Quote by MaggaraMarine
Yeah, you can use whatever chords in whatever key. And yeah, that progression could be in F major. For example F-G-C-F could be in an F major song. In this progression the G chord functions as a secondary dominant (I-V/V-V-I, V/V being the secondary dominant of V). But remember that F-G-C-F isn't always in F major. It depends on the chords played before and after it. So even if you start and end with an F major chord, it doesn't necessarily mean you are in F major.

OK, this started sounding too complicated. You need to learn the chord functions. For example in F major they would be I = F, ii = Gm, iii = Am, IV = Bb, V = C, vi = Dm, vii(dim) = E diminished. All these chords are derived from the F major scale and they are diatonic chords (ie, not borrowed from any other key). You can do the same with any scale and you get the diatonic chords.

If the progression was G-F-C-G, it could be in G major (I-bVII-IV-I). In this case F would be a borrowed chord.



I wouldn't bother worrying about secondary functions until you fully grasp basic chord functionality
#17
Quote by Tyson2011
I wouldn't bother worrying about secondary functions until you fully grasp basic chord functionality

Yeah, I noticed it when I wrote my post. I'm pretty sure it was too complicated to understand. But TS can just ignore the part where I was talking about secondary dominants.
Quote by AlanHB
Just remember that there are no boring scales, just boring players.

Gear

Bach Stradivarius 37G
Charvel So Cal
Fender Dimension Bass
Hartke HyDrive 210c
Ibanez BL70
Laney VC30
Tokai TB48
Yamaha FG720S-12
Yamaha P115
#18
the best thing to do alongside learning theory is to start transcribing music and learning it by ear.

think of theory like a cooking recipe and your ear as your sense of taste. if you follow a recipe too strictly, you're going to lose context and might end up with a poor result; similarly, if you simply go by taste, you might find yourself to be lacking a clear vision.

with a balanced understanding of both the components of music, and simply what intuitively works from hearing it, however, you'll end up with a beautiful pork chop. or something
modes are a social construct
#19
Quote by Captshiznit
... what key am I playing in if I use chords D to A to C to G. Thats 4 majors?


D-A-C-G could be analyzed as being a I-V-bVII-IV progression in the key of D major where the C (bVII) is the "borrowed chord".

Quote by MaggaraMarine

... If the progression was G-F-C-G, it could be in G major (I-bVII-IV-I). In this case F would be a borrowed chord...


If the progression was G-F-C-G, a section of a song could ALSO be in G Mixolydian. It could still be notated it in the "Key of C", no sharps/ no flats, to keep things simpler and reduce the number of accidentals in the staff.
Last edited by ha_asgag at Apr 25, 2013,
#20
Quote by ha_asgag
If the progression was G-F-C-G, a section of a song could ALSO be in G Mixolydian.

NO! NO! NO!

That is not how you use modes. Modes are not tonal, and therefore don't typically use chord progressions.
Last edited by crazysam23_Atax at Apr 25, 2013,
#21
Quote by crazysam23_Atax
NO! NO! NO!

That is not how you use modes. Modes are not tonal, and therefore don't typically use chord progressions.


Yes! Yes! Yes! Ever heard of the term "modal progressions"? Each mode has it's own tonic triad, dominant triad... etc.
Last edited by ha_asgag at Apr 25, 2013,
#22
Quote by ha_asgag
Yes! Yes! Yes! Ever heard of "modal progressions"?

few examples? We hear that term mis-used often. Sure
#23
Quote by Peaceful Rocker
few examples? We hear that term mis-used often. Sure


e.g. Metallica's "The Wait" = E Phrygian.
Lynyrd Skynyrd - Sweet Home Alabama = D Mixolydian
#24
Solid response.

Thanks, most people on this board will tell you "modal chord progressions" don't exist.

Mainly because, any chord progression will resolve to a key. Modes exist more commonly when vamping on one or two chords. This is the case in "The wait". It's not really a progression. When the song does build into more of a progression during the chorus it resolves to a key.

Sweet home alabama. There's been dispute on. I remember reading, even members of the band argued as to what key it was in. Just goes to show you.....

But I think it's in G Major. So again i'd disagree to that being "modal".
Last edited by Peaceful Rocker at Apr 25, 2013,
#25
Quote by Peaceful Rocker

...Sweet home alabama...

...But I think it's in G Major. So again i'd disagree to that being "modal".


Just by playing the first 8 bars of the song, will tell you that the progression does not resolve to G and so with playing the first guitar solo - it does not resolve to G either so there must be a different tonal center - "D".

It does however seem to rest on G on the last note of the second guitar solo.

Of course, in standard notation you would normally use a G major key signature even though the tonal center is some cases would be "D".
Last edited by ha_asgag at Apr 25, 2013,
#26
Quote by Captshiznit
I'm memorising all major scales etc first trying to figure out what chords go where etc,

Then later i'll do it on guitar. For now though just trying to get my head around it!

just study the theory behind the major scale and you'll know all of them without memorizing each individually, it's much more beneficial

people who are learning theory tend to approach it via memorization, but it's best treated the same as something like math or computer programming - learn what's going on and apply it wherever you can to solidify an understanding of those concepts
#27
Quote by ha_asgag
Yes! Yes! Yes! Ever heard of the term "modal progressions"? Each mode has it's own tonic triad, dominant triad... etc.

No, they don't. That's using modes in a tonal manner. Essentially, people decided, "Hey, let's use modes in the same way we use keys", which totally defeated the purpose and is NOT modal. All that really occurs is that you have a 7 chord progression that is either major or minor and has non-diatonic chords.

Quote by ha_asgag
Just by playing the first 8 bars of the song, will tell you that the progression does not resolve to G and so with playing the first guitar solo - it does not resolve to G either so there must be a different tonal center - "D".

It does however seem to rest on G on the last note of the second guitar solo.

Of course, in standard notation you would normally use a G major key signature even though the tonal center is some cases would be "D".

And the fact that it resolves at all means it has a key. Modes are purely about melody; they don't resolve harmonically. This is why modes commonly use 2-chord vamps (or other forms of non-resolving chordal vamps) underneath the main melody.
Last edited by crazysam23_Atax at Apr 25, 2013,
#28
Quote by ha_asgag
Just by playing the first 8 bars of the song, will tell you that the progression does not resolve to G and so with playing the first guitar solo - it does not resolve to G either so there must be a different tonal center - "D".

It does however seem to rest on G on the last note of the second guitar solo.

Of course, in standard notation you would normally use a G major key signature even though the tonal center is some cases would be "D".

A lot of people think this way. I hear Gmaj when I hear it. Definantly not modal though. Just bluesy
#29
That piece of shit song is in G.

Songs composed in the Mixolydian actually sound different. Listen to "Limb By Limb" by Phish

Quote by crazysam23_Atax
And the fact that it resolves at all means it has a key. Modes are purely about melody; they don't resolve harmonically. This is why modes commonly use 2-chord vamps (or other forms of non-resolving chordal vamps) underneath the main melody.


Incorrect - there's no rule that being "modal" precludes the use of a dominant V. Even ancient church music used 7-1, 2-1, and 5-1 melodic resolutions in tonicization, regardless whether it was diatonic.
Last edited by cdgraves at Apr 25, 2013,
#31
Quote by cdgraves
Incorrect - there's no rule that being "modal" precludes the use of a dominant V.

I never said there was. However, SWHA is NOT modal.
#32
Clarification is needed. If you're talking about "traditional" conservatory, gregorian chant types of mode understanding, then I bow out. I stand with the camp that, in modern music of today, that approach is no longer as relevant, use the word "church music", and, I no longer care about your argument, it's so "who cares, its older than dirt" long ago.

If you go with CST ala Berklee, where every chord in the moment is the tonal center, again, I bow out. I "get" it, I just think the premise is stupid. Oh in C play G mixo over the G7, for that is Mixolydian...yeah, thanks.

If you go with the popular, "charactoristic note" accented and highlighted in accompanying chords, yes, I'll give some credence, so long as the dominant chord isn't evoked from the derivative major key, so that it want's to "balance out" and hijack the song to that derivative major key (always amusing, though)

If you go with the tonal centre being static, and accented throughout, then again, I go with that. Take Moondance. Am Bm/A D/A, I would say is A Dorian, in the sense that the A natural min with it's b6 clashes with the nat 6 in those chords, so Dorian fits better.

I also ascribe to Frank Gambale, and his approach of the I IV V against the tonal center being constant, on the grounds that whatever major or minor you'd postulate over the "tonal" center, now "clashes". Again, not according to "traditional" functions, but certainly more modern tonal approaches and applications.

Best,

Sean
Last edited by Sean0913 at Apr 26, 2013,
#33
Quote by cdgraves
That piece of shit song is in G.


hahaha i love you man

big nod to sean's post too, that's probably the way i see it all nowadays.
modes are a social construct
Last edited by Hail at Apr 26, 2013,
#34
Quote by crazysam23_Atax
I never said there was.


Quote by crazysam23_Atax
Modes are purely about melody; they don't resolve harmonically.


Uh huh.

But yeah, you're wrong, go listen to a Palestrina motet and try to pick out a two chord vamp and then come back when you've actually learned something.
.
#35
Quote by cdgraves
That piece of shit song is in G.

Songs composed in the Mixolydian actually sound different. Listen to "Limb By Limb" by Phish


Might be in F Mixolydian but it doesn't sound like a song. Was that shit song composed?
#36
Quote by Captshiznit

Edit: What exactly is circle of 5ths all about can anyone explain?

Edit: also I can't figure out which key chords come into it's confusing as hell? for example I know for maj scale there are 3 major chords but for example what key am I playing in if I use chords D to A to C to G. Thats 4 majors?


Don't try to learn theory by googling around the internet.

Either go to musictheory.net and work your way through the lessons in order, to pick up a good book. I like Harmony and Theory by Shroeder and Wyatt. I think it's better than the free resources you'll find on the internet, and costs under $20, but I know how obsessed the UG community tends to be by "free."

The trick is to build up your knowledge from a solid foundation. Your questions about what key your in, for example, is indicative of a profound misunderstanding. You can have a LOT more than three majors chords in a key. But rather than answer that question I'm just going to point you at those resources, and encourage you to get at it. The answers to your questions will become clear as you develop your understanding.
#37
Quote by ha_asgag
Might be in F Mixolydian but it doesn't sound like a song. Was that shit song composed?


I believe we were discussing harmony, not structure. It's a characteristically Mixolydian song, because the F7 is the tonic.
#38
Quote by ha_asgag
Might be in F Mixolydian but it doesn't sound like a song. Was that shit song composed?

What? Could you have been any more pretentious in your response? (Yes, the song structure is badly done, I know.) The "main part" of the song is basically a modal vamp with the singer/lead guitar providing the melody.

Quote by Nietsche
Uh huh.

But yeah, you're wrong, go listen to a Palestrina motet and try to pick out a two chord vamp and then come back when you've actually learned something.

Wasn't Palestrina part of the Roman School, which was moving more towards development of harmony as we use it today? Iirc, the "members" of the Roman School used a lot of polyphony, including Palestrina himself.

Granted, his motets are still modal; however, two chord vamps are hardly the only way to provide rhythmic parts in a modal song. (In fact, if done correctly, you don't even need a definitive rhythm part. Church music never really had a "rhythmic vamp", for instance.) But his stuff is basically two or more melodies laid against each other that resolved melodically.

Modes resolve melodically, not harmonically. That's their nature.
Last edited by crazysam23_Atax at Apr 26, 2013,
#39
Quote by Sean0913

Best,

Sean


I don't think CST is meant to be more than a learning tool. You wouldn't run chord-scales over a traditional ii V I, but if you're playing actual modal music where there is a lot more space, you can deconstruct the harmony and re-combine the chord tones as a scale.
#40
Quote by cdgraves
I don't think CST is meant to be more than a learning tool. You wouldn't run chord-scales over a traditional ii V I, but if you're playing actual modal music where there is a lot more space, you can deconstruct the harmony and re-combine the chord tones as a scale.


I'd agree with that; I just don't think many catch that idea.

Best,

Sean