#1
So I've been using this great desktop and mobile flashcard app called Anki. (I started using it to learn french and am now using it for memorizing music related info)

I'm trying to think of ideas for music theory content that fits well in the flashcard format that's good for memorization.

Here's a few things I've put in so far.

Recite circle of fifths ascending and descending
chords of the major, minor, melodic and harmonic minor scale
all the modes of major scale and their tones
key signatures
triad and 7th chord formulas
Steps of the major and natural minor scales

Does anyone have any ideas for more music topics to add in that lend itself to rote memorization? (This is of course in addition to proper study of concepts, a lot of which I already have down)
#2
Thanks, I have difficulty with the CAGED note progressions, I am not sure if this is applicable to your content.

I checked out Anki... awesome app! Expensive though. If I purchased it, would your content be available?

Thanks
#3
Hm, never thought of flash cards for music stuff. I've personally never found flash cards very helpful for anything. Maybe to drill the night before a test, but for it to actually stick in long term memory I have to learn by actually using it. But if it works for you

The only other thing I can think of is maybe some stuff for intervals. Like the names 1 = unison, b2 = minor second, 2 = major second, b3 = minor third, etc.

You could maybe do interval inversions, like A to C is a minor 3rd ascending, but it's a major 6th descending, or a minor 2nd ascending is a major 7th descending. This isn't particularly hard though since you can just remember that the two number add up to nine and you just swap the major and minor, except on the perfect 4th and perfect 5th, in which case they still add up to nine, but they both stay perfect, and a tritone up is a tritone down. I've also never really seen the point in knowing that.
#4
same concept but actually worth doing: using ear training software to test your interval knowledge

even when you're reading on a sheet of paper, you're going to go by your ear before you go by raw theory, even when doing counterpoint
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#5
Thanks guys, I thought it went without saying but this is obviously supplemental to proper music study. There definitely are some things in music that lend itself to memorization. For example memorizing all the sharps and flats in all key sigs, the various scale tones of whatever scale/mode you're working in. Harmonizing scales/modes. Yes you can work most of this stuff out based on knowing the concepts. But it's lot less frustrating when you can immediately recall all the sharp notes of the key you're writing a song in.

Quote by Hail
same concept but actually worth doing: using ear training software to test your interval knowledge

even when you're reading on a sheet of paper, you're going to go by your ear before you go by raw theory, even when doing counterpoint


Is there tried and true ear training software around that helps with this? Preferably mobile friendly? (If you couldn't tell I ride the subway a lot and am trying to maximize my time while riding it)
#6
miles.be used to get recommended a lot, honestly pretty much any interval training will work

Quote by Funkfish
For example memorizing all the sharps and flats in all key sigs, the various scale tones of whatever scale/mode you're working in. Harmonizing scales/modes.


you play guitar. learn your intervals. they're going to get you 99% of the way to understanding theory. i honestly don't think i've thought in terms of note names and sharps and flats outside of reference points in a pretty significant amount of time

you learn your notes from sightreading and your knowledge from ear training. scales and modes don't matter. know your arpeggios and intervals relative to them and you're pretty much set
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Last edited by Hail at Feb 22, 2016,
#7
I agree this stuff is pretty well covered by existing ear training sites. The theory is really not very difficult, but getting to know it requires application. Theory goes well beyond labeling chords and such. You could use flash cards for really basic stuff like naming notes and key sigs and inversions, but the analytical concepts require actually looking at pieces of music for minutes at a time (ie "What form is this 24 bar excerpt?" or "How is this modulation prepared and what technique is used?")
Last edited by cdgraves at Feb 22, 2016,
#8
i'll back up what i was saying which might come off harsh cause i have perpetual PMS

when you can hear something in your head already, it's much easier to put a name to it

bad analogy incoming: if you want to learn biology, the first thing you look at is the cell. it's the smallest unit of life (and deeper beyond that is the element, atom, organelles, &c.), but once you have a grasp on what a cell is, and how it functions, you can move onto tissues, and organs, and organ systems, and so on and so forth. if you were to try and describe complex systems without the unit, then move to the cell last and have all the lightbulbs click retrospectively, you're not getting the most out of your learning

most western theoretical concepts are really quite simple. at the end of the day, (again in standard western tonal music), there are 12 tones, and they can all be used as long as there's a sense of tension and a sense of resolution. everything else is just a phenomenon which occurs within (or as an exception) to these boundaries.

so if you can listen to music and point out the tonic chord, and the chord movement, and figure out the melody and understand how it interacts with things, you're actively training your interval knowledge within a context that is practical and constructive.

i mean, if you're taking a theory class, your professor might have a different approach, and there are times where you might need to use note cards, i guess, but the way i see it, you have a phone and headphones and ride the subway, right?

put on some music you haven't heard before and get a notepad and take notes if you can't transcribe. try and figure out the tonic, the melody, whatever you can figure out. dissect the music.

or, you could actively compose with some staff paper. listen to the music you're making in your head and make it a problem solving puzzle (which is all composition really is beyond the motif most of the time)

or go buy some cheap sheet music to sightsing to yourself

there are a million ways to study music theory, but the vast majority are about studying music and deriving/correlating the theory from there

you're doing too much without proper results if you're not establishing within yourself the tools to analyze and dissect music. it's all well in good if you know what scale tones are in the dorian mode, but do you know what dorian sounds like? do you know how much chord movement is "too much" if you want to be playing modally?

when you're playing, you're not thinking of sharps and flats and the note names. you're thinking of movement, you're thinking of the other musicians playing with you, you're thinking of the timbre and tone you're producing, you're thinking of what you're doing 20 bars from now, you're thinking of when to breathe.

these things just don't come from a book or vocabulary or flash cards, and unfortunately you can't just soak up information for a test like you can to fake your way through chemistry or statistics. you're learning a new language, a new logical methodology, a new syntax, and everything you put in is what you're going to get out. if you want to speak a language, at some point you gotta get your head out of the book and really practice

and i understand you say you study outside of this and this will come off sermon-y, but i tend to think the struggle most new people learning theory have isn't a motivation or focus issue so much as the way they think about and approach what they're doing on a meta level
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