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  1. #31
    oderint dum metuant Master.D.'s Avatar
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  2. #32
    Registered User Logicalypso's Avatar
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    Good thread. Here's a very general question for you: when composing, do you think it's better to start with theory (e.g., pick a mode or key) or to just try to capture as best as possible what you hear in your head? I don't know much theory but I've been doing extensive ear training recently, and I'm starting to transcribe music. My feeling is that if I have to start with theory, I don't even want to write music. If I can't get my ears trained well enough to literally write what I hear in my head spontaneously, I don't really see the point...

    So far I have very little trouble with melodic intervals, but I can't hear harmony with the level of accuracy that I'm aiming for. Any suggestions for hearing harmony better?
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  3. #33
    **** it rare_breed189's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Master.D. View Post
    Hmm, a friend of mine sent it to me so I'm not sure if you can download it for free off of the internet or not, but there's a program called "Finale 2006" which is good!

    Otherwise the only programs I could think of would be programs like GuitarPro and PowerTab Editor, but you would need to have a pretty good knowledge of where notes fall on the guitar to work those programs fluently.

    Gav
    Finale is awesome, although it usually runs about $100 dollars retail im sure you can find a torrent for it somewhere. Only bad thing about it, is that it doesnt run like GuitarPro or PowerTab. It is strictly for music composition, you cant download tabs to it like the other programs.....Or so ive heard

    If you still have the program and all can you send it to me? I know it doesnt mean much but ill rep you til I die.
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  4. #34
    Antrozous Vespertilio neowings's Avatar
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    I have the most unprofessional question to ask. Whenever I made a solo, I don't know what chord to fit that solo, or that mode/mood. They say that solos comes from chord but how do I pick chords to match the mood of that song??
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  5. #35
    oderint dum metuant Master.D.'s Avatar
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    Originally Posted by rare_breed189 View Post
    Finale is awesome, although it usually runs about $100 dollars retail im sure you can find a torrent for it somewhere. Only bad thing about it, is that it doesnt run like GuitarPro or PowerTab. It is strictly for music composition, you cant download tabs to it like the other programs.....Or so ive heard

    If you still have the program and all can you send it to me? I know it doesnt mean much but ill rep you til I die.
    Yeah bro, what's your e-mail address?
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  6. #36
    oderint dum metuant Master.D.'s Avatar
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    Originally Posted by neowings View Post
    I have the most unprofessional question to ask. Whenever I made a solo, I don't know what chord to fit that solo, or that mode/mood. They say that solos comes from chord but how do I pick chords to match the mood of that song??
    Hmm, that's a bit of a vague question but the only answer I can give is that it takes a fairly thorough theory knowledge to truly know how to add chords to a melody or solo.

    Basically you need to break your solo into sections and fit chords to each section.. for example:

    1) In the first bar of the solo you are going up and down playing the notes E, A and C#. Therefore you chord would be A major (A C# E, deduced using previously known theory knowledge)

    2) Next bar you pause on the note B. Therefore your chord could really be anything, but will most likely be E major (E G# B), B minor (B D F#), B major (B D# F#) etc..

    3) Lastly you play E harmonic minor scale up and down. Therefore your chord would probably be B major (B D# F#) as the dominant chord in any scale is the only chord classed as forming no dissonances with any other note in the scale.

    So yeah, it's fairly complicated what I've said so far and that is ignoring things like tonality and functional harmony. Better get learning!

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  7. #37
    oderint dum metuant Master.D.'s Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Logicalypso View Post
    Good thread. Here's a very general question for you: when composing, do you think it's better to start with theory (e.g., pick a mode or key) or to just try to capture as best as possible what you hear in your head? I don't know much theory but I've been doing extensive ear training recently, and I'm starting to transcribe music. My feeling is that if I have to start with theory, I don't even want to write music. If I can't get my ears trained well enough to literally write what I hear in my head spontaneously, I don't really see the point...

    So far I have very little trouble with melodic intervals, but I can't hear harmony with the level of accuracy that I'm aiming for. Any suggestions for hearing harmony better?
    Hmm, when it comes to composing someone who composes a lot or composes to a deadline may resort to composing using strictly theory knowledge only. However, most of the time the composer in question will hear a motif or theme in their head and then form a song from that.

    That said, theory knowledge is absolutely imperative if you actually want to write down what you hear. Sure, having a trained ear would be great - but your ear doesn't tell you "this note is a B, this rhythm goes 4-4-8-8 and therefore the time signature would be X and the key signature would be Y" nor does it give any insight into how you should structure your composition in terms of form and melodic contour or texture/instrumentation.

    Conclusion: 11 out of 10 composers will tell you that learning theory has made them want to compose moreso than when they didn't know theory as theory knowledge really does make you appreciate the subtle intricacies in music a lot more. Therefore, train your ear and train your brain and the rest will come naturally.

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  8. #38
    In for lulz Callaar21's Avatar
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    I'm a drummer and the guitarist and bassist I play with have some trouble incorporating 5/4 timing.

    I can really only explain it like this, even though I play the extra beat they don't neccessarily have to? What's a good way to help them along from your point of view because to be honest I know nothing about guitars.

    We usually go with what "sounds good" and it's been working to a varying degree but we wanna broaden our knowledge so to speak.
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  9. #39
    oderint dum metuant Master.D.'s Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Callaar21 View Post
    I'm a drummer and the guitarist and bassist I play with have some trouble incorporating 5/4 timing.

    I can really only explain it like this, even though I play the extra beat they don't neccessarily have to? What's a good way to help them along from your point of view because to be honest I know nothing about guitars.

    We usually go with what "sounds good" and it's been working to a varying degree but we wanna broaden our knowledge so to speak.
    Sorry bro, I don't reeeally get what you're saying. Especially this sentence didn't seem to make much sense: "even though I play the extra beat they don't neccessarily have to?"

    Could you please elaborate?
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  10. #40
    In for lulz Callaar21's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Master.D. View Post
    Sorry bro, I don't reeeally get what you're saying. Especially this sentence didn't seem to make much sense: "even though I play the extra beat they don't neccessarily have to?"

    Could you please elaborate?
    Ok lets say I play a 5/4 beat on the drums. Could they continue playing a 4/4 rythym on the guitars so long as it ends on the 20th beat? I know that would make 4 measures for me and 5 for them but this is what i'm trying to understand. Would this be ok music theory wise?

    Also when I listen to some bands it seems the drummer is doing a wierd time signature while the guitars seem to be keeping a easy 4/4 time.

    Basically does everything have to be together or can it deviate from a central pulse?
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  11. #41
    oderint dum metuant Master.D.'s Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Callaar21 View Post
    Ok lets say I play a 5/4 beat on the drums. Could they continue playing a 4/4 rythym on the guitars so long as it ends on the 20th beat? I know that would make 4 measures for me and 5 for them but this is what i'm trying to understand. Would this be ok music theory wise?

    Also when I listen to some bands it seems the drummer is doing a wierd time signature while the guitars seem to be keeping a easy 4/4 time.

    Basically does everything have to be together or can it deviate from a central pulse?
    Oh, I get you now.

    Yeah, it's called a polymeter which is where one instrument plays in one time signature and other instruments play in another.

    It is a technique used extensively by myself and bands such as Dream Theater, Meshuggah, Tool, etc.

    If you have time, watch this video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AVAzv8VmxkM and skip to 0:53 and you will see a demonstration of a polymeter in which they first do just guitars playing one time sig and drums playing another but then advance to the drums playing two different time signatures whilst the guitars play one.

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  12. #42
    VIP Member johnsbod's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by D Incorporated View Post
    The subject interests me greatly, especially as an aspiring composer, but I have yet to get any formal education in it. I listen to a huge variety of music for the majority of my days, so I understand a lot of things at an "instinctual" level, even if I don't know what they're officially called. People say I'm a natural at some things, but I don't know what they are; I've just developed a huge knack for what sounds "right" and "wrong".

    So if you don't mind me asking a general question - what exactly does music theory encompass? My first thought on hearing "music theory" is "haven't they tested the theories to see if they're verifiable or not?" I see three successive music theory classes at my local community college, and I'm considering taking them, but they give essentially no overview of what they'll be covering other than "composition" and I have no way of getting in touch with the instructor, so I'm wondering what your progression through your lessons was like and if it was a standard progression or not. It would help in deciding my upcoming class schedules.

    And if it makes a difference, my primary area of expertise when it comes to composing and playing instruments is percussion, thus I was hoping to learn more about melody and harmony from the classes.
    Undergraduate music theory is really just an introduction to the field. If you have any questions, feel free to ask me. I'm almost finished with my PhD in Music Theory.

    Originally Posted by Master.D. View Post
    Oh most definitely!

    A lot of 20th/21st century music - whilst one might not consider to be 'audibly appealing' (at least not me, I've never really been a fan of some of it) - uses a technique known as a "tone row" which is where the 12 notes of the standard chromatic scale are selected in a completely random order and thusly make the foundation of the composition's melody.
    The tone rows in serial music are far from random, although they sound that way. Composers put a lot of thought into their rows based on how they could be manipulated.

    Originally Posted by Master.D. View Post
    When they say 'music theory', they don't particular mean it in the way that you say it.. "haven't they tested the theories to see if they're verifiable or not?".. theory is just a term used to separate the practical aspect of music (i.e. playing or aural) from the written aspect of music.

    Rudimentary theory covers topics such as all the keys, scales, modes, time signatures, chords, intervals and basic harmony.
    More advanced theory covers four part harmony (harmonising a melody using four voices), counterpoint (two or more melodies that go in different directions), more advanced chord ideas and several other things.
    Not really completely true. Music theory is not a field related to composition or performance. It's the academic side of music, and although it was really popular several decades ago to offer degrees in music theory & composition, that has really gone out of fashion. Music theory is more related to musicology than it is to composition or performance. Also, there are plenty of theories on music. Rameau, Marpurg, Kirnberger, Schenker, etc are examples of theorists that wrote treatises on music theory. What you are describing above (theory classes up through counterpoint and 4-part harmony) is really considered basic music theory.

    I'm sorry to pick your post apart, but I'm passionate about this subject since it is my field.
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    oderint dum metuant Master.D.'s Avatar
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    Cool, now we have two people to help answer questions

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    I used to study theory a lot. I found it to handcuff me tho. It can help you but it can also hurt you as a player
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    Originally Posted by bignpisst View Post
    I used to study theory a lot. I found it to handcuff me tho. It can help you but it can also hurt you as a player
    What were you studying and where? It should help you as a player if you are studying it correctly.
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    Originally Posted by johnsbod View Post
    What were you studying and where? It should help you as a player if you are studying it correctly.
    I learned it on my own with books and such. It did help me to a point, but playing guitar mostly blues and metal I found it better to think outside the box
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    Originally Posted by johnsbod View Post
    What were you studying and where? It should help you as a player if you are studying it correctly.
    It's good to know that I'm not the only body builder that wants to study music XD.

    Can you please tell me a bit about what you've studied and learnt about music/theory?

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    Originally Posted by Master.D. View Post
    Oh, I get you now.

    Yeah, it's called a polymeter which is where one instrument plays in one time signature and other instruments play in another.

    It is a technique used extensively by myself and bands such as Dream Theater, Meshuggah, Tool, etc.

    If you have time, watch this video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AVAzv8VmxkM and skip to 0:53 and you will see a demonstration of a polymeter in which they first do just guitars playing one time sig and drums playing another but then advance to the drums playing two different time signatures whilst the guitars play one.

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    as strict as music theory is and with all these rules, would you say it's hard to create original music? is it even possible without being dissonant and tasteful to a specific audience?

    is music theory something every aspiring composer should know? i like to write guitar-based music in guitar pro 5, and i guess learning music theory could add structure and allow me to get the correct sounds i want, but i fear my music will lack originality.

    also, a bit less relating to music theory and more on instruments itself, in guitar pro 5, you can pretty much use any instrument you want, but it's still based off a guitar's range. how do i found out what notes are technically possible and at what octaves? and i don't know if there is any fancy name or way of telling which octaves are which. lol

    is it true that sound even follow rules of music theory? basically everything we here is notes?

    i have so many questions. but i can't remember them all! that and i don't want to ask a million questions.
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    Originally Posted by johnsbod View Post
    If you have any questions, feel free to ask me. I'm almost finished with my PhD in Music Theory.
    That is amazing! Congratulations on that! (I've always wanted to meet a person with a PhD in music theory).

    My question is this:

    How much of musical ability comes from innate talent? Does potential differ greatly from person to person? (For example, in bodybuilding genetics matter a lot- length of muscle bellies, proportion of fast twitch fibers, etc.,etc.)

    Is this something that was discussed in any of your classes?
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    I am very interested in this thread. I have about 2.5 yrs of guitar under my belt. I want to learn more about theory, I am very limiting with my knowledge of the notes and how to harmonize. I basically read tabs and listen to songs to learn them. I have had no formal lessons.
    Any advice on where to begin would be great.
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    Originally Posted by tikitariki View Post
    as strict as music theory is and with all these rules, would you say it's hard to create original music? is it even possible without being dissonant and tasteful to a specific audience?

    is music theory something every aspiring composer should know? i like to write guitar-based music in guitar pro 5, and i guess learning music theory could add structure and allow me to get the correct sounds i want, but i fear my music will lack originality.

    is it true that sound even follow rules of music theory? basically everything we here is notes?
    Music theory has almost always followed music in an attempt to describe it rather than prescribe what you have to do (out of nowhere). Basic music theory is something that every musician should know, and it shouldn't change your ability to write good, original music. Dissonances are accounted for in music theory, so I'm not sure what you're getting at there.

    If you are asking if sound is based on the overtone series, the answer is no. Many textbooks incorrectly state that it is, but since sound has been tempered from "pure" intervals in various tuning systems (around the time of Dunstable in the early 1400s), music has ceased to be based on nature. It is true, however, that everything has pitch.
    Originally Posted by Hesh View Post
    That is amazing! Congratulations on that! (I've always wanted to meet a person with a PhD in music theory).

    My question is this:

    How much of musical ability comes from innate talent? Does potential differ greatly from person to person? (For example, in bodybuilding genetics matter a lot- length of muscle bellies, proportion of fast twitch fibers, etc.,etc.)

    Is this something that was discussed in any of your classes?
    I think that most people can become a relatively competent musician with enough work (only .1 % of the population is truly tone deaf), but of course it is much easier for some to pick up than others. Also, just because you are a good musician does not mean that you will make a good music theorist. That is the academic side of music and requires a different thought process than it does to either compose or perform music.
    Originally Posted by marblehead View Post
    I am very interested in this thread. I have about 2.5 yrs of guitar under my belt. I want to learn more about theory, I am very limiting with my knowledge of the notes and how to harmonize. I basically read tabs and listen to songs to learn them. I have had no formal lessons.
    Any advice on where to begin would be great.
    I would recommend working your way through a music theory textbook (not an online source). This textbook is the most commonly used theory textbook for undergraduate music theory courses is Tonal Harmony, With an Introduction to Twentieth-Century Music by Kostka/Payne.
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    Originally Posted by johnsbod View Post
    I would recommend working your way through a music theory textbook (not an online source). This textbook is the most commonly used theory textbook for undergraduate music theory courses is Tonal Harmony, With an Introduction to Twentieth-Century Music by Kostka/Payne.
    Appreciate it.

    What instruments do you play/area of interest?
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    Originally Posted by marblehead View Post
    Appreciate it.

    What instruments do you play/area of interest?
    Piano (anything), organ (classical), bass (classical double bass and bass guitar), guitar (my worst instrument ), and I sing. My main areas of research in music theory are the music of Mendelssohn and Franck, and also the history of music theory (deals with music theory treatises). I'm working on an article at the moment that is a translation/commentary of an 18th century music theory treatise that is going to be published pretty soon if I can get it done lol.
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    Originally Posted by johnsbod View Post
    Piano (anything), organ (classical), bass (classical double bass and bass guitar), guitar (my worst instrument ), and I sing. My main areas of research in music theory are the music of Mendelssohn and Franck, and also the history of music theory (deals with music theory treatises). I'm working on an article at the moment that is a translation/commentary of an 18th century music theory treatise that is going to be published pretty soon if I can get it done lol.
    Good ****.
    Congrats on the article getting published
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    Originally Posted by marblehead View Post
    Good ****.
    Congrats on the article getting published
    Thanks.
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    Originally Posted by johnsbod View Post
    Music theory has almost always followed music in an attempt to describe it rather than prescribe what you have to do (out of nowhere). Basic music theory is something that every musician should know, and it shouldn't change your ability to write good, original music. Dissonances are accounted for in music theory, so I'm not sure what you're getting at there.

    If you are asking if sound is based on the overtone series, the answer is no. Many textbooks incorrectly state that it is, but since sound has been tempered from "pure" intervals in various tuning systems (around the time of Dunstable in the early 1400s), music has ceased to be based on nature. It is true, however, that everything has pitch.

    I think that most people can become a relatively competent musician with enough work (only .1 % of the population is truly tone deaf), but of course it is much easier for some to pick up than others. Also, just because you are a good musician does not mean that you will make a good music theorist. That is the academic side of music and requires a different thought process than it does to either compose or perform music.


    I would recommend working your way through a music theory textbook (not an online source). This textbook is the most commonly used theory textbook for undergraduate music theory courses is Tonal Harmony, With an Introduction to Twentieth-Century Music by Kostka/Payne.

    Kostka/Payne... I shudder at the name. Yes, this is the book you should use to learn music theory. The workbook that comes with it is also hugely important. I spent a ridiculous amount of time with my nose in that book.
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    Originally Posted by Tromboner45 View Post
    Kostka/Payne... I shudder at the name. Yes, this is the book you should use to learn music theory. The workbook that comes with it is also hugely important. I spent a ridiculous amount of time with my nose in that book.
    lol but at least you recognize that it is a good book.

    If any of you guys have questions on that type of stuff, post them.
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    Originally Posted by johnsbod View Post
    lol but at least you recognize that it is a good book.

    If any of you guys have questions on that type of stuff, post them.
    Indeed, it is the quintessential book for learning music theory especially if self-taught. I may not have the expertise you do, johnsbod, but my girlfriend and I both did our time in the music school (She on tuba and I on trombone and a little bit of tuba). I'm sure there are more qualified people to answers questions but I'll be happy to do my part.
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