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Beyond Basics

Discussion in 'Music Theory [DB]' started by ThomClaire, Mar 11, 2013.


  1. ThomClaire

    ThomClaire

    Dec 31, 2012
    Asheville, NC
    This may be a much simpler question than I think it is but I want to ask it anyways.

    As someone who has grown up playing classical piano, I know music theory fairly well. Of course, a 3 year hiatus from classical music has gotten me a little behind and I don't remember everything. In any case, it's very easy to find reading/learning materials on the basics of music theory (the staff, notes on the staff, all the way to intervals, and inversions of chords and intervals and such and such), but what about after that? What do you do with the knowledge we have of music notation and theories? I feel that we would be missing out on a lot if we only took music theory as a way to name things, right? So, in your studies of music theory, what do you do after the so-called basics?
     
  2. TroyK

    TroyK Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 14, 2003
    Seattle, WA
    In a classical music context? Or Jazz/something else?

    Composition? Arranging? Improvising? I don't want to assume anything.

    It would take a blimp hanger to fill what I don't know about classical music, but if your question is about taking that knowledge somewhere else, that's a little different.
     
  3. ThomClaire

    ThomClaire

    Dec 31, 2012
    Asheville, NC
    Well, really I want to discuss taking that knowledge anywhere you'd like. For me, it's composition/arranging for a celtic quartet.
     
  4. TroyK

    TroyK Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 14, 2003
    Seattle, WA
    Another music that I don't know enough about. Someone here should come along with some better advice.

    Generally, though, theory is like, oh I don't know, physics or math. It helps you explain things, conceive of things, communicate things to other people who have the studied same system. It doesn't create things, that's what musicians and composers do.

    I can get involved with a project that is out of my strikezone, like a friend's original rock group a few weeks ago and though it's not "my thing", a few times through and it makes sense to me, based on my understanding of chords, composition, improvisation, etc. I could (if he wanted me to) explain it to him or make suggestions for how he might rearrange or embellish it.

    Maybe your classical training well help you do the same when you approach Celtic music. That's the best I've got. Sorry. Someone else will do better.
     
  5. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    NYC
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    First of all, if you want to arrange Celtic music, listen to a lot of Celtic music. Then parse it out amongst your instruments the way your ear tells you it will sound good.

    Did you ever see ENTER THE DRAGON? I get the feeling that you're still looking at the finger, not what the finger is pointing at. The more complex practices of composition and the manipulation of harmony and melody are what a lot of people work on, there's a lot more going on than just "inversions of chords". Study of counterpoint, species counterpoint, polytonality, serialism, twelve tone, etc.etc.
    But at the base of all of that, music is still an AURAL experience. You do ear training and study to STRETCH how you hear things, to introduce you to sounds you have never heard before AND give you a handle on how to understand what it is you are hearing. Not so you can follow some rule but to somehow enlarge your imagination.
     
  6. Eric Hochberg

    Eric Hochberg

    Jul 7, 2004
    Chicago
    +1 The music comes first and the theory follows in order to "explain it".
     
  7. Plus whatever number you choose.
    He do have a way with words! :D
     
  8. notabene

    notabene

    Sep 20, 2010
    SF Bay area
    Write and arrange a lot of music. Figure out what you like, and don't like of the music you've written. High output speeds the learning curve, it tends to reduce "preciousness" , and the more you write, generally the faster you can write. And you'll have plenty to throw out, leaving the gems.
     
  9. ThomClaire

    ThomClaire

    Dec 31, 2012
    Asheville, NC
    Treyzer: in that context, how do you define ear Training? I know it as intonation and similar things, but I think you are talking about something else.

    On the other hand, I think it would be a huge benefit to be very familiar with what certain things (chords, intervals, keys, etc) sound like, before playing them. I guess this is the idea behind singing in your head while playing for the sake of intonation. But how would you go about achieving this?
     
  10. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    NYC
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    Let's hope Trey responds!
     
  11. ThomClaire

    ThomClaire

    Dec 31, 2012
    Asheville, NC
    Wow. I only just now realized that I was asking you, Ed. Turns out, a brain phone isn't a good alternative to a computer. Sheeez.

    So, Ed... Same question :p
     
  12. Biggbass

    Biggbass

    Dec 14, 2011
    Planet Earth
    Get off the written page and improvise.

    My older sister has been a classical pianist for 50 years. She's very accomplished after all those years. But she cannot get off the written page. Sheet music is her crutch. She cannot improvise and cannot play by ear. That Baffles me.

    I am just the opposite...and that baffles her.
     
  13. RSBBass

    RSBBass

    Jun 11, 2011
    NYC
    Ear training and theory are partners. Sometimes one is more important than the other. You can use theory to analyze a piece, everything from the harmony, the structure, the orchestration, etc. Try and understand what the composer was doing. And listen so that you can hear what you analyzed. Also when listening, note if something strikes you. Go to the score and analyze what is going on.

    I play in a Celtic trio. I would suggest taking a look at learning counterpoint. Particularly on slower tunes, counterpoint in the bass can sound very nice. Also, much of Celtic music is modal (Dorian in particular). learn, and listen to your modes.
     
  14. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    NYC
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
  15. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    NYC
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    Oh, sorry, that's the exercise. In answer to your actual question I would define ear training as work you do in order to identify intervals, triads and chords both in terms of function (oh that's a V7b9 in second inversion) and in make up (those notes are the 3rd, 5th, b7th, root and 9th). You also work on physical approach to your instrument so that you know where those notes are on your instrument. Because the ultimate idea is to be able to hear with enough clarity that you just play what you hear...
     
  16. ThomClaire

    ThomClaire

    Dec 31, 2012
    Asheville, NC
    Perfect. This helps a lot Ed. Thanks a lot
     
  17. ThomClaire

    ThomClaire

    Dec 31, 2012
    Asheville, NC
    Do you have suggestions on what to read (perferably online and free) or to listen to for studying counterpoint? I have found and read a little on the rules of counterpoint, but nothing more.
     
  18. RSBBass

    RSBBass

    Jun 11, 2011
    NYC

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