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When does thoery become reality?

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by RicPlaya, Oct 29, 2003.


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  1. RicPlaya

    RicPlaya

    Apr 22, 2003
    Whitmoretucky MI
    I have been playing bass for a year. I play in a cover band and learned a bunch of songs off tab. I am good considering the time I have been playing with no instruction due to my background as a drummer. I just started taking lessons mainly thoery for about three weeks, and may I add I am glad I learned off tab and can play because thoery is boring at times since I can't apply it yet. It's cool and is helping me already. My question is if you had to learn this all over again what would you do in your approach to help in this process of learning and applying thoery? I can play some scales and am learning the basics but when does the big picture become aparant? How long does it take in order to apply this knowledge to my everyday playing and what should I key on in my studies to make this process easier? If I knew then what I know now kind of thing..thanks for you help!!!!!!!!!!
     
  2. ole Jason

    ole Jason Supporting Member

    Apr 3, 2003
    Louisville, KY
    Play some music that requires you to use theory. Drag out some jazz charts and walk through them or practice soloing over them. You should be able to apply it to your playing as soon as you understand it and have it under your fingers.
     
  3. Nick Gann

    Nick Gann Talkbass' Tubist in Residence

    Mar 24, 2002
    Silver Spring, MD
    That is so open ended. It depends on a lot of things. If you are playing punk or rock or hardcore, or whathaveyou, you might never actually have to use theory in your everyday playing. If you play jazz, classical, solo things, etc., the theory is a pre-requisite. It depends on what you are doing, and how in-depth you want to take it.
     
  4. RicPlaya

    RicPlaya

    Apr 22, 2003
    Whitmoretucky MI
    I play mostly rock a little jazz. But goal is to write my own music and no this half heartedly and be proficiant at thoey.
     
  5. Howard K

    Howard K

    Feb 14, 2002
    UK
    I was self taught for about 11 years before I started down the righteous path of theory about 3 years ago.
    For me, the application of theory became apparent from the day I started learning it, literally.

    I found that I already knew, and used, the sounds I was learning the nams for, so theory just helped me 'put names to the faces' so to speak.

    If I learnt again, I would study more theory from day one.

    Take ANY song and I guarantee you will be able to apply theory to it on some level or other.

    In my opinion, ALL music requires you to understand theory on some level if you want to play music.
    If you dont understand how a song works (again on some level) then you are just repeating phrases parrot fashion.

    You DO NOT have to play jazz to use theory!!!

    ..and, apologies ole Jason, just getting out a few jazz charts and walking over them is just not going happen for someone who is having difficulty applying theory! Creating a walking bassline that flows and accurately outlines the changes is far from easy!!

    I would suggest taking those songs you already know and relating them to the theory you already know. The theory is in there, believe me!
    Then when you get stuck trying to understand how something works, ask your teacher about it :)

    Basic theory is just names for the sounds you hear and play - once you understand it you will find yourself applying it every time you play. You probably already are, but just dont recognise it yet :)
     
  6. When you can follow a jazz keyboardist through multiple changes, you are applying theory.

    Later
     
  7. genesis6891

    genesis6891

    May 29, 2003
    "You DO NOT have to play jazz to use theory!!!"

    As a concurrent response to this, I'd say you do not have to know theory to play jazz. I play jazz and fusion and...

    "I found that I already knew, and used, the sounds I was learning the nams for, so theory just helped me 'put names to the faces' so to speak."

    ...that is a very, very good comment. At some stage you WILL know the ins and outs of theory, but while you probably can't describe them you still know and feel what they are in a song or certain genre. My theory, I've always thought, is abysmal, but I pick out what sounds nice or feels right, which I find much more enlightening than instead working out what LOGICALLY would fit somewhere.
     
  8. Pacman

    Pacman Layin' Down Time Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2000
    Omaha, Nebraska
    Endorsing Artist: Roscoe Guitars, DR Strings, Aguilar Amplification
    Can you play Rhythm Changes in Db? Can you play a blues like "Blues for Alice" in G? Do you understand the difference between "Blues for Alice" and "All Blues"?

    You've really got to know theory to play jazz...
     
  9. Garry Goodman

    Garry Goodman

    Feb 26, 2003
    Modern harmony ,Theory is a finite science. Some pretty incredible educators already have done thee work for you. It is easy,simple and you really know theory because you know what sounds right.

    There are three chord funtions:

    ii-V-I

    there are 9 chord familes-vertical stacks of notes..there are scale sources which work with these vertical stacks. The stacks are created out of these scales being restricted to modes that are stacked on top of each other. When you see a d mi. 7 (b5) for instance ,you start to think F melodic minor as a scale source. You need to hear the scale and the chord as a "color".

    there 119 basic chord progressions that fit into basic song forms,aaba ,verse/chorus etc.

    The sections of songs are made out of 2, 4 ,8 and 16 bar phrases. Everything comes back to ii-V-I. Seek out Dick Grove or Jamie Abersold books on theory. When you can identify all of the above with just your ears,you'll be on the rightt track.

    The rest is learning as many tunes as possible ,and soloing over the changes ,substituting chords and learning styles of music.
     
  10. genesis6891

    genesis6891

    May 29, 2003
    "Can you play Rhythm Changes in Db? Can you play a blues like "Blues for Alice" in G? Do you understand the difference between "Blues for Alice" and "All Blues"?

    You've really got to know theory to play jazz..."

    Yes, yes and yes :) The point I made further on in my post was that whilst you may not be able to explain the ins and outs of theory, you still know it (in a sense) when you're playing. My modal knowledge is pretty scrappy but in the midst of a song, or in the centre of a set of a challenging chord progression, I still know what I can play, because I know and hear every note before I play it and what will sound suitable. People just have different approaches, that's all.

    Personally I've enjoyed teaching myself and listening to music a lot so that I can concentrate on music itself - the sound, the notes, harmonies and things like that. I never enjoyed the thought or prospect of having to learn music through books or along symbols on manuscript paper (my sight reading is adequate but I just don't like playing like this!), so as I quoted in my first post, if you sometime do get to know what the phrases and terms are for certain progressions are, chances are you already knew them, but by sound and note rather than just a term. This is how I prefer to learn, rather than know everything by a definition or phrase. This may not be easier but I just think that latter technique over complicates something (music) which should not be about complication but enjoyment.
     
  11. Craig Garfinkel

    Craig Garfinkel

    Aug 25, 2000
    Hartford, CT
    Endorsing Artist: Sadowsky Guitars
    Actually, I've known more than a few cats that haven't a clue about theory, and can do all of the above. Granted, once they've heard the tune.

    But I understand your point, Pacman. Chances are you (meaning anyone) are not one of these cats.

    But RicPlaya...you ask "when", and the answer is different for everyone. But my advice to you is to think in terms of years of study, practice, and more importantly playing, rather than expecting noticable results in weeks or months.
     
  12. miccheck1516

    miccheck1516 Guest

    Feb 15, 2003
    Ireland
    Like the other said, i know myself im applying theory to my playing, however, i dont really know what im doing, i know what notes to play, and what notes i can play instead of just playing the root note, however i dont know names of what im doing. Which to me, is fine,because im having fun adding (what i think) are 'better' basslines to songs, but what i think is better joe random might think is crap.
     
  13. Garry Goodman

    Garry Goodman

    Feb 26, 2003
    yeah-this is something you might want to think about.- it depends on what your goals are. If you want to "speak" the language of music ,it requires a "big ear". if you want to be able to play something the instant you hear it ,theen you need to know it before you hear it.

    a key element is ear training. Recognizing intervals and chords the instant you hear them is crucial to being a great player. If you hear a chord played on a cd, you should be able to say "that's and E13 (+11) with the Bb in the bass'" . When you hear a bass line ,or see it written ,it should be as easy as reading this and hearing the words spoken in your head. The 7 (+9) chord has a sound you've heard countless times, same with a 7 (b9) or a minor 7 (b5).

    This is why it is essential to learn the nine chord families ,their horizontal counterparts-the corresponding scales , recognize how each of these chord families FUNCTION in a tune- either as a ii , a V or a I chord.

    As a bassist ,play with pianists who like to use lots of chord susbstitutions so you can hear how different players re harmonize the same old tunes. You will find that after a while , it's the same chord progressions used over and over.
     
  14. PhilMan99

    PhilMan99

    Jul 18, 2003
    US, Maryland
    I used to practice the 7 different "modes" as scales. For example, in the key of C, I'd start with C "ionian", then D "dorian", E "prygian", and finish with C "ionian". Boring. Then I'd do the same thing for the minor key (A "aeolian", B "locrian", etc., back to A "aeolian"). Still boring. Repeat above in all keys. Major boring!

    When instead of practicing those as scales, I instead would "jam" (alone) switching between modes (basically "chord changes"), I found I immediately began to apply the modes in "real life". It also made me think more about chord progressions - some sequences of modes sound good, some bad. Using the 4th and 6th degree of a mode sparingly (only in stepwise "runs") helps a lot (stick with 1/3/5/7 generally). Doing this with a drum machine (Hammerhead for PC - it's free) is fun! I usually just "jam" while watching TV without the drum machine, though...

    As a drummer, you've got a major edge, though. If your rhythm is really good, notes hardly matter (by comparison - folks eventually catch on if you're not sort-of on-key).
     
  15. Craig Garfinkel

    Craig Garfinkel

    Aug 25, 2000
    Hartford, CT
    Endorsing Artist: Sadowsky Guitars
    Great post! The whole she-bang needed to be repeated!
     
  16. Craig Garfinkel

    Craig Garfinkel

    Aug 25, 2000
    Hartford, CT
    Endorsing Artist: Sadowsky Guitars
    :eek:

    Don't mean to get on your case, PhilMan...but quite frankly you're very wrong about this.

    First of all, there's certainly nothing wrong with hanging in front of the TV with your bass in your hands..."jammimg". Any time spent playing isn't totally wasted. But don't fool yourself into thinking you're actually practicing. Learning the language of music and (especially) training your ear requires your undivided attention.

    Your last statement leaves me speechless.
     
  17. Garry Goodman

    Garry Goodman

    Feb 26, 2003
    Well another side of sitting infront of your TV with bass in hand can be useful. I play along with every piece of music I hear. Film scores ,commercial music beds , sweeps ,TV themes-it really is fun to see how quickly you c
    can play what you hear. You can also find out how many times you hear the same chord progressions ,chord voicings etc.
     
  18. It takes years of practice, playing, and listening to all types of music, different instruments, and different types of music. If you like jazz, listen to some rock. If you like rock, listen to some classical, etc. Analyze how the different instruments fit in the mix. Then evaluate your own feelings and motivations for playing.

    I have fun playing all kinds of music. Just remember the musician's role ... play the right note at the right time. Only a deep knowledge of music (theory, ear training, depth of music repretoire ) can tell you what note and when to play.
     
  19. RicPlaya

    RicPlaya

    Apr 22, 2003
    Whitmoretucky MI
    I am learning the modes now I will try this! cool thanks
     
  20. RicPlaya

    RicPlaya

    Apr 22, 2003
    Whitmoretucky MI
    quote:
    This is why it is essential to learn the nine chord families ,their horizontal counterparts-the corresponding scales , recognize how each of these chord families FUNCTION in a tune- either as a ii , a V or a I chord

    I have no clue what this is?
     



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