The Power Of Music Theory

Discussion in 'What's left to Talk About?' started by Mossman, Mar 17, 2019 at 4:11 AM.

  1. Mossman

    Mossman Well-Known Member

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    I only know my speed
    This guy writes and records a song with several parts and tracks without being able to hear what he's doing.

     
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  2. Mossman

    Mossman Well-Known Member

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  3. toomanycats

    toomanycats Well-Known Member

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    Beethoven composed his last five piano sonatas, the Missa solemnis, the Ninth Symphony (with its choral finale) and the last five string quartets after he had gone completely deaf.

    Understanding theory would obviously be of great importance for accomplishing this. What is equally important is being able to instantly recognize intervals when you hear them, for instance, being able to say, "That's a Major 2nd," or "That's a minor 6th," or "That's a Major 3rd with a 5th above that" (a major chord). The sound of these intervals must then be deeply internalized, for they are merely one face of a coin, upon the other side of which is their written notation. Same thing, only heard sonically in one case, seen visually in the other. If one thoroughly understands this, then the sonic aspect can be abstracted away and music can be composed purely on paper.
     
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  4. stevebway

    stevebway Metaphysician & Ham

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    Excellent point. Many people do not understand this difference and put down "playing by ear" not appreciating the "craft" of building music based on the sounds. There are excellent players who can play complex pieces reading the notes but cannot write music because they lack or do not trust their ability hear complex chords and melodies. I think this aspect highlights the character ( or learning preferences) of different minds functionality.
     
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  5. toomanycats

    toomanycats Well-Known Member

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    I find the best way to improve this ability is to practice transcription. Very often when I want to learn a guitar piece, even when I know the tab is already out there, I force myself to transcribe it myself. It may seem like a fools errand to some, but the extremely close listening involved in such a task is invaluable ear training. You eventually get to the point where you just recognize, upon hearing them, note intervals, chords, and their characteristic relations.
     
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  6. Mickey

    Mickey Gandalf the Intonationer

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    This is something that always amazes me. A good friend of mine has transcribed literally hundreds (if not thousands) of extremely complex pieces.
    While I struggle thru transcribing even simple pieces. Me, I sweat blood while for him it is a stroll in the park. Here is what I call an extremely complex
    transcription that for him was a piece of cake:

     
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  7. stevebway

    stevebway Metaphysician & Ham

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    ...and people like me who took years of music lessons on Clarinet and Guitar but never mastered deciphering complex inversions on Guitar. I often write the rhythm in musical notation when I'm figuring out complex syncopation leaving the chord in my head (and my hand).
    I can't hear written arpeggios for the life of me.
     
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  8. stevebway

    stevebway Metaphysician & Ham

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    This is a great discussion because it highlights some of the conceptual issues that limit players. Sometimes if you understand the mental limitations of your playing it points to ways of addressing them. Each of us compensate for our lacks. While these challenge our self-esteem and our openness to push ourselves , so much pleasure is derived from our relationship to music that we tolerate what seem like GIGANTIC stumbling blocks.
    I often wonder whether someone like Chet has prevented more people from getting involved with an instrument than he's motivated.
    I live with the paradox...
     
  9. Mickey

    Mickey Gandalf the Intonationer

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    Chet did a HUGE disservice to guitar players in that he was asked about his understanding of music theory and he replied:
    "Not enough to hurt my playing."
    It was a joke, but tons of people took it as fact. Bummer.

    I've heard many very good players parrot that as gospel, who would be great players had they never heard that quote thus had learned lots more theory.
     
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  10. andrewsrea

    andrewsrea Well-Known Member

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    The punk band The Plasmatics, did a couple of songs on an album where they picked a key to play in and all were isolated from each other. Still sounded like crap, but in the same key.
     
  11. toomanycats

    toomanycats Well-Known Member

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    One of my favorite guitar quotes is Chet's, "There's no money above the third fret." Malcolm Young could have said this. I use it quit often in trying to convey the power of simplicity to other players.
     
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2019 at 10:21 AM
  12. Mickey

    Mickey Gandalf the Intonationer

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    That was another example of Chet's humor.
    The reason is that songwriters almost never go above the third fret and they make more money than the artists.
    I doubt if anyone outside of Nashvegas understood this.
     
  13. slowhand84

    slowhand84 Well-Known Member

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    Awesome! If you haven’t seen Not Dead Yet (the Jason Becker film), watch that ASAP. Relevant to this video and just insanely inspiring.
     
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  14. nomadh

    nomadh Well-Known Member

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    I am positive of this even though i dont do it much because it's all out there. I know I'm lazy and dont do it enough
     
  15. nomadh

    nomadh Well-Known Member

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    So he wasnt just a "musical" genius.
    He was also a business genius and a comedy genius :)
     
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  16. Chocol8

    Chocol8 Well-Known Member

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    You don’t have to be a business genius to see that your slice of the royalty check is smaller than everyone else’s!
     
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  17. Sinster

    Sinster Well-Known Member

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