OK Then, Who Here "Knows" Theory?

Discussion in 'Tab, Tips, Theory and Technique' started by sax4blues, Jan 10, 2014.

Do You Know Music Theory?

  1. Yes

    59 vote(s)
    72.0%
  2. No

    23 vote(s)
    28.0%
  1. BigDaddyLH

    BigDaddyLH Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

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    Here in Canada, the Royal Conservatory of Music is the standard that students in music lessons follow. They have a series of theory exams, that gives you an idea of the nomenclature:
    1. Basic Rudiments
    2. Intermediate Rudiments
    3. Advanced Rudiments
    4. Basic Harmony
    5. Intermediate Harmony
    6. Counterpoint
    7. Advanced Harmony
    8. Analysis
    9. History 1: An Overview
    10. History 2: Middle Ages to Classical
    11. History 3: 19th Century to Present
     
  2. cjrincon03

    cjrincon03 Tele-Meister

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    Voted no. I'm in the learning phase everyday!
     
  3. Scantron08

    Scantron08 Tele-Afflicted

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    I'm sure there are many out there who know almost no theory. Among local amateur musicians in this town, I'd guess many know very little theory. Different story for the local pros. I have always been kind of a theory nerd, literally staying up until all hours of the night studying it on my own (maybe because actually playing would be too loud) just for fun, and know quite a bit for someone who never formally studied it.

    I've always wondered what emphasis I would have chosen if I had decided to study music formally - education, composition, performance, or theory. I pretty much love all of them.
     
  4. trev333

    trev333 Telefied Ad Free Member

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    "do you know music theory" is like asking "do you know girls".... ;)

    yes and no.... would be one answer...

    I'm more interested in making stuff up... not trying to analyse it theoretically.... if it works ..it works... I know enough to get by.... and to not be overly confused if someone hands me a score.... hum the basic tune, work out the beat/timing, etc....

    dots and lines on paper is an alien works for most .. :)
     
  5. fezz parka

    fezz parka ---------------------------

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    All I know is that I learn something new everyday.:D
     
  6. greggorypeccary

    greggorypeccary Friend of Leo's

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    This...

    I've read posts on forums where people opine that the major scale is some sort of complicated theory. Um....no, that's elementary school music.

    Do I understand the fundamentals? Pretty well....and I'm glad I do. It makes it easy to learn new stuff and work with others.
    Do I know theory, of the sort that Larry is into. A very little bit.
     
  7. brewwagon

    brewwagon Poster Extraordinaire

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    thanks for that list bdlh

    gregg you prob know more than you think you do and every bit of knowledge helps one understand

    if it sounds right it prob is
     
  8. Larry F

    Larry F Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

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    I forgot about a course that I developed. Our theory sequence here is called Musicianship and Theory (I think)I, II, III, IV, where each number is done in one semester. About 15 years ago, it seems that a lot of schools were getting incoming freshmen whose abilities were far apart. This, of course, makes a class very difficult to teach, where one half of the class is strong enough in the fundamentals that they can dive right into analysis (in a limited way), while the other half of the class can't keep up with class lectures because they can't spell the chords and whatever.

    The general solution that was adopted was to create a new class, called Fundamentals of Music, or something like that. Although not a perfect system, it seems to be working.

    Here's an example of what I might say in the second week of theory: "in bar 8, we have an example of a deceptive cadence." What I count on the student knowing is: what key the example is in; what the dominant chord is and which notes make it up; what the sub-mediant chord is and which notes make it up; what the tonic chord is and what notes make it up. In as long as it takes me to say this sentence, I expect my students to follow the example by looking at the notes and chords that are involved. I might also say, "the example we just looked at shows how a deceptive cadence work in a major key. What happens in a minor key?" A student in class will generally be able to answer this. At that point, I will summarize by saying that a deceptive cadence in a major key usually resolves to vi. Notice that these two chords share a common tone, which is... Now, if you are in a minor key, the deceptive cadence generally resolves on VI, which is a major." If a student can follow this right off the bat, then they are in the right course. If they cannot follow because they can't tell what chords are used, just by looking at the score without TAB or letter-name symbols, they need to take fundamentals.

    I was the first person in our school to teach Fundamentals, but I didn't really need a lot of guidance. The things the students need to know are pretty obvious. Now comes a big problem, though. I am a big believer in timed drill. For example, I just now timed myself reciting the notes of the chromatic scale organized by the circle of 4ths/5ths. It took 4 seconds. Another test would be to name the thirds of major chords in the circle of 4ths/5ths. Anyone can do this. The one thing it doesn't rely on is musicality. I could grab a geology student in the hall outside of class and have him/her reciting these things in no time at all.

    It literally takes very little time to do such spellings in the circle of 5ths. Here is the chromatic scale:

    C C# D Eb E F F# G G# A Bb B

    Here is the chromatic scale organized as a circle of fifths (descending):

    C F Bb Eb Ab C# F# B E A D G.

    How long does it take for you to recite these notes around the circle of 5ths? You should be able to achieve a time of 10 seconds or left, within the course of a half hour. DONE. It doesn't take months or years. It takes a half hour.

    With one huge caveat. You will lose your speed when you try it again the next day. You can quickly build it up again, but you will have to keep going back and recovering what you have lost over time. This is what messes people up in learning fundamentals. They need to keep at it every day.

    Now, back to the university situation. About 15 years ago, the administration adopted a policy that prohibits teachers from timing students on exams. Oh, well.
     
  9. brewwagon

    brewwagon Poster Extraordinaire

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    ....thats why its important to study practice and play every day, timing
     
  10. CT SA

    CT SA TDPRI Member

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    I teach at a local Jazz school, so yes.

    I have no formal qualification, learnt my theory from books and the net. When I was being interviewed for the teaching position, besides having to play a few standards, I was given a very tough oral test on my theory knowledge. That plus a recommendation from one of the other teachers got me the gig.
     
  11. Jupiter

    Jupiter Telefied Silver Supporter

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    Yes, a fair bit, thanks to a few courses I took in my 20's.
     
  12. Jupiter

    Jupiter Telefied Silver Supporter

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    Advanced Rudiments, lol...
     
  13. cjrincon03

    cjrincon03 Tele-Meister

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    Changed my vote to yes.


    Isn't circle of fifths that game we played with girls at keg party's on the farm?

    :)
     
  14. 985plowboy

    985plowboy Friend of Leo's

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    It depends on who I'm explaining it to.
     
  15. Coop47

    Coop47 Poster Extraordinaire

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    +1. I know more than our drummer, bass player and singer, but less than our keyboard player (no surprise). I think I'm gonna vote yes. Enough to get by in a cover band, but still learning every day.
     
  16. P Thought

    P Thought Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Fundamentals and rudiments. Excellent. And knowing them cold. That's good, too. I have to answer no to the poll.

    But I'm working on it.
     
  17. BartS

    BartS Friend of Leo's

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    I know theory yeah. Do i use it not really. I can acually think of very few reasons I would even need it to comunicate.

    I use scales. I don't use theory to write chord progressions I either know which chords already sound good together from playing so long or i pick them out by ear. I don't work with other people really so I'm never like telling someone to sing a 3rd for a harmony. I kind of just naturally know how to fill out a song from the low end to high end and where beats should go.

    I do use counting but never really stray out to different meters than 4/4 time. I know other meters. 1 and 2 and, 3 e and a, triplite. I know all my scales on paino and guitar so transposing really seems natural to me like it should be obvious. I know how melodys and harmonys interact natrually by listing to music. I understand basic call and return and how you don't always have to use it. I know how to not make music sound cluttered.
     
  18. vernon

    vernon Tele-Meister

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    I use music theory most when I'm transcribing and charting lead sheets. Also when writing out modulations and doing transpositions. Also the ear-training/sight-singing component of music theory training is utilized whenever I play. Guess I use it quite a bit now that I think about it. Thanks for the thread!
     
  19. chris m.

    chris m. Poster Extraordinaire

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    Like English, we all speak it, but that doesn't make us all Shakespeare or ee cummings. Theory goes pretty deep.

    I've been griding on Werner Pohlert's 600 page magnum opus on the topic. He is like Einstein or something-- he takes theory as we know it and re-interprets it in a completely different and fundamental way, almost like coming up with special relativity and general relativity. I.e., there's other ways to fundamentally think about why our twelve tones work together the way they do and why/how they typically move, interact, and modulate from bar to bar.

    So while I would say I know a lot of theory, I find there's always more to discover.
     
  20. Mjark

    Mjark Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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    I know just enough to really mess up bad.
     
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