Music theory

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Silver

(not actually volcel)
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Nov 6, 2013
this was inevitable

ok guys how many of you Christorians know anything about music theory

I'm in my fourth semester of college theory, which means we're covering 20th century theory. AKA Music Theory Stops Being Music and Starts Being Some Messy Form of Algebra. I understand it but I'm not a fan.

I actually really love classical music theory. I'm good at it (won't even try to be modest about that one - I was appointed by the music faculty to be the designated tutor and my class calls me the Theory Goddess) and it's just plain fun! It's like logic puzzles to me and I could sit around part-writing all day. Shame that music theory is such a niche thing I'll probably never be able to do it for a career, though.

So... who knows theory?
 

Henry Bemis

just a fragment of what man has deeded to himself
Retired Staff
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Feb 3, 2013
Somewhat. It starts getting fuzzy around secondary dominants for me.
 

Misto

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Jan 13, 2014
After 21 years of playing piano and guitar by ear (and rather well if I may say so), I'm starting to get into music theory. Some of it makes sense right away (modes, scales, intervals) but the majority of what I've read at this early stage confuses the hell out of me. There's a few websites I found that are helping, I just don't have as much time to become immersed as I would like.
 

Golly

[warbles internally]
True & Honest Fan
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Feb 3, 2013
I took four semesters of theory at my college. Truthfully, because the teachers were composers before anything else (including being educators), the courses weren't the best they could be. I understand a pretty decent amount of classical theory and counterpoint, but I can't remember much past the basic rules of 12-tone and Romantic composition.
I'd love to learn more about jazz, contemporary (tonal), and pop "theory" (beyond the 4 chords), though, since I really want to start dabbling in songwriting for musical theater.
 
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Smokedaddy

Finer than frogs' hair
Deceased
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Mar 10, 2013
In a previous life, I made walkin' around money by doing recording gigs for bands (usually working on their demo tape), and the producers love it when you can read down the chart on the first try (because it's cheaper). I'm a jazz-head from way back, so I know almost anything anyone sane would want to know about theory, along with things no sane person would ever want to hear about. I scoff at mere Mixolydian scales. Need help voicing that dominant-7 sharp-9 chord? Tell me if there's a bass player in the room or not, and I can help.

I got a six-word mention (sort of) in the LA Weekly long ago, but sadly lost my copy and their digital archives don't go back that far. Somebody showed up to review a band I was in and described me as "the most dangerous doubler in Los Angeles."

P.S. Re recording gigs: everybody's session seemed to be from 10 PM to 2 AM, because they were cheap bastards and wouldn't book the decent hours. Hollywood is an awful place to attempt leaving at 2 AM; just being on the road is probable cause as far as the boys in blue are concerned. I got pulled over more times than I can count.
 

Dark Mirror Hole

I don't use this site anymore
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Feb 3, 2013
I only got up to 4th grade theory (the stand-alone kind) and gave up. It was so exhausting learning about cadences (esp. how they wouldn't allow me to write "5th cadences" or whatever the term was) and remembering all the symbols/terms. My theory teacher often gave me practice exams and I would average 70% but in the actual exam, I managed to get 80% :heart-full: which was 1% away from Distinction :heart-empty:.

I continued learning more theory in piano but by the 8th grade exam, I was pretty much done with music. I remember my piano teacher giving me examples of pieces written by Bach but like a lot of classical music, the titles were always generic and forgettable. When the examiner asked me to name another Bach piece, I just pulled "Ave Maria" out of my ass and said it was "that well-known cello piece" and she gave me a strange look and was like "uhh, no, I don't think he did that". Thankfully, I managed to scrape a C.

Despite my groaning, I do respect music theory and think it's pretty essential for anyone who wants to learn an instrument.
 

Drakodan

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Joined
Mar 1, 2014
After 21 years of playing piano and guitar by ear (and rather well if I may say so), I'm starting to get into music theory. Some of it makes sense right away (modes, scales, intervals) but the majority of what I've read at this early stage confuses the hell out of me. There's a few websites I found that are helping, I just don't have as much time to become immersed as I would like.

Hnnnngh that Dream Theater avatar, respect.

My theory credentials only really extend to what I've taught myself in Guitar Pro 5. Written some basic transcriptions and sheets, which means I've had to get used to measures, note durations and whatnot. Chords and keys aren't a big selling point for me but I seem to be able to work my way through scales by ear quite easily. Rhythm theory interests me but I'm not that clued up on it formally. All I know is that some stuff is fucking mental, like one song I love that's in 21/16.
 

Misto

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Jan 13, 2014
Rhythm theory is giving me a lot of trouble. I guess because I was never formally trained, rhythm is something I do entirely by feel. And it feels so unnatural and forced to try to count things or put them in bars rather than letting them flow. I'm planning to get a drum kit in May and force myself to learn to play drums "formally" without taking shortcuts - with an instructor.
 

Silver

(not actually volcel)
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Nov 6, 2013
We're learning how to write twelve-tone rows and matrices and do compositions with 'em in theory class right about now.
 

Zeorus

voilà la guimbarde
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Apr 11, 2014
I'm finished with all the theory courses my major requires, so I may be able to help since my memory's still relatively fresh (I have to use my theory skills in music history classes I take).