Applying my classical theory class in useful ways

Discussion in 'Playing and Technique' started by cantstoplt021, Jan 19, 2015.

  1. cantstoplt021

    cantstoplt021 Member

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    I'm on my second semester of classical theory and I'm wondering if there are any good ways to implement what I'm learning with music I actually like, listen to and want to compose? I'm really not much of a fan of classical music and my tastes lie more in the blues, funk, r&b/soul, rock, jazz realms. Any good ways to get something out of this class that will be useful to me?
     
  2. aaron1433

    aaron1433 Member

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    You are learning the underlying principles that apply to nearly everything you mentioned. The more you can apply what you learn through physically making the sound and hearing what is on the page, the more it will stick in your memory. It will manifest itself in some startlingly unexpected and thrilling ways. That's my .02 anyway.


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  3. stevel

    stevel Member

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    Where are you in the class?

    Where are you with your playing?

    If, for example, you don't know the notes in chords, you need to learn that.

    If you have a C chord, then a Dm chord, do you know what notes go with each of the chords? Do you know what kind of non-chord tones are available and how to implement them?

    If not, that's what you need to know.

    A lot of theory studied in universities is stuck in the past (I know, I took it an taught it, and I play classical and popular music). That's great for people wanting to study or perform that music, but for everyone else, it's only applicable in portions.

    A LOT of it can be useful if you know nothing, but it's going to "top out" at some point...

    Without knowing what you know already though, it's hard to give you too much advice.
     
  4. cantstoplt021

    cantstoplt021 Member

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    With the first semester class we went through species counterpoint, 4 voice part writing rules, figured bass, roman numeral analysis, some non chord tone work and stuff like that. I just started the second semester.

    I know all of my seventh chords very well so I have a good grasp on what notes are in what chord and etc. If I have a C going to a Dm I know that I have a CEG going to a DFA. As for non chord tones that I can use I'm not really sure? I can use the notes of a C major scale, but for more complex progressions I don't know how you figure out what non chord tones to use.
     
  5. Dioxic

    Dioxic Member

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    I'm pretty much just one step ahead of you. I'm about to transfer and was in a similar boat.

    If you're interested in jazz use the opportunity to get your key signatures, relative major and minor, modes, and melodic, harmonic minor, etc. down cold.

    When you have simple stuff, especially the four part writing try to find ways to play it on the guitar and read more of the simple examples for sight reading practice. I wish I had done that more.

    Don't ignore your musicianship class. I went into theory having never read a note in my life. I did just fine, but the musicianship aspect takes much longer to put together. The sooner you start the better.

    All in all the stuff your learning now is the foundation for pretty much all other genres relying on western harmony. It'll help you just become more familiar with the whelks ad cogs of how music works. And how those genres arrived at where they're at by borrownt and tweaking things from classical harmony.
     
  6. guitarjazz

    guitarjazz Member

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    Become a fan of classical music. It's vast and rich and informs everything about harmony. Implement? Try composing.
     
  7. cantstoplt021

    cantstoplt021 Member

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    I've tried, but I've never really liked classical music with the exception of a few pieces. Maybe I need to listen more, but it's never been something I've liked to listen to at all really.
     
  8. Gillespie1983

    Gillespie1983 Member

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    I have a Bachelor's degree in Music Composition from 1982: elementary theory, advanced theory, 16-century and 18th century counterpoint, jazz arranging, orchestration, atonal & 12-tone methods, etc. Ear training and sight singing. Absolutely hands down: the rigorous ear training and sight singing have served me through all types of music.
    But I find theory, based on JS Bach, not directly beneficial to the heavy metal musician. However, theory (analysis) will help to understand chordal relationships e.g., ii-V-I and excursions into relative keys e.g., ii/V-V7/V-V7-I

    Though I play rock guitar, I still compose classical music. Here's a fugue I wrote last year. Fugue begins around 2:50.
    https://soundcloud.com/clay-gillespie-1/point-and-counterpoint
     
  9. Chandlerhimself

    Chandlerhimself Member

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    Although a lot of what you're learning won't apply to the type of music you like , there are a de things you can use. Those 4 part writing skills will help when it comes to arranging, so if you want to arrange horns for a funk song or add some strings to a rock song you can do that. Another useful thing that I learned for studying classical harmony vs Jazz is the use of inversions. When I leaned jazz there wasn't a lot of emphisis open them, but in classical harmony they're used all the time.

    I think the most important reason to study it however is because it gives you an extra tool in your tool kit. Look at a band like ELP. They took classical dogs and mixed them with rock to create their own original sound. Another example would be Steve Vai. Although he's a rock guitarist a lot of his music is arranged in a way that is more similar to classical music than rock. Knowing more theory will give you more possibilities in the future.
     
  10. guitarjazz

    guitarjazz Member

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    It's there in the music, in spades.
     

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