No matter what I do...I just don't can't get my head around music theory.

Discussion in 'Playing and Technique' started by -=MYK=-, Jan 21, 2006.

  1. -=MYK=-

    -=MYK=- Member

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    I've tried, and tried.:(

    Reading through one website to another, each one becoming more and more confusing than the last.

    Maybe I'm doomed:(
     
  2. Kappy

    Kappy Member

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    What are you not getting? The names of the notes? Intervals? Key signatures? Rhythm and meter/time signatures? Harmony? Ask some questions and maybe some people here can help make it simpler.
     
  3. -=MYK=-

    -=MYK=- Member

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    I don't understand any of it.

    People on here talk about playing this scale over these chords, and they might as well just be typing out random letters on the keyboard.

    Key sigs won't be that hard for me to figure out.

    No clue what harmony is.

    I understand most stuff about timing.
     
  4. Gaz

    Gaz Member

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    hey Man, if it is true , about the glue, it will be tough to concentrate...even a little pot can make you too ancy ...so try learning the chords to songs, and sing over them, that's as good a start as anything else, just keep doing what feels good... the theory will make sense later, as you use it...play in front of people, practice alone if you are self concious...but, Keep It Fun....
     
  5. -=MYK=-

    -=MYK=- Member

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    I havn't sniffed any glue in a long time.

    You want me to sing? The windows will break. hahah!

    I hope it makes sense sooner or later. :(
     
  6. flatfinger

    flatfinger Member

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    Well,
    it is true that it's been made more difficult than it has to be. most nomenclature involves old greek and roman names( often 2 or 3 for the same concept) . The best thing to do is to break it down into small concepts and worry about the big picture a little later on. The good news on key sigs is that most guitar oreinted music is in A, G, E, or C, really.

    You can memorize 4 , right? Just keep at it and remeber that the main thing to do is develop your ear. If it sounds good , know one will care about the technical aspects except the guys at your publishing CO. who are releasing your songbooks!!!!!:JAM
     
  7. Thwap

    Thwap Silver Supporting Member

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    Yo Myk, sometimes the hardest part to learning theory is that there are different approaches to it, so you can get a whole lot of not necessarily conflicting information, but confused information from too many sources.

    My suggestion would be pick a system, I started with the Fretboard Logic CAGED system. It worked well for me to get started. But I'm thinking if you take one system, whichever one it is and apply yourself to it, if you have questions it will be much easier for someone to help you out. I obviously don't know where you're at as far as what you want to learn, but start slowly, you know maybe work on chord/scale relationships, and don't move on from there until you've got it cold. Just remember, it's not a race, take your time, you'll get it :dude
     
  8. -=MYK=-

    -=MYK=- Member

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    Perhaps I will try out this Fretboard Logic thingy.

    Best wishes,

    -Michael
     
  9. Tom Gross

    Tom Gross Supporting Member

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    Yes, great advice.

    It not only isn't a race, it will not work if you race thru it.
    It is important to be patient, and to learn stuff one thing at a time, often without understanding right then how it will be useful.
    The CAGED system is a good one, cause it builds off of chord shapes we all know.
    If you walk the path patiently, pretty soon you'll start having those "Ah-Ha!" moments where it starts to come together & be useful.
     
  10. justicetones

    justicetones Member

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    +1 on the CAGED system.

    I am embarrassed to say that sometimes I have to think harder than I should about where I am on the fretboard and where notes are that are in close proximity. :NUTS


    I learned guitar more as patterns and by ear. :jo

    As someone that works sometimes as a guitarist it is sad. I am focusing completely on brushing up on the CAGED system and also I am using Tomo's DVD Accelerate your guitar playing. :RoCkIn
     
  11. StevenA

    StevenA Member

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    Why do you need to learn music theory? No matter how hard I try I can't get my head around dancing! So I don't do it! I also can't get my head around physics but that doesn't mean that I don't drive a car. Have fun playing.
    There is always the alternative.

    Steven
     
  12. -=MYK=-

    -=MYK=- Member

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    I want to learn it so that I can understand music from a theory standpoint, and not just 'oh this sounds good', I already know how to do that part.
     
  13. justicetones

    justicetones Member

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    +1 Have fun playing. 100% agreed

    Knowing Theory makes you a better musician BUT it should not be such an obsession that you can't and don't have fun playing. Theory should be one regiment of practicing not the ONLY.
     
  14. jspax7

    jspax7 Member

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    If you don't read music, start there. 15 min. a day will be easy to do. Take your time. Say the name of each note, (aloud) as you play.

    Music is about notes and their relationship to chords. (chords are basically 3 notes.)

    Start with the key of C Major. C D E F G A B C

    Every other note gives you a chord.

    Example; (C) D (E) F (G) is a C Major chord.

    Here's how it breaks down in C Major:

    C Major = CEG
    D minor = DFA
    E minor = EGB
    F Major = FAC
    G Major = GBD
    A minor = ACE
    B minor7b5 = BDFA. This chord is seldom used in Rock, but is used in a minor Blues or in Jazz.

    Now, record a 2 chord progression. C Major to E minor.
    C = CEG
    Em= EGB

    Which note in Em is not in the C chord? (answer = B)
    Play a C major scale, but hang out around the C note. When the chord changes to Em, move to the B note. (Magic!) You've just made the chord/scale connection.

    Try recording C Major and any other chord in the key. (2 chords at a time for now) The "key" (pun intended) is to be able to change from any note in the C chord to any note in the E minor chord. (or whatever chord you choose)

    Practice spelling out the chords in C major. Then play the notes in a familiar location. (scale pattern) Use 1 position. (the one you know best)

    The idea is application. When you learn a concept, apply it! When you can do this well, you're ready for a new concept.

    If you have any other questions, send me a PM.
    Hope this helps.

    By the way, the key of C Major is also the key of A minor, so start with an A minor chord and apply the same concept. (2 chords only. It's clearer that way.)
     
  15. lhallam

    lhallam Member

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    First and foremost, you won't be able to apply your theory until you know the fretboard inside and out. If you don't know it, get it down cold.

    Next learn what an interval is. Then memorize all the intervals because they are the cells upon which the music/theory is built.

    INTERVALS
    Perfect unison = the same pitch (EG 5th fret B string and 6th string open E)
    minor 2nd = one 1/2 step (one fret)
    Major 2nd = one whole step (two frets)
    minor 3rd = three 1/2 steps (three frets)
    Major 3rd = four 1/2 steps (four frets)
    Perfect 4th = five 1/2 steps
    augment 4th AKA diminished 5th = six 1/2 steps
    Perfect 5th = seven 1/2 steps
    minor 6th = eight 1/2 steps
    Major 6th = nine 1/2 step
    minor 7th = ten 1/2 steps
    Major 7th = eleven 1/2 steps
    Perfect Octave = twelve 1/2 steps

    A to Bb = minor 2nd
    A to B = Major 2nd
    A to C = minor 3rd
    A to C# = Major 3rd
    etc...

    Once you get this basic alphabet, the rest comes easier. Also, it really really helps to know and reference a keyboard because you can see the note relationships much clearer.

    NOTE: Notice no black key between B & C and E & F. Memorize when playing only the white keys (natural notes - no sharps or flats) that from B to C = one 1/2 step and from E to F = one 1/2 step, all the rest are whole steps. This will help you in the future.

    Don't make it more complicated than it really is. There are a few things you need to memorize and the rest is very logical. Sort of like learning a theorem in math.

    If you have a particular issue that is confusing you don't hesitate to email me or post and I'll do my best to provide the correct answer. I'm sure others will as well.

    These are all accurate replies and I don't everyone but I can tell you that Tom Gross is always right and he never lies so vote for him. dkaplowitz also knows his stuff. They are both very helpful and you can't go wrong listening to them.
     
  16. lhallam

    lhallam Member

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    Theory allows musicians to communicate faster and easier. I sure wouldn't want a surgeon working on me to not know his tools and how to use them. The more you know about any subject the better.
     
  17. johnspeck

    johnspeck Member

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    Thanks for the replies, this is a great way for me to start learning theory as well.

    I have a good ear, can play pretty much anything I hear that's at my level (most rock but shred; although I can cop a pretty convincing metal lead if necessary... blues, some simple pentatonic jazz phrases), but I want to really improve, and I need to learn this in order to get there. Too often when I'm improvising, I end up playing some standard lick instead of really stretching out, and sometimes when I do stretch, I hit a bum note 'cause I'm used to playing patterns.

    I've heard that all you really need to do is play what you sing in your head, but I'm not familiar enough with the fretboard to know how to do it anywhere.

    I need to start seeing someone about one on one lessons around here. Detroit area, any suggestions? (not too expensive, either, I'm broke!)
     
  18. Tom Gross

    Tom Gross Supporting Member

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    Yes. That is the best way to get going. Find someone to take you step by step through it. A little theory goes a long way in helping you find cool ways to stretch out & express yourself.
     
  19. StevenA

    StevenA Member

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    The last few posts were very generous and thoughtful in their explanations, but I couldn't help but imagine that MYK felt as if he were looking at a blank screen. You can try to make music theory as simplistic as possible but that isn't what MYK needs. In my opinion he needs to know that theory is not life and death. He needs to realize that he is intelligent and with the proper amount of relaxation and temperment the science of music theory will become easier to extrapolate. Now may not necessarily be the best time for theory. Perhaps a few sessions with a private teacher will be stimulating enough for further comprehension. The thing is not to worry about it. If you look at the entire syllabus it could be quite frightening. Move slowly, compile little successes. and remember how lucky and fortunate you are to be able to express the gift of music.

    Steven
     
  20. johnspeck

    johnspeck Member

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    Yes! In the past few years, I've seen the greatest progress as a player, since I picked up the instrument (almost 30 years ago!) I've just lately been able to hear what a player is doing, and have some inkling of how to play it (ala Eric Johnson, although I don't know any scales but the typical box blues, really). My alternate picking has really improved, and i can play a little bit of country major scale stuff.

    I want to be able to play jazz lines and know what I'm doing, not just rote riffing and patterns. I can scat like George Benson and hit neat jazz stuff vocally to myself, but I wouldn't have a clue as to how to translate that to the fretboard, and I don't know what notes I'm singing/playing, I just know they sound right.
    I'm a songwriter, but when someone says something to me like, "I really love that minor diminished discombobulator froop that you play in the bridge to that song!", I'm just nodding going "Thanks, that's EXACTLY what I was going for!" when I'm totally in the dark as to what any of my stuff is. I just hear the music in my head.
     

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