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Thread: What theory taught me...

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    Default Re: What theory taught me...

    I was required to take 2 semesters of music theory, 1 semester of counterpoint and 1 semester of form and analysis. By the time you finish all of that, you come to realize that you don't have to use everything that you have learned in order to create. Because if you did, then you would sound like Mozart everytime. Any music that you play that dates past the 1700s is going to defy what you've been educated in with regards to classical theory.

    At best theory comes in handy at key moments, like when I'm stuck and don't know what I should play or write next. Or when my ear training is not sophisticated enough for me to hear the possibilities.

    The idea of modes is the results of people asking the question, "How do I learn to improvise like Charlie Parker?". The problem was (and still is today) that there is no standard method for teaching improvisation. So academicians do what they do best. They developed a standard of teaching improvisation utilizing the concept of playing certain modes against certain chords in order to create improvised jazz patterns. This is an after the fact method. It is the result of not having a better standard by which to teach.
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    Default Re: What theory taught me...

    What if we set improvisation aside, how does one learn to play in the rock, pop, blues or jazz styles? How does one learn how to play like Duane Allman or Joe Satriani or Eric Clapton from a music theory methodology? Sure we can learn their songs and play what they have played. I have assumed that learning a bit of theory will help me know why they do what they do, musicially. Duane Allman, I have heard described as a Dorian blues player, whatever that means. I used to think that meant I should learn modes. Now, I'm not so sure what it means.
    Last edited by Guitar Toad; 12-03-2006 at 01:46 PM.
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    Default Re: What theory taught me...



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    Default Re: What theory taught me...

    Dorian mode
    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Due to historical confusion, Dorian mode can refer to two very different musical modes or diatonic scales.

    [edit] Greek Dorian mode

    The Dorian mode is named after the Dorian Greeks. In Greek music theory it was based on the Dorian tetrachord: descending, a series of falling intervals of two whole tones followed by a semitone. Applied to a whole octave, the Dorian mode was built upon two Dorian tetrachords separated by a whole tone. This is the same as playing all the white notes of a piano (ascending, as in the modern reckoning) from E to E: E F G A | B C D E. Placing the two tetrachords together, and the single tone at the bottom of the scale produces the Hypodorian mode (below Dorian): A | B C D E | (E) F G A. Placing the two tetrachords together, and the single tone at the top of the scale produces the Hyperdorian mode (above Dorian), which is effectively the same as the Mixolydian mode: B C D E | (E) F G A | B. Confusingly, the Greek Dorian mode is the same as the medieval and modern Phrygian mode.

    [edit] Medieval and modern Dorian mode

    The early Christian church developed a system of eight musical modes (the octoechos), which medieval music scholars related to the ancient Greek modes. Misinterpreting the Latin texts of Boethius, medieval modes were given the wrong Greek names. Thus, in medieval and modern music, the Dorian mode is a diatonic scale or musical mode which corresponds to the white keys of the piano from "D" to "D". It may be considered an "excerpt" of a major scale played from the pitch a whole tone above the major scale's tonic (in the key of C Major it would be D, E, F, G, A, B, C, D), ie a major scale played from its second scale degree up to its second degree again. The resulting scale is, however, minor (or has a minor "feel" or character) because as the "D" becomes the new tonal centre the minor third between the D and the F make us "hear minor". If we build a chord on the tonic, third and fifth, it is a minor chord.

    Examples of the Dorian mode include:

    * The D Dorian mode contains all notes the same as the C major scale starting on D.
    * The G Dorian mode contains all notes the same as the F major scale starting on G.
    * The A Dorian mode contains all notes the same as the G major scale starting on A.

    The Dorian mode is symmetric, meaning that the pattern of tones and semitones (T-s-T-T-T-s-T) is the same ascending or descending. Examples of the mode's use include "What shall we do with the Drunken Sailor" and "Scarborough Fair". When played correctly, Greensleeves is also (mostly) in the Dorian mode: the difference between the Dorian mode and the modern natural minor scale is well exemplified in the relative "hardness" of the 5th note of the tune (in the modern minor scale, this note would be a semitone lower; indeed the air is often heard or sung in this "modernised", incorrect way). More recent examples of songs in Dorian mode include "Light My Fire" by The Doors (who used the Dorian mode in many of their songs), "Born To Be Wild" by Steppenwolf, "Eleanor Rigby" by The Beatles, and "Black Magic Woman" by Fleetwood Mac. The theme song to the Halo videogame series also is in a Dorian mode.

    The Dorian mode is equivalent to the natural minor scale (or the Aeolian mode) but with the sixth degree raised a semi-tone. Confusingly, the medieval and modern Dorian mode is the same as the Greek Phrygian mode.
    From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dorian_mode
    Last edited by Guitar Toad; 12-04-2006 at 07:46 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Guitar Toad View Post
    What if we set improvisation aside, how does one learn to play in the rock, pop, blues or jazz styles?
    To learn to play any style one first must know how to play. This means knowing the scales, knowing how to identify the notes on ones instruments (keyboard/fretboard), perhaps doing some sight reading, and having some basic knowledge concerning harmony which may initially come from studying ones chord book and practicing arpeggios. Later on the player should do some basic harmonic theory in order to understand how to build chords. This is your initial theoretical foundation! At this stage you may not have received any devine revelations.

    So far the player has only established the basic foundation. As the player begins to play with others, then they are inevitably confronted with the task of having to interpret style. This is the key! One learns style by being forced to "do it"! Nothing scientific about it yet! The band leader says, "We're gonna play the tune on page 10 of the songbook", and you do as you're told! What the sensei says, you do! You have to sweep the temple floors before you learn Kung Fu! Listening to others play in a similar style is key here. Better yet, find a recording of the tune you are studying then put what you have learned about the style in your database for recall later. Simple enough?

    When I first started to play jazz at the collegiate level, I was like a fish out of water. I had spent my high school years playing rock tunes by ear. Although I had more basic theoretical knowledge than most of my high school counterparts, I had no clue as to stylistic differences. So when I played my first Count Basie tune in the University Jazz Ensemble then my amp settings and tone were all wrong for the style. The rythmic patterns of my chord comping were all wrong as well.

    Then one day my band director (may he rest in peace) looked at me and told me that I should be strumming my chords "Freddie Green style". I was like, "Who the hell is Freddie Green?". So he made a strumming motion with his hand comprised of all down strokes on beats 1 2 3 & 4. After some listening I came to conclude that my treblish tone settings were wrong for the style. Jazz guitar ala Freddie Green required a darker tone setting! Yet another charateristic of the style. Also, I realized that it was more important for my comping to be "felt" rather than "heard"! This is another charateristic of the stlye. My volume therefore, needed some adjustment. Then, voila! I suddenly fit in.

    There you have it! Style is about fitting in! As in Bruce Lee's Jeet Kune Do, "Be like water my friend!". Then you'll be able to follow the grove!

    This is typical of the homework that a musician must do before they go off on a theoretical tangant. The theory will come! First however, you must practice patience, restraint and discipline! You must have faith in knowing that your theoretical questions will be answered in due time, if you follow the course of basic understanding first. This is tough to do if you have an ego, because it means that you have to sit in the background as you gain experience for an indeterminate period of time before you blossom! But low and humble is the way to glory!

    IMHO, this grunt work is essential before you can hope to solo in a particular style effectively. Let alone compose. Regardless of your theoretical expertise, you can expect to fail. Unless you know the intrensic essence of the thing that you are working with you are lost. It would be like a doctor trying to operate on an alien from another planet! This foundational knowledge is historical, cultural and traditional rather than theoretical. Once you have digested the historical, cultural and traditional then you have arrived at the proper moment to apply the theoretical. A musician therefore most not only be a theorist, but also a historian and archeologist.

    In this sense music is more like a behavioral science than a physical science. First we must observe what a dog's behavioral patterns are before we can hope that an examination of his nural pathways or adrenal system will shed any light. Without examining the former, we have no basis by which to draw a corrolation to the latter.

    If I had taken a solo on that Basie tune back then, I probably would have tried to run a bunch of crappy scales using boundless streams of 16th notes. Even though my solo may have been in the right key, and even though everything that I played may have been theoretically explainable, I'm sure it would have sounded like crap! You see, the style dictated that the melodic ideas should follow a swing eigth note feel. I didn't know that at the time. So any solo by me would have been completely out of character. No amount of theory could have helped me in that situation. That's what I mean when I say, "know the intrensic essence of the thing".

    I'll continue in my next post.
    Last edited by Osensei; 12-04-2006 at 01:03 PM.
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    Default Re: What theory taught me...

    Quote Originally Posted by tone4days View Post
    i aspire one day to elevate my playing to humdrum ... once i overcome my uncanny ability to play wrong notes i think i will be on my way to truly ordinary

    I love it! We must share the same musical brain

    I mostly use the Pompadorian mode:6:

    Sorry to lend nothing useful to this thread.
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    Default Re: What theory taught me...

    Quote Originally Posted by Guitar Toad View Post
    Duane Allman, I have heard described as a Dorian blues player, whatever that means. I used to think that meant I should learn modes. Now, I'm not so sure what it means.
    Comments like this make my geek meter exlpode! Unless, an artist explains their method in a seminar or on some instructional video, then it's totally a question of interpretation. "Oooo! Look at me! I'm a genius! He's a dorian blues player! Ooo! I beez knowzin cuz I are ejucaded! Plus I can weed Dwane Allmans friggin mind!".

    Music is realtime! It's in the moment! As far as we can tell a cat may have played what they did as the result of an "Oh ****!" moment! They would play it back in the the studio and laugh, "Damn, I almost screwed up there! But it turned out cool!". Then some idiot comes along with, "Oh yeah! Datz a mixolibium!".

    You sit and you say, "How can music theory help me to understand what a certain cat is playing?". Or, "How can music theory help me sound like this particular dude?".

    This approach is one dimensional. Surely, theory can help you in terms of pitch vs harmony. In other words, we can see why certain melodic ideas work when played against certain chords. We can look at each note of a solo and compare it in relation to the chord that's being played at the moment. Then we can say, "This note is a tonic", and "That one is a ninth" and, "This one over here is a b5".

    The problem is that while this approach may help you build a vocabulary in terms of choosing pitch or "what to play". It reveals absolutely nothing concerning rythm or "how and when to play". Too many cats are way too interested in which mode Pat Metheny is using. At the same time they totally ignore the rythm and timing of the very same melodic passages. So when its their time to show what they can do, then they rattle off a bunch of 16th notes like some friggin maniac!

    Spend some time trying to put together rythmic statements. Is your soloing comprised of endless 16th notes? Or do you mix up your note values to form interesting rythmic patterns for your melodic lines to follow? Hummmm? Sometimes it's useful to think like a drummer rather than a guitar player. Creation of rythmic statement reveals to me that a player has insight into human psychology. Combine creative rythmic ideas (note value variations) with whatever method you use for melodic line synthesis and you will see your melodic ideas starting to fall into place! Then you start to understand phrasing! Which is like a musical conversation rather than just noodling. And by the way, there are entities in music known as rests!

    Next combine what we've discussed so far with the melodic patterns (step progression, appogiatura, and arpeggios) that flow seemlessly into one another and you're almost home! The final step is to use melodic sequence, better known as repeat phrasing. Play your last phrase in another key to create a melodic sequence. Play a phrase and repeat it, but with the intervals inverted. Play a phrase and then repeat it backwards. Repeat only fragments of the last phrase and so on. You can also create rythmic repetition rather than melodic repetition as well as all sorts of fragmentations of the same. Then you will have mastered the psychology of music. You will be able to get into ppls heads! As Joe Pass once said, "If you can't repeat it in the heat of improvisation, then it didn't come from your heart!".

    You see? It's much more intricate than merely knowing which notes to play!
    Last edited by Osensei; 12-04-2006 at 02:47 PM.
    These horse pills really take the edge off! Take 4 of em and that yellow gateway over there opens for da wolfman! -- Carl, ATHF

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    Default Re: What theory taught me...

    Quote Originally Posted by Osensei View Post
    To learn to play any style one first must know how to play. This means knowing the scales, knowing how to identify the notes on ones instruments (keyboard/fretboard), perhaps doing some sight reading, and having some basic knowledge concerning harmony which may initially come from studying ones chord book and practicing arpeggios. Later on the player should do some basic harmonic theory in order to understand how to build chords. This is your initial theoretical foundation! At this stage you may not have received any devine revelations.

    So far the player has only established the basic foundation. As the player begins to play with others, then they are inevitably confronted with the task of having to interpret style. This is the key! One learns style by being forced to "do it"! Nothing scientific about it yet! The band leader says, "We're gonna play the tune on page 10 of the songbook", and you do as you're told! What the sensei says, you do! You have to sweep the temple floors before you learn Kung Fu! Listening to others play in a similar style is key here. Better yet, find a recording of the tune you are studying then put what you have learned about the style in your database for recall later. Simple enough?
    Yes, simple enough. I probably havemany more temple floors to sweep. I need to learn to be like water.

    What to learn style? Try to play what he played, the way he (Eric Clapton, BB King, Satriani, Duane Allman, etc) played it.

    I got it. No theory required.
    Last edited by Guitar Toad; 12-04-2006 at 08:13 PM.
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    Default Re: What theory taught me...

    Quote Originally Posted by Osensei View Post
    This is typical of the homework that a musician must do before they go off on a theoretical tangant. The theory will come! First however, you must practice patience, restraint and discipline! You must have faith in knowing that your theoretical questions will be answered in due time, if you follow the course of basic understanding first. This is tough to do if you have an ego, because it means that you have to sit in the background as you gain experience for an indeterminate period of time before you blossom! But low and humble is the way to glory!
    Like Charlie Parker was just a saxophonist is Jay McShan's band and the young Miles Davis was simply a trumpeter in Charlie Parker's band.

    Quote Originally Posted by Osensei View Post
    IMHO, this grunt work is essential before you can hope to solo in a particular style effectively. Let alone compose. Regardless of your theoretical expertise, you can expect to fail. Unless you know the intrensic essence of the thing that you are working with you are lost. It would be like a doctor trying to operate on an alien from another planet! This foundational knowledge is historical, cultural and traditional rather than theoretical. Once you have digested the historical, cultural and traditional then you have arrived at the proper moment to apply the theoretical. A musician therefore most not only be a theorist, but also a historian and archeologist.

    In this sense music is more like a behavioral science than a physical science. First we must observe what a dog's behavioral patterns are before we can hope that an examination of his nural pathways or adrenal system will shed any light. Without examining the former, we have no basis by which to draw a corrolation to the latter.

    If I had taken a solo on that Basie tune back then, I probably would have tried to run a bunch of crappy scales using boundless streams of 16th notes. Even though my solo may have been in the right key, and even though everything that I played may have been theoretically explainable, I'm sure it would have sounded like crap! You see, the style dictated that the melodic ideas should follow a swing eigth note feel. I didn't know that at the time. So any solo by me would have been completely out of character. No amount of theory could have helped me in that situation. That's what I mean when I say, "know the intrensic essence of the thing".
    Grasshopper must practice patience and learn to become one with the music.

    Music is more art than science. SRV, EVH, EC, sat at the feet of the masters first, before they became known in their own.
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    Default Re: What theory taught me...

    Quote Originally Posted by Osensei View Post
    Next combine what we've discussed so far with the melodic patterns (step progression, appogiatura, and arpeggios) that flow seemlessly into one another and you're almost home! The final step is to use melodic sequence, better known as repeat phrasing. Play your last phrase in another key to create a melodic sequence. Play a phrase and repeat it, but with the intervals inverted. Play a phrase and then repeat it backwards. Repeat only fragments of the last phrase and so on. You can also create rythmic repetition rather than melodic repetition as well as all sorts of fragmentations of the same. Then you will have mastered the psychology of music. You will be able to get into ppls heads! As Joe Pass once said, "If you can't repeat it in the heat of improvisation, then it didn't come from your heart!".

    You see? It's much more intricate than merely knowing which notes to play!
    I see. I've heard guys say stuff like that...

    As Joe Pass once said, "If you can't repeat it in the heat of improvisation, then it didn't come from your heart!".
    When think about my playing it goes wrong. But, when I play and let it flow from my heart then I'm OK.
    Oh, my the work that is required to establish that heart-to-fretboard interface. The learning never ends. I'm not sure if I'll ever get it right. But, I'll keep tryin' until I figure it out.

    There are lots of dues to pay to earn the title of musician, artist, guitarist.
    Last edited by Guitar Toad; 12-04-2006 at 08:51 PM.
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  11. #51
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    Default Re: What theory taught me...

    I have found that modes are really only good when you are dealing with a one or two chord vam. When you have a true chord progression of any type, I simply just play notes according to the chord change. I use the whole fretboard.

    Modes are only half the battle in some cases. I have, to my knowledge, come up with my own scale for blues.

    It's a combo of the blues scale and a Dorian scale. For instance.

    Key of A:
    A B C D D# E F# G A

    I don't ever play chromatically with that scale, but I use all of those notes at different points through out the song.

    you have a :

    1-2-b3-4-#4-5-6-b7-1 scale formation

    Try it some time

    P.S.- It really only sounds good with major keys in blues.
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    Default Re: What theory taught me...

    Here's an excercise:

    Melodic ideas are divided into phrases just like sentences in a conversation. If this is true then read a couple of sentences from a newspaper or even this very thread. Listen to the rythm and cadence of the words then convert that cadence into 1/4 notes, 1/8 notes, 1/2 notes, rests, etc until you have imitated the rythm of the words in the sentences. Now you have created a rythm! Next pick a chord ... any chord. Now create a melody that fits the chord by assigning pitches to the rythmic cadence that you have created.

    This is an excercise in combining the elements of harmony, pitch and rythm! You see? To simply focus on modes is like saying that you can learn how to cook soup by learning everything there is to know about tomatoes. In actuality you need to know less about tomatoes and more about celery, potatoes, parsley, oregano, carrots, chicken broth, beef broth and noodles. But most importantly you have to know how to combine all of these ingredients and what temperature you need to set in order to make a savory soup.

    This excercise is cool, but its missing a key ingredient. So consequently, some of the stuff you create using this method may not hang together. Can you tell me which element is missing?
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    Default Re: What theory taught me...

    At some point back in history, some egghead college professor, that never played a single line of improvised melody, told someone that they needed to study modes in order to understand improvisation. And so the damned madness began!

    So naturally, guitar players began looking to modes because we already knew about chords. We do play a polyphonic instrument, afterall. What's the point of guitar or piano without chords? Consequently, we know more about chords at an earlier stage in our development than non-polyphonic instrument players (horn players and such). Therefore, we naturally assumed that the secret to learning that which we do not know must lie in other methods than what we already knew. Therefore, we stopped looking at what we knew (chords) and sought out something else (modes). Thinking that they (modes) must be the key that unlocks the door.

    Horn players are just the opposite. They can only play a single note at a time. So in order to improvise, they must begin by studying the chords. Since they have a single line instrument then the only way they can learn chords is to play arpeggios. So, when you tell a sax cat, trumpet cat, etc to take a solo, they immediately look at the chords and start playing arpeggios. They look to arps first and modes last. We have an advantage over them cuz we know more about chords and harmony sooner! But we (guitar players) discard this advantage to go chasing after some dumbass modes!

    We never stopped to ponder the mystery of the mobius! Our blind eyes failed to see the universe folding back in on itself. We fail to see the universal oneness that is in the true nature of what we seek. We are blind to the truth that arpeggio and scale are not different but one and the same. Behold the oneness of the truth:

    Cmaj7 arpeggio = C E G B
    Now add a 9th to create Cmaj9 arp = C E G B D
    Now add an 11th Cmaj7(11) = C E G B D F
    Now add a 13th Cmaj7(13) = C E G B D F A
    Now what are the notes that make up our final arpeggio? Answer = CDEFGAB

    So the C maj scale is actually a Cmaj7(11)(13) arpeggio! You just witnessed the universe folding in on itself! If you extend an arpeggio out far enough then it becomes a scale! Every mode that you have ever studied is actually an arpeggio that is collapsed in on itself! If you travel far enough into space you will eventually end up where you started! This is the recursive nature of systems! A mirror is casting a reflection of a mirror casting a reflection of a mirror casting the reflection .....
    Last edited by Osensei; 12-04-2006 at 10:49 PM.
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    Default Re: What theory taught me...

    We have a dictionary full of words, in a perfect world everyone would be know all the words and not restrict themselves to a limited 10% of the dictionary's full collection.

    We have the english language, spoken in the US, England, Ireland, Wales, Scotland, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa to name of few places where the language is used. Each locality utilizes a different subset of the collection of english words. And the same words sound different depending on the location where you hear them.

    Are not scales and modes simply the guitartists stuff of regional accentuation and dialect?
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    Default Re: What theory taught me...

    Quote Originally Posted by Osensei View Post

    We never stopped to ponder the mystery of the mobius! Our blind eyes failed to see the universe folding back in on itself. We fail to see the universal oneness that is in the true nature of what we seek. We are blind to the truth that arpeggio and scale are not different but one and the same. Behold the oneness of the truth:

    Cmaj7 arpeggio = C E G B
    Now add a 9th to create Cmaj9 arp = C E G B D
    Now add an 11th Cmaj7(11) = C E G B D F
    Now add a 13th Cmaj7(13) = C E G B D F A
    Now what are the notes that make up our final arpeggio? Answer = CDEFGAB

    So the C maj scale is actually a Cmaj7(11)(13) arpeggio! You just witnessed the universe folding in on itself! If you extend an arpeggio out far enough then it becomes a scale! Every mode that you have ever studied is actually an arpeggio that is collapsed in on itself! If you travel far enough into space you will eventually end up where you started! This is the recursive nature of systems! A mirror is casting a reflection of a mirror casting a reflection of a mirror casting the reflection .....
    I like your arppegio built into the C scale. Nice.
    Success seems to be connected with action. Successful people keep moving. They make mistakes, but they don't quit.
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    Now lets think. If we extend every chord in C maj out to the 13th, then we can logically say that only one chord exists in the key of C major. This is because each chord in C major under this condition is simply an inversion of the tonic. So duality is recognized as the illusion that it actually is.
    These horse pills really take the edge off! Take 4 of em and that yellow gateway over there opens for da wolfman! -- Carl, ATHF

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    Guitarist ought to spend more time on arpeggios, whole notes, quarter, half, and whole rests than on modes...I think that's what is being suggested here.

    I can live with that.
    Last edited by Guitar Toad; 12-04-2006 at 11:00 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Guitar Toad View Post
    Guitarist ought to spend more time on arpeggios, whole notes, quarter, half, and whole rests than on modes...I think that's what is being suggested here.

    I can live with that.
    No! What I'm saying that music is synergistic for one thing!

    The successful musician must learn how to get all of its multiple elements to work together at the same time. A well thought out melodic line sounds like crap if the melodic rythm/cadence is uncool! A well thought out, hip, swinging melody sounds like crap if the chords that make up the harmony are poorly chosen. A hip, swinging melody with a cool harmonic backing sounds like crap if it's played in the wrong style.

    You need to spend as much time concentrating on style and rythmic concepts as you do on note choice. Whether or not you use modes is not really the issue. Being balanced in your approach is the issue. You will find that many times your melodic ideas won't make sense until you start applying rythmic ideas like phrasing and stylistic considerations like feel (ie, straight 8th note vs swing 8th note) to the melodic material.

    Organisms need an environment in order to live. Biological organism cannot live in the vaccum of space. Theory is the same way. Theory will not work unless you provide an environment in which it can operate. Outside of a stylistic framework theory will normally produce arbitrary, unusable results.

    So get the style and the grove started. That means that you should know what the rythm section comping is gonna sound and feel like. Is the keyboard player going to be hitting chords and holding them down for 2 or 4 beats? Or is the keyboard player going to be sparsley hitting chords of short duration here and there? Or is the keyboard player going to be comping choppy chords patterns in a funky grove? When will the rythm section use accents and pushes? Will the tune have a swing feel or a straight feel?

    Will bass player be playing a walking bass line, A fast boogie woogie blues shuffle, or will the bass player be playing a lazy blues shuffle? Or maybe the bass player will be playing a Latin, Bossa Nova bass line or an Afro-Cuban Mambo bass line.

    Will the drummer be riding his cybal with an occasional hit on the snare in a jazz/swing style? Or will the drummer be hitting the snare on 2 & 4 in a Pop, Rock, R&B style? Or will the drummer be playing thundering fusion type polyrythms ala Billy Cobham?

    All of those considerations will determine things like where you "feel" accents should fall in your melodic line. Or where you feel a rest! Or whether you should be playing with a straight or swing melodic feel. Or on what beat you feel a phrase should begin in the current measure. Or on what beat the current phrase should end.

    Once you have answered these questions then it is safe to say that you have created an environment in which your application of theory will work for you.
    Last edited by Osensei; 12-05-2006 at 12:31 AM.
    These horse pills really take the edge off! Take 4 of em and that yellow gateway over there opens for da wolfman! -- Carl, ATHF

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    /\ Can't argue with that. It makes sense to me. Modes/scales/chords don't mean a thing if you can't keep the beat or keep in time with the rest of the band.
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    Default Re: What theory taught me...

    Quote Originally Posted by Guitar Toad View Post
    /\ Can't argue with that. It makes sense to me. Modes/scales/chords don't mean a thing if you can't keep the beat or keep in time with the rest of the band.
    Right! Theory can only reveal to us what the possibilities are! But theory cannot compose or even make decisions for us. We must leave that up to ourselves. We are the human interface! That's why we must know everything about styles. Styles are the human/emotional elements that help us use what theory has revealed to us in a human/emotional way.

    Because they are historical and cultural, styles guide us in how to musically express human emotion. And if that doesn't mess with your head then dig on this: Style often guides us in expressing our emotions from a cultural point of view that is alien to our experience (ie white boy playing the blues or a brother shredding)! This is something theory, for all of its utilitarian purpose, cannot do.

    Sometimes when I listen to a particular style of music, it is as though I can feel the spirit of the culture in which that style originated. If I close my eyes sometimes I can see the husbands mowing the lawns on Saturday morning and the streams of water being ejected from their neighbor's water sprinklers in the distance. Or kids jumpin on the school bus from the corner on their block. I can see native peoples from far aways lands shopping in the straw markets or even rice farmers hard at work in their fields. I can see a plump well dressed woman fanning herself with one of those Jesus fans as she sits next to her kids during Wednesday night prayer meetin. No theory could ever make your music speak like that! Besides, were do you think ideas for album covers come from?

    So styles help us to express ourselves. But more importantly they teach us things about or brothers and sisters and the indoninabilty of the human spirit. Once you understand this then you'll "get it". That's why I LMAO when I hear some nerdy ass geek go, "Duane Allman is a dorian blues player!". Because, I know they just don't "get it"!
    Last edited by Osensei; 12-05-2006 at 07:54 AM.
    These horse pills really take the edge off! Take 4 of em and that yellow gateway over there opens for da wolfman! -- Carl, ATHF

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