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Music: help me learn it

Something RidiculousSomething Ridiculous Registered User regular
edited February 2009 in Help / Advice Forum
Ok so I'm interested in learning the more eh, technical side of music. I've been playing guitar for a while, and I enjoy it but I feel like I don't understand the theory and stuff behind it. I know chords, I know scales, but I'd like my knowledge to be more in depth. So can anyone recommend some books or something that would help me understand what I'm playing more? It'd be cool if they weren't like gigantic overwhelming text books too, thanks.

Something Ridiculous on


  • LeggraphicsLeggraphics Registered User regular
    edited February 2009
    be more specific of what you would like to learn. If you know chords, progressions, things like scales then you know most of it all.

    From chords and scales you can make any composition. Bb blues scale is well known for being in jazz or the obvious blues, pentatonic or harmonic minors are used in middle eastern sounding forms.

    Are you looking at more about knowing the history? there is a massive BBC production called 'history of jazz' which I have now had to watch twice, once through School and once through Uni and that was very informative.

    If you know scales and chords as you say then you already know theory...

    about the guitar itself you can always research on how and why it is the shape it is.. the top near the fret board is smaller than the base of the guitar to resonate higher frequency notes and the big section is for the lower frequency. Sound holes or F holes are used to project the sound and are placed close to the middle of the instrument because that is where the balance of sound comes out... mm without getting more into physics harmonics on the guitar are the same on any string and are at the 1/2 1/4 1/8 1/16 length of the string. etc

    There are lots of music theory books. But I think you know most of that.. try the history first I think. It tells you where and why scales exist and where they came from. Allot of celtic music is in Eb because the bag pipes resonate at Eb. loll...


    Leggraphics on
  • FeralFeral MEMETICHARIZARD interior crocodile alligator ⇔ ǝɹʇɐǝɥʇ ǝᴉʌoɯ ʇǝloɹʌǝɥɔ ɐ ǝʌᴉɹp ᴉRegistered User regular
    edited February 2009
    The first book I read that explained music theory in a way that made sense to me was:


    Some aspects of musical convention are arbitrary, defined by coincidences of history and culture. Others are rooted in biology in the way we hear and identify sounds. That book was good at explaining the difference.

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  • EggyToastEggyToast Jersey CityRegistered User regular
    edited February 2009
    Knowing chords and knowing scales, I'd argue, is the basics of music theory. Do you know how chords fit into scales? Are you familiar with the various scales for every note?

    Are you familiar with the actual notes you're playing, or you just know how to play some scales on your instrument based on your ear?

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  • TrentusTrentus Registered User regular
    edited February 2009
    Sorry if this sounds like a stupid question, but can you read notated music? It's just that a lot of the guitarists I went to school with could only read tab, and it really held them back when doing things like rhythmic dictation/transcription.

    Trentus on
  • Hey AshtrayHey Ashtray Registered User regular
    edited February 2009
    Just post some questions about whatever you're working on, there's a lot of people here who know a lot about music theory, and we can keep it pretty basic.

    Hey Ashtray on
  • Alchemist449Alchemist449 Registered User regular
    edited February 2009

    If you know scales and chords as you say then you already know theory...

    I don't want to be mean but this is pretty much false. There is a reason people are taking years and years of courses on this stuff; and if it was just that simple then I guess there'd be no need for all those courses. is a good place to learn the basics and has ear training exercises which will help you out a lot in the long run. A lot of the rules in music theory, and, stupid or no, are worth learning. And you will have to learn how to read music if you don't know how. To really get theory there's no way around this one.

    Alchemist449 on
  • Something RidiculousSomething Ridiculous Registered User regular
    edited February 2009
    Alright so I guess I should clarify more. When I say I know chords and scales I mean I know the patterns. I have no idea what they actually are. Like, I know if I put my fingers here this is a G chord, I don't know why these notes make a minor or major chord or how they relate to each other. Also, I played the euphonium (choosing that thing in fourth grade is one of the stupidest things I'v ever done) in my school band for four years and dabbled around with piano for a little so I know the basics of time signatures, and notation and stuff. Also, I read tabs for my guitar because that's what's widely available but I would love to be able to read notes. I hope this is more specific (or maybe I just muddled things up more :?). Also, I'll take a look on Amazon at that book.

    I took look at that website and some of the lessons are definitely the kind of stuff I'm interested in. I don't have sound so I'll look at the ear training things later when I can. I also found I knew a lot of this stuff (from being in band) so maybe I don't give myself enough credit? Also, I think I want to learn more specifically guitar stuff. I guess my ultimate goal is to be proficient to the point where I can string together chords and scales and stuff and make it sound good, and gain more credibility than like "oh I can play tabs pretty good I guess and some scales and stuff".

    Something Ridiculous on
  • LeggraphicsLeggraphics Registered User regular
    edited February 2009
    yah- I would of said ear training isn't theory. It's more a natural talent or a talent derived from playing lots of music, knowing what chords or more simply what note is being played.

    I'm not one for music theory I have to say though. I play four instruments and have been the solo artist on 2 of them infront of huge audiences over 1000 yet in year 12 I failed at theory and was one of only 3 people in the state to get 100% for practical. I know that theory doesn't mean everything and I found it hard but its a really good way to put understanding especially for me as to why those notes you used in a certain solo sounded so good and others didn't.

    I was one of these 'suzuki' violinists. For those who don't know what that is its basically turning the notes into numbers. For many that is a really good alternative. Example..

    on the A string of the violin. there are numerous 'positions'. 1,2,3,4,5 etc. 1 being your pointer in its first spot which would happen to be a B and your index was in position 2 and that was a C. Each string has positions that you recognized as numbers and fingers to correspond with those numbers, a Bb would be a 1 1/2 position on the A string heh.

    Start by learning scales. Watch the history of jazz, it is very informative and learn where chords come from in scales, 1,3,5 etc even if you dont learn what the notes on the page are I think its important to do ear exercises, even just mucking around with solo's while a backing track plays. If you can pick out a note you can work out what the notes in chords are and scales just by hearing them.

    Leggraphics on
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