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Music playing

  1. Nov 25, 2003 #1
    Can someone explain music theory?
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2003
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 25, 2003 #2
    I know a very little bit about it but it is a gigantic subject: whole books are devoted to being an introduction to it. Do you have a specific question about a specific point? If you do I might be able to figure out where to look for the answer, but it is not possible to explain all of music theory in a reply shorter than a whole book.
  4. Nov 25, 2003 #3
    Anything you know will be of use to me.
    Much obliged dude.
  5. Nov 25, 2003 #4
    That question really is about as granular as a universe, so why not check one of the many resources available to you by Googling? http://music.theory.home.att.net/theory.htm
    is the first semi-promising link I found. It would be difficult to just say, "Tell me everything you know." Maybe even a self-guided course would be useful?

    Hope that gets you started.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 1, 2017
  6. Nov 25, 2003 #5
    Do you know what a basic major chord is?
  7. Nov 25, 2003 #6
    yeah, musics theory is a pretty vast subject there. There's lots to learn. Begin with learning chords and scales. Learn the differences between augemnted triads and a diminished 7th. Learn the circle of fifths too, that will help your major scales. Learn minor scales too. You should learn how to tranpose music, and how to read it obviously. If you're interested in music, i'd also recomend ear training, and learning relative pitch.

    But yes, there is a lot to learn, so first pick a place to start and i'd be glad to help you. I don't really know too too much myself, though i do know some, and its something i'm pretty into. I'm also about to begin an advanced song writing course which focusses obviously on music theory and song construction. I play guitar and piano. I found out last year that i apparently have a knack for music. Do you play any instruments? music threory doesn't tend to make too much sense if you can't actually play. And, i recomend that if you can't already, learn to play piano. Learn congruently with your music theory study. Piano is really the only instrument where you can play the grandstaff. But give me a place to start, and i can help explain some music theory to you.
  8. Nov 25, 2003 #7
    With all the action items you gave him, we probably won't be hearing from him for a few years
  9. Nov 25, 2003 #8
    Does anyone know of any music theory books that analyze the treatment of modes in particular musicians, say Eric Satie? I'm beginning to study the modal system and I would like some good examples of modal shifting - I know it when I hear it, but I don't have a full understanding of how all the modes realte to one another and how modes are used to paint emotions. Any info would be appreciated.
  10. Nov 27, 2003 #9
    a basic major chord

    in a major scale there are 7 different notes and then the 8th being the same as the 1st. like this c,d,e,f,g,a,b,c. To form a major chord you take always the 1, 3 and 5th notes of the major scale. c,e and g would be the notes that form a c major chord. If theres anything else I will be online.
  11. Nov 27, 2003 #10


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    *sigh* Almost everyone I know who plays an instrument either plays guitar or piano. Why don't people like playing winds? :frown:
  12. Nov 27, 2003 #11
    Too physically demanding. Or maybe because they're not seen in popular music very often?
  13. Nov 27, 2003 #12
    I play didgerdoo, but not very well, I think most aboriginees would laugh at me.
  14. Nov 27, 2003 #13
    well hurkyl, if you feel any better, i also play clarinet and some sax. I also tried violin, but didn't really keep my interests. I want to play banjo sometime, i think that'd be cool. And actually, i refused to play my guitar for such a long time becuase it was so popular. I'd much rather play some unconventional instruments. But my family already owned guitars and a keyboard.

    i guess another reason i don't really like winds is cause they make my face look less pretty when i play... i like looking pretty when i play music.... haha... i'm vain, sue me.
  15. Nov 27, 2003 #14


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    You're not gonna tell me you don't make funny faces when you get involved in playing the piano, are ya? :wink:

    I've always thought winds were much more fun to play, and sound better as well... though, I suppose they're less fun than piano when you're the only one playing. *sigh*
  16. Nov 27, 2003 #15
    i look cute when i play the piano... piano doesn't make my cheeks puffy and make me look like a chipmunk... and i yeah, woodwinds sound so lonely when they're by themselves... guutar and piano can both be played alone and don't sound naked.
  17. Nov 28, 2003 #16
    I play guitar mainly, but I can also play piano, trumpet, cornet, french horn, trombone, banjo and mandelin. No winds, though, sorry Hurkyl.

    What can I say? I like music.:smile:

    <edit> typos
  18. Nov 28, 2003 #17
    Isn't that the point of it? When I want it to sound lonely, I play the flute, otherwise the piano.

    But why hasn't anyone even attempted to answer the original question? Sure, music theory is vast, but also quite specific. The most general and abstract properties of music are really just this, aren't they:

    Starting at an arbitrary "base" frequency f, say 440 Hz, you look at (or listen to) the harmonics. First of all you are only interested in doubling the frequency. If you double it again and again (and also take halves iteratively) you get approximately 11 different frequencies within the audible spectrum. This is too little for most people, so we do one more thing: In addition to 2f we look at the next harmonic: 3f. Since we have already been dividing frequencies by 2, we can also add 3/2*f for every f in our set of available frequencies. If we reiterate this operation (multiplication by 3 and division by a suitable power of 2), we get all the notes commonly used in music. If we don't start with 440 Hz, which would be an A, but rather choose an F as our starting point, we first get the white keys on (most contemporary) keyboards, then the black ones, and finally after the 12th note, we arrive at one which is very similar to an already existing one: 3^12 / 2^18 = 2.02729 The trick now (and there have historically been different approaches) is to identify 2.02729 with 2. As far as I know, it is done nowadays by building the 12 different notes in order of ascending frequencies by successive multiplication with 2^(1/12).

    Once you understand that (I admit my explanation is not complete, exact, or exceedingly clear, but if you are interested in the subject, you are going to do the calculations yourself anyway), look at the major chords, and you will understand.

    Minor chords are something I don't quite understand yet. I am assuming that is because there is nothing to understand. If aliens on a different planet invented their own music, they would very likely have the same relative frequencies and major chords just like ours, but to my knowledge there is no rule stating they would have the same minor chords. If anyone knows I would be very interested to hear any theories!
  19. Nov 28, 2003 #18
    Interest in music on the part of space aliens is a myth created by Stephen Spielberg. I recently had a group of them over for dinner and afterward showed them a tape of Close Encounters Of The Third Kind. They were completely baffled by the musical mothership sequence.
  20. Nov 29, 2003 #19
    Alright, what aboot power chords?
  21. Nov 30, 2003 #20
    I played piano for a while, and played clarinet in school, and now I have an electric guitar. I got a guitar book for christmas, "The Complete Guitarist"-by Richard Chapman. Very good book for any begining guitar player, lots of theory, and It also tells you just about everthing about guitars. It showes you how to play and how to hold the guitar and all that.

    I love to solo over my favorite songs
  22. Nov 30, 2003 #21


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    For the record, I've performed (in high school) on clarinet, oboe, and cello.... but I've doodled on almost every other major wind instrument; they're fun to play, especially tuba! :wink: I can't make a note on a trumpet to save my life though...

    As you point out, over the past several hundred years, WE haven't agreed on what the major chords should be; why would you think aliens must agree with us!!

    E.G. a "pure" major chord has notes with frequences in the ratio 4:5:6, but an equal-temperament major chord has the ratio 4:5.04:5.99; that middle note is 14 cents off (14% of a semitone), making the difference fairly noticable (to some, anyways. Just about anyone would hear it if they were played at the same time, though!)

    Anyways, the 12-tone scale isn't even universal across our planet; many cultures use a 5-tone scale, various western composers have written music for a 24-tone scale, and (IIRC) Hindi music has over 40 tones in an octave!
  23. Nov 30, 2003 #22
    well... i'm actually not sure music theory wise.... i've never heard of them except on guitar. on guitar, its just the top two strings, first finger on any fret top string (low e), third finger two frets down on second string. i'm not sure why there called power chords really... sorry...
  24. Nov 30, 2003 #23


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    A power chord doesn't have a 3rd. For example, on the piano you play the basic C chord with C, E, G. First finger (Thumb) on C, Third Finger (Middle) on E and Fifth (Pinky) on G. Now the power chord doesn't have a 3rth, so just play the C and G, and you have C5, which is a power chord. In general power chords are denoted by a 5. So if you hear E5, or G5, then you know it is a power chord.

    By the way, I've had 9 years of formal piano lessons, two years of violin, and 1/2 year of trumbone. I hate brass instruments! Violin is ok. By far, the piano is my favoriate.
  25. Dec 3, 2003 #24
    I play/make "music" with the computer, a healthy amount of samples, a microphone, the hitech ability to change and modulate sounds.
  26. Dec 4, 2003 #25
    When I think of minor sounds It seems more dark and deep this is the result of the 5th frequency in the c chromatic scale to drop 1 half frequency resulting in a D sharp or e flat. Now if started on A at 440 hz to be made minor harmony you would have to add a c frequency since the 5th frequency has been flated once again in the A chromatic scale. A chromatic scale is the twelve different frequencies plus the thirteen being the higher octave.These 12 different frequencies play off each other to form different harmonies. I Believe the reason why your thinking is in major sounds is because your thinking in terms of only one note at a time. Whos to say that frequeny should be minor or major. To form a harmony you need two notes.
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