# Understanding Music Theory: Guitar & Piano

• raolduke

#### raolduke

I am not sure where this is exactly suppose to go but I need some help with the mathematics behind musical theory. I searched the forums and didnt really find a related topic. The instraments I play are guitar and piano. I recently started the piano though and it made me question many things about music. One of my biggest problems occurs with the E to Fhalf step and the B to C..

This is not my only problem.. If someone could move this thread to the proper location or elaborate on this I could continue with my questions. Please don't copy and paste things you've found in wikipedia. I need a couple of funsters that actually know what they are talking about. Thank you x)

Patience is a virtue. :tongue:

That said, you don't really seem to have asked anything -- I have no idea what you want to know!

I guess what I need to know is how many sharps and flats are in the most common songs you see (scales related to each tonic) and after this is established, maybe a formula trying to connect the transpositions/modes.

I understand that all music is made up of patterns but if someone could show me an example of the patterns relating to a certain mode in a modern song (or example), then we could establish some kind of formula so it would be easier for me, and if there are any aspiring muiscians on this forum, to apply to any key that you may come upon. The reason why it would be nice to just mention popular examples is because it would be easier to apply it to something that most are capable of playing.

One can write down, say, arithmetic progressions, and derive scales from them if one felt so inclined. There are many studies on this. Just google them if no one wants to, or no one is able to, explain them here.

Even now you really haven't asked a question (but that is I suspect because you don't know how to form the question you want to ask).

I would suggest there are many, infinitely many, patterns one could use to write scales with, though they will not all be pleasant to your ear. They may of course be pleasant to someone else's. The fact that the intervals, in semitones, for a major scale, go

2,2,1,2,2,2,1

*is* a pattern. So I don't see what you're asking there.

That is Ionian.. I guess since no one understands my previous posts - could someone explain to me their take on music. Its not a question really but rather a request for someone to share with me their idea of how to play music or how they structure the songs/patterns.

One thing that might be interesting to you is the Schillinger System, Schillinger tried to make a theory of melody, harmony and rhythm.

As a hobby, I have a particular interest in modulations on scales with exact intonations. An area that is currently underdeveloped in music composition.

That is Ionian.. I guess since no one understands my previous posts - could someone explain to me their take on music. Its not a question really but rather a request for someone to share with me their idea of how to play music or how they structure the songs/patterns.
Are you trying to request a knowledge discussion about acoustics, or wavelengths & frequencies, or musical notation, or something else related to music?

i think the answer he's looking for depends on the scale, in the 12 note western music scale the center key is C major, from C its 2,2,1,2,2,2,1. every 2 is a whole step, 1 is a half. funny that you'd know a classical mode and not that?

how would i structure a song?, find something that sounds nice to my ears and build on it from there, i have met people who can pull out the key, progression, time and make the song or build a new one based on what mood their looking for.

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Its not a question really but rather a request for someone to share with me their idea of how to play music or how they structure the songs/patterns.

Almost surely not with mathematics. There are certaily some pleasant things written purely abstractly and mathematically, but not many. Perhaps some people have analysed compositions and found some patterns, and certainly some people have discovered some scales using purely mathematical means (like I said you can easily google that). But whether you think it is *good* or not is entirely a cultural phenomenon.

http://www.sciencenewsforkids.org/pages/puzzlezone/muse/muse0505.asp

is the first thing that a google for 'music mathematical patterns' returned.

http://www.math.niu.edu/~rusin/uses-math/music/ [Broken]

is a whole lot better.

Sure, you didnt' want a wiki-scrape, but since you're asking for opinions, there are some for you. Perhaps some people here would be good enough to read and discuss it with you.

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From my understanding - a basic major scale has that pattern of whole whole half whole whole whole half and I was to believe that was ionian. No? The reason why Cmajor is easy because it has no sharps or flats. But something useful like saying that most rock and roll music is derived from "House of the Rising Sun", the pattern and chords. If you gave examples of scales from popular songs and explain them it would be a lot easier for us to get on the same level.

What key signature is "easiest" depends heavily on what instrument you're playing and what you're playing. e.g. when playing oboe, I would find G major or D major easier than C major.

And unless you have perfect pitch, just by listening you cannot tell the difference between a band playing a song in C major, or playing that same song in Cb major. (Unless you knew some very specific details about the instruments -- e.g. you notice a violin playing on an open string)

These days you can't hear the differences. But you used to be able to, until that damn piano came along. Until then, a C sharp and a D flat were different notes.

But the house of the rising sun is still played in a scale, and a well known one , though not to me. It is probably a very old pentatonic scale, and nothing interesting.

Anyway, the idea that C maj is easy 'cos there are no sharps or flats is meaningless, and entirely dependent on you thinking a piano is *the* only instrument, and current notation as *the* only notation possible. There would be no sharps or flats in G maj, or G min, if we just redefined our notation.

Go and look at, say, tablature, for guitars (based on old lute music) to realize the cultural dependency for this (unfounded) preference for C maj.

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ah hemm, start with c major and count up 5. c d e f g A now transpose that c major pattern starting with A, guess what you have the scale of A major, repeat for the next key, math is everywhere in music.

I believe working with guitar tabulature is the easiest because you don't need to know how read music to do the math.

To say we are starting on D and we applied the major patter. D E F# G A B C# - This D Major, right? Let's analyze House of the Rising Sun. The way I learned to play the song is in G major but I am not sure if that's right. Who would like to start with House of the Rising Sun?

go out and get a music theory book, you might not feel it right away but you'll be kicking yourself when you try to advance in your lessons. tab is good as an !accompaniment! to notation for guitar.

This is hopeless.. If anyone ever scrolls by this in the future please private message me your idea about this. I know I will probably still be stuck on this.
thank youoxoxox

helo you are only discusing about music theory. Music theory provides diferent way of understanding and apreciating music. you probably can't get far in making good music til the next century with only mathematics. you need to understand why somnething sounds good there's are many theories besides . there are also redundancies.for eg. you can name chords in many ways but a particular scale or mode helps you to decide why to name it like that. this is a very vast subject the best advice is to get theory books. there are books on arranging and everything you can think of in music.

i guess it kinda depends on what style of music you want to examine.

a lot of songs are based one the I - IV - V progression found in blues(something you probably already know), but a thing to notice is that the II - V - I progression(found a lot in jazz music) can be that same structure, just turned around a bit(hope that makes sense)

example:

a blues I - IV - V progression in C would be

C - F - G

and a II - V - I progression in F would be

G - C - F

(the chords in blues tend to be dominant or minor, and in the II - V - I, it's usually ii - V - I, but i just used major chords to outline the basic idea.)

the same thing can be applied to chords and their inversions. A C major7 chord( C - E - G - B) can also be interpretted as a E minor6 chord( E - G - B - C) .

hope that helps...y'know...for whatever it's worth

oh, by the way, hunter thomspon...hah, i love that guy

Anyway, the idea that C maj is easy 'cos there are no sharps or flats is meaningless, and entirely dependent on you thinking a piano is *the* only instrument, and current notation as *the* only notation possible. There would be no sharps or flats in G maj, or G min, if we just redefined our notation.

Go and look at, say, tablature, for guitars (based on old lute music) to realize the cultural dependency for this (unfounded) preference for C maj.

Music for instruments that do not have a pitch of C is generally written so that whatever pitch the instrument is in becomes C.

So for example what a trumpet player would think of as C is infact Bb (in concert pitch). In fact Bb and Eb are common pitches for woodwind and brass instruments.

I believe working with guitar tabulature is the easiest because you don't need to know how read music to do the math.

To say we are starting on D and we applied the major patter. D E F# G A B C# - This D Major, right? Let's analyze House of the Rising Sun. The way I learned to play the song is in G major but I am not sure if that's right. Who would like to start with House of the Rising Sun?

Don't know House of the Rising Sun that well, but it's defintely in a minor key.

house of the rising sun?

first song i learned how to play!

i do believe it is

Am - C - D - F - Am - E

along those lines...it's been awhile since I've played it