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Theory Section in Wiki

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Whatever's handiest

Joined: 20 Apr 2006
Posts: 20991
Location: wandering

PostPosted: Tue Jan 29, 2008 8:06 am    Post subject: Theory Section in Wiki Reply with quote

Okay, I promised this a long time ago, but I've not really had any sort of structure in my life within which I could work for the last few months. I'm back at uni now, and plan on devoting at least an hour or two to this per week.

I plan to write a guitarists guide to theory. At a guess, I reckon it'll take between six and twelve months to compile, but it should be fairly comprehensive and cover more or less everything musician could want to know about theory, without venturing into any theoretical cul-de-sacs, such as very specialist approaches to analysis or composition.

I'd like to to be fairly informal without being patronising. Music thory is not dificult, when explained properly, and even the most informal of investigations into the mechanics of music can yield very satisfying and results. Mostly, I can imagine this guide being most useful for:

People who wish to reach a competency in theory that means that there are less unknowns in how music works and that gives the ability to recognise more easily what's going on in a piece of music;

People who wish to dabble a little in theory, who perhaps are looking for some fresh inspiration, and would benefit from seeing how other musicians have arranged things and what effect this had on the music. The advantage of this is that a quick nosy through the pages will open up a new way of thinking such as might happen the first time you hear a particular effect and think "I like that, I could use that somehow";

People who wish to find information on a particular topic, for instance, if someone had a sudden desire to find out what the definition of a chord was, or how certain scales are usually related to certain keys (perhaps this person is bored with how their solos have been sounding recently, and heard something about "other scales"). The aim here would be to provide all the information available on the topic, without gaps, so that the person reap the benefits they were looking for, as well as providing extra information on the topic, that might encourage further investigation.

Most musicians will have an awareness of certain musical priorities without realising it. Recognising this and making the most of it by looking at how other musicians have applied the same values or tackled the same problems is basically what theory is about. To this end, we are probably all musical theorists in some light. For some reason, we guitarists are more prone to finding out more about effects pedals that are producing a certain sound than we are to finding out more about a chord change that produces a certain sound. To me, to think about one and not the other seems odd. Obviously no one wants to write music that basically ends up sounding like a pastiche of other styles, but this is actually unlikely to happen, provided that you have a desire to do things differently, and remember that all you're really doing is being nosy about why something is happening.

My plan is to structure it as follows (there was some more stuff, but it has slipped my mind. I have a fair few months to remember though, so it doesn't really matter)(some of this has been named quite self-importantly. For instance, the tonic-dominant relationship most of us will recognise as a blues turnaround, intervallic structuring of chords is basically how barre chords can be moved about, similarly intervallic structuring of scales is basically how scale patterns can be moved about. Nevertheless, it is important I feel to write down and define these things as correctly as we can):

1. Introduction to music theory

Definition of music theory; different approaches; arguments for the study of theory; any other concerns that a person may have before embarking on any studying of theory

2. Musical Notation

A brief discussion of origins; what is notation; why notate music; standard notation (note values, note names, notes as they appear on the stave, key signatures, time signatures); a brief discussion of non-standard notation

3. Harmony

Useful definitions; key systems (intervallic structure of keys, both major and minor); triadic harmony; tonic-dominant relationships; discussion of common chord progressions; application of harmony

4. Melody

Intervallic structuring of scales and the significance of this; relationships with keys; how to write a musically pleasing phrase; application of scales

Any suggestions/requests/concerns?

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I Beat BBC News

Joined: 18 Apr 2006
Posts: 11369
Location: Scotland

PostPosted: Tue Jan 29, 2008 9:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I suggest you do this. I want to learn theory, but I get sooooo bored whenever I try and it's hard to find a decent source without having to pay for it as well.

I probably won't be able to use it for a few months though, 'cause I don't have a guitar out here and it's unlikely I will have a guitar, a stable internet connection and the time to practice anytime soon.
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 29, 2008 11:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

That would be massively useful, and I for one would very much appreciate your efforts.
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Joined: 20 Apr 2006
Posts: 579
Location: Where everything is green and submarine

PostPosted: Mon Feb 04, 2008 11:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes I do believe it would help out many guitarists, me included.
Looking for recommendations on some new music?
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Joined: 06 Mar 2008
Posts: 22

PostPosted: Fri Mar 07, 2008 12:54 am    Post subject: theory in wiki Reply with quote

First post (if i actually pull it off!) anyway-a big PLUS 1 on your idea. I have a pretty good stack of theory books that give Percocet a run for its money! cheers Very Happy
"Was once blind, but now rantoul-Once lost, but now fondue!"
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Joined: 20 Apr 2006
Posts: 972
Location: Manchester, UK

PostPosted: Tue Mar 11, 2008 6:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great idea mate, I'm sure people on here who have some knowledge would be willing to help you out too.
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a mannequin made by madmen

Joined: 24 Apr 2006
Posts: 10802
Location: Leeds (LeedsLeeds)

PostPosted: Tue Mar 11, 2008 6:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That'd be ace, my theory knowledge has deteriorated since I stopped lessons, and I find books to be tedious at best and generally untrustworthy in terms of unnecessarily long ways around things, if that makes sense.
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