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The guide formerly known as Ravenspiral Guide

Chords, scales, harmony, melody, etc.

Moderator: Moderators (Main)

KVRian
 
1097 posts since 10 Oct, 2004

Postby JumpingJackFlash; Thu Sep 13, 2012 7:56 am

k-bird wrote:I don't know if you remember this: music theory is intimidating as hell to the uninitiated.


It depends on how it's taught. Driving a car is intimidating to someone who has never done so before, but if you proceed slowly, step-by-step, then what seems complicated at first becomes second nature in no time.

k-bird wrote:taking away the intimidation factor by making a few convenient simplifications and omissions.


I have nothing against simplifications and omissions - as you say, sometimes they are necessary.
But that's not all you're doing, you're actually teaching something which is wrong. Not simplified, wrong. There is a big difference.

k-bird wrote:i find it kind of hilarious that you're telling me i shouldn't even be trying to write a guide to music theory unless i'm going to be completely serious about it.


I never said that. You can be as light-hearted as you like, it's not the lack of seriousness that I object to, it's the lack of accuracy.
Unfamiliar words can be looked up in my Glossary of musical terms.
Also check out my Introduction to Music Theory.
KVRer
 
10 posts since 6 Sep, 2012

Postby piscione; Thu Sep 13, 2012 9:56 am

Music theory is intimidating!? So what? Everything is intimidating at first. I'm assuming you somehow learned to read, eat, walk, play some sort of music-ish stuff and all sorts of other intimidating things. Music theory is intimidating if you don't want to learn it.

On the "what's the difference between B# and C thing..., I kinda agree with that but knowing where to draw the line takes substantial knowledge. Really, any idiot can make a complicated subject complicated, but knowing how to simplify takes substantial knowledge in your chosen subject.

Some of these things that seem useless at first may have a use later on. I always wondered about practicing scales and patterns and all the other technical stuff, figured nobody plays scales in a song. Same with the strange fingering in classical music, why bother. Later on I figured out that the "useless" technique is to prepare you to be able to play the things that pop into your head. It prepares you for improvising. Same with the fingering. It's fine to do your own thing when you're learning the song, but when you actually try to play it at the tempo the composer intended, you're toast.

If you skip the basics, you will either need to unlearn what you've learned and go back to the start, or be content with the state you have managed to get to, because that's as far as you're going to go.

Randy
KVRer
 
2 posts since 18 Sep, 2012

Postby Vick; Tue Sep 18, 2012 2:18 pm

Hello, I'm reading the guide and I can't understand what those b-chords in minor scales are. That is, the author writes (on page 43) that a minor scale has the following major chords: bIII, bVI and bVII. What does that "b" mean?
KVRer
 
10 posts since 6 Sep, 2012

Postby piscione; Tue Sep 18, 2012 3:51 pm

Vick wrote:Hello, I'm reading the guide and I can't understand what those b-chords in minor scales are. That is, the author writes (on page 43) that a minor scale has the following major chords: bIII, bVI and bVII. What does that "b" mean?


Probably "flat". The third, sixth and seventh notes in a particular minor scale is flat or a semitone down from the corresponding major scale. At least that would be my guess.

Randy
KVRer
 
2 posts since 18 Sep, 2012

Postby Vick; Tue Sep 18, 2012 9:56 pm

piscione wrote:Probably "flat". The third, sixth and seventh notes in a particular minor scale is flat or a semitone down from the corresponding major scale. At least that would be my guess.
Randy

Thank you, Randy. I guess you're right. But what about harmonic minor? I thought it's preferable to use this scale for, you know, harmony :)
KVRer
 
10 posts since 6 Sep, 2012

Postby piscione; Thu Sep 20, 2012 6:12 am

I'm not an expert on harmony (actually, I'm not an expert on anything) but I've never assumed a certain scale was better for harmony. If I were crazy enough to start teaching, I would not spend too much time on the different minor scales and would instead spend time on the various pentatonic scales, the "blues" scale (essentially a minor pentatonic) and the modes. Those are more fun for improvising.

I would also spend a bit of time on getting to know the harmonic overtone series, because that is the basis for many of the extended chords the jazz players use, and can add substantial colour to harmonies.

Randy
KVRist
 
144 posts since 18 Mar, 2005

Postby roderick; Tue Dec 04, 2012 6:09 am

I've been going through this guide for a week or two and I think it's the bees knees. I think it is the seed of a very good book that would be loved by tens of people. I say 'tens' because I can see that there is likely a disparity between time and monetary worth that I'm sure hinders our humble author from sallying forth, guns a-blazing on a long play version of this opus.

I think I'm in a good position (ie, a shit one in terms of knowledge) to say without reservation that for the newb, the true brilliance in theory literature is to explain by example (and as much of it as possible), so I'm pretty chuffed at what you've done in it, so far. I can't stand starched and largely theoretical tomes, lacking the counterpoint of constant blasts of reinforcing practicality.

You've got me to the point where I can read the Jazz book you recommended (I've been taking a few bites on the royal throne, when nature calls). Things are looking up, my way, and I've partially got you to thank for that. Thumbs up, brother.
KVRist
 
144 posts since 18 Mar, 2005

Postby roderick; Thu Dec 06, 2012 4:11 am

Spotted a few errors a long the way, I'll just pop them here. Not being a knowitall (because I do not know), just thought I'd help any beginners.

Page 66 - presumably, you mean C is the sixth note of Eb major
Page 67,68 - you have A as ACE in the progressions
Page 68 - Hey, let's mix these two things up! chord notes aren't changed
Page 81 - Amin?
KVRist
 
144 posts since 18 Mar, 2005

Postby roderick; Thu Dec 20, 2012 4:41 am

I would suggest in the next version of the PDF, you give the "Harmony and theory" publication something of a different blurb.

I'm coming up short on what, exactly, but I feel like this is the best "next reading material" for someone who is bogged down in getting used to the mental gymnastics of deriving scales, chords etc on the fly. In fact, I'd go as far as to say that all in all, it would be better to have gone through that book, possibly in parallel with your guide. The fact that it is a workbook and you're supposed to sit there and write stuff out is not really even that clear on amazon. I really didn't know what to expect - but when I saw what was in there, I was on it like a shot (and have been for around a week, every night).

I haven't got through it all, but I think you sold it a little short in the context of someone who has read your guide and now needs to go away and probably learn all the major / minor keys etc. I have the jazz theory book, too - and it's pretty good, also - but there are a lot of gaps that are best filled before, with a pencil working through that workbook.

There's a couple of massive gaps for new people that people who know music theory often seem to forget (when they are writing theory books) - one is being amazed by anybody who can snap their fingers and transpose / play any scale and the other is the dreaded pen and paper/reading music etc. Both are basically related to conditioning oneself to thinking on the move. I have to say on both counts that book does a good job.

Again, the only thing I know, is knowing what it's like NOT to know :D
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KVRian
 
897 posts since 9 Dec, 2011

Postby billcarroll; Thu Dec 20, 2012 7:21 am

k-bird wrote:Since we have a music theory forum now, those who want to give themselves a painless introduction to notes, intervals, scales, chords, progressions and so on could do much worse than check out the Guide Formerly Known As The Ravenspiral Guide.

Very little prior knowledge of music is required; all you need to work through it is some way of playing notes. You don't even have to be able to read music to understand what's going on.

Available in PDF format and experimentally in EPUB. Also available for inline viewing on Scribd. (Last updated: 26 August 2012.)


Thanks for your hard work! Don't let the haters frequenting KVR get to you. There will always be those willing to create and put their work out there, and those who look to tear people down so they can look better somehow. (Or so they think.)

You done a fantastic job with this guide. Hopefully you'll get lots of useful input along the way, and I'm sure this guide will continue to get even better.

Thanks for the amazing gift, and for the guts to put it out there! :)

--
Bill Carroll
KVRAF
 
1510 posts since 10 Feb, 2007

Postby manducator; Wed Mar 06, 2013 11:27 pm

I just wanted to bump this great guide, found on page 1.

Thanks K-bird for writing this excellent guide!
KVRer
 
18 posts since 26 Feb, 2013, from United States

Postby nuclearaddict; Wed Mar 20, 2013 10:12 am

Thanks for the bump. I've been teaching myself chords for the past week and it's always nice to have as many guides as possible.
KVRAF
 
2781 posts since 2 Mar, 2003, from The only civilized county in Texas

Postby VicDiesel; Wed Mar 20, 2013 12:43 pm

k-bird wrote:That's the basis i work from - taking away the intimidation factor by making a few convenient simplifications and omissions.


You're not simplifying. Saying that a C minor scale has C-D-D#-F &c has no system to it. You're complicating life.

The "boring old theory" explanation is actually a lot simpler than yours:

Every C scale has the notes C-D-E-F-G-A-B-C, and what distinguishes them is putting sharps and flats on them.
Make the second degree flat? Instant Arabic.
Make the third degree flat? Minor scale. (Depending on context notes 6 & 7 may also be flattened.)
Fourth degree sharp? Get into a fight with Plato. Or sing Maria-Maria.

Et cetera. That's understandable. Your explanation would take tons of memorization.

Victor.
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