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Learning when to use "wrong" notes

Chords, scales, harmony, melody, etc.

Moderator: Moderators (Main)

emerable
KVRist
 
59 posts since 19 Dec, 2012

Postby emerable; Wed Jan 23, 2013 12:23 am Learning when to use "wrong" notes

So I've read lots on their, and most of it has been the same information I've heard reiterated in different ways. I know about major/minor scales and wish chords are in them. What would be very helpful to me is if there was a resource that went into detail on how to use "wong" notes, that is notes that aren't in the particular scale. I know the default answer to this is just use your ears, but I like knowing the theory that goes into these things.
I would really appreciate any suggestions, thanks.
streifentier
KVRian
 
522 posts since 11 May, 2006, from Northern Germany

Postby streifentier; Wed Jan 23, 2013 1:09 am

Actually not too difficult (in principle), if you're prepared to spend enough of your time on this. You'll find lots of information about different chords (besides simple major and minor chords) on the internet, a good link (showing you the names of the chord, the notes and their place on the keyboard) has been pointed out by Bobbotov in another thread: http://www.apassion4jazz.net/keys.html. Then comes the "work", which is to learn/memorize the elements/intervals of those other chords, to use them in different scales, and to find out how they sound and "feel". After that you'll be prepared and the rest is to get practice. The main difficulty of it is (for me) to get so much practice that you don't have to do any "inverval calculations" in your head in different scales anymore but simply "know" every note for the different chords in different scales. The best recommendation is probably to take "one step at a time", otherwise it's easy to get frustrated. A helpul tool mithg be this (not exactly cheap): http://www.synleor.com/improvisator.html. It can be used to produce chords automatically, but also to learn and to get the "feel" of the different chords.
jancivil
KVRAF
 
9423 posts since 20 Oct, 2007

Postby jancivil; Wed Jan 23, 2013 1:11 am

honestly this is a matter of choices to be decided relying on some knowledge and experience. The answers you'll get typed at you online are probably going to provide you with a surfeit of information that is mainly going to confuse. there may be a jazzer's theory that applies not at all to someone that doesn't use that kind of harmonic concept, there may be a cut-and-dried approach abstracted from baroque part-writing that you'd need to have the particular experience to apprehend, etc.

there is no cut-and-dried theory for all music, you aren't going to proceed directly to knowledge out of reading some information. it will take some time to 'know' what to do and your opinions on what is right or wrong are going to evolve as you gain experience. theory is applied knowledge, not a book of laws or recipes.
jancivil
KVRAF
 
9423 posts since 20 Oct, 2007

Postby jancivil; Wed Jan 23, 2013 1:20 am

emerable wrote:wrong notes, that is notes that aren't in the particular scale.
ya know, there are a lot of things inside the particular scale that are going to come off wrong. You would need to have this before worrying about bringing more in. I get the impression you're getting ahead of yourself a little, trying to run before you're walking confidently. Take your time and study, take a course. Educate your ear by copying what you think sounds good and get 'theory' out of what you think works. It isn't happening in a vacuum, out of nowhere.
streifentier
KVRian
 
522 posts since 11 May, 2006, from Northern Germany

Postby streifentier; Wed Jan 23, 2013 1:40 am

@ jancivil: I am a lawyer and I can tell you that it's "applied knowledge" and experience as well. Not too far away from music, now I think about it :). Same with cooking, actually...

OT, I don't think that "harmonic concepts" are the question here, but a starting point for playing more than just the most basic chords and melodies.

@ emerable: Another helpful thing might be to get some idea of the "musical interaction" of chords, by playing combinations of the simple chords you know already, e. g. (on a C major scale) the right hand playing a C major chord (CEG) all the time, and the left hand accompanying by playing an Fmajor, then a Gmajor and then an Aminor chord. A very common pattern in all kinds of pop music, by the way. But this is not directly aimed at your question about when to use notes that aren't in the particular scale. And forgive me for not using the right technical terms, I'm not a native speaker (of English, that is :)).
Nanakai
KVRian
 
592 posts since 3 Oct, 2011

Postby Nanakai; Wed Jan 23, 2013 7:17 am

Go through this series. Play the chords on an instrument. See, feel and hear:

http://audio.tutsplus.com/tutorials/mus ... s-piano-1/

Knowing the theory means nothing if you don't have primary experience.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~*
Bobbotov
KVRian
 
993 posts since 14 May, 2008, from Tralfamadore

Postby Bobbotov; Wed Jan 23, 2013 7:45 am

There's wrong notes??? Damn!
deastman
KVRAF
 
3992 posts since 6 Aug, 2003, from San Francisco Bay Area

Postby deastman; Wed Jan 23, 2013 8:44 am

jancivil wrote:honestly this is a matter of choices to be decided relying on some knowledge and experience. The answers you'll get typed at you online are probably going to provide you with a surfeit of information that is mainly going to confuse. there may be a jazzer's theory that applies not at all to someone that doesn't use that kind of harmonic concept, there may be a cut-and-dried approach abstracted from baroque part-writing that you'd need to have the particular experience to apprehend, etc.

there is no cut-and-dried theory for all music, you aren't going to proceed directly to knowledge out of reading some information. it will take some time to 'know' what to do and your opinions on what is right or wrong are going to evolve as you gain experience. theory is applied knowledge, not a book of laws or recipes.

How would you suggest he acquire this knowledge, if not from studying theory? Bashing about on the keyboard in hopes of an epiphany is surely not the most direct route.
Incomplete list of my gear: 1/4" audio patchcord
User avatar
codec_spurt
KVRAF
 
3462 posts since 20 Sep, 2005

Postby codec_spurt; Wed Jan 23, 2013 9:53 am

Can't believe no one has posted this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R7GeKLE0x3s
You'll be pleased to know, I'm knocking it all on the head.
klawire
KVRist
 
45 posts since 1 Jan, 2013, from Finland

Postby klawire; Wed Jan 23, 2013 11:51 am

deastman wrote:How would you suggest he acquire this knowledge, if not from studying theory? Bashing about on the keyboard in hopes of an epiphany is surely not the most direct route.

One of the most important things I've learnt while studying in university is, that even the best theories are not as good as the reality. What I mean with that is, that while knowing some theories may in some cases be a good starting point, you actually learn much more by practical experience. Theories can only get you so far. Experience gets you a lot further. This applies especially well to music: if you have a good ear, just play, listen to music, and analyze it. Try out things. That's how most people learn the best.
emerable
KVRist
 
59 posts since 19 Dec, 2012

Postby emerable; Wed Jan 23, 2013 2:05 pm

Nanakai wrote:Go through this series. Play the chords on an instrument. See, feel and hear:

http://audio.tutsplus.com/tutorials/mus ... s-piano-1/

Knowing the theory means nothing if you don't have primary experience.


Thank you! This looks like it's going to be extremely useful!


As far as experimenting without theory goes, I do that all the time. The problem is that sometimes i'll come up with an interesting chord progression that includes some non diatonic notes, but I won't really know what's going on to properly write basslines and melodies on top. Are the "wrong" keys I'm hitting just passing notes, am I changing scales for one bar, am I changing scales for one bar then changing again for the next? I'm not being lazy, I just prefer to have a more clear understanding of the musical direction of the song so I can confidently build on it.
klawire
KVRist
 
45 posts since 1 Jan, 2013, from Finland

Postby klawire; Thu Jan 24, 2013 2:40 am

emerable wrote:As far as experimenting without theory goes, I do that all the time. The problem is that sometimes i'll come up with an interesting chord progression that includes some non diatonic notes, but I won't really know what's going on to properly write basslines and melodies on top. Are the "wrong" keys I'm hitting just passing notes, am I changing scales for one bar, am I changing scales for one bar then changing again for the next? I'm not being lazy, I just prefer to have a more clear understanding of the musical direction of the song so I can confidently build on it.

Of course you can use theories as a guidance. But ultimately, it's up to you to decide whether you are changing the scale or not. I usually change the scale if I want to use a chord that doesn't fit in the scale I'm in. And if it's just the melody that deviates from the scale, I stay in the current scale. Coming up with the chord progression first, or both the chord progression and melody at the same time might help you with these decisions.
KLS
KVRist
 
103 posts since 4 Aug, 2008, from Atlanta, GA

Postby KLS; Thu Jan 24, 2013 4:04 pm

Bobbotov wrote:There's wrong notes??? Damn!


Yes there are, Bob. I've been meaning to talk to you about this since I heard your last piece. :)
Bobbotov
KVRian
 
993 posts since 14 May, 2008, from Tralfamadore

Postby Bobbotov; Thu Jan 24, 2013 4:36 pm

KLS wrote:
Bobbotov wrote:There's wrong notes??? Damn!


Yes there are, Bob. I've been meaning to talk to you about this since I heard your last piece. :)


I paid good money for those notes. The guy who sold them said they were very unique: Fb, E#, B#, Cb.
jancivil
KVRAF
 
9423 posts since 20 Oct, 2007

Postby jancivil; Thu Jan 24, 2013 7:49 pm

deastman wrote:
jancivil wrote:honestly this is a matter of choices to be decided relying on some knowledge and experience. The answers you'll get typed at you online are probably going to provide you with a surfeit of information that is mainly going to confuse. there may be a jazzer's theory that applies not at all to someone that doesn't use that kind of harmonic concept, there may be a cut-and-dried approach abstracted from baroque part-writing that you'd need to have the particular experience to apprehend, etc.

there is no cut-and-dried theory for all music, you aren't going to proceed directly to knowledge out of reading some information. it will take some time to 'know' what to do and your opinions on what is right or wrong are going to evolve as you gain experience. theory is applied knowledge, not a book of laws or recipes.

How would you suggest he acquire this knowledge, if not from studying theory? Bashing about on the keyboard in hopes of an epiphany is surely not the most direct route.
Neither is reading. Seems like an unnecessary dichotomy.

There is a premise here, first of all that information amounts to knowledge. Why didn't Paul McCartney study theory? Do you think the things Miles Davis knew all came from Julliard? You have a cart you're asking to pull a horse. Theory is observations of what has worked, one seeks to find the consistency of practice. One can do that directly!

My own experience was, as I suggested in my second post, learning songs. Often by ear. There was no book to tell me what was happening in most of the music I liked. I was picking up knowledge for four years before I 'studied theory'. But, when I sussed most of the parts on side one of Abbey Road, I knew how those things worked. Later when I saw 'theory', 'I-vi-ii-V-I' (actually I noticed those, formulaic things in a little chord progression handbook before I ever heard of roman numbers analysis) it was a double-sided epiphany. I could see the use of it and I could see why so much music sounded dull to me, cookie cutter. Vs certain Beatles songs. "Because"; how did McCartney come up with such sophisticated part writing with no theory study?

Or, someone showed me the Foxy Lady chord and I noticed both qualities of third in it! EUREKA.

And, when I saw concepts abstracted from music, there were epiphanies coming I don't think happen otherwise.
A lot of people today expect to read up on it via the internet and they're good to go. That is kind of a vacuum.

I don't think trial and error should be reduced to 'bashing about'. I'm not sure what is that bad about bashing about in the beginning anyway. I don't think that having never bashed about and having no experience directly with songs and pieces of music is remedied by reading, even if all of the information ever compiled is available with one mouse click.

The OP asks a world in a nutshell. It will take years to know how to use notes that aren't prescribed in a list of scale tones or triads made from that to good effect. I lack the inclination or the time to try and remedy that missing experience typing at someone. There are enough people that will try. I can pass along this knowledge, you'll gain more by getting your hands dirty first. When you do, the information will have context that isn't self-evident necessarily.
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