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  #46  
Old 06-19-2009, 03:27 PM
Ryler Ryler is offline
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For what it's worth, I have followed this thread with interest, absorbing both the more casual approach to chord naming and the stricter perhaps more accurate naming conventions.

I think it's worthwhile for beginners such as myself to be exposed to this type of discussion because it highlights both the rationale for adherance to an established system, (clarity and specificity) but also exposes me to the fact that naming conventions aren't always honored. And since the system is not always honored, it is good for me to know what might be intended by the common misnomers, if you will.

It's kind of like being familiar with slang, even if you wouldn't use it in a composition. Good not to be ignorant of what common slang implies.
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  #47  
Old 06-19-2009, 03:41 PM
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...It's kind of like being familiar with slang, even if you wouldn't use it in a composition. Good not to be ignorant of what common slang implies.
Hi Ryler...
More 'chord slang' is spoken than traditional or conventional with most of the folks I play with or teach...in fact finding people who have any depth to their chord library is rare...

Finding those with deep chord vocabulary is even more rare...

I encounter some who play with sophistication and who range well up the neck, who cannot name what they are playing.
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  #48  
Old 06-19-2009, 08:00 PM
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Larry makes a good point. There is very little correlation between how well folks play and how well they know their chord theory, with the possible exception of jazz guitarists. Over the years, I've played with hundreds of other guitarists, some beginners and some extremely good players. There were folks that knew very little about chord theory that were absolutely wonderful and even complex players, and folks that knew a lot of that but could barely play.

Interestingly enough, my wife, when I met her, had just recently obtained a bachelor's degree in classical guitar performance. She could play just about anything written down pretty much right off the page, but she couldn't tell you whether she was in E minor or B flat major. Of course, my influence has now "tainted" her and she plays all kinds of different music and knows a great deal about chord theory now.
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  #49  
Old 06-19-2009, 08:16 PM
Ryler Ryler is offline
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Hi Ryler...
More 'chord slang' is spoken than traditional or conventional with most of the folks I play with or teach...in fact finding people who have any depth to their chord library is rare...
See now, this is good to know. I'm well familiar with the point that many exquisite players are short on theory, or may play largely by ear and not know naming conventions whatsoever, but that those naming conventions aren't nearly as adhered to as one might think, within a community that does try to communicate their musical ideas to each other in written form, well, that's just useful to know.

So apart from this specific example, what other variations on the rule book would I encounter in common usage? Or is that an ad infinitum list?
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  #50  
Old 06-19-2009, 09:04 PM
Bryan T Bryan T is offline
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So apart from this specific example, what other variations on the rule book would I encounter in common usage?
I think that is the wrong way to think about things. If you know the conventional usage, then you can usually make sense of what is going on when people deviate from it.


I'm not sure why folks are bringing up players who play well who can't name chords. Yes, those players exist (I play with them all the time). No, their chord charts aren't perfect (One friend of mine just draws pictures - it works well for him and I can work with that if need be). Yes, it makes sense to learn from these folks directly, rather than having them chart out a song.

One of the main reasons that we use notation is to convey how to play a piece when we aren't around to teach it directly. Towards that end, being consistent with convention is useful, as player who know those conventions will be able to make sense of what is written.

If you don't have access to the composer or a recording of the song, the notation should be clear enough for you to get close to playing it 'correctly.' If it is ambiguous, full of errors, or incomplete, then the musician is at a disadvantage.

Bryan

Last edited by Bryan T; 06-19-2009 at 09:44 PM.
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  #51  
Old 06-20-2009, 08:27 AM
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Brian,

I largely agree with you that the more consistent and accurate people are in their naming of chords, the better we communicate with each other, making it easier for all. There really is a right and wrong to things.

At the same time, when errors become standard, then it behooves a person to know how those errors are being incorporated into attempts at musical communication. I do agree that the more comprehensive one's education, the better one can interpret intention, no matter how well or poorly it is expressed. I would never argue against a proper and full musical education.

"He don't got not money." Technically this means that he does have money, but isn't it useful to have a grasp of incorrect grammar in order to realize that the speaker is intending to say that he has no money? Is there a parallel here or is this a false analogy?

I'm not advocating that everyone should abandon good grammar because some do, nor that proper naming of chords is a useless endeavor; in fact, I think it's very important--just that understanding common mistakes might be vital to understanding the everyday musicians around you.
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  #52  
Old 06-20-2009, 09:05 AM
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Originally Posted by Ryler View Post
...At the same time, when errors become standard, then it behooves a person to know how those errors are being incorporated into attempts at musical communication. I do agree that the more comprehensive one's education, the better one can interpret intention, no matter how well or poorly it is expressed. I would never argue against a proper and full musical education.
Hi Ryler...
With spoken/written language, when what have been known as 'errors' become 'standard', then what was once considered an error is added to the dictionary and allowed.

''Ain't'', ''on accident'', and ''he/she joked me'' - which were once considered poor grammar - are now in the latest published forms of the dictionary. While I'd probably not use them personally, and certainly would not incorporate them into a published paper, they are allowable.

With music the ''5'' chord is an Example. The 5 superscript describes a grouping of notes with all roots & 5ths (called a power chord). While it doesn't exist in the theory world, usage is common enough in to be considered normal these days. The same principles would apply to the usage of the ''2''...

I'm pretty sure most of us involved in this discussion agree that to know theoretically proper expressions of chords, to understand the neck of the guitar in depth, and to read notation are very useful when communicating with others...who also have the same depth of knowledge.

But I must confess that even as a guitar teacher, I use popular naming nomenclature with students rather than correcting and quibbling with them. It's about playing guitar for me, not using proper theoretical names...and the proper name doesn't change the fingering of the chord.

Call it devolving process if you choose, but it is easier & quicker to show someone a fingering and two inversions of the same chord than to correct them about what it's called. I tend to refer to them as ''ish'' chords...E-ish, B9-ish, Gm-ish and show them a fingering pattern which they video & take home and learn.

If they ever ask for the theory, I'll discuss it with them on a theoretically correct level, but usually they are just working through the progressions in an arrangement, not paying me for theory lessons.
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  #53  
Old 06-22-2009, 10:13 AM
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FWIW.....I'm one of those folks Larry mentioned....I play ALL OVER the neck, and have a HUGE cord vocabulary of "unnamed" chords...not that they really have no name but, that I am far too lazy to name them.

Can I? Sure..no problem. Do I need to?..only if I want to write them down for someone else's benefit or for my own in the future (as my memory is "sketchy"). I tend to jot down fingerings for myself on chart paper and may or may not go back and add names..mostly not.

I rely heavily on muscle memory and known progressions along with some common sense, a pretty refined ear and theory....theory being mostly for nomenclature and aided heavily by piano.

Is nomenclature important?...depends on your aspirations. If you write and wish to sell your work, yes. If you want to play jazz, yes. If you want to learn the nuances of others' fingerings, yes. If you want to play, write and perform alone or with the same folks often, not at all.

So, am I a guy who "just doesn't care"?...nope. I'm just "lazy".
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