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  #46  
Old 01-23-2022, 03:55 PM
Bushleague Bushleague is offline
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Originally Posted by rick-slo View Post
Once all the theory is hashed out remember “If it sounds good, it IS good.”.
I honestly feel that figuring out how un-right you can go without making things sound plain wrong is pretty much the key to making interesting music.
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  #47  
Old 01-24-2022, 03:50 AM
Andyrondack Andyrondack is offline
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Yes, I generally agree with this part of your comment. In fact, I'm actually a "jobbing" bass player, more so than guitar. I can't imagine playing bass and not knowing a fair amount of theory. It's what helps me play the right note at the right time. Still there are other days when I'm playing guitar, and I feel my extensive theory knowledge actually hinders me. So it's not black and white, it's grey.
One of the many things I find usefull about an awareness specifically of the intervals which are used in music is that you know what people expect to hear, I used to play a fingerstyle arrangement of Georgia the chords to which I mostly took from a lead sheet I bought online, at some points I stretched the timings to add some other other notes for a bit of a counter melody , someone asked me where I got those other notes from and did they come frome the chords, at the time I said yes as I didn't feel like getting into a whole discussion about it but what was really behind it was that I knew that people would expect to hear filler notes from the chords so just for interest at a few points I just played what would not be expected and this interesting counter melody emerged, I did not know that would happen it's just playing with intervals and see what happens.
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  #48  
Old 01-24-2022, 05:03 AM
JonPR JonPR is offline
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Originally Posted by rick-slo View Post
Once all the theory is hashed out remember “If it sounds good, it IS good.”.
Precisely. Music Rule #1. All the other "rules" derive from that.

Music theory only tells us "what" sounds good. Not "why". That's because we don't need to know why. But we do need to know what, so we can make those sounds ourselves.
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  #49  
Old 01-24-2022, 05:14 AM
JonPR JonPR is offline
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I honestly feel that figuring out how un-right you can go without making things sound plain wrong is pretty much the key to making interesting music.
Sure. But the assumption a lot of people with those creative instincts make is that interesting music is somehow "breaking rules".

If it sounds good, the only rules it will be breaking are rules that don't apply anyway. The music is simply following rules that those musicians don't realise are already written in theory books; they just haven't read about them yet.

If you speak in slang, you are not following some of the rules of your native language as written in books of grammar. But you are still following the rules of the slang - otherwise there would be no pont in speaking that way! When we speak, we don't make up words, at least not if we want to be understood. We always follow well-known rules, some of them intuitive, always based on the words, grammar and accents we know.

Same with music. We might seek out more unusual sounds, to be more interesting, going off the beaten track, off the main highways. But we still end up following other tracks. We don't choose dead ends...
It might sometimes feel like those paths we find are our own invention, but the very fact it's a path means someone has been that way before. And the track will be on a map somewhere, even if we've never seen the map
Naturally, we can hack our way through the undergrowth if we want, but likely it just won't sound good - not until we find our way on to some other path so we actually get somewhere.
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  #50  
Old 01-24-2022, 03:41 PM
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rick-slo rick-slo is offline
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Then there is John Cage's composition 4'33". Rules and theory about using rests.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JTEFKFiXSx4

7,416,760 views on youtube. Must be doing something right.

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  #51  
Old 01-25-2022, 02:56 PM
Andyrondack Andyrondack is offline
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So yes - "theory" is a crucial element, and forms part of all music learning. The differences from genre to genre are simply in how that theory is learned. Sometimes it's from books. Sometimes it's by ear. Sometimes it's entirely learned by ear. Even when books play a part, aural learning is essential for making sense of the books. You can't understand music by reading books. You have to hear it.
You can't understand music by just hearing it either you have to read books too.
Medieval monks wrote music to be be sung by choirs trained to sing early musical notation.
Gregorian chant pre- dated harmony but the melodies were composed using predefined modes, thus church music in the medieval period is considered the begining of music theory in Western history.
Gregorian Chant was sung not just in monasteries but in churches too, if church music influenced secular music and church music was composed and notated by the professionals of the day then it must be true that music theory has influenced traditional music.
If you were not familliar with the traditional Irish song She Moved Through The Fair and you heard it for the first time translated to Latin and sung in a monestery or chuch would you not believe you were listening to Gregorian Chant? Because I would.
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=3dyUsXgL7ow
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=MWIkMu...OAr1bA&index=4
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  #52  
Old 01-25-2022, 05:09 PM
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Habituation, familiarity trained the ear. Doesn't need to be any deeper than that. Goes double for the more olden times.

Listening to music I have not heard before (at least in western music) I can regularly correctly predict the next chord or even the next phrase. I think that comes mostly comes from past listening to other music. When there are unexpected sequences (more frequent in classical music than in pop music) those variations are usually enjoyable to hear and the paths (variations) taken make sense and I continue to anticipate from there.
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Last edited by rick-slo; 01-25-2022 at 06:04 PM.
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  #53  
Old 01-25-2022, 06:29 PM
JonPR JonPR is offline
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Originally Posted by Andyrondack View Post
You can't understand music by just hearing it either you have to read books too.
I suspect you're misunderstanding me.

What I meant by "understanding music" is the way that a non-musician understands music. Music communicates its essential meanings to everyone, not just to musicians! You don't need to read a book to pick up what a piece of music is trying to tell you. You feel it!

This is really important, because all human culture has music of some kind, and every member of each culture understands its music.

With more complex music, we don't always get it, at least not deeply. E.g., I don't really understand a lot of classical music. I can kind of guess what it's trying to say most of the time, but because it's not my culture it doesn't really mean anything to me. I could probably understand it better if I read a book explaining what the composer was trying to do, but I still wouldn't get the actual musical message, because to me it's like a foreign language.

But when I listen to any 20thC popular music, I get it straight away, I know exactly what it all means. I knew that before I became a musician. Any fan knows what their favourite music means, they understand it perfectly, on its own terms.

Music is made for non-musicians. If they didn't get it - in its entirety - there would hardly be any point in making it. This is what I'm getting at. It's nothing to do with music theory. Music theory is not interested in explaining music to non-musicians. It's for helping musicians discuss their craft, and to help them learn the rules.

But musicians themselves also understand music in the same way non-musicians do - they appreciate the same kinds of meaning. Naturally we have greater insight into its underlying machinery, but that's different.
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Originally Posted by Andyrondack View Post
Medieval monks wrote music to be be sung by choirs trained to sing early musical notation.
Yes, but early notation was not something you could learn music from. It was taught by ear; the notation was just reminders once you had learned the tune. (That's a different point anyway)
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Originally Posted by Andyrondack View Post
Gregorian chant pre-dated harmony but the melodies were composed using predefined modes, thus church music in the medieval period is considered the begining of music theory in Western history.
Yes, it's still beside the point I'm making.
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Originally Posted by Andyrondack View Post
Gregorian Chant was sung not just in monasteries but in churches too, if church music influenced secular music and church music was composed and notated by the professionals of the day ​then it must be true that music theory has influenced traditional music.
No disagreement there.
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Originally Posted by Andyrondack View Post
If you were not familliar with the traditional Irish song She Moved Through The Fair and you heard it for the first time translated to Latin and sung in a monestery or chuch would you not believe you were listening to Gregorian Chant?
Well if it was sung in that style, of course, but what's your point? It sounds like you're saying traditional folk music would not have existed without medieval modes!
All I'm saying is that folk music followed its own rules. Not all of it was influenced by the church modes. Those same modes occur in the music of other cultures, not connected with the Catholic church.
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  #54  
Old 01-26-2022, 05:02 AM
Italuke Italuke is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andyrondack View Post
You can't understand music by just hearing it either you have to read books too.
Medieval monks wrote music to be be sung by choirs trained to sing early musical notation.
Gregorian chant pre- dated harmony but the melodies were composed using predefined modes, thus church music in the medieval period is considered the begining of music theory in Western history.
Gregorian Chant was sung not just in monasteries but in churches too, if church music influenced secular music and church music was composed and notated by the professionals of the day then it must be true that music theory has influenced traditional music.
If you were not familliar with the traditional Irish song She Moved Through The Fair and you heard it for the first time translated to Latin and sung in a monestery or chuch would you not believe you were listening to Gregorian Chant? Because I would.
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=3dyUsXgL7ow
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=MWIkMu...OAr1bA&index=4
Having performed and recorded a TON of early music, sure, your points are mostly correct. But please don't forget that along with "the professionals," there was ALWAYS vernacular (i.e. "folk") music, which of course pre-dated plainsong by, well, by millenia. And for "She moved..." well yes, ok, largely because the tune is modal and it's often performed over a drone. Gives it a pseudo-medieval sound.

Now as I've noted, I'm big on knowing theory, I know a ton of it myself, and use it in many contexts. But I, and probably thousands of others, would vehemently disagree with your proclamation: "You can't understand music by just hearing it either you have to read books too."

I can think of dozens of world class musicians who never read any books.
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  #55  
Old 01-27-2022, 05:56 PM
Andyrondack Andyrondack is offline
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Originally Posted by Italuke View Post
Having performed and recorded a TON of early music, sure, your points are mostly correct. But please don't forget that along with "the professionals," there was ALWAYS vernacular (i.e. "folk") music, which of course pre-dated plainsong by, well, by millenia. And for "She moved..." well yes, ok, largely because the tune is modal and it's often performed over a drone. Gives it a pseudo-medieval sound.

Now as I've noted, I'm big on knowing theory, I know a ton of it myself, and use it in many contexts. But I, and probably thousands of others, would vehemently disagree with your proclamation: "You can't understand music by just hearing it either you have to read books too."

I can think of dozens of world class musicians who never read any books.
Now I never wrote that reading books was a requirement for playing music so please don't misquote me, after all for most people in western cultures reading is a relatively recent development, far more recent than playing music as I am sure you know.
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  #56  
Old 01-28-2022, 03:34 AM
Andyrondack Andyrondack is offline
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Originally Posted by JonPR View Post
I suspect you're misunderstanding me.

What I meant by "understanding music" is the way that a non-musician understands music. Music communicates its essential meanings to everyone, not just to musicians! You don't need to read a book to pick up what a piece of music is trying to tell you. You feel it!

This is really important, because all human culture has music of some kind, and every member of each culture understands its music.

With more complex music, we don't always get it, at least not deeply. E.g., I don't really understand a lot of classical music. I can kind of guess what it's trying to say most of the time, but because it's not my culture it doesn't really mean anything to me. I could probably understand it better if I read a book explaining what the composer was trying to do, but I still wouldn't get the actual musical message, because to me it's like a foreign language.

But when I listen to any 20thC popular music, I get it straight away, I know exactly what it all means. I knew that before I became a musician. Any fan knows what their favourite music means, they understand it perfectly, on its own terms.

Music is made for non-musicians. If they didn't get it - in its entirety - there would hardly be any point in making it. This is what I'm getting at. It's nothing to do with music theory. Music theory is not interested in explaining music to non-musicians. It's for helping musicians discuss their craft, and to help them learn the rules.


Well if it was sung in that style, of course, but what's your point? It sounds like you're saying traditional folk music would not have existed without medieval modes!
All I'm saying is that folk music followed its own rules. Not all of it was influenced by the church modes. Those same modes occur in the music of other cultures, not connected with the Catholic church.
What's my point?
as a child I was taught scales as an exercise but I never understood that organised and predetermined systems of intervals are the basis out of which western music arises. I realised at some point that if I just stuck to the white keys
there wouldn't be any nasty surprises, smarter kids would have noticed they were using the C major scale but then again as I have no memory of what terminal note I chose perhaps I was using the church modes?
Now back to my point.
We know that historically by the medieval period church music was already being actively composed and written down by musicians operating a system which was already too complex to be arrived at by the kind of childish exploration described from my own experience, to achieve that level of complexity the composers of such music had to be thinking already in terms of what we now call intervals and using their knowledge to creatively compose melodies, therefore their understanding and use of music theory was not confined to accademic discussions with other composers but was an intellectual tool or idea if you like which they used knowingly to create music as oposed to the creation of music being an unconcious process where the choice of notes used is based on what sounds pleasing ( for example the Yoiks of Lapplands Sami)
As you must know several folk songs use melodies shared with church music so we know that the boundary between church and lay communities has long been a porous one , but for how long ? How far back does this interchange go ? Star of The County Down uses the melody of Diverus and Lazerus but that church song is in English and so is remembered.
Obviously there are many forms of folk music such as dance tunes which have no parallel in the church but if the scales used to create melodies originate from people who were aware that they were using scales and modes from which to create tunes can you really say that folk music is an entirely oral tradition in the way that Sami Yoiks and that traditional
Native North American songs are?
It does not sound to me that the similarity between She Moved Through The Fair's melody and medieval chants is just based on using a church mode it's also down to the way the melody flows and the free timing which contribute to the whole sound and feel.
Edit: to try and make my thoughts clearer, at least one classical composer has written that Irish folk music is the most sophisticated of all Europe's music traditions and it seems to me that that level of complexity did not arise by chance, it's only conjecture on my part but it seems likely to me that the source of that complexity is trained specialists and the most likely contenders were musical members of the church.

Last edited by Andyrondack; 01-29-2022 at 02:52 AM.
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