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  #31  
Old 01-22-2022, 03:21 AM
Andyrondack Andyrondack is offline
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Originally Posted by Italuke View Post
When you say "books" you mean written notation, correct? I can't imagine that "most" students are expected to learn music from reading books. This ties into one of my pet peeves, alluded to by my earlier comment in this thread: too much "learning" of music theory is now done on the internet, with results often being that concepts are distorted and in some cases just plain wrong, without the necessary context.
Yes, I was taught for years to play music from books of notation by trained music teachers and eventually it became too boring to hold my interest untill by chance I met a jobbing jazz musician who over a few lessons face to face taught me to think about chords and scales as intervals and how I might use those intervals to create , so yes he was able to explain the context with examples, our time was limited though but he had taught me enough that I could apply a mental 'structure' to playing music which resulted in me not buying any more music books of any sort for well over a decade as I had more than enough to keep me busy playing by ear but allways being conciously aware of the intervals I was using to create chords and melodies.

The following story should serve to illustrate the usefullness of knowledge of music theory to liberate musicians from the tyrany of books...
Around 9 or 10 years old I got my mum to buy me a book of Christmas piano music and presented it to my piano teacher saying I wanted to learn to play Silent Night, she looked at the transcription and said no you can't play that it's too difficult for you , then she took a pencil and crossed out all the difficult stuff and re-arranged the piece into something someone with childs hands and a couple of years of piano lessons could manage.
At the time I never wondered how she did that but after those lessons with the jazz pro I realised that if you can see the intervals in music you can find your own way of using them to create arrangements which are playable by you at your level of technical ability.

People who actively try to supress knowledge of music theory do so by insinuating that somehow you can't both listen to music and at the same time be aware of the underlying structure of how the intervals are organised, this is not true, this is false news perpetuated by those who really should know better.

When playing melodies music theory is of limited use, I used to have a girlfriend who could sing any tune she heard first time and she never knew any music theory or needed it, but the further one moves away from that copy the melody exactly situation the more usefull music theory becomes. Guitar is not a melody only instrument, to make it sound good other harmonies have to be incorporated and the reality of the frettboard is that there are far more unplayable ways of doing that than there are arrangements playable by you at your stage of development. A knowledge of music theory enables players in identifying the intervals required and finding alternative locations where they might be played.
Most people seem to buy books of arrangements written by proffesionals who have played for years and practice 4 hours a day a few do a commendable job of making those transcriptions sound like music but many struggle and never produce much that flows easily. Understandable as anyone who has had formal music lessons for some years knows how many pitfalls there are when trying to follow notation acurately.
I have many books of arrangements I can't play, but I can go through the transcriptions identify the intervals used maybe change the harmony and re-arrange in a way that makes it playable by me.
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  #32  
Old 01-22-2022, 06:29 AM
Italuke Italuke is offline
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Originally Posted by Andyrondack View Post
People who actively try to supress knowledge of music theory do so by insinuating that somehow you can't both listen to music and at the same time be aware of the underlying structure of how the intervals are organised, this is not true, this is false news perpetuated by those who really should know better.
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.
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  #33  
Old 01-22-2022, 10:08 AM
DCCougar DCCougar is offline
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Originally Posted by JonPR View Post
But really it's just that same feeling we get from learning the name of anything.
I disagree. The dominant chord in a piece contains a lot more meaning than simply knowing its name. Of course, it is a very common "waystation" on the way "home." It leads to home. If you start stacking dominants -- the dominant of a dominant -- you get very strong anticipated "motion" toward home. When I play 12-bar blues, I like to use (what I think is called) the gospel progression -- instead of resolving with IV-V-I, I use VI-II-V-I. Note that each chord is the dominant of the next. I think this resolution doesn't just bring the progression home, it slams it home.
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  #34  
Old 01-22-2022, 10:18 AM
12barBill 12barBill is online now
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Originally Posted by DCCougar View Post
I disagree. The dominant chord in a piece contains a lot more meaning than simply knowing its name. Of course, it is a very common "waystation" on the way "home." It leads to home. If you start stacking dominants -- the dominant of a dominant -- you get very strong anticipated "motion" toward home. When I play 12-bar blues, I like to use (what I think is called) the gospel progression -- instead of resolving with IV-V-I, I use VI-II-V-I. Note that each chord is the dominant of the next. I think this resolution doesn't just bring the progression home, it slams it home.
Are your IV and V mixed up?
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  #35  
Old 01-22-2022, 11:42 AM
Brent Hahn Brent Hahn is offline
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Are your IV and V mixed up?
I think you may find that in most of the commonly accepted pedagogy, a Major key has one dominant chord (V) and one subdominant (IV). Nothing else is a "dominant" of this or that. But don't take my word for it. :-)
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  #36  
Old 01-22-2022, 12:54 PM
12barBill 12barBill is online now
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Originally Posted by Brent Hahn View Post
I think you may find that in most of the commonly accepted pedagogy, a Major key has one dominant chord (V) and one subdominant (IV). Nothing else is a "dominant" of this or that. But don't take my word for it. :-)
Brent, I was referring to his comment that the typical 12 bar blues progression resolves IV - V - I, and his IV and V being out of place.

The typical 12 bar blues progression would "resolve" V - IV - I.

I suspect he just made a typo error.
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  #37  
Old 01-22-2022, 01:27 PM
Italuke Italuke is offline
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Originally Posted by Brent Hahn View Post
I think you may find that in most of the commonly accepted pedagogy, a Major key has one dominant chord (V) and one subdominant (IV). Nothing else is a "dominant" of this or that. But don't take my word for it. :-)
No this is not quite correct. True, a key has only one of each named scale degree, dominant in this case. But the poster is referring loosely and incompletely to what are called "secondary" dominants. The incomplete part is each secondary dominant is actually a MAJOR chord, requiring at least one accidental, which by definition then becomes non-diatonic, IOW out of the key. Examples, this is a progression of secondary dominants, leading to tonic C.

E7, A7, D7, G7, C

This is not: Em, Am, Dm, G7, C

But the latter of course IS diatonic.
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  #38  
Old 01-22-2022, 02:01 PM
Hoyt Hoyt is offline
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The best music is often outside the norm.
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  #39  
Old 01-22-2022, 06:23 PM
JonPR JonPR is offline
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Originally Posted by DCCougar View Post
I disagree. The dominant chord in a piece contains a lot more meaning than simply knowing its name.
Thats not disagreeing with me at all. Of course the chord "contains meaning". But how can we describe that meaning? How can we explain it? How can we communicate that meaning without just playing the chord?
The word "dominant" tells you nothing about how it sounds or how it works in the music. Its just a label. It's not even "dominant" in the more literal sense that the reciting tone was in medieval modes, which is the where the word comes from.

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Originally Posted by DCCougar View Post
Of course, it is a very common "waystation" on the way "home." It leads to home.
Yes, but why? Only because we have heard it doing that so often.

Music theory will tell you that that is the "function" of the dominant chord, for sure. That's the chord's job, its purpose. But theory is not telling you how it performs that function, or how we perceive that it is performing that function.
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Originally Posted by DCCougar View Post
If you start stacking dominants -- the dominant of a dominant -- you get very strong anticipated "motion" toward home.
True...
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Originally Posted by DCCougar View Post
When I play 12-bar blues, I like to use (what I think is called) the gospel progression -- instead of resolving with IV-V-I, I use VI-II-V-I. Note that each chord is the dominant of the next. I think this resolution doesn't just bring the progression home, it slams it home.
Yes. Again, because we're used to hearing those chords do that.

The "mechanism" is the chromatic voice-leading: 7th to 3rd and vice versa (assuming you use 7th chords). We can at least point to that as some kind of logical process from chord to chord.

But why does chromatic voice-leading work? Why do we like that sound?

My point here is that music theory is not designed to go that deep. I don't have a problem with that - I don't expect music theory to give me those kinds of answers, because I know that's not what it's for. But a lot of people do think that's what it's for. A lot of people think that music theory explains music; and it doesn't. It describes music, in a whole lot of detail, but description is not explanation.

I do understand that that sense of "coming home" that western functional tonality produces - the sense that chord progressions have a "narrative" function - is important. Western music has a similar role to novels and fairy tales in that sense. Western society (at least in certain periods or classes) seems to value arts that represent some kind of narrative in that way. But not all music is narrative. A whole lot of music (in the west and around the world) is more about mood, it's more "static". IOW, there are other kinds of meaning in music beyond (or beneath) those superficial narrative devices represented by cadences and functionality.

What I'm saying is that music communicates all of those meanings to us by its sounds alone. We understand the music perfectly and entirely by just listening to it. Knowing the theory of it does not increase our understanding at all. It can make us feel like we understand something more, but it's an illusion.
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Last edited by JonPR; 01-22-2022 at 06:32 PM.
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  #40  
Old 01-22-2022, 09:04 PM
Italuke Italuke is offline
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None other than that erudite music theorist Bruce Springsteen gives us the true meaning of the dominant chord, at least the long drawn out one on the "ah's" in his live version of Twist and Shout: He calls it the "SERIOUS" chord!
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  #41  
Old 01-22-2022, 09:04 PM
DCCougar DCCougar is offline
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Originally Posted by 12barBill View Post
Are your IV and V mixed up?
They sure are. I haven't used the "standard" progression in years! I guess I was thinking it goes V-IV-I... and then it hits V again if you're going around again.
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  #42  
Old 01-22-2022, 09:06 PM
DCCougar DCCougar is offline
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But the poster is referring loosely and incompletely to what are called "secondary" dominants.
Ah, thanks!
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  #43  
Old 01-22-2022, 09:11 PM
DCCougar DCCougar is offline
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Originally Posted by JonPR View Post
Music theory will tell you that that is the "function" of the dominant chord, for sure. That's the chord's job, its purpose. But theory is not telling you how it performs that function, or how we perceive that it is performing that function.
Both good points.
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  #44  
Old 01-23-2022, 05:27 AM
Bushleague Bushleague is offline
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Rules were made to be broken. And nobody broke more rules to greater effect than Keith Richards…
I'd challenge that heartily. Larry Lalonde of Primus, or anyone else that ever played in Primus, broke rules like nobody I've ever heard, before or since. I rather suspect that if they ever caught a member NOT breaking a rule they mocked him without mercy. Oddly enough Larry tutored under Joe Satriani, who surprisingly claims that Larry's actually a very accomplished blues player.

Last edited by Bushleague; 01-23-2022 at 05:32 AM.
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  #45  
Old 01-23-2022, 03:09 PM
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Once all the theory is hashed out remember “If it sounds good, it IS good.”.
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