Learning music theory

Talk about things that are not necessarily related to music or the guitar.
Whiteagle
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Learning music theory

Post by Whiteagle » Mon Jul 03, 2017 10:23 am

I am interested in any recommendations regarding good books to learn music theory. In particular I am interested in a workbook where I can apply the principles of music theory. There are some workbooks around but none of them seem to have an answers. A bit like doing a school maths book with no answers at the back to see if you are right or wrong.

Any recommendations about material available online are also welcome.

MaritimeGuitarist
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Re: Learning music theory

Post by MaritimeGuitarist » Mon Jul 03, 2017 10:29 am

I don't know if it is available where you are, but one of the standards here in Canada is the Elementary Rudiments of Music by Barbara Wharram. There is a separate answer book available as well. It covers diatonic and chromatic semitones, scales, intervals, chords, cadences, time, basic arranging and a few other things that I'm probably forgetting. It is the recommended book for the Royal Conservatory of Music theory exams up to grade 2.

Rasputin
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Re: Learning music theory

Post by Rasputin » Mon Jul 03, 2017 10:37 am

Whiteagle wrote:
Mon Jul 03, 2017 10:23 am
Any recommendations about material available online are also welcome.
I heard this was pretty good: https://www.coursera.org/learn/edinburg ... theory#%20

doug
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Re: Learning music theory

Post by doug » Mon Jul 03, 2017 12:01 pm

For about a dollar a day, you could join Simon Powis' website, which I think has a good curriculum in music theory.
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Andrew Fryer
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Re: Learning music theory

Post by Andrew Fryer » Mon Jul 03, 2017 2:38 pm

Cheapest is best. ISBNs: -
1854724460
1854724479
should be able to get them for a cent each from the big river
1975 Calatayud y Gisbert, Yamaha CG131S.

stevel
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Re: Learning music theory

Post by stevel » Mon Jul 03, 2017 7:56 pm

Here is a thread I created on another forum:

https://www.thegearpage.net/board/index ... c.1371119/

It's really aimed at all the "popular music" guitarists on that forum who often have learned to play by ear or tab, but who've decided they need a little more theory background.

Honestly, as a university instructor who both studied and taught theory, I'd say your best bet is to find a course for non-majors - a "basic musical skills" course and take that.

Trying to "self learn" Music Theory is a little bit of an exercise in futility.

There's also a lot of misunderstanding out there about what music theory is, what it's supposed to do, and how you "use" it.

Almost all of the world class level Classical musicians I've met (I ran a concert hall) did not have as strong a grasp of music theory as a 2nd semester college student (that was getting an A...). Most of them took music theory in college or had it as part of their tutelage (private lessons, some conservatory studies, etc.) but most of them had forgotten most of it as this stage in their career.

IOW, they know enough theory to "get by" and that's it.

On a Classical Guitar forum, those interested in playing Classical Guitar as a serious avocation, I'd say you need to concentrate on your playing, and do that by studying with an expert in the field. You should get whatever theory you need along the way.

You can self study it for your own edification, but it's not necessarily going to make you a better player of Villa-Lobos or something.

Now, if you're interested in pop styles, there are probably more practical uses of music theory, such as what is needed for improvisation in various styles and for composition and/or arranging, etc. But even then plenty of people learn that stuff "on the streets" instead of through any structured study.

I could recommend the books we use in college, but without guidance of some sort, I'm not sure how beneficial it would be. Besides, very few musicians have PhDs in music theory - most of them are in a non-music field and "basic theory" is all most music majors get.

So, how much do you know already, and why do you want to learn more?

Steve

Whiteagle
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Joined: Wed Oct 27, 2010 8:48 am
Location: Wollongong, Australia

Re: Learning music theory

Post by Whiteagle » Mon Jul 03, 2017 9:50 pm

Andrew Fryer wrote:
Mon Jul 03, 2017 2:38 pm
Cheapest is best. ISBNs: -
1854724460
1854724479
should be able to get them for a cent each from the big river
Hi Andrew. I don't understand this message. The link doesnt seem to work.

Whiteagle
Posts: 542
Joined: Wed Oct 27, 2010 8:48 am
Location: Wollongong, Australia

Re: Learning music theory

Post by Whiteagle » Mon Jul 03, 2017 9:52 pm

MaritimeGuitarist wrote:
Mon Jul 03, 2017 10:29 am
I don't know if it is available where you are, but one of the standards here in Canada is the Elementary Rudiments of Music by Barbara Wharram. There is a separate answer book available as well. It covers diatonic and chromatic semitones, scales, intervals, chords, cadences, time, basic arranging and a few other things that I'm probably forgetting. It is the recommended book for the Royal Conservatory of Music theory exams up to grade 2.
This is exactly the sort of thing I was after but am looking for higher grades. I have already studied up to grade 3 in the Australian system.

Whiteagle
Posts: 542
Joined: Wed Oct 27, 2010 8:48 am
Location: Wollongong, Australia

Re: Learning music theory

Post by Whiteagle » Mon Jul 03, 2017 9:52 pm

Rasputin wrote:
Mon Jul 03, 2017 10:37 am
Whiteagle wrote:
Mon Jul 03, 2017 10:23 am
Any recommendations about material available online are also welcome.
I heard this was pretty good: https://www.coursera.org/learn/edinburg ... theory#%20
Yes, good suggestion and I have already done this course and its very good.

Whiteagle
Posts: 542
Joined: Wed Oct 27, 2010 8:48 am
Location: Wollongong, Australia

Re: Learning music theory

Post by Whiteagle » Mon Jul 03, 2017 9:53 pm

doug wrote:
Mon Jul 03, 2017 12:01 pm
For about a dollar a day, you could join Simon Powis' website, which I think has a good curriculum in music theory.
I am a member. Yes lots of good analytical material here.

MaritimeGuitarist
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Location: Saint John, NB

Re: Learning music theory

Post by MaritimeGuitarist » Tue Jul 04, 2017 12:17 am

Whiteagle wrote:
Mon Jul 03, 2017 9:52 pm
MaritimeGuitarist wrote:
Mon Jul 03, 2017 10:29 am
I don't know if it is available where you are, but one of the standards here in Canada is the Elementary Rudiments of Music by Barbara Wharram. There is a separate answer book available as well. It covers diatonic and chromatic semitones, scales, intervals, chords, cadences, time, basic arranging and a few other things that I'm probably forgetting. It is the recommended book for the Royal Conservatory of Music theory exams up to grade 2.
This is exactly the sort of thing I was after but am looking for higher grades. I have already studied up to grade 3 in the Australian system.
The next level, for RCM Theory anyway, is basic and intermediate harmony. There are workbooks and accompanying answer books for both levels written by Grace Vandendool--same publisher as the Wharram. They cover basic 4-part writing and analysis. The answer books are helpful, but, if I recall correctly, they only provide one answer and, of course, there is usually more than one correct answer when working with harmony. I can't really say I worked with them a lot as I used a different text book to learn harmony and voice leading (no answer book available). For that reason, I can't really endorse either book.

Rasputin
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Re: Learning music theory

Post by Rasputin » Tue Jul 04, 2017 1:30 am

stevel wrote:
Mon Jul 03, 2017 7:56 pm
So, how much do you know already, and why do you want to learn more?
I think this is the key question - are you interested in how music works just for the sake of understanding it, or are you looking to improve a specific practical skill like improvisation or arranging?

For general theory, looking at what you have already done, what about the ABRSM theory grades? There are online courses designed to get you through them so it's not a case of sitting on your own staring at a book. They're not free but IIRC they're quite reasonable.

There was a thread on here a while back called something like 'speaking in tongues' - it linked to a YT video of a guy explaining how he'd picked up an old idea about 'negative harmony' and run with it. From there there are other links to his music and a couple of other talks he's done. The term 'negative harmony' is totally overblown but this is still a different world from ABRSM, and quite interesting.

Whiteagle
Posts: 542
Joined: Wed Oct 27, 2010 8:48 am
Location: Wollongong, Australia

Re: Learning music theory

Post by Whiteagle » Tue Jul 04, 2017 7:25 am

Rasputin wrote:
Tue Jul 04, 2017 1:30 am
stevel wrote:
Mon Jul 03, 2017 7:56 pm
So, how much do you know already, and why do you want to learn more?
I think this is the key question - are you interested in how music works just for the sake of understanding it, or are you looking to improve a specific practical skill like improvisation or arranging?

For general theory, looking at what you have already done, what about the ABRSM theory grades? There are online courses designed to get you through them so it's not a case of sitting on your own staring at a book. They're not free but IIRC they're quite reasonable.

There was a thread on here a while back called something like 'speaking in tongues' - it linked to a YT video of a guy explaining how he'd picked up an old idea about 'negative harmony' and run with it. From there there are other links to his music and a couple of other talks he's done. The term 'negative harmony' is totally overblown but this is still a different world from ABRSM, and quite interesting.
I have been studying music theory up to grade 3 level with tests conducted by the Australian music examination board. I am interested in how music works, would like to compose music but also need to pass higher levels of music theory in order to be awarded a certificate of performance in classical guitar. For example I am preparing for my grade 8 performance exam and i must pass grade 4 music theory in order to be awarded the certificate.

I would like to learn more about composing and harmonising melodies.

I will check out the ABSRM online courses.

Rasputin
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Re: Learning music theory

Post by Rasputin » Tue Jul 04, 2017 7:48 am

Sounds like the Aussie grades are more advanced than the corresponding UK grades then - in the UK you need theory grade 5 in order to take practical grades 6 and up. The Uni of Edinburgh coursera was supposed to be equivalent to UK grade 5, or not far off.

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Andrew Fryer
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Re: Learning music theory

Post by Andrew Fryer » Tue Jul 04, 2017 8:32 am

Whiteagle wrote:
Mon Jul 03, 2017 9:50 pm
Andrew Fryer wrote:
Mon Jul 03, 2017 2:38 pm
Cheapest is best. ISBNs: -
1854724460
1854724479
should be able to get them for a cent each from the big river
Hi Andrew. I don't understand this message. The link doesnt seem to work.
They aren't links. I couldn't be bothered with all the commercial censoring going on on delcamp.
Go to the big river and copy and paste the ISBNs one at a time into its search box.
Or look them up in Abebooks.
1975 Calatayud y Gisbert, Yamaha CG131S.

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