Technique and Harmony - anticipation in new piece

Classical Guitar technique: studies, scales, arpeggios, theory
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sxedio
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Re: Technique and Harmony - anticipation in new piece

Post by sxedio » Tue Dec 26, 2017 2:20 pm

CactusWren wrote:
Mon Dec 25, 2017 11:22 pm
When I studied theory, they began by teaching figured bass. Apparently a competent keyboardist could see this scanty notation and improvise an accompaniment. It seemed obvious that learning how to do this on guitar would help a guitarist create a robust knowledge and toolbox of typical shapes and moves on the fretboard. I think Rob Mackillop did it or began working on such an approach (?).
Peter Croton wrote a book: 'Figured bass on the classical guitar', based on courses that he has been teaching
(Gr) (En) (very little Fr)

Rasputin
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Re: Technique and Harmony - anticipation in new piece

Post by Rasputin » Tue Dec 26, 2017 2:39 pm

I think that's a great idea because it would really help you recognise the chords when you saw them notated fully.

You can put what you like in a method but even if it is great content, it won't do any good unless people actually use it. I think it has to be the teacher's role to introduce theoretical concepts to the learner as time goes on. Whether putting a framework for that into the book would help, I don't know. It probably depends on the teacher.

Fretful
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Re: Technique and Harmony - anticipation in new piece

Post by Fretful » Wed Dec 27, 2017 12:44 am

Rasputin wrote:
Tue Dec 26, 2017 2:39 pm
You can put what you like in a method but even if it is great content, it won't do any good unless people actually use it.
Rasputin makes a salient point ; it goes without saying that wannabe guitarists have to do the work, which is why in the original post I suggest that these exercises and harmonic doodles
Fretful wrote:
Sat Dec 23, 2017 3:51 pm
should be given to students before they are exposed to the actual music
In a class, or one-to-one situation, one proceeds by giving a few relevant scales, including triadic ones in the keys applicable, as well as the main cadences, all these in several positions. Because these tend to be few, and fairly short, they are quickly mastered. It is only once the pupils are fully conversant that they are exposed to the piece or study itself.
It is then an absolute joy to see them having an instinctive choice of what to play where without even thinking about it.
But, of course, Rasputin is right, if in book form, they choose to ignore the benefits on offer, then it won't do any good ; but in all cases, the paucity or abundance of the harvest will be the respective reward ... it's in their hands.

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Re: Technique and Harmony - anticipation in new piece

Post by Rasputin » Wed Dec 27, 2017 3:34 am

I think they key to getting people more interested in theory is to help them relate it to something they hear. When theory lives in a different world from listening and playing it tends not to appeal much, but when it explains and describes our experience of music it no longer seems as dry and it is much easier to see the point.

What about a book that presents the music in original form and then says, e.g. 'did you notice the main cadences', then identifies them and asks the learner to play them a few times and listen out for similar points in the next piece, then 'did you get them?', and then after a bit more practice a section on 'so what exactly is a cadence?', after which the process is repeated for the less obvious ones that close a subphrase or minor phrase. In fact it might make sense to start with phrasing ('does this piece seem to you to break down naturally into smaller chunks, and if you had to break it down into say x chunks, what would they be?') and build from there. I don't think you can define a cadence just as a harmonic progression - phrase rhythm comes into it too.

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Re: Technique and Harmony - anticipation in new piece

Post by Rasputin » Wed Dec 27, 2017 7:55 am

SteveL123 wrote:
Sun Dec 24, 2017 4:46 pm
I learned to play by ear and I am very weak in music theory. The 3rd chord with the G# in this A minor harmonic triad just does not sound right to me. Sounds better if it's a G natural. Am I mistaken?

Edit: With the G#, the chord sounds like either a diminished or Augmented, not sure which. Definitely not a 7th.
The image does not seem to be there but it is worth pointing out that a dominant 7th chord does contain a diminished triad. Conversely, very often a diminished triad is best regarded as a seventh chord with the root left out. In such cases it will move to the chord that the dominant would have moved to, in the same way. When E7 (E G# B D) moves to Am (A C E) you expect the D to move down to C and the G# to move up to A. If you find what looks and sounds like a diminished triad on G# (G# B D) moving to Am with those same individual note movements, it's a sure sign that what you are looking at is really an incomplete dominant seventh.

To put it another way, when the G is sharped to create a more powerful dominant chord (one with a stronger pull to the tonic) the effect is to replace the major triad found in the minor seventh you would have if you were only using scale tones (G B D) with the diminished triad found in a dominant seventh (G# B D). That may well be what you are hearing.

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Re: Technique and Harmony - anticipation in new piece

Post by PeteJ » Sat Dec 30, 2017 11:32 am

I'd agree with much that is said in the OP. Generally it is something of a mystery why guitarists should miss out on much of the education other players go through.

I have a niggle. The inversion of F shown at the start with the F in the bass is root position regardless of the position of the A and C.

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sxedio
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Re: Technique and Harmony - anticipation in new piece

Post by sxedio » Sat Dec 30, 2017 11:50 am

PeteJ wrote:
Sat Dec 30, 2017 11:32 am
I have a niggle. The inversion of F shown at the start with the F in the bass is root position regardless of the position of the A and C.
I think that's key to translating the keyboard harmonic thinking to guitar: the bass note matters, don't worry too much if the rest of the chord is a normal triad or not.
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Rasputin
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Re: Technique and Harmony - anticipation in new piece

Post by Rasputin » Sat Dec 30, 2017 12:44 pm

PeteJ wrote:
Sat Dec 30, 2017 11:32 am
I have a niggle. The inversion of F shown at the start with the F in the bass is root position regardless of the position of the A and C.
Well if we're niggling, how is the change marked IVb to V in bar 4 a cadence? The music does not come to rest on that V chord - the need for resolution is palpable. I can see how the change to V in bar 2 could be regarded as part of the cadence that follows, but I think it's misleading to label either of these changes as if they were cadences in their own right - particularly one in bar 4, given that we are not shown what happens next.

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Larry McDonald
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Re: Technique and Harmony - anticipation in new piece

Post by Larry McDonald » Sun Dec 31, 2017 11:26 pm

Fretful wrote:
Sun Dec 24, 2017 1:13 pm
Rognvald wrote:
Sat Dec 23, 2017 7:02 pm
As I have said in previous posts, I think there is a serious flaw in contemporary CG pedagogy where many relatively advanced students are completely ignorant of melody and harmonic progressions. How is it possible to teach music in a vacuum where a structural analysis of a piece is not part of your musical development?
Your response stimulates. It should invigorate the debate. For many, many years, I have had this discussion - including with publishers - and what is frustrating is that everyone has always agreed (sometimes even with a good deal of enthusiasm) but no one has ever done anything about it, not even something as little as I once urged a publishing house to do : please, I suggested, please JUST include - in subscript, for economy's sake - at the top of every score, a couple of scales in the keys and positions relevant to the piece, together with one courtesy line of the harmonic triads, and the main cadences in the main positions. Is that too much to ask ? I said. No, they said. So, will you do it ? I asked. Yes. they said. Did they do it ? No.
And, of course, I understand why! Even what I deemed to be the minimum material necessary to discuss one line of Logy took a long time put together. So, to embark on "modern" methods which would address all the issues under discussion wold probably be a lifetime's work. For commercial reasons, it would need someone, not only with the necessary motivation and competence, but also with the kind of profile that would persuade the tight-fingered protagonists in charge of stringent purse-strung constriction - who would rather be Schott in the foot than take the slightest risk with margins that may marginalise their Christmas bonuses - that there might be, at the end of the year, signs bearing witness to a profitable enterprise.
There is currently a young student of the guitar, making astonishing waves, and daily growing in one of our prestigious hot-houses with great strides and increasing stature, who has as much ambition to develop a teaching career as well as a performing one, who responds very positively to all that has been expressed above, and who may - who knows - devote the years required for such a task. I do hope so. May my very best wishes fill the sails of that enterprise.
And "May" my very best wishes also reach all those who read this Forum!
Excellent topic. The inclusion of functional theory, including cadences, into a beginning or intermediate method is probably not palatable to a traditional publisher. Nevertheless, this is exactly the stuff that is the topic in my new series of books, called
"The Exit Lessons: Fretboard Mastery in the Key of ...". I hope to have Vol. 1 ready for review this spring.

Lare
Last edited by Larry McDonald on Sun Dec 31, 2017 11:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Dr. Lawrence A. McDonald, D.M.A., Art Kaplan Fellow
Author of The Conservatory Tutor for Guitar
2008 Michael Thames Cd/Br
Royal Conservatory Advanced Guitar Instructor
Royal Conservatory Advanced Theory Instructor

PeteJ
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Re: Technique and Harmony - anticipation in new piece

Post by PeteJ » Mon Jan 01, 2018 2:10 pm

I feel the theory is best learned by writing music. Then the learning is driven by the need to learn.

Fretful
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Re: Technique and Harmony - anticipation in new piece

Post by Fretful » Mon Jan 01, 2018 2:42 pm

dtoh wrote:
Sun Dec 24, 2017 11:24 pm
It would be a huge help to a lot of people. You could start small by annotating a few existing studies that are off copyright.
Perhaps what follows will help further ? This, the sequel to the opening post :

Logy’s Aria in A minor ; Second Phrase
1 - LOGY - A minor - Second Phrase.jpg
The first G in the first bar is G# ... the second G in that same bar is G natural ... and ALL subsequent Gs (in bars 2, 3, and 4) are natural! Why ?
Why is it that where there is no accidental in the key signature, G#’s appear here and there in the piece ? And only the Gs are sharpened. Why the Gs ?
Prior to investigating THE MINOR SCALE, examine the Major scale, bearing in mind what Fernando Sor writes in his Guitar Method (not my spelling) :
SOR - Scale - 1.jpg
SOR - Scale - 2.jpg
The brackets below the dots represent WHOLE TONES, those above indicate the SEMI TONES ; pay particular attention to these “gaps”, their sound, and their positions within the scale : they will become increasingly important in the study of harmony.
Play the following scale WITH the suggested fingerings and positions (not that fingerings or positions should ever be imposed, but they are important in this case) :
2 - C Major - Scale.jpg
Without too much theoretical analysis which all too often leads to pseudo-dyslexia, bemusement, and allergies of all kinds, you may be interested in observing the discrepancies between the intervals that separate the degrees of the scale, and which are reflected in the Left Hand fingerings ; sometimes adjacent fingers play two notes on consecutive frets, sometimes a fret is skipped because there is more space between some notes. For the moment, concentrate on just one area : the interval between notes 7 and 8, the so-called Leading Note and the Tonic which are separated from each other by just ONE semitone.
The Tonic is the note with which the scale starts. It is also the note with which the scale ends. The ear, subconsciously, keeps track of the Tonic as the scale evolves and the closer it gets to the recurrence of the Tonic, one octave higher, the more it wants to hear it again.
Bearing these factors in mind, play the D Major scale, adhering to the fingerings which first familiarise you with the position of the “D” on the Ⓐ string played with the second finger at position IV. Having also familiarised with the notes reaching the IVth position on the other strings, play the scale whilst calling out the names of the notes and concentrating on the fact that you are in the IVth position ; be conscious at all times of the notes you are playing, of which strings they are on, and at what position you are : a little bit of multi-tasking (a musician’s daily bread) during which you will also notice that, for the scale, the fingering pattern exactly echoes that of the C Major scale : 2-4 ; 1-2-4 ; 1-3-4.(*)
3 - D Major Scale.jpg
(*) (It is crucial to work in this way - i.e. always to read the notes - rather than perpetuate the method of learning one scale and then replicating the formula by simply moving up a fret but not reading the notes in the new key, as demonstrated in this examination board’s instructions (below) which are pure poison, as they encourage students to play scales “blind” until they no longer have any idea where they are or what they are doing ; there is then the other syndrome consisting of reading fingerings rather than notes :
Exam Board Instructions.jpg
To familiarise with the A, on the bass Ⓔ string, at position IV, play :
5 - A Major Scale.jpg
Now, returning to the A minor Harmonic scale, play it as written (with no accidental) :
6 - A minor (without #).jpg
Most listeners will feel that there is “something missing”, something inconclusive ; whereas if you play the following :
A minor Scale - with G#.jpg
the above feels much more conclusive, because the gap between the leading note and the tonic has been reduced to a semi tone, as it was in the Major scales.
With this understanding of accidentals in minor keys, examine what can happen when they are NOT being used ; when playing the following phrase, it will be very audible that it DEFINITELY STARTS in A minor ... but it DEFINITELY does not END in A minor :
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Fretful
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Re: Technique and Harmony - anticipation in new piece

Post by Fretful » Mon Jan 01, 2018 2:46 pm

1 - LOGY - A minor - Second Phrase.jpg
What has happened ? ... How ? ... and Where ?
Here is the phrase again, annotated with cadences (observe the chord marked with a * :
LOGY - second phrase - with CADENCES.jpg
The first suspicion that some kind of switch might be in the offing is hinted at by the second G (in the first bar) which is not sharpened even though the first G is sharpened ; the phrase would be quite feasible as follows, the ear being perfectly prepared to hear a G# (at* ) ...
LOGY - second phrase - with G#.jpg
... but it is a G natural we are presented with ... something is happening! It could be a momentary lapse, or perhaps a hint at C Major, or it could even be at G Major ... were it not that the chord immediately following is C Major in its first inversion (its first inversion because the E conveniently fits into the descending scalic passage G – F – E).
And, sure enough, BOTH imperfect (IV-V aka “mixed”) and perfect (V-I) cadences affirm that we are now truly in C Major.
Exercises of cadences in both A minor and C Major may follow.
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