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minor chords attract teenagers - what else ?

Some great topics happening here.

I've been told that teenagers seem to like songs with minor chords. When I think back, I think I was like that too. Maybe these are the years we start thinking about life more. Minor chords have a mystery to them... yes?

Are there other interesting sounds or progressions that are either age or gender related ?

Comments

Cucco Fri, 02/16/2007 - 11:46

JoeJoeMan wrote: cuccho wrote :

A musician not knowing the foudnations of music as presented to us by JS Bach is like a Christian not learning about Jesus Christ! (Not to equate music to a religion, nor to impose any such religion as that's not my bag baby...)

You might want to rethink that statement. Some of the most influencial musicians of our time, we're complete void of music theory. Who can show use their music prowess and name some ?

Hey JoeJoeMan...

1st, it's not TOO hard to spell my name right. At worst, you could highlight and hit ctrl-c then ctrl-v.

2nd, I stand firm by my statement. The following artists all are "influencial" (arguably the MOST influential of the 20th century) and all of them had music training to some degree.

Miles Davis
Ramsey Lewis
Elvis Presley
Michael Jackson
James Brown
John Lennon
Billy Joel
Aretha Franklin
Sting
Paul Simon
Paul McCartney
Elton John
Freddie Mercury

Furthermore, the folks responsible for recording most of these individuals are well versed (pun kind of intended) in Bach. He is the FATHER of music as we know it. (When the angels listen to music, they listen to Mozart. When God listens to music, he listens to Bach.)

Personally, I don't consider an individual "talented" or "influential" without the credentials of at least some background. In fact, I would refer to them as lucky hacks if they are so fortunate as to land a record deal without it. (Or more specifically in this day and age - GOOD LOOKING, untalented hacks.)

I test your musical knowledge and ask you to identify someone who is strongly influential in music who did not have a background which included some education on Bach. BTW - neither the Pussycat Dolls nor the Spice Girls count.

J

MadTiger3000 Fri, 02/16/2007 - 11:57

JoeJoeMan wrote: cuccho wrote :

A musician not knowing the foudnations of music as presented to us by JS Bach is like a Christian not learning about Jesus Christ! (Not to equate music to a religion, nor to impose any such religion as that's not my bag baby...)

You might want to rethink that statement. Some of the most influencial musicians of our time, we're complete void of music theory. Who can show use their music prowess and name some ?

TGIF, folks.

I wanted to go about this somewhat systematically, since there are so many.

I Googled up the info for most influential artists (I am using the all-encompassing term "Rock" to describe quite a few styles).

http://www.concertlivewire.com/top10in.htm

Using the above list, and Wikipedia entries, etc. as bio information, we see that out of the top ten,

The Beatles
- John - no; Paul - yes - son of pro musician, minimal classical training; George - no; Richard (Ringo) - hell, no

Bonus:

Stuart (Stu) - uh, no. He was a gifted artist, and was Hollywood in his looks, but no serious musical threat.

Peter (Pete) - I don't think so! His momma owned a basement club in town, so it may have been a "pick me 'cause it's my ball/PA thing."

Bob Dylan - no, unless his guitar lessons in college included classical
Jimi Hendrix - No formal music education, but you know what's up. Don't mess.
Kraftwerk - YES - two of them met at an arts school
The Velvet Underground - surprisingly, no. Read up on Lou's Wikipedia, though. It is interesting.
The Sex Pistols - hahahahahahahahahahaahahahahhahahahahahahhaha
Elvis - think Justin Timberfake, but with more talent. He was the first to make serious money on that type of hustle. No classical music training. He hung out on the other side of the tracks at the clubs and joints, and respectfully learned the craft.
Dr. Dre - Read the Wikipedia if you don't know anything about hip hop's history. Only then will you be able to appreciate his contribution, and place on this list. He is studying classical NOW, because he has some film projects lined up, and he wants to do some scoring.

Eddie Van Halen - YES. The most solid out of any of the top ten, or second to Kraftwerk's members. He WON classical piano competitions as a kid, and only devoted himself to guitar later. The old bass player in his group studied music in college.
David Bowie - did his love and original choice of vocation, the sax, include classical studies? hmmmm

Did you know? - Duncan Zowie Heywood Jones, his son by first wife, Angie, went to the same undergrad as I did, but two years later (The College of Wooster). I feel privileged to have attended a school were people who have the money to pay for any school in the world would go. *sniff*

Anyway, there you have it.

JoeH Fri, 02/16/2007 - 12:45

You might want to rethink that statement. Some of the most influencial musicians of our time, we're complete void of music theory. Who can show use their music prowess and name some ?

Perhaps.

There are of course exceptions to every rule, and each case is different.

Some of our greatest musical treasures have had no reading or theory ability (Paul McCartney for one) while others are a double or triple threat, in that they were schooled as well as cosmically inspired. (Duke Ellington comes to mind...ever try to cut some of HIS charts???) I'm a die hard Beatles fan, and I doubt they'd be what they ended up being if they were forced into schools. But McCartney certainly knows what he's missing, and he had no qualms hiring an "Interpreter/scorer" for his "Standing Stone" Oratorio. (Which admittedly, sank pretty quickly not long after its release....) Others like Sting and Billy Joel, even Elton John, are musicians who know both and flip between the two when it's needed.

I CAN tell you from my own personal experience, that it's often two separate and distinct parts of the brain that work when reading music vs. feeling it, or playing by wrote. There are advantages/disadvantages to each.

I prefer to play by feel, but I can also sightread, (or at least read, nowadays - I'm a little rusty!) and I'm classically trained on piano. There have always been moments when I flip between the two systems in my head - memory vs. reading, and it can be tricky...kind've like the way a car feels when you're driving on a street with old trolley tracks. The tracks can pull you along automatically (like sight reading) but it takes a little effort -a pull on the steering wheel, let's say - to get you out of the tracks and onto the street on your own path (playing by feel). Either one will get you there, but you have to be careful during difficult music to navigate the two.

Many classical musicians (not all of course!) sight-read only, and cannot - even with a gun to their heads - play off-the-cuff or improvise by ear. (Tell them they've got the solo in the middle section of a twelve bar blues in E, and they're liable to sh*t a brick, asking you: well, where's the score?!?!?!)

Many other musicians only play by feel: Boogie bands, blues, rock, pop, and just about anything else you can name. Those people always have plenty of reasons (excuses?) why they don't read, or don't want to, or never learned to read - something about it messing with their "Feel" or whatever, but I don't necessarily buy into that. (I think it's more fear or laziness, but that's just me....) It's true for some, maybe 25% or so, but certainly not all.

Reading music & knowing the theory helps diverse musicians connect much more quickly in professional environments. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise. Sure, you can take a week to learn a band's repertoire by memory - all in order to play one pickup gig with them, or you can read from a book in a 3 hr rehearsal the day of the gig. (In Jazz, pop, etc., plenty of folks do just that!) And what happens the night that your lead vocalist suddenly decides to drop his or her signature hit song (The one with all those complex changes) a half step lower, because their vocal chords aren't cutting it anymore? Want to tell them you don't know the theory involved in THAT process?

I've been on countless gigs where a soundcheck doubles as a rehearsal while new players - or day hires - learn the charts, and the bandleader simply tweaks the little things, like sight cues, tempo, etc. Many many Jazz ensembles these days touring the college circuit and 500-1000 seat venues are all playing from charts. (The Berkley crowd and the "Uptown" Jazz crowd are fiercely competitive, and very heavy-hitters. You don't read? You won't work...) I just recorded a live gig with the Brian Blade Fellowship, and everyone (Brian included) was reading charts for this particular gig.

I don't think the learning process ever stops for the truly talented, and all but the most closed-off folks still want to refine their skills and learn new things.

Yeah, Well Tempered, indeed. That's just the start, kiddo. Anyone out there in "The biz" who doens't know what this term means, or where it came from, should really shut the help up and go - as fast as you can - to the nearest research engine and woodshed on the term.

Seriously, you oughta be embarassed otherwise.

Davedog Fri, 02/16/2007 - 14:29

I was gonna make a bunch of smart-assed remarks involving teenagers and what attracts them other than minor chord angst, but since we've moved this into the realm of readin,ritein,an rithmatic I thunk I outta respond.

First a history of Dog. "Yeah, I used ta read dat stuff but it screwed up my feel. " ( this has to be so surreal to a bunch of us!! mainly cause it feels TRUE)....Anyway, I played in band and orchestra as a wee laddie, clarinet (2nd chair....sue me I'm lazy) tuba (first chair...no one else wanted the job) The occasional tympani part (ever notice that these are back by the tuba section?) and really ANY instrument I could get a week or so with and could get a scale or two out of.

Its not an ego thing....it just is what it is.

In one of my college trys ( sue me again, girls like college guys in rock bands) I played in the Jazz Lab Band. I was, by this time, a seasoned pro player. I played bass, mostly, but when I went to audition for the Lab Band, the instructor asked me not to try for the bass but for the guitar. This was a Lab Band which didnt even have a guitar chart, and he had a young kid coming in on scholarship for the bass. So I did. Loved it.

My point.....I knew how to read. Once I read the part ONCE I never looked at it again. Ever. It got so I could simply hear the part and reproduce it. Busted many times in orchestra rehearsals....."Mr. Dog, could you please give us the first two bars after 39 on your sheet please......" "Uh, I dont have my sheet with me......uh .....sir...." "Thank you Mr. Dog. Could you please wait out in the hall till class is dismissed..."

But being in the Lab Band WITHOUT charts and simply relying on my knowledge of how things go and blending it with the music being presented, brought me to a new realization and freed my mind from the boundaries of the written note.

Anybody buying this? Didnt think so. Yeah sue me... I'm lazy and just never used that part of my vocabulary as it related to music.

I dont practice either. Lazy.

So...Trained as a musician formally. Learned as an ear player. Liked it better. Forgot how to read. Oh dont get me wrong...I could muddle through a chart with some time involved but I'm never gonna be in that field of expertise so why bother.

PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT>>> Kids, dont listen to your old Uncle Dog...Stay in school and learn about how music works!

dementedchord Fri, 02/16/2007 - 15:53

[quote="JoeH
Reading music & knowing the theory helps diverse musicians connect much more quickly in professional environments. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise. Sure, you can take a week to learn a band's repertoire by memory - all in order to play one pickup gig with them, or you can read from a book in a 3 hr rehearsal the day of the gig. (In Jazz, pop, etc., plenty of folks do just that!) And what happens the night that your lead vocalist suddenly decides to drop his or her signature hit song (The one with all those complex changes) a half step lower, because their vocal chords aren't cutting it anymore? Want to tell them you don't know the theory involved in THAT process?.

there it is.... i can walk into any "jam session" and given a few minutes to collect ideas come up with a set... or sit down at my keys with their book and play with pretty much anyone...

also one of the things that bothers me is the idea that theory imposes rules to the point of stffling creativity.... the idea that you dont play music you construct little "boxes"... nuthin could be further from the trueth... think of it like learning any other language... (and yes it is a language...to quote stravinski "music is a language too specific for words...") what you can say in french is determined by your vocabulary.... similarly theory doesnt tell me what to play it simply increases my options....

so make up your mind... do you want to "sound french" or speak it????

hueseph Fri, 02/16/2007 - 16:09

Some great points all around. I totally agree that understanding theory expands the possibilities.

You can't break the rules till you know them. And if you do it without knowing them it's by accident. But, if you can knowingly break the rules at will and get away with it, hey, now there's a neat trick.

I only wish I could read as well as I hear. It takes me an hour(usually more) to get through a page of score. I know the notes on the staff but applying it to a guitar is another thing all together. Piano, much simpler to understand.

anonymous Sat, 02/17/2007 - 18:17

cucuccho Wrote:

Hey JoeJoeMan...

1st, it's not TOO hard to spell my name right. At worst, you could highlight and hit ctrl-c then ctrl-v.

2nd, I stand firm by my statement. The following artists all are "influencial" (arguably the MOST influential of the 20th century) and all of them had music training to some degree.

I didn't want to turn this whole topic around but I was just bringing up a point. Whether somone has formal musical training or not, reguarding their merit wasn't my point, or concern, I was just making a point.
A couple other names that come to mind, I could be wrong but I don't think they studied Bach or Baytuvan
Steve Ray Vaughn
Albert King - grand father of rock/blues guitar
Bob Dylan - (some already mentioned)
Hank Williams
Robert Johnson
Bill Monroe (father of bluegrass)
Jimmy Rogers - father of country music
BB King - chairman of the board
Woody Guthrie
Earl Scruggs - single handed defined bluegrass banjo - ask Bela

Someone help me out....did Louie Armstrong have any formal training ?

And probably the father of rock and roll Chuck Berry, did he have and training ? Obviously he had some, he wrote "Roll Over Beethoven"

Personaly I don't have an opinion one way or the other as far formal music training, whatever.
I do know one thing I coulda' used some more formal training in spelling, right...cucucho or however you say it....

cucucho....."Freddy Mercuri" ? I think his legacey will be more in line with bad fashion (nice pants) and didn't he play with the Cowsills, he did have a nice chest though (did he wax or was that nature?). So I guess I see your point

JoeH Sat, 02/17/2007 - 21:34

JoeJoeMan, I think the point has been proven that it can work either way, but it's never a bad thing to have as much training (or simply knowledge) as you can get your hands on. There's no glory in being needlessly stupid or misinformed.

As for Louis Armstrong, it's rather pointless to question the credentials of someone who virtually helped INVENT a genre. What's the point here?

As for your spelling, I can't quite tell if you're simply trying to be funny, or are just an *sshole with your continued, deliberate misspelling of Jeremy's last name. (It's a fairly easily spelled Italian name. Is there some kind of problem here that the moderators should be looking into???)

Most of us enjoy the intelligent, back and forth sharing of ideas and information, in funny and creative ways. Those who don't grasp this concept don't seem to last too long, if you catch my drift.

Not sayin'....just sayin'......

dementedchord Sun, 02/18/2007 - 11:17

i've always found it ridiculous that people take a few greats out of context in order to justify not doing their homework.... the question is NOT whether SRV or (insert here) made it without... the question is whether they or more importantly YOU would have benefitted from study... and the answer is unequivicably yes....

Cucco Sun, 02/18/2007 - 11:40

JoeH wrote:
Many classical musicians (not all of course!) sight-read only, and cannot - even with a gun to their heads - play off-the-cuff or improvise by ear. (Tell them they've got the solo in the middle section of a twelve bar blues in E, and they're liable to sh*t a brick, asking you: well, where's the score?!?!?!)

Ha...you aren't kidding! One of the better conductors I've worked with would RAG on our strings all the time. He would ask them..."so, when did you guys stop knowing how to improvise? Shortly after Vivaldi died?"

Just for kicks when I was in college (majoring in horn performance), I took 2 semesters of Jazz Improv and a semester of Jazz theory. You should have seen the looks on the trumpets and saxophone players' faces when a horn player showed up axe-in-hand for jazz class. What was even funnier - my bassoon playing friend did the same. That was an interesting couple of semesters! It sure was fun though. Talk about putting Bach to practical use!

Every once in a while, I'll do some improv work just to keep it interesting and keep my jazz chops up, but not so much any more. I also had the chance to study a few times with Thomas Bacon at various master classes and symposiums...what a wealth of jazz-horn knowledge! (And a damn fine player too!)

Anyway...just thought I'd share. It's always funny to talk about classical musicians and improv.

ouzo77 Sun, 02/18/2007 - 13:03

i've been reading this topic for awhile now, and just want to add my thoughts about it.
i'm drumming in a top40 cover band. unlike our guitarist and keyboard player i never had any musical training, only as a normal subject in school. i always hated music theory (like any theory) and never had good marks in tests (though i always had an A in my school reports cause i played in the band)

in our band practices the guitarist and keyboard player often throw strange words at each other, like "e7diminished" or "gsus9withanaovere" or whatever (i doubt these examples exist, so nevermind). mysteriously they do understand each other and everything sounds good. i do know basic notation and know where my keys are on the guitar or keyboard. i can also tell the difference between major and minor, but that's about it. it would take me hours to play something from a sheet.

BUT although i don't really have a clou about music theory i do understand music. i'm not only a drummer, i also play keyboards and guitar, and i sing. i'm writing songs, although i couldn't tell you the names of the chords i'm playing. by not being able to read scores i have very well trained ears, and that's much more important than knowing the names of chords or play a piece of music just by reading some dots and lines.
it can be helpful though.

it's certainly good to know theory and to be able to read sheets, especially for session musicians, but the ability to do that doesn't make you a good musician. it's the ears that make a good one. and the feeling that makes a great one.
i'm sure many or most classical musicians could play a piece of music they've never heard before off a sheet without mistakes, but would it be a great performance? i don't think so.
without scores you have to know the piece by heart, and we all know that's crucial for a great performance with a lot of feeling.
btw, in my band we never use scores at gigs at all. it would be a boring, lame ass show with everybody standing behind music stands staring at some paper. we do 4 to 7 hour shows by heart and that's why we get booked. not because we read well...

as with everything else, it's always good to know the backgrounds, but it's not really necessary. but like i said before, it can be helpful.
i am happy that i'm "only" the drummer of the band and don't have to deal with these things. i am one of the lazy kinda guys that never saw the point to it. but i do often arrange background vocals in my band cause i have a good understanding of harmonics and find the right notes faster than our guitarist, who has a degree in music.
i can write music without knowing what chords i play. i don't give a ***. if i like it, it's fine. i don't like it, i try something else.

oh, ... i did find another musician who was very influential in modern music and had a lotta hits in the last 30 years. phil collins. and he still can't read sheets.
now tell me he doesn't know what he's doing!

anonymous Sun, 02/18/2007 - 16:18

JoeH wrote:

JoeJoeMan, I think the point has been proven that it can work either way, but it's never a bad thing to have as much training (or simply knowledge) as you can get your hands on. There's no glory in being needlessly stupid or misinformed.

As for Louis Armstrong, it's rather pointless to question the credentials of someone who virtually helped INVENT a genre. What's the point here?

As for your spelling, I can't quite tell if you're simply trying to be funny, or are just an *sshole with your continued, deliberate misspelling of Jeremy's last name. (It's a fairly easily spelled Italian name. Is there some kind of problem here that the moderators should be looking into???)

Most of us enjoy the intelligent, back and forth sharing of ideas and information, in funny and creative ways. Those who don't grasp this concept don't seem to last too long, if you catch my drift.

I really don't care if you someone has musical training or not, great if they do, great if they don't. If they can play - wonderful. I wasn't taking sides one way or the other. Just making a counter point to Jeremy's orginal point, with reference to training or Bach, whatever that orginal point was. Perhaps you are upset that I trumped his orginal point.
Whether I can spell or not, or if am just having fun is no excuse on your part to be calling someone an *sshole, So I won't even stoop to an exchange on that, only to say that perhaps your point is correct and the moderator should be looking into something (ie. your reprehensible behavior).

Davedog Sun, 02/18/2007 - 19:02

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>MODERATOR

" Reprehensible behavior will only be tolerated if it is in response to posts by JP,aquasquid, likwidstoody-os, or some other jackass. Any other outbreaks will be squelched at the source."

Cucco is spelled like this C U C C O .. Learn it. use it. And stop being reprehensible.

I HAVE SPOKEN. Back to the argument.....er....discussion.

MadMax Sun, 02/18/2007 - 19:24

Moving back two squares...

audiokid wrote: Are there other interesting sounds or progressions that are either age or gender related ?

I don't shiv a get whether you girls wanna' keep debating bach's virginity... go fer it.

The odd thing is that no matter the era, despite the angst, modernization of culture, or whatever... the thing that seems to consistantly attract teenies is the vocal melody. Whether us old farts like the melody, whether it meets conventional music theory, etc.

What makes a song popular with teenagers is the ability to be sung by the majority of the people. The simpler the melody the better. If it's a minor chord structure... the better. With my kids generation and the newest batch of teenies... it's a back to basics 4/4. With an emphasis on harmonies and a big LF component.

anonymous Mon, 02/19/2007 - 10:31

Thanks

Thanks Davedog..........................

Back to the dicussion...............
So did Louie Armstrong have any formal training ?
I seem to remember, he was given a horn and tought to play in the black marching bands of the time. I get the feeling that any training he did get was pretty limited and not formal or 'classical' in nature

JoeH Mon, 02/19/2007 - 12:09

For the record, JoeJoeMan, I said it I unclear what your intention was by deliberately mispelling Jeremy's last name again and again; it sure seemed like it could be interpreted either way. (I guess you showed ME, alright!) YOU know what you wrote, and what you intended. Now we do, too.

Personally, ouzo77, I wouldn't be bragging about not knowing the difference between a major and minor chord, in a Top 40 Cover Band, but that's just me. I'm glad you're happy and life's good for you. That's great.

And if you think it's impossible to deliver an honest, heartfelt performance from a printed sheet of music, I can't even begin to explain it to you. In a way, you're guilty of the same kind of elitism and name calling as the so-called "Schooled" players might direct at players like yourself.

There's really no point in attacking either process. They both work for some, but I'm always on the side of experience and education, whether it's self-taught at the school of hard knocks, or Curtis, Berkley or Julliard.

Let's talk again in twenty years. 8-)

ouzo77 Mon, 02/19/2007 - 15:08

JoeH wrote: Personally, ouzo77, I wouldn't be bragging about not knowing the difference between a major and minor chord, in a Top 40 Cover Band, but that's just me. I'm glad you're happy and life's good for you. That's great.

And if you think it's impossible to deliver an honest, heartfelt performance from a printed sheet of music, I can't even begin to explain it to you. In a way, you're guilty of the same kind of elitism and name calling as the so-called "Schooled" players might direct at players like yourself.

first of all, i didn't say i can't tell the difference between minor and major, that's one of the few things i can. also in a top 40 band!
and i think there's nothing wrong with playing in a top 40 band. after playing 20 years in bands with own music and paying alotta money to be able to do it, it's nice to actually earn some. but that's a different discussion... btw, i am happy with it, and life's wonderful. i hope yours is, too!

i've also never said, that it's impossible to play "an honest, heartfelt performance from a printed sheet of music". i just said if you play a piece of music you've never heard before from a sheet it's not as good as it would be if you knew it by heart. i'd rather see somebody playing with closed eyes than somebody who's staring at a piece of paper.

also i never said you don't need musical education at all, i was even pointing out that it can be very helpful! i was just trying to say you can be as good a musician, even a better one, without having lessons in music theory or your instrument. for some, like me, it works, and they can express themselves musically, without education. it has nothing to do with being misinformed or stupid, like you wrote in a previous post. or do i have to have a degree in engineering to drive a car?
i liked it better to listen to other musicians and watch what they do, than learning how to interpret dots on a sheet. it's more fun learning an instrument that way. and isn't it about fun in the end? and i told you i was lazy.
but i do understand, that it's something many "educated" musicians can't accept, cause they've spent many hours and money for their education, and others who are equally good musicians or even better ones didn't. (i'm not saying i'm better than you. i don't know you or your abilities. but i'm not saying i'm not as good as you just because you're musically educated, either)

so please read the posts more carefully before quoting things that were never said (or written)! i'm sorry if my thoughts about the subject (or me playing in a top 40 band) offended you in any way. don't forget, i am uneducated...

AND i've found another "uneducated" musician who had a huge impact on modern music: kurt cobain.
admittedly not the best guitarist, but nirvana started a big revolution in rock music and did write good songs. and i'm sure he didn't shoot himself, because he didn't know the names of the chords he played... :?

anonymous Mon, 02/19/2007 - 21:46

JoeH wrote:

For the record, JoeJoeMan, I said it I unclear what your intention was by deliberately mispelling Jeremy's last name again and again; it sure seemed like it could be interpreted either way. (I guess you showed ME, alright!) YOU know what you wrote, and what you intended. Now we do, too.

Actually I misspled his name because I was to lazy to go back and look at how it was spelled, not to mention, I'm a notorious bad speller to begin with. And maybe I was tweaking him a little, but only in a light hearted way, I really didn't mean anything by it, enough said though, I apologize.

dementedchord Thu, 02/22/2007 - 11:02

gee...

my first reaction is ... if you have to ask you'll never understand the answer....

my second.... havent actually read any theory have you???

and third.... the problem is a lotta people just wont accept the definition... as some of their favs may not meet the criteria... ie: some rap contains no melody and hence does not technically qualify....

Cucco Thu, 02/22/2007 - 13:14

IIRs wrote: As a matter of fact I studied classical music for about 10 years as a youth. If I had stuck with that I would be unable to improvise today...
:wink:

Why?

I've studied classical music for nearly 30 years and I can still (and often do) improvise. In fact, my advanced theory classes only helped further.

Cucco Thu, 02/22/2007 - 13:19

IIRs wrote: It seems to me that if music theory was as important as some here seem to think it would by now have answered the basic question "what is music?"

????

Even those who know nothing of theory and sell millions of discs APPLY the theory of which they have no knowledge.

In most cases, the producers, songwriters and engineers KNOW their theory and the talent merely sings, plays...whatever.

Think of it like this -
Many people who drive have no idea how a rack and pinion system works. However, they understand the simple concept that "if I turn this doo-hickey right, my car also turns right." Therefore, they understand the most rudimentary theory behind the functioning of that system.

Such is also true in music.

Hmmm...If I play this chord made up of a C, E, and G, it sounds good. If I add this F, it also sounds good, but adds a little....suspense. Hmmm..., now when I add this Db (minor 9, not minor 2), I get even MORE suspense. And now, when I add this B to the whole mix....I get CRAP.

Well...maybe Bach didn't tell them this, but they certainly understand it.

JoeH Thu, 02/22/2007 - 18:06

As a matter of fact I studied classical music for about 10 years as a youth. If I had stuck with that I would be unable to improvise today...

I doubt that, and I think you're not giving yourself enough credit. I'm not sure where you make the connection that learning music inhibits improvisation. NOT true at all. What IS true, of course is that one can learn either one without the other.... It's kind've like being blind but having great hearing, or deaf but with great drawing abilities. Both seem to be missing something, IMHO.

Yes, of course, one can learn riffs, reels, jigs and improvise your brains out, without ever cracking a book, and still make it sound fresh and original. That's called playing by rote, or by ear/memory. Add to that the intangible "gift" that many of our heroes - from the Beatles to Louis Armstrong and beyond - had, that's one way its done.

You can also learn to read notes off the page perfectly, and sight read like a m*th*rf*cker, all in real time, but still be unable to play with a jam band. That's unfortunate (and there are MANY out there like that) but either approach is inherently deficient, as far as I'm concerned.

I have about the same opinion of a high-end classical player who can't sit down and jam with his kids or buddies as I do for an ear-only player who can't read a chart. I feel bad for either one, but I respect the abilities they DO have.

Call me a snob if you want, but I'm proud of the fact that I can do both....and I know many who can sit down and jam - in any key - with anyone who wants to challenge them. I KNOW my classical/formal training wasn't a detriment to learning to play live, extemoraneously. I did both - making a living reading charts or playing by ear in bands from about age 15 to 40 or so... I got the gigs others couldn't cut because I knew both.

D'ya think Ishtaak Perelman or Joshua Bell is a wimp because he plays classical fiddle? Get REAL....just TRY and cut some of the riffs THEY play every day, some by rote, some off the page.

I do not believe for one second they are mutually exclusive abilities. EVERY tiny bit of knowledge and training can be beneficial, if you process it properly.

Scoobie Thu, 02/22/2007 - 19:05

I took piano lessons as a young'in from my mother.
Played trumpet and french horn and tuba in school band. Got good(not great) at all three. And I couldn't read sheet music in my life dependent on it. That's why I never got great at either of them I guess, but My high school band teacher died when he found out I couldn't read the sheets. He always said I was his best brass player.

I hung up the piano and horns in 77 and picked up the guitar after my father.

In Nashville most use the numbers system, no chords or notes. Just numbers. Some of the best session players ever, couldn't read music either. I used to watch them listen to a song and write a bunch of numbers down and was ready to go. Dosen't matter what key, the numbers stay the same.

My wife site reads(piano) and it kills me to watch her. I wish I could do it. But when I play my guitar with her on a song that she knows I have never heard. She will say, I wish I could do that.

What I'm saying is , people have differnt musical ability. It's what their gifted with I guess.

Peace............Scoobie

IIRs Fri, 02/23/2007 - 00:36

Cucco wrote:
Think of it like this -
Many people who drive have no idea how a rack and pinion system works. However, they understand the simple concept that "if I turn this doo-hickey right, my car also turns right." Therefore, they understand the most rudimentary theory behind the functioning of that system.

Well ok then, if you broaden your definition of "music theory" to include the blues scale your mate showed you, or the trick for getting a killer kick sound that you picked up from a forum, fair enough. But a large chunk of the "music theory" I learnt in my youth was simply Italian terms for concepts such as "play loud". :lol:

Frankly I got closer to the real essence of music by studying mathematics...

IIRs Fri, 02/23/2007 - 00:52

JoeH wrote:
I doubt that, and I think you're not giving yourself enough credit. I'm not sure where you make the connection that learning music inhibits improvisation.

But that's not what I said: my own particular classical training may not have stunted my ability to improvise, but it certainly didn't develop it at all.

Most of my family are classical musicians, and none of them are capable of improvising at all, so it seems this is a common consequence of a traditional musical training.... which seems odd because improvising was a big part of the classical music tradition until fairly recently.

Perhaps I would have got there in the end anyway, but the classical culture I grew up in rather encouraged the belief that all the great music had been written a hundred years ago or more, and all that was left to do was to 'interpret' it... it wasn't until I had a few lessons from a jazz player when I was about 14 that I realised improvising was a skill that could be conciously developed, rather than being some amazing magical god-given gift (which is kind of how my mum sees it!)

JoeH Fri, 02/23/2007 - 02:58

I do hear what you're saying, IIRs, and it's indeed a shame that far too many "serious" players passed that idea along that the ONLY way to play was notes on the page.

You're absolutely correct in that it's only been recent that this straight-jacket approach to "Serious" Music took hold. There was indeed a time when players improvised over a ground bass, (following the rules of counterpoint and even-tempered tuning) or soloists took incredible and wonderful risks with their big moments - usually the improvised cadenza's - in performances with the big ensembles.

It was a GiVEN that the major artists of the day would be routinely able to pull this stuff off and dazzle their audiences. (Some cadenzas become so popular and impressive that they began to be written down and repeated by others - which could be argued as the beginning of the rot setting in, eh?)

I've recorded many concerts - even recently - where the violinist, or horn player, etc., did indeed improvise and wow their 21st century audiences. (Can't recall exact names, but i KNOW there are a few famous ones out there, as we speak, doing exactly that.)

Mozart himself took part in many an improvising (or as Jazzers would call it: "cutting") session of his era. It was common parlor entertainment at the time. It's indeed a shame that gets lost in the search for absolute perfection in some genres. Once you know both, you realize that there's basically no difference at the core, just different ways to get there.

One is harder - or easier - than the other, depending on your perspective, I guess...

Cucco Fri, 02/23/2007 - 07:26

IIRs wrote: [quote=Cucco]
Think of it like this -
Many people who drive have no idea how a rack and pinion system works. However, they understand the simple concept that "if I turn this doo-hickey right, my car also turns right." Therefore, they understand the most rudimentary theory behind the functioning of that system.

Well ok then, if you broaden your definition of "music theory" to include the blues scale your mate showed you, or the trick for getting a killer kick sound that you picked up from a forum, fair enough. But a large chunk of the "music theory" I learnt in my youth was simply Italian terms for concepts such as "play loud". :lol:

Oh, but my definition of music theory DOES indeed cover the blues scale and furthermore the principles of acoustics! I mean no disrespect to any musician when I say this, but to be truly a well-rounded, good classical musician, one must study ALL aspects of music - jazz, avante garde, Cage, Cowell, Mozart, Bach, Miles Davis. You don't have to LIKE the music (I don't like much of Cowell's stuff, nor do I like much Hovannes (sp?)), but I appreciate it.

As part of my musical career, I have studied jazz, classical (all eras) and 20th century music. In fact, I have actually played horn in jazz and rock ensembles!

The funny thing - it only makes my classical playing better!

I think it's an absolute shame that you are correct..., but most classical training is conducted with a VERY stiff upper lip and avoids, maybe even abhors, instruction in other methods including improv.

You know...one of the best things that I learn from jazz and apply back to classical is the ability to listen...truly listen to your neighbors and fellow musicians.

I play in several ensembles in the area currently and one of the BIGGEST problems (often in the upper strings) is that no one listens to each other. They're all in their own little bubble. Sure, they may be playing accurately and with relatively good pitch, but factor in that there are 20+ violins and they're playing their own thing...it's quite disturbing. In any section where I'm principal horn- if one of my horn players doesn't pay attention and does their own thing - they're not asked back. If I do the same in one of my colleagues' sections, I would expect the same.

To me, it seems as though the push right now in classical training is for:
1 - technical perfection
2 - soloistic performance
To me, this is counterintuitive to the orchestral process. Soloistic playing does not belong in an orchestra unless you are in fact the soloist. Technical perfection is meaningless without the pathos behind it. Listen to Cleveland under Szell. There are missed notes and some funky intonations, but god dang those are some inspiring performances!

Listen to Cincinatti today and they are technically perfect on the recording, but it's like listening to a movie soundtrack. It's dull and lifeless. The recording may be great, but the sound of the orchestra is....welll......boring.

The reason that classical musicians are taking such a strong "head in the sand" approach to music with thoughts that "only music composed prior to 1937 is any good" is a knee-jerk reaction to the systematic destruction of the orchestra today. Concert attendance is low, orchestras are folding left and right so idealist classical players are digging in harder! The funny thing is, their inability or lack of desire to adapt is in fact the silver bullet which is killing them!

On another note...(ha...yes, pun intended) - I just received this quarter's issue of the Horn Call (the International Horn Society's quarterly publication.) There's a several-page article in this quarter's issue dealing with improvising duets with a duet partner. There's even instructions and hints on how to do it!

This doesn't sound like an industry that is afraid of change on the whole, it just needs to be introduced the right way.

Cheers!

Jeremy

PS - (directed at everyone and anyone reading this far)
Go see/hear an orchestra perform ASAP. If you haven't before, it's a nearly religious experience. If you have before, do it again and support your local orchestra!

TuBlairy Fri, 02/23/2007 - 07:50

aqualand666 wrote:
beethoven did use minor tonalities. bach didn't.
.

Astounding. Now that is solid comedy.

aqualand666 wrote:
how did pythagoreas do this, i thought fixed tuning instruments were barely around by the medieval period? .

Was Pythagoreos Medieval? I thought he was an ancient Greek. Weird.

aqualand666 wrote:
quite interesting the mathematical representation of the tones. and the development of accidentals thereof. i'm sure you're aware that further solidification of accidentals were created out of avoidance for the tritone in gregorian church music. .

Oh … I get it! You’re a lecturer, aren’t you? Royal Academy? Juliard?

aqualand666 wrote:
cucco, when i ask questions its not like you just asked this one. you want to prove you know a thing or two about music theory? then reflect it on an instrument. too many big music theory buffs can express so little of what they know on their instrument that its not even funny. .

It is as well know fact that theoreticians, who also happen to be tuba players, are very expressive on their instruments and, in fact, quite funny. This is because they sound like they are, in fact, farting as they play. In the vast orchestral literature, there is little more comical than their nasty B-flatulance.

aqualand666 wrote:
besides its not even as if the historical aspects of the development of music theory are any more than looking up a quick little fact sheet like this guy just did.

Well, no, he read that in a book, or a number of books, not in a fact sheet that one’s ancestors had hopefully read, which stated, “never, ever drink this substance, especially during pregnancy.”

aqualand666 wrote:
sorry about being wrong about what keys bach used. like i said i think of minuet in G and light and fluffy baroque music when i think of him.
.

If you’re thinking of the one from the Anna Magdalena handbook, he wrote that for his little kid. To mention a few, not-so-fluffy ones, you may want to listen to the "Great G minor" Fantasia and Fugue, BWV 542 or if you're a guitarist you might enjoy BWV 1000. I could play it at one time - its a b*tch. (Well, it was written for the lute.) Oh yea, and there's also the 2nd Prelude in C minor, from the Well-Tempered Klavier. Anyway, I would guess over 50% of Bach's music is written in the "minor" key, though one of his clever little tricks was this thing called modulation where you start in one key and then go to another, major OR minor key... But don't worry, you come back again. (Then some of the later, classical composers started NOT coming back to the same key. That's just RUDE… And as Romanticism gradually declined into atonality,…God, quick, I pry’thee, send me the dulcet tones of Paganini Caprice No.5 to liberate me from all that is vile.)

As for the original topic: teens and minor chords, required listening:
Stravinky's L'Sacre de Pretemps
Berlioz's Final Movement, Witches’ Sabbath, from Symphony Fantasique (No.5)
Listen to the above LOUDLY enough to piss-off your parents.

"In the beginning... there was Rhythm”

Paul Hindemith

Cucco Fri, 02/23/2007 - 08:08

TuBlairy wrote: As for the original topic: teens and minor chords, required listening:
Stravinky's L'Sacre de Pretemps
Berlioz's Final Movement, Witches’ Sabbath, from Symphony Fantasique (No.5)
Listen to the above LOUDLY enough to piss-off your parents.

Let's not forget Shostakovich 5, 7 and 9, Mahler 2 and 6, Bruckner 4 and 5, and of course Firebird (Infernal Dance)!

Cucco Fri, 02/23/2007 - 08:29

audiokid wrote: TuBlairy,

this thing called modulation where you start in one key and then go to another, major OR minor key... But don't worry, you come back again.

Was this where "The circle of 5ths" came from?

Not really. In fact, it was not all that popular to modulate in 5ths during the baroque era.

IIRs Fri, 02/23/2007 - 08:31

Cucco wrote:
Oh, but my definition of music theory DOES indeed cover the blues scale and furthermore the principles of acoustics! I mean no disrespect to any musician when I say this, but to be truly a well-rounded, good classical musician, one must study ALL aspects of music - jazz, avante garde, Cage, Cowell, Mozart, Bach, Miles Davis. You don't have to LIKE the music (I don't like much of Cowell's stuff, nor do I like much Hovannes (sp?)), but I appreciate it.

You say "all aspects of music" and then go on to name a rather limited selection in my opinion. Where is the folk music in that list, or the country or the blues? What about reggae? Minimalist techno? You don't have to LIKE the music... ;)

The important thing is that you continue to develop as a musician, not that you study any specific "music theory". Nobody could ever really study "all aspects of music", so personally I will settle for "as many aspects as I can cram into my all-too-human skull" and if that happens not to include any more of the "theory" that you refer to than I osmosed as a child, thats fine by me.

My maths lessons equiped me to understand microtonal tunings better than my music lessons did, as an example. Thats another thing that classical musicians have all but done away with, in the west at least!

I see you specified classical musician. Your list will probably do fine in that case... :roll:

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