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Improving music theory knowledge
Old 28th February 2019
  #1
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IM WHO YOU THINK's Avatar
 

Improving music theory knowledge

Guys, I've been learning to play guitar, and I'm beginning to feel the spark to make music that I had years ago. I have a few theory books that I like. Years ago, I used Mark Harrison's Pop piano book and I liked it, so I picked up his "Contemporary Music Theory" series Books I-III. My understanding is beyond the level one book, so I'm working with the LII book. I understand the circle of 5ths, Major/min scales, Diatonic progressions etc...

What resouce would you recommend (outside of transcribing songs that I like) to learn to better use extended Major,minor 9,11,13 chords, Altered chords (b5 and #5 ),and Sus chords?
Old 28th February 2019
  #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IM WHO YOU THINK View Post
(outside of transcribing songs that I like)
This is, and will always be the best, IMO. I do believe personally it's valuable to do both, but learning by ear should never be left out in my opinion.

This one is also good though-

https://www.amazon.com/Jazz-Theory-B.../dp/1883217040

Especially for some newer approaches with extensions etc.
Old 28th February 2019
  #3
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EvilRoy's Avatar
 

Sorry if this is off topic. I learned to play along with vinyl by ear. I've always been a John McLaughlin fan and bought his 4 DVD set as soon as it was released "This Is The Way I Do It". Man, I wish I had it when I was learning to play. A lot of modal stuff, but it's more than theory, it's the way he uses it.

I apologize for the interruption and return you to your regularly scheduled programming.
Old 1st March 2019
  #4
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IM WHO YOU THINK's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by RyanC View Post
This is, and will always be the best, IMO. I do believe personally it's valuable to do both, but learning by ear should never be left out in my opinion.

This one is also good though-

https://www.amazon.com/Jazz-Theory-B.../dp/1883217040

Especially for some newer approaches with extensions etc.
I've been putting off ordering that one for ages. I need to. I really like the Mark Harrison Theory books, and transcribing Stevie, EWF, MJ, and old Motown stuff keeps me developing new ideas.

I've been remodeling my house for a while now, and while my gear is broken down, I'm concentrating on musicianship. It's been good to get back to music for the sake of music, without recording or looking to make $$$ from it.

Im really enjoying it again. I'm just getting to where I can move chords around on guitar smoothly, and it's making me hear things in different ways, from how I hear on a Piano.

I don't know why I didn't do this ages ago. May sound crazy, but it makes me want to play piano more too.

Last edited by IM WHO YOU THINK; 1st March 2019 at 01:28 PM..
Old 1st March 2019
  #5
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by IM WHO YOU THINK View Post
I've been putting off ordering that one for ages. I need to. I really like the Mark Harrison Theory books, and transcribing Stevie, EWF, MJ, and old Motown stuff keeps me developing new ideas.

I've been remodeling my house for a while now, and while my gear is broken down, I'm concentrating on musicianship. It's been good to get back to music for the sake of music, without recording of looking to make $$$ from it.

Im really enjoying it again. I'm just getting to where I can move chords around on guitar smoothly, and it's making me hear things in different ways, from how I hear on a Piano.

I don't know why I didn't do this ages ago. May sound crazy, but it makes me want to play piano more too.
Yeah man I can relate-

I broke my ankle a little over a month ago, managed to break all 3 bones, needed surgery, got 14 screws and 2 plates in there. In any case, piano is my main instrument too and I've been tinkering with guitar for a long time but never had the time to get decent at it.

With having to keep my leg elevated, I can't work in the studio much or play at my church or even play keys for more than about 20 mins. So I've been playing guitar and singing 4-5 hrs a day.

To add to all that, after 20 years of playing/making music for a living, I'm right in the middle of remodeling a commercial building for a new studio build-out. It's been stress and all business for me lately, all head and no heart. Being forced to take this break and have little else to do but play guitar and sing and do it just for the sake of music has been such a blessing...even right in the middle of the most stressful period of my life.

I can't wait to get back to everything now and have a fresh perspective and desire to learn and grow that makes me excited in a way I haven't been for a long time.

Music can be such an amazing and pure thing...it's dumbfounding that it can be so hard to find the way back to something so simple.
Old 4th March 2019
  #6
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Carnalia Barcus's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by IM WHO YOU THINK View Post
What resouce would you recommend (outside of transcribing songs that I like) to learn to better use extended Major,minor 9,11,13 chords, Altered chords (b5 and #5 ),and Sus chords?
Honestly I think the best way to learn such things is by writing songs using those chords (it doesn't have to be all of them in one tune, haha--in fact, it's probably better at first if you just focus on one at a time).

Approach it as an exercise, so that you're not worried if it works artistically. The exercises do not need to be long. You don't need to write 3-5 minute tunes. Think of them as "compositional etudes." You're just focusing on using the chords in songs, in a variety of contexts. It won't matter if some of the exercises sound awkward to you. Just keep experimenting with using the chords in various contexts. That will give you a very good intuitive handle on them.
Old 4th March 2019
  #7
Gear Guru
 
Brent Hahn's Avatar
 

I might do it in two stages. This is all downloadable as well, but I'll go old-school for the sake of the conversation.

First, get a songbook of simple folks songs or older rock/pop songs that you're already familiar with. Work your way through them and play the chords, which will mostly be major and minor triads, with the occasional added 7th or suspension, and maybe a diminished chord here and there. Nothing fancy.

That book should get you hearing harmonic and chordal patterns and tendencies, and should make it easier to figure out the chords in songs you don't already know.

Once you've got your head wrapped around that, get a Fake Book. These are the big, thick sheet-music books that people buy who play pickup gigs of older jazz tunes and standards and such. These songs are a lot more complicated and have a lot more altered chords; the grownup stuff.

If the Fake Book material is too intimidating, an intermediate step might be the music of some people who are sort of in-between. Steely Dan, Joni Mitchell (Hissing of Summer Lawns and later), Randy Newman, some of The Band's music. Someone under 40 might want to add artists to this list that the OP can actually relate to. :-)
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