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  1. #11
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    chord progressions and modal forms actually come from well before the piano and various stringed instruments, they are more derived from the science of the tones rather than the actual sounds. It is albeit a beginner framework, but what that means is that its the ground work for formulating progressions, and without the framework none of the more advanced knowledge would even be useful. You have to start somewhere and without knowing the chords how would you resolve them? So I think you're both right
    Last edited by Kris.Norris; 05-19-2010 at 09:15 PM.

  2. #12
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    ZOOM.
    Man, this stuff goes over my head. I'd like to know how far back to go, or where to go to get in a position to understand what is being discussed here.

  3. #13
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    Good stuff guys. Before I knew much about theory, I thought that the beginning chord to a song was the key it was in, no matter what. So, what if it starts on a minor chord? Eventually one of my teachers said that I should think of all keys as major. He said I should listen to all the chords in a song, and figure out the key from those chords. This coming example starts with a major chord but it is the same concept.

    So if the chords are:

    C / D / Am / G

    then:

    D / C / Am / G

    ...then the actual key would be G, even though the starting chord was C. Those are the chords for the verses of "Wish You Were Here" by Pink Floyd.

    The chords in the key of G are:
    I ii iii IV V vi vii
    G Am Bm C D Em F#dim

    So the verse works out as:

    IV / V / ii / I
    V / IV / ii / I

    The upper case Roman Numerals are for major and lower case for minor. So it helps to think of keys as major, even if it starts on a minor chord. I recommend beginners work out the chords in each key and go from there. Now, this concept won't always work, because there are many song writers who substitute minor chords for major ones, and many who don't really know much theory and just play what sounds good to them (which is okay too, if you want to take that approach, but can be limiting if you want to communicate with other musicians). I hope this helps; I tried to stay fairly simple with it.

    Jeremy

  4. #14
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    For the key of G above, the numbers didn't line up properly with the chord names, but there are 7 chords and seven numbers, so G would be I, Am would be ii, etc. Sorry about that.

    Also, a great trick for figuring out the keys is to look at the major chords. If you see three major chords, as in the C, D and G above, there is only one key it could be in, provided the composer is following the basic/traditional formula of western theory. It has to be G because it's the only key with those three major chords. The three majors will be some combination of the I, IV and V chords of the key. So if you see a Bb, C and F combination, your best bet is it will be in the key of F (IV, V and I respectively). If the progression starts on or centers around the Bb, you can find the "mode" of Bb that corresponds with the key of F (Bb Lydian, since Bb is the 4th note of F) to solo over it, or just play an F scale circling around the root note/arpeggio for the current chord being played. Anyway I could go on and on but I'd never get any playing done. Feel free, fellow guitarists, to correct me if I am wrong on anything.
    Last edited by j cline; 09-13-2010 at 03:02 AM.

  5. #15
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    Default Zoom Zoom!

    ZOOM.
    Man, this stuff goes over my head. I'd like to know how far back to go, or where to go to get in a position to understand what is being discussed here.
    Yep, just flew past me too Blewcrowe!

    Stu, I can see your eyes glazing over from here, but fear not, I'm sure the great world of theory will make perfect sense to us some day.

    Dash, please don't be a recluse! I loved reading it; didn't understand it , but, one day, . . .

  6. #16
    Premium Member dash rendar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by floorshaker View Post
    Dash, please don't be a recluse! I loved reading it; didn't understand it , but, one day, . . .
    You've pulled me out of hiding! But if someone tries to move in to my cave while I'm typing this...

    That's a great example from j cline, using one of my favourite songs. It's one of the first songs I ever learned to play properly on the guitar. And that's a really handy tip for spotting the key.
    --- Time flies like an arrow, but fruit flies like a banana.

    Guitars: Ibanez Prestige JS1200, Fender Strat (70s Reissue), Farida D62N Acoustic, Ibanez SR400.
    Amps: Roland Microcube RX, Fender Champion 30.
    Recording: PreSonus Firebox.

  7. #17
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    Yeah, it's an awesome song, and a great one for beginners to learn. I really liked your explanation of theory, by the way, Dash.

    It can be hard to gage whether or not to call someone a beginner, intermediate or advanced. There are many guitar players that play amazing things without ever knowing much theory. They can play for years not knowing the names of the chords or scales they are playing, and could be considered by the masses as one of the greatest guitarists of all time. I highly doubt some of the old blues players, pioneers of the style, really knew much theory at all.

    So a player can be highly advanced in his technique but not know much theory, and vice-versa. In fact, I have known many guitarists who went to school for it, have an advanced understanding of theory, but their technique is lacking. Or maybe their technique is fine, but their playing lacks the emotional element; it is all scales and arpeggios and complex rhythms that can really only be appreciated for its technical skill. The flip side is, if you have great technique but your knowledge of theory is lacking, you could find yourself on stage, at an open mic, struggling to figure out what scales to play
    to certain songs. I have done this myself, which is what prompted me to learn more. I found myself playing the natural minor scale when I should have been playing Dorian. I have had a guitarist tell me the next song was in "B Mixolydian" but had no idea what he was talking about.

    So, to me, what is considered "beginner" could be totally alien to some guitarists, even though they may be well respected players. Also, rock musicians don't have much use for 11 and 13 chords, so a rudimentary understanding of them would be fine for most. And you can break down "modes" to a basic level, and still appear to the outside world that you know what you're playing and why you are playing it. So, to some, any theory at all would be considered advanced to them.

    After all, to have an understanding of theory, you really don't have to know that much. Much of it is all just different methods for coming up with the same result. I can look at a scale starting on a different note then the root as a "mode" that has a name like Phrygian or Mixolydian, or I can just play the major scale centering around that note; it is literally the same thing, just using different patterns from the same notes.

    Sorry for being long winded, but it took me a long time to understand music theory, and now that my understanding has progressed a bit, I really like to teach and come up with my own way of explaining things. I have found the more you teach, the more you learn. It keeps the info fresh in your head. I recommend any players with a basic understanding of the guitar to try teaching their friends how to play. It's harder to explain theory than to know it, so it can really polish your skills.

    Regards,
    j cline

  8. #18
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    Default A Minor

    I am currently on Steve Eulberg's Phase 1, Lesson 4, Scene 10 Minor Chords. He has introduced us to an A Minor which I cannot find in the Chord Library. I have found an A Minor but not the variation he is using which is, first finger first fret, B string, second finger second fret, D string and third finger second fret, G string. Any feedback would be appreciated, thanks.

  9. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by j cline View Post
    Also, a great trick for figuring out the keys is to look at the major chords. If you see three major chords, as in the C, D and G above, there is only one key it could be in, provided the composer is following the basic/traditional formula of western theory. It has to be G because it's the only key with those three major chords.
    Not quite, these three major chords are also present in the key of Em. As you pointed out in your original explanation the relative minor key has exactly the same chords as the major key.

    I think in such cases working out the key can only be done by ear.

    Jim

  10. #20
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    Default Minor Chord Question

    Quote Originally Posted by Kris.Norris View Post
    chord progressions and modal forms actually come from well before the piano and various stringed instruments, they are more derived from the science of the tones rather than the actual sounds. It is albeit a beginner framework, but what that means is that its the ground work for formulating progressions, and without the framework none of the more advanced knowledge would even be useful. You have to start somewhere and without knowing the chords how would you resolve them? So I think you're both right
    I don't know. I had a problem with the beginner framework bit, especially linked as it was to the piano. Understanding diatonic chord harmony is essential to getting a grip on modulation, which is where things can get interesting.

    Although it's simple enough to just remember that for all major keys diatonic chord harmony is I ii iii IV, V vi vi dim, etc. working up to that to be able to figure it out by yourself takes some time. So, no. Fundamental, yes, beginner, no.

    Sorry Kris, I always seem to pick on you. But that's not my intention

 

 

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