Fimbulin's Theory Help Thread

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Fimbulin's Theory Help Thread

Postby Fimbulin » 09 Aug 2013 17:08

I've studied music theory quite extensively, so ask any theory questions you may have here and I can attempt to answer them! If I don't know the answer, then I will do my best to find out and report back here!

The question I get asked most often is why study theory? I get asked this by many people that are looking at making it in the music industry. The answer is pretty simple to me; If you want to be a mathematician, then you study maths. If you want to be a tactician, you study tactics. If you want to be a musician, by all means study the music you express so much passion about. Even if it is just counterpoint, having that knowledge definitely shows in your compositions. Not having any training or knowledge is usually very evident in your works, and is one of the main reasons you aren't getting "signed" or commissioned for that label or that indie game.

Seriously, put some time into learning the trade you love. I can try to help you if you are serious.
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Re: Fimbulin's Theory Help Thread

Postby TranquilHooves » 09 Aug 2013 17:13

I just have one major question really.
What's the point of set theory, anyways?
Like, why would people want to 'categorize' chords?
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Re: Fimbulin's Theory Help Thread

Postby Magnitude Zero » 09 Aug 2013 17:33

What's the deal with the melodic minor scale? I learned about it in theory class and how it supposedly makes nice melodies but I don't think I've ever heard it actually used. Can you give me some examples of it so I can hear it in use, and maybe explain why it's played differently going down the scale?
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Re: Fimbulin's Theory Help Thread

Postby Fimbulin » 09 Aug 2013 18:13

TranquilHooves wrote:I just have one major question really.
What's the point of set theory, anyways?
Like, why would people want to 'categorize' chords?


I'm not a genius on set theory, but as I am studying analytical theory, I'm sure I'll get into that this next semester. The reason why people categorize chords is simple. Think on the most basic level. You like to know exactly what someone is talking about when they say "minor scale" as opposed to "major scale." That's one of the most basic ways of categorizing chords. As people studied more about chords and structure, it became necessary to categorize them to keep them straight and so they know exactly what is being discussed. All the hard work has been done for theory students, all they have to do is learn what goes where. I think I have it easy. ;)

Magnitude Zero wrote:What's the deal with the melodic minor scale? I learned about it in theory class and how it supposedly makes nice melodies but I don't think I've ever heard it actually used. Can you give me some examples of it so I can hear it in use, and maybe explain why it's played differently going down the scale?


Do Re Me Fa So La Ti Do
Do Te Le So Fa Me Re Do

Played up the scale, the notes La and Ti reach up to Do, naturally. Played downwards the notes have the natural destination of So. Playing upwards using the minor scale sounds OK, but playing downwards using the major is just kindof meh- especially in a minor key song or passage.


Here is a good example of melodic minor. Some places may be hard for an untrained ear to pick out, but there are plenty of runs in melodic minor both up and down.
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Re: Fimbulin's Theory Help Thread

Postby Magnitude Zero » 09 Aug 2013 18:30

That was a very interesting listen, thanks! I don't normally use minor keys but I'll have to experiment with that the next time I do. :)
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Re: Fimbulin's Theory Help Thread

Postby Fimbulin » 09 Aug 2013 18:33

Magnitude Zero wrote:That was a very interesting listen, thanks! I don't normally use minor keys but I'll have to experiment with that the next time I do. :)

This post right here is exactly why I think people should study theory. The "great composers" of the past already did all the experimenting. It's easier imo to just learn what they figured out and know 100% sure that you are doing it right no experimenting required. All the hard work is already done!

xD

Go ahead and experiment. It'll help you out. haha
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Re: Fimbulin's Theory Help Thread

Postby DerpyGrooves » 09 Aug 2013 19:24

Does tonality apply to quartal progressions?
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Re: Fimbulin's Theory Help Thread

Postby Fimbulin » 09 Aug 2013 19:35

DerpyGrooves wrote:Does tonality apply to quartal progressions?

Tonality is the basis for anything quartal. It's a different way of creating scales and progressions than any of the more classical methods, but still tonal. Are you asking about a specific problem you have encountered?
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Re: Fimbulin's Theory Help Thread

Postby Alycs » 09 Aug 2013 20:11

Not really here to ask a question but I have to say this is a great idea and if you need help; I'm currently finishing up Advanced Harmony and Music History so I can help for quite a lot of stuff too (I'm not so good at atonalism (I can give like a 101 style thing but if you want 110 level, nope) as my courses are directed at more classical music, but I could tell you in antagonizing detail and how the hell you do SATB harmony *war flashbacks*)
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Re: Fimbulin's Theory Help Thread

Postby Fimbulin » 10 Aug 2013 12:54

Kyoga wrote:will you be teaching material like chord changes along the circle of 4ths/5ths? I think it would be really interesting and useful for people, especially the people here who do orchestral.

I'm not just gonna teach stuff of my own accord, but if someone asks then I'll do my best to either teach them or point them in the right direction. Chord changes along the circle happens to be on a very basic level of theory, but if it helps you understand it better, I can try to help out.
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Re: Fimbulin's Theory Help Thread

Postby Sonarch » 11 Aug 2013 11:59

Fimbulin wrote:counterpoint

As someone without much theory knowledge, would you mind explaining to me what counterpoint is? I've seen it explained before but i'm not certain I understand exactly what it is.

Also, I plan on keeping an eye on this thread, cause i'd love to absorb more theory from other people's questions. I already have some sources for more theory that I really ought to read up on...
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Re: Fimbulin's Theory Help Thread

Postby Fimbulin » 11 Aug 2013 17:31

Dr Dissonance wrote a good article on this.
viewtopic.php?f=13&t=5110

If you want me to explain it further, like what all makes counterpoint tick, then I'll find time to write up a guide explaining the different species and what they all do. Probably after work sometime this week if you would like.

As a basic explanation, counterpoint considers the intervals between two voices and how those voices interact with eachother and progress throughout a piece. Studying counterpoint is beneficial because you will eventually learn what intervals lead to which and sound the absolute best in a progression. You will be able to compose without errors.
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Re: Fimbulin's Theory Help Thread

Postby Sonarch » 12 Aug 2013 15:17

Fimbulin wrote:Dr Dissonance wrote a good article on this.
http://mylittleremix.com/viewtopic.php?f=13&t=5110

If you want me to explain it further, like what all makes counterpoint tick, then I'll find time to write up a guide explaining the different species and what they all do. Probably after work sometime this week if you would like.

As a basic explanation, counterpoint considers the intervals between two voices and how those voices interact with eachother and progress throughout a piece. Studying counterpoint is beneficial because you will eventually learn what intervals lead to which and sound the absolute best in a progression. You will be able to compose without errors.

ooooh yes, his thread helped quite a bit! But now you've got me interested... what different species? What does that mean?


also, his thread got locked? Why'd it get locked?
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Re: Fimbulin's Theory Help Thread

Postby Fimbulin » 12 Aug 2013 16:22

First species counterpoint is the study of two voices and how they interact on a note to note basis. That's having just a single soprano and bass line that are all quarter notes with no tied notes so both voices are consistently moving around.

Second species follows the exact same rules as first, except usually the bass line would be double the note value of the soprano. That's like having a half note bass and quarter note soprano. In second species counterpoint, every other soprano note is allowed to be dissonant on the off beat.

Third species would be whole-note to half-note relations. That's 4 to 1. The soprano line gets 4 notes to the bass, and that means that the soprano can do neat little runs and riffs as long as the stronger beats are consonant to the bass.

Fourth species counterpoint has tied notes (usually the soprano) across the bar lines. That's usually written starting with a half-note rest with a half-note soprano tied to another half-note of the same pitch, while the bass is just whole notes.

Fifth species counterpoint is all other species allowed at once.

Through studying and practicing counterpoint between two voices, then expanding to three while checking two of the voices at a time for errors, then expanding to four voices, chords can be built and extremely complex classical music where every single note has its own identifiable chord can be written- without knowing a lick of chord theory! Learning the rules of first species would be very beneficial to any musician, as you would be learning how to identify the most widely abused (and most awful sounding in most cases) part-writing errors such as parallel fifths, hidden fifths, and parallel octaves. Though most music written these days is not counterpoint, the rules still very much apply. Study of counterpoint leads to the recognition of the best possible intervals to use in your songs while avoiding composition errors.
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Re: Fimbulin's Theory Help Thread

Postby Facade » 12 Aug 2013 18:20

whats the point of dots and ties?

also why is the symbol for double sharp not two sharp symbols like double flat is two flat symbols?
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Re: Fimbulin's Theory Help Thread

Postby Fimbulin » 12 Aug 2013 18:39

Facade wrote:whats the point of dots and ties?

also why is the symbol for double sharp not two sharp symbols like double flat is two flat symbols?

Dots and ties are quite necessary if you don't have a piano roll MIDI visual to work with. Dots extend the duration of the note value by half of itself. If you are using a dotted half note, it would have the same note value as a half note plus a quarter note. There is no sprite for such a note value, so we dot the half.

Ties are used because notes sometimes need to be extended across a bar line, or they require an added duration that is not half of it's own value.

I'm not sure about the history of the sharp and flat symbols, but as long as you can identify them you should be good. :3
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Re: Fimbulin's Theory Help Thread

Postby Facade » 12 Aug 2013 18:46

Fimbulin wrote:
Facade wrote:whats the point of dots and ties?

also why is the symbol for double sharp not two sharp symbols like double flat is two flat symbols?

Dots and ties are quite necessary if you don't have a piano roll MIDI visual to work with. Dots extend the duration of the note value by half of itself. If you are using a dotted half note, it would have the same note value as a half note plus a quarter note. There is no sprite for such a note value, so we dot the half.

Ties are used because notes sometimes need to be extended across a bar line, or they require an added duration that is not half of it's own value.

I'm not sure about the history of the sharp and flat symbols, but as long as you can identify them you should be good. :3

ooh that makes perfect since thank you
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Re: Fimbulin's Theory Help Thread

Postby Sonarch » 12 Aug 2013 23:02

Fimbulin wrote:First species counterpoint is the study of two voices and how they interact on a note to note basis. That's having just a single soprano and bass line that are all quarter notes with no tied notes so both voices are consistently moving around.

Second species follows the exact same rules as first, except usually the bass line would be double the note value of the soprano. That's like having a half note bass and quarter note soprano. In second species counterpoint, every other soprano note is allowed to be dissonant on the off beat.

Third species would be whole-note to half-note relations. That's 4 to 1. The soprano line gets 4 notes to the bass, and that means that the soprano can do neat little runs and riffs as long as the stronger beats are consonant to the bass.

Fourth species counterpoint has tied notes (usually the soprano) across the bar lines. That's usually written starting with a half-note rest with a half-note soprano tied to another half-note of the same pitch, while the bass is just whole notes.

Fifth species counterpoint is all other species allowed at once.

Through studying and practicing counterpoint between two voices, then expanding to three while checking two of the voices at a time for errors, then expanding to four voices, chords can be built and extremely complex classical music where every single note has its own identifiable chord can be written- without knowing a lick of chord theory! Learning the rules of first species would be very beneficial to any musician, as you would be learning how to identify the most widely abused (and most awful sounding in most cases) part-writing errors such as parallel fifths, hidden fifths, and parallel octaves. Though most music written these days is not counterpoint, the rules still very much apply. Study of counterpoint leads to the recognition of the best possible intervals to use in your songs while avoiding composition errors.

Oh wow, thanks for writing this all out! I'm actually kind of excited to start working on more counterpoint and slowly raising the complexity.
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Re: Fimbulin's Theory Help Thread

Postby Fimbulin » 13 Aug 2013 03:18

Sonarch wrote:Oh wow, thanks for writing this all out! I'm actually kind of excited to start working on more counterpoint and slowly raising the complexity.

The species actually get easier as you go on. First species is the most restrictive. Fifth species is rather whimsical in comparison. One problem with counterpoint is that you have to start with the first species in order to get anywhere with the rest.

Rules to follow (and I heard your track that you linked to Dr D's thread- it needs work.)

Consonant intervals must be prevalent on every strong beat. That means in first species- EVERY beat. These intervals include 3, 4, 5, 6, and 8.

Do not jump either voice farther than a leap of a sixth. The smaller the intervallic change the better. Always.

Do not jump both voices farther than a third at the same time. It is slightly confusing to the brain and there is always a better way to get your musical idea across.

Avoid parallel 5ths and octaves. (||5ths) That's when you've got both voices a perfect 5th or 8th interval apart from eachother and they both move upwards or downwards by the same intervallic value (4ths are just inversions of a 5th so those are bad too). It just sounds bad. This problem is waaay to common in most music produced today. It's a peeve of mine whenever I hear it. It ruins otherwise good songs. This rule applies to most any musical genre. ||5ths sound Chinese because of the early ideas of Chinese composers that the 5th is the third strongest interval to the 1 or the 8; Chinese composers would spam the ||5ths instead of using 6ths or 3rds.

The song must end on unison, a 5th, or an octave. Because anything else sounds bad for counterpoint.

It sounds bad because it sounds bad! This rule applies to any musical genre. It has been scientifically proven that bad intervals (either horizontally or vertically) sound bad. If for any reason at all it sounds a tad bit weird, then analyze it to find the problem and fix it! Do your best to keep everything maximum beautiful.

Here's a hint to making counterpoint easier. If the soprano line goes down, then the bass line should probably go up. If the soprano line goes up, then the bass should go down. With this method you always avoid the ||5ths and ||8ths.

If I left out a good rule, feel free to post it. I think I covered all my bases. At least I hope so. xD
Last edited by Fimbulin on 24 Aug 2013 03:49, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Fimbulin's Theory Help Thread

Postby Fimbulin » 13 Aug 2013 04:17

Kyoga wrote:the only thing i would add is that typically you end up seeing the soprano, alto and tenor going in the opposite direction of the bass during counterpoint.
(typically being the key word)

Counterpoint is traditionally only two voices. For part-writing you are absolutely correct.

But I already touched on this for counterpoint.
Fimbulin wrote:If the soprano line goes down, then the bass line should probably go up. If the soprano line goes up, then the bass should go down.
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Re: Fimbulin's Theory Help Thread

Postby Sonarch » 13 Aug 2013 12:44

Whoa, alright, i'll definitely take another look at mine and make some improvements.
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Re: Fimbulin's Theory Help Thread

Postby Sonarch » 15 Aug 2013 01:21

Hey Fimbulin, would you mind looking at the revised version I just posted in the counterpoint thread? I'm not sure I caught all my errors.
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Re: Fimbulin's Theory Help Thread

Postby Fimbulin » 15 Aug 2013 03:03

Would you mind PMing me the MIDI for this? I could fix it and give it back and let you puzzle over the changes until it makes sense if that would help.
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Re: Fimbulin's Theory Help Thread

Postby Sonarch » 15 Aug 2013 12:19

That definitely would! I'll do that, thanks!
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Re: Fimbulin's Theory Help Thread

Postby Conduit » 15 Aug 2013 18:35

Could you do a basic 101 on chord structure and harmony please? It's something I don't really understand, and have kinda just been working off instinct and my ear for a while now.
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