Docinterlude - Music Theory Help - Tutorials and Advice

From scales and semitones to pentatonics and cadence patterns. It's all about the science behind the expression, here.

Re: Docinterlude - Music Theory Help - Tutorials and Advice

Postby Docinterlude » 18 Nov 2013 18:51

Callenby wrote:For those of you who are trying to learn theory on your own and feel completely lost, I copied down the table of contents from my textbook so you know what sort of things to be looking for, a good order in which to learn them, and overall get a better sense of the vocabulary. This is just a guide, though, so you'll have to look up the information on your own (I implore you to buy the textbook or another like it. It's worth the investment). This list covers more than 700 pages and this only scratches the surface of music theory.

Part One
I. Assorted Preliminaries: Pitch (staff, clefs, solmization, the hexachord system, accidentals); Modes, Scales and Evolution (church modes, musica ficta), Metric Matters (meter, the dot, early meter signatures, hypermeter), Sound (overtones, the legend of Pythagoras, equal temperament)
II. Intervals: Intervals of the Major Scale (enharmonic intervals, inversion, simple versus compound, diatonic versus chromatic, consonance versus dissonance)

Part Two (Diatonic Harmony)
I. Basic Harmonic Structures: Triads, Inversion, Seventh Chords
II. Musical shorthand - lead sheets and figured bass: Lead-Sheet Notation (lead-sheet chord symbols, expanded symbols, passing tones), Figured Bass Notation
III. Harmonies of the Major and Minor Scales: The Diatonic Chords (diatonic triads in major keys, Roman numeral symbols, diatonic triads in minor keys, showing inversion), Functional Tonality (the circle of fifths, progression, retrogression, repetition, ground bass patterns)
IV. Cadences/Harmonic Rhythm: Cadences (cadences and style, standard cadences, cadential variants), Harmonic Rhythm

Part Three (Melody)
I. Melodic Pitch and Rhythm: Range, Interval Structure and Gesture, Repetition (motive, sequence, types of sequence), Melodic Tonality (scales and arpeggios, large-scale events, recognizing important pitches, tonic dominant axis)
II. Embellishing Tones: Step-Step Combinations (passing tones, neighbor tones), Step-Leap Combinations (appoggiatura, escape tone, changing tones), Step-Repetition Combinations (anticipation, suspension and retardation, other ways of designing suspensions), Embellishing Tones and Style (multiple embellishing tones, embellishing tones in jazz, embellishing tones as motives, the embellishing chord tone)
III. Melodic Form: The Phrase (phrase length, cadences, phrase relationships), Combining and Extending Phrases (the period, parallel period, contrasting period and phrase group, double period, cadential elision, phrase extension, phrasing and style)
IV. Composing Melodies: Constructing a Melody from a Motive (the initial melodic idea, the harmonic factor, devising and harmonic plan), Composing a Melody to a Harmonic Pattern

Part Four (Voice Leading)
I. Melodic Principles of Part Writing/Voicing and Connecting Chords: Melodic Principles (ranges, interval motion, leaps, sensitive tones, soprano-bass counterpoint), Voicing Chords (spacing, doubling, alternative doublings), Connecting Chords (consecutive perfect consonances, voice crossing and overlap, common tones, no common tones)
II. The Chorale/Part writing with Root Position Triads: The Chorale (melodic features), Part-Writing with Root-Position Triads (the "short rule" for connecting chords, fifth relationship, third relationship, second relationship, part writing the deceptive cadence), Part Writing Suspensions
III. Part Writing with Triads in Inversion: First Inversion (inversion and bass lines, doubling in first inversion, why the soprano?, chord connection, inversion and harmonic weight, suspensions), Second Inversion (cadential six-four chord, passing six-four chord, pedal six-four chord, arpeggiated six-four chord, variants), Voice-Leading Practices: A Summary
IV. Part Writing Seventh Chords: Dominant-Functioning Seventh Chords (the V7, chord member of not?, the unresolved leading tone, the ascending seventh, delayed resolution, the half and fully diminished seventh chords), Nondominant Seventh Chords (seventh chords and chain suspensions, the I7)

Part Five (Basic Chromatic Harmony)
I. Secondary Function: Secondary Dominants (the V/x, tonicization, the tonicizing tritone, the V7/x, common musical contexts, harmonic sequence), Secondary Leading-Tone Chords, Jazz and Popular Styles (V7/x, melodic and harmonic chromaticism, ii7-V7/x, viio7/x), Voice Leading and Harmonization
II. Modulation I: Modulation by Common Chord (crossing the "tonal border", multiple common chords), Chromatic Modulation (common contexts, multiple accidentals, modulation or tonicization?)

Part Six (Counterpoint)
I. The Art of Countermelody: Two-Voice Counterpoint (motion, 1:1 counterpoint, converting 1:1 to 2:1, essentials of counterpoint, converting 2:1 to 4:1, jazz and popular styles), Fun with Counterpoint (creating a bass, melodizing the bass, buffing the bass, adding a third voice, polyphonic or homophonic?)
II. J.S. Bach's Two-Part Inventions: The Invention (motive and countermotive, contrapuntal devices), Invention No. 6, Analysis (invertible counterpoint, tonality, harmony, implied harmony, form)
III. The Fugue: The Basics of Fugue (subject and answer, the exposition, the counter subject, the development, the recapitulation, summary, stretto and counterexpositon, the coda), Analysis (analytic comments)

Part Seven (Advanced Chromatic Harmony)
I. Mixing Modes: Change of Mode (mode and mood, keys related through mode mixture, enharmonic change of mode), Modal Borrowing (common borrowed harmonies, modal borrowing and style), Chromatic- Third Relationships (diatonic- vs. chromatic-third relationship, common chromatic-third relationships)
II. Altered Pre-dominants: The Neapolitan Sixth Chord (the harmonic nature of the Neapolitan, insertions before the V), Augmented Sixth Chords (constructing an augmented sixth chord, voice leading)
III. Other Chromatic Harmonies: Altered Dominants, Embellishing Diminished Seventh Chords (functional versus embellishing o7, spelling and resolving the embellishing o7)
IV. Modulation II: Recognizing Signals - The Three Cs (chromatic pitches, clue chords, cadences, thinking through a modulation), Back to the Tonal Border (chromatic modulations), The Secret Lives of Chords (the enharmonic Gr+6 chord, the enharmonic diminished seventh chord)
V. Selected Harmonic Structures and Techniques: Triadic Extensions (dominant ninth chords, secondary dominant ninth chords, other ninth chords, eleventh chords, the dominant eleventh chord, the minor eleventh chord, thirteenth chords), Linear Chromaticism, Harmonic Sequence

Part Eight (Arranging, Composing, and Analysis)
I. Harmonic Principles in Jazz: Extending the Triad (basic seventh chords and their extensions, voicing), Chord Substitution (simple toniciziation, the turnaround, extended tonicization, tritone-related chords, tritone substitution in the turnaround, substitution guideline, expanded tritone substitutions), Implied Lines (reading between the chord symbols, auxiliary chords)
II. The Blues: Blues Form and Harmonic Practice (the basic blues today, substitute harmonies, minor blues), Blues Melodic Practice (blue notes, blue-note scales, blue-note scales in minor blues), Blues Variants
III. Form, Process and Drama: Three Ways of Looking at Form (visual versus aural symmetry, motivic analysis, musical processes, similarity and contrast), Dramatic Shape (creating musical tension, texture)
IV. Binary and Ternary Forms: Statement-Restatement (the coda), Statement-Contrast (symmetric versus asymmetric forms), Statement-Contrast-Restatement (the bridge, rounded binary versus ternary form)
V. Shaping a Song: Text (text setting, form, text/melody relationships, text painting)

Part Nine (Twentieth-Century Techniques)
I. Syntax and Vocabulary: Syntax (planing, the non-functional dominant seventh chord, the augmented triad, modality, modal cadences), New Melodic and Harmonic Structures (pentatonic scales, quartal/quintal harmonies, whole-tone scale, other scales)
II. Neotonality: New Tonal Adventures (quartal harmonies, polychords, polytonality, bimodality, pandiatonicism), Stravinsky and Bartok (Stravinsky, Bartok, pentatonic melody, modality, hemiola)
III. Atonality and Twelve Tonality: Atonality (things you can do with a cell, hints for analysis), Twelve Tonality (choosing a row, finding the row)

Hope this helps and doesn't deter anyone from pursuing such an enormous subject.


Shucks, You stole my tutorial :razz:

It is great, pretty much what is self explained here, it is the common terms of music. Like Cellenby said and well, Order a Textbook about Music Theory, it is worth the investment. If you study in a conservatory it is great too.
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Re: Docinterlude - Music Theory Help - Tutorials and Advice

Postby Callenby » 18 Nov 2013 19:38

Docinterlude wrote:Shucks, You stole my tutorial :razz:

It is great, pretty much what is self explained here, it is the common terms of music. Like Cellenby said and well, Order a Textbook about Music Theory, it is worth the investment. If you study in a conservatory it is great too.

I didn't meant to!

It's just a list of concepts; it still needs elaboration (which is where you come in). I wanted to provide a general road map for learning theory to people who for whatever reason cannot go to music school.

Also, you needn't quote a huge post like that unless you're responding to each individual part. Abridging or using an ellipsis will make it easier on the eyes.
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Re: Docinterlude - Music Theory Help - Tutorials and Advice

Postby JSynth » 28 Nov 2013 13:56

Whoever tells Glaze about the vocoder threads needs to tell me when someone brings up perfect pitch.

Let's start by defining perfect pitch. Perfect pitch is the ability to identify any note by ear without using a reference. That's it.

Please do not confuse this with relative pitch. Relative pitch is the ability to identify a note by using a given reference note. It is the study of intervals.

Relative pitch will not give you perfect pitch and perfect pitch will not give relative pitch. One is also not superior to the other. Studying for relative pitch is, in my mind, more practical. You will notice a difference almost immediately. Perfect pitch takes time and results will be very gradual.

itroitnyah wrote:Do you have any tips for, I guess getting "pitch perfect" hearing and being capable of detecting what notes are being played and what scale a song is in right off the bat? I can figure these things out mostly by mimicking the note by voice and then finding the note on a piano, but I'm pretty interested in getting better at detecting pitch and scale. I suppose just practice, right?


What you have been doing is a good technique for developing perfect pitch. Its also good to just simply listen to a single note. Play the note, then let it play in your mind for a bit, then play the note again. Do this for a minute or two, then switch notes. With time, you will start seeing a difference in all the different notes.

The real key to this is effortlessness. Do not try and force this on your ear, just relax and keep practicing.

I am also going to point to the David Lucas Burge course. It is pricy but its the only legit course that I know of. Burge also does a much better job at explaining what perfect pitch is than I can.

Callenby wrote:Very, very few musicians I know actually have perfect pitch. You were either born with or you weren't. The rest of us have to train to approximate it, sometimes by remembering one specific pitch (like the high note from a song they enjoy) and then juxtaposing that to the given pitch. You also need to learn how to identify each interval for this to really work.


I have heard this suggestion a lot and I have no idea if it actually works (I'm very doubtful of it actually). Really what you are doing is memorizing a single note and using relative pitch to identify others.

Fimbulin wrote:Also, to work on perfect pitch (which most everyone can develop if they are persistent), whenever you are near a musical instrument or pass one on the way to the kitchen, sing a note using the letter name (eg- "C SHARP") you think you are singing and then play the note on the instrument to check. It's a great exercise for pianos but most people don't have pianos in their houses anymore.

For scales, once you get into studying the different kinds of scales and modes, you will automatically start recognizing them. It just takes a small amount of dedication and time.


You don't need a piano to do this. Any instrument will do. You could even use a midi controller and a piano library.

Docinterlude wrote:It is true, I have yet to work in perfect pitch. I'm trying to develop that, but honestly, it is hard. Very hard! The best way is that I had an instrument next to me. In this case Piano.


Like I said, they key to it is effortlessness. If you force your ear into perfect pitch, you really wont develop anything but stress.
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Re: Docinterlude - Music Theory Help - Tutorials and Advice

Postby Docinterlude » 15 Dec 2013 08:47

Sorry for being away such time! I got duties to do and a Piano recital to get ready!

Anyway, stay tuned! There is a new tutorial in a few hours or so.
Last edited by Docinterlude on 15 Dec 2013 19:28, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Docinterlude - Music Theory Help - Tutorials and Advice

Postby Fimbulin » 16 Dec 2013 07:53

Kyoga, you confuse me. Perfect pitch is the ability without reference or guide to sing any given pitch and name it. Relative pitch is understanding where you are in the key and recognizing intervals. I have relative pitch. What you are describing sounds like relative pitch. Perfect pitch is singing an A440 after a week of being deaf. Relative pitch is hearing a song and knowing where the notes are in the scales, or hearing intervals and recognizing them. Perfect pitch requires no music theory knowledge.
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Re: Docinterlude - Music Theory Help - Tutorials and Advice

Postby Docinterlude » 16 Dec 2013 08:00

Fimbulin wrote:Kyoga, you confuse me. Perfect pitch is the ability without reference or guide to sing any given pitch and name it. Relative pitch is understanding where you are in the key and recognizing intervals. I have relative pitch. What you are describing sounds like relative pitch. Perfect pitch is singing an A440 after a week of being deaf. Relative pitch is hearing a song and knowing where the notes are in the scales, or hearing intervals and recognizing them. Perfect pitch requires no music theory knowledge.


Wasn't the A440 Pitch made by german for radio contact for better performance than A432. I love A432, It is natural, and the sound surrounding but I can't say I don't like A440 :). I use it everyday.
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Re: Docinterlude - Music Theory Help - Tutorials and Advice

Postby Alycs » 16 Dec 2013 08:08

Let me tell you a story about A432; I go to a music camp every summer, and each year they select a large group of the most talented campers to tour Europe as a group. Last year, one of my best friends from the camp got selected, and for his concerts he would leave skype running on his computer in video call in the back of the hall/church/where-ever so I could watch. Except one time they were playing a concert with another group from Germany, and apparently NO ONE in either of the GIANT orchestra's remembered that they had been tuned differently (Germany had been in A432, and we had been in A440) and NO ONE remembered to tune before they started the piece.

Let me tell you about Dissonance holy cow; I've never heard a conductor literally stop the piece after the first few bars to have them retune but they did then.
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Re: Docinterlude - Music Theory Help - Tutorials and Advice

Postby itroitnyah » 16 Dec 2013 20:42

I was a bit confused by what you meant by "A432" and "A440" at first, but then I realized that refers to the center A's frequency.
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Re: Docinterlude - Music Theory Help - Tutorials and Advice

Postby JSynth » 18 Dec 2013 13:48

Kyoga wrote:Words


I am sure that having perfect pitch will help you develop relative pitch. And I know that having relative pitch will help you develop perfect pitch. My point was, training for one will not automatically give you the other.
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