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Harry

The music theory/techniques discussion/ helpful tips thread

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Wow Pekka, that's some great stuff! I'm gonna practice that!

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Just an observation, but this thread is like the guitar tips thread. can anyone sing/ play any other instrument?

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^ I can scream and do deathgrind vocals, I can also play a bit of piano.

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Wow, ha, I can scream some stuff, nothing impressive, I've quite mastered "I'm so sick" by flyleaf. I scare everyone. I also have an impressive range, nothing great though, I could probably reach a high C, no clue what my lowest note is. I'm going to audition for the citywide honor choir, which I was in last november. also, some far better major choir group with a name that escapes me thats with kids from Texas, Arizona, Utah. yup.

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Wow, ha, I can scream some stuff, nothing impressive, I've quite mastered "I'm so sick" by flyleaf. I scare everyone. I also have an impressive range, nothing great though, I could probably reach a high C, no clue what my lowest note is. I'm going to audition for the citywide honor choir, which I was in last november. also, some far better major choir group with a name that escapes me thats with kids from Texas, Arizona, Utah. yup.

 

I can sorta do Dogs Can Grow Beards All Over by TDWP and get the range Mike Hranica does. As for screaming with a higher note, I can get the beginning of Atrophy by TRJA, which took me forever to get to that level. As for singing, I cant do that as well, I'm a bit monotone and I can't sing from a large range.

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I'll try to get a sound bit of my range (but not my screaming, It'll be the middle on the night once I get to it) up sometime. I can't really do any 'let me scream a sentence here', mostly cause I've never tried. Last year I played clarinet for a year. I wasn't great, and I don't even thing they're offering band this year, so yeah.

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Pekka thank yopu so much this is a realy good explanation.:)

 

Rebeca i can sing besides playing guitar ... i sung in choire for 7 years.. lol but i still dont know my range...

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I repped you, Pekka.

When I have time I will definately practice that. Thanks!

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^ I can scream and do deathgrind vocals, I can also play a bit of piano.

 

Deathgrind is pretty much just death growls anyway, which is used in practically any sub genre of death metal, be it tech death, brutal death, prog death, deathcore , straight up death metal.

I wanna learn to death growl, since I can't sing for shit, but at least then I'd be able to at least handle one vocal style.

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Pekka, some good stuff there bro. I know all that stuff, but it was nice to be able to just revise some theory reading that anyway.

 

Since I have the time and it's good revision for myself, I've got some stuff for y'all, so gather round.

 

When approaching the fretboard in terms of scales, there are two techniques that many, including myself, believe you must be able to do in order to play them effectively.

These are legato and alternate picking. I'd make a video for you all demonstrating them but there isn't much point since 10000s of videos on youtube already exist anyway.

Well maybe I might make one or 2 if I get bored enough, who knows

 

The literal meaning of legato is in fact "Tied Together" but I tend to define it as "Smooth, connected, as opposed to detached". This is of course refers more to the actual sound than the technique on guitar itself.

It's just one type of articulation.

With legato, you'll find the picking hand is doing very little work and it's mainly concentrating your energy on your fretting.

You'll notice some guitarists only use 3 of their fingers of their fretting hand when soloing, often leaving the pinky out.

And there is nothing wrong with that, I do that sometimes when I'm playing in the blues rock soloing style, like Jimi Hendrix or Stevie Ray Vaughn, but you'll find if you ever want to expand and branch out more musically, you really have to learn how to use all the 4 fingers.

Some people I know have refused to learn to use their pinky because of some irrational reasoning that it's not strong enough.

 

That's a crock of shit.

Anyone who is a fairly normal human being physiologically/physically will be able to develop enough strength in their pinky over a period of time that it's no longer painful to be able to use it in legato.

You will get to a certain point where your fingers wont really get any stronger for your. I've reached that point and I imagine Pekka has too.

The other half of the equation is having the actual fingering accuracy.

The reason why the pinky can keep up with the other stronger fingers is that fingering accuracy is so important you don't need to rely purely on finger strength.

 

For me personally, in the world of rock guitar, Joe Satriani is the king of legato and just an amazing musician in general. For jazz fusion, it's about Allan Holdsworth, but honestly it's a lot harder to get into his music if you've been a rock music listener all your life.

I like some of his music, but some of it just sounds like elevator music to me just with amazing guitar work.

The 2 disc Live In San Francisco DVD is highly recommended by me.

In addition to be quite accessible musically (a lot of non musicians love his music, which speaks a lot about how appealing it can be to a wide range of people), you get incredible insight into the 3 note per string approach to legato, as well just legato in general.

 

What I tend to do with legato, is not just a purely hammer on/pull off approach, but sometimes when I do descending lines I actually hammer on in reverse.

That might be hard to understand on paper (well, on screen from what I'm typing:p) but maybe I could make a video to help people understand what it's about.

I find this approach helps me to do descending lines without the need to pick the string below the one I am already on, I just hammer onto it and hammer on in reverse the other 2 notes and just keep going.

I tend to find the reverse hammer on technique helps to keep things sounding more "legato" basically, just smoother.

 

Then there is alternate picking. This approach is about actually using the picking hand for each new note you play.

You down stroke and up stroke each new note basically. Over time you'll learn how to hold the pick to get maximum efficiency/less energy wastage. I find the way some beginners hold the pick at fast can even wear out the pick way too quickly, so try to avoid doing that.

Examples of great alternate picking are John Petrucci, Shawn Lane and Paul Gilbert. Well actually all 3 are great at legato too, so it's win win win.

It's subjective, but I find Paul's approach to picking better than Petrucci's and his picking dynamics are superior, but hey, Petrucci is still amazing.

Once you get this technique down, you'll be able to expand your soloing options as well as riff options. You don't need to be able to do it at ultra fast speed to have what I'd consider good alternate picking technique either.

Alternate picking can be described as a "staccato" which is a type of articulation that is quite literally the opposite of legato.

Another interesting thing of note about alternate picking is that you can accent notes (pick dynamics) depending on how you hold the pick (which effects the way it digs into the string).

As mentioned above Paul Gilbert is probably the master of alternate picking dynamics and can accent notes ever in extremely fast phrases very very well.

Accenting/accent is another type of articulation.

 

Another type of articulation, which isn't quite a complex topic as either legato or alternate picking, is glissando which in the guitar world we call "Slides", where you literally slide your fingers up and down the frets to a new note.

Depending on the phrasing and the type of licks your playing, this can be as easy or technical as you make it.

Joe Satriani, Steve Vai and Mattias Eklundh are just a few examples of people with an extreme mastery of the technique and are very expressive with it.

 

 

Stealing Peka's format and this time remembering not leave out the high E string reference guide:p I've got something I'd like to show you guys

Using of course the G Major scale because it's a very familiar reference

 

E||------------------------------------------------5--7--8-

B||------------------------------------ -5--7--8----------

G||-----------------------------4--5--7-------------------

D||--------------------4--5--7----------------------------

A||-----------3--5--7-------------------------------------

E||--3--5--7----------------------------------------------

 

This the "non-redundant" approach to playing the G Major i.e there are no repeated notes in the pattern. I can't think of any other way to describe it other than redundant, so bear with me and hopefully it will click.

But you're thinking "But there is repeated notes" but what you'll be thinking of is that notes will repeat in the different octaves of the scale.

But what I actually meant was, when you play the scale in the non-redundant approach, is that when you play through the scale you'll always be playing the notes one after another, just G-A-B-C-D-E-F# (and then it repeats in the next octave of course) but you wont say, have two G notes in a row.

 

I myself am self taught, so I learned things a little differently to people that have had formal music education, but my way of doing it isn't wrong, it's just another approach.

I want to present my approach, which is played with a repeated note (the redundant)

 

E||------------------------------------------------3--5--7-

B||---------------------------------------3--5--7----------

G||-----------------------------4--5--7--------------------

D||--------------------4--5--7----------------------------

A||-----------3--5--7-------------------------------------

E||--3--5--7----------------------------------------------

 

 

You'll notice the actually physical pattern is different now, but it's still the G Major scale but instead the last note of the pattern is a B instead of a C in the case of Pekka's demonstration. What I've done this time, is bolded the notes that repeat.

Me, being the self taught playing I am, learn to play the scale this way and what I found in the long run it was a really good, clever approach to learning it.

First off, you'll notice as you play the scale this way is that your pinky and middle finger can stay in the same position (of course just moving up and down the strings, but no sideways movement).

Second, it's just really easy to visualize the physical pattern on the fretboard, because it's symmetrical except for 1 note on each of the the D and G strings.

Thirdly, once you become better as a lead guitar player, you can use this pattern to your advantage to create very flowing lines.

Of course obviously you're not gonna just play up and down the scale, that just sounds mechanical and boring but what I mean is with this pattern it really makes the transition from the B to G string (or vice versa) very easy, not just because mechanically it's easy, but you can just visualize it as you're playing.

 

Again, I'll show you all the redundant approach using the A natural minor scale

 

E||-------------------------------------------------5--7--8--

B||---------------------------------------5--6--8----------

G||-----------------------------5--7--9---------------------

D||--------------------5--7--9------------------------------

A||-----------5--7--8---------------------------------------

E||--5--7--8------------------------------------------------

 

Instantly you can see the index finger doesn't have to stray from the 5th fret at all. This is a very good thing.

Again, I think is this quite easy to visualize on the fretboard.

If you tried to play this pattern without the repeating note (which in this case is the 5th fret of of the B string, an E note) you'd run into the awkward difficulty of having to pick/play in legato 2 notes.

It's just easier for the brain really if you can get it all to flow seamlessly, and if the whole pattern is 3 notes per string, it's just easier to visualize, easier to make the transition between the G and B string.

There is of course also the other 3 note per string natural minor scale pattern Pekka showed us, but I find that's not as easy to play as the redundant pattern is because you have to shift your fretting hand two times sideways and the mechanics of that makes it more difficult.

 

And of course, this can be done with other modes of the major scale too (the redundant approach), but I'll show you guys that later so it doesn't seem too much at once.

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This question is for Jorgi, but anyone who knows can answer it. What does/did the grade 5 exam of classical music theory contain? Were there melody/harmony dictations? Identifying the eras of classical pieces? Melody harmonization?

 

I'm trying to get an idea of how your system relates to the Finnish one, since we only have 3 grades that basically form the "pre-college level", in a way, and I don't even know where it goes after that.

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Harry and Pekka.

 

 

You both have schooled me here today. REALLY! I just learned a load from both your posts. Usually I'd just google something but to actually kind of have a teacher even if a little, Is obviously much fun. Thanks!

 

Of course you guys can't school me for long 8-)

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I always wonder if anyone ever reads my long posts:lol:

I'm glad someone did though, cos it took me a while to cook that one up.

 

Also, like Pekka, I'm interested in what Jorgi did for her grade 5 exam of classical music theory.

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Ooops sorry i generally skip this thread.

 

But okay yeah, well, here in ye olde england, to continue past grade 5 on a classical instrument (grades go 1-8-) on the associated board of music, - i passed my grade 5 clarinet in 2000-and-something, 5 maybe? - you have to pass a grade 5 in musical theory on the same board.

 

This includes a whole mumbojumbo of shit which i would like to pretend i'm interested in, but i'm not, but had to be forced to understand anyway. Such as irregular time signatures, the grouping of notes/rests in these times and the division of simple time values within these signatures...

 

(i'm just gonna go ahead and do a Harry-sized post,, mmmkay? ;-))

 

I had to be able to transpose between keys (all major/minor keys) and clefs (treble, alto and tenor) and being able to identify keys and transpose them accordingly (if that makes sense - for example being given a passage of notes with no key signature but with plenty of accidentals and identifying the key and re-writing it as that key... yes?). And also being able to re-write passages at concert pitch, for example you my be given a passage to transpose up a perfect 5th so it'll sound at concert pitch in F. I guess this bit was actually a section i found interesting and relevent- as i play a B flat Clarinet, it was usefull everynow and then to be able to transpose a piece of, say, flute or piano music which are set at C so i could play them. ....sometimes.

 

um, also had to be able to write and identify note intervals, including compound intervals, within a written passage. par example, a B to an Ab would be a diminished 7th, a Gsharp to a G a diminshed octave etc. etc. (this i found really really dull)

 

and theeeeeeen we also had to identify chords within a piece as tonic, subdominant, dominant or supertonic and which inversion this chords is in. like Ia= tonic chord in root position, Ib= tonic chord in first inversion etc. etc.

 

aaalso (this was a really fun bit actually) we had to continue on a melody, like our own compositional method. So we'd be given like 4 bars of notes and the instrument for which it was written (like violin/trumpet/piano or suchlike) and then we'd have to write the next 4 bars, making sure the notes, rhythm and key remained relevent. another part of this was to be given like, some lyrics or a bit of verse or something and completely compose a melody to it. this was super rad because i was good at it (yeahhhhhhh)

 

ummmmm i can't remember what else. oh, like, to be able to write out ornaments, like we got given a bar with a turn or a mordent or something in it and we'd have to re-write the passage but the ornament as notations... oh being able to identify cadences within a piece... (i'm getting bored of writing this now can yo tell ?) and like answer questions about a piece like what instrument was it/could it have been written for, what key its in, performance directions etc. etc. etc.

 

....that is all i can remember but i think covers a lot and you get the general gist aye. i hated it, on the whole, but passed it pretty good first try in 2006-ish and now i never have to do it again so hoorahh !

 

But yeah basically i still have no idea what pekka talks about some(most) of the time :lol:

 

(also i re-read this and apparently i love brackets (see (just like this)))

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Ahhh I love odd time signatures and stuff to do with rhythms actually:p

It's obviously not the biggest bag of fun studying it on paper, but I think writing music in odd time signatures and/or with polyrhythms and polymeters can be super fun.

Some of the most grooving shit I've ever heard is based heavily around polymeters (Pekka will know what I'm talking about:p) and I just love how it grooves in a way that most stuff can't

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Lucky me for not working with woodwinds, they are like the British people who insist on driving on the left side of the road... sort of. That was a good explanation, though :D I feel slightly better about myself now because I remember playing a grade 8 piece back at the conservatory but I didn't know what it meant at the time. :willy_nilly: I don't have any degrees on guitar or theory, though, and I'm willing to guess that I would phail grade 5 epically since I'm not really comfortable with everything that it contains (chord inversions and compound intervals slay my ears), even if I've practiced that stuff and I'm kinda familiar with it. (Treble clef being G, and alto and tenor C, aye? No bass clef (F) at all?)

 

The one difference to the Finnish system seems to be that the theory classes over here include ear training where you are played melodies and different rhythms and you're supposed to write them down. We never had to compose own stuff, though, but who knows, that might be just because I didn't study for long enough.

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Haha woodwind and britain = <3

but associated board have the same examination system for piano, brass and strings ;-) although there is another examination board called trinity which don't do the same. you can still take theory exams on Trinity but i don't think it's necessary - but it's a less recognised certificate than associated board (apparently) so i'll deal. not that i plan to ever get into the professional classical music industry... ever.

 

yeah i don't remember "ear training" for the actual theory exam so i'm going to assume that's not part of it, but i did have to do it for GCSE music so i can still do it. Like, i prefer that kind of stuff, you know, the stuff that makes sense :P i'm too mainstream, and i'm not even ashamed

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