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> Chris S.'s Music Theory Journey, for Gab's Army
Gabriel Leopardi
post Mar 4 2015, 02:50 PM
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Hi Chris! Welcome to Gab's Army! You asked me to start a thread to work on Music Theory so here we have it! Let's explore this magical world of music theory and let's connect it to making music. It's very important to always be able to apply the theory concepts than we learn so we will work on both theoretical and practical tasks to get the more of this thread.

At first, please let me know what do you know about music? smile.gif


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Chris S.
post Mar 4 2015, 03:39 PM
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Hey Gab! Thanks for having me! biggrin.gif

It seems what I know is a little of this and a little of that - with A LOT of gaps in between tongue.gif

Scales: I know a little bit of the Minor, Minor Pentatonic, Major and Major Pentatonic scales but not all the positions.

I know the formula for these scales:

Major: WWHWWWH
Major Pentatonic: Drop degrees 4 & 7

Minor: WHWWHWW
Minor Pentatonic: Drop degrees 2 & 6

So when I come up with a little lick/riff/chord progregression I can use this formula to determine what key the song is in by using these formulas.

Modes: Something I still don't understand. I know that each scale degree of the major scale has its relative mode.

Degrees: I II III IV V VI VII
Modes: Ionian - Dorian - Phyrgian - Lydian - Mixolydian - Aeolian - Locrian

I understand that if you learn the major scale that you have learned every mode - because your using the major scale just starting on a different root.

For example:

C Major = C D E F G A B which would also be C Ionian

However, if we start on F instead and we get F G A B C D E then we are using the F Lydian mode.

My confusion is what notes or chords to play these particular modes over to actually get them to sound like the mode and not just the major scale.

Like if I had a chord progression of Bm A Asus4 Bm D Dsus4 - I wouldn't know what mode to use.

I also hear a lot of talk on the forum that it's really certain notes of a mode that make it sound unique over a chord and I know nothing about this as well.

Chords: I have done the Harmonizing the Major Scale lesson so I understand how to build basic triads with the Major scale.

Major = I III V
Minor = I bIII V
Diminished = I bIII bV

I IV V = sus4

Major 7th = I III V VII
Dominant 7th = I III V bVII
9 = I III V bVII IX

Although I know how to construct 7 and 9 chords I haven't practiced doing so and don't know any.

Other than messing around with some triad shapes over the neck I only know some basic open chords:

D - Dm - Dsus4 - A - Am - Asus4 - Bm - E - Em - C - F - G

Circle of Fifths: I've seen a video on it, so I understand it somewhat - but not enough to know how to actually use it and apply it.

That pretty much sums it up. I'd like to have a better understanding so that I can develop my songwriting as well as my phrasing and technique.

I haven't really been learning any new theory or applying it because I don't really know how - that's why I really need some guidance.

Here is an example of where I am at with songwriting (very basic):

https://soundcloud.com/stortzmusic/when-will-i-see-her-again

https://soundcloud.com/stortzmusic/hip-hop-rockidea

https://soundcloud.com/stortzmusic/city-lights-idea

https://soundcloud.com/stortzmusic/hear-our-cries-snippet

And as far as technique - I have decided to focus on tightening up my alternate picking and my legato (legato being a very big weakness of mine) by challenging myself with this lesson:

https://www.guitarmasterclass.net/ls/legato...g_intermediate/

But enough blabbering from me tongue.gif


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Gabriel Leopardi
post Mar 5 2015, 01:58 PM
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Ok, thanks for the info. Let's start working on your theory based on the program of my improvisation course. But as you also want to apply this concepts to composition, besides the improvisation course I will assign some other works and threads to work. This is how the first module looks:

Module 1: Major Scales

1. Major Scale (Shapes, sequences & arpeggios)
2. Pentatonic Major Scale

While working on it, you should also check:

Major Scales Explanation
The sounds of Ionian mode
Maj 7th chords
Major Pentatonic Explanation

These are some recommended lessons to learn licks and use the backings:

https://www.guitarmasterclass.net/ls/Pentatonic-Major-Soul/
https://www.guitarmasterclass.net/solo-guit...ermediate-solo/
https://www.guitarmasterclass.net/solo-guit...ermediate-solo/
https://www.guitarmasterclass.net/ls/Major-...ggios-Exercise/
https://www.guitarmasterclass.net/ls/major-...tonic-add-maj7/


As you can see this is a lot of stuff. Both the impro course and the extra stuff should be organized in 3 weeks of work. Please be organzed and focus only on these concepts. Keep me updated about the progress, share your practice and improvisations here every 3 days of practice.

Deal?


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Chris S.
post Mar 5 2015, 03:58 PM
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Deal! I will begin working on this immediately cool.gif


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Gabriel Leopardi
post Mar 6 2015, 02:00 PM
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QUOTE (Chris S. @ Mar 5 2015, 11:58 AM) *
Deal! I will begin working on this immediately cool.gif



Great! smile.gif


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Chris S.
post Mar 12 2015, 02:28 AM
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Hey Gab!

Sorry for the delay! I hardly ever use the major scale (which is VERY BAD) so this is proving to be really tricky for me. I tried coming up with a melody and then building off of it but it proved difficult because I'm not sure of where all the scale notes are located yet (getting the hang slowly but surely, though).

Here is a small sample of where I am at:

https://soundcloud.com/stortzmusic/g-major-improvisation-1

I didn't listen to any lessons - although learning some licks would have helped I wanted to try to take a shot at it on my own to see what I can come up with.

Overall, I'm not too happy with it tongue.gif I'm used to cranking out those Minor Pentatonic licks but that gets old real quick, that's why I'm trying to branch out and learn to write more complex and melodic music.

Any advice? What steps should I take next?

Thanks!!!! laugh.gif


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Gabriel Leopardi
post Mar 12 2015, 02:59 PM
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Hi Chris, good first attempt. wink.gif

I notice that your phrasing is lacking direction and melody. I can hear fragments of the scale for one side and reverse, like if you would be playing random parts of the scale but without knowing how it will sound before you play. This is not a bad exercise since it's the first step to get familiar with the scale, and how the different notes sound over the different chords. But our main goal here would be to make your phrasing more defined to make your guitar talk or better said sing, and combine this singing with more flashy stuff that connects everything.

The next step is to get a leit motiv, a main melody that can last 4 measures. Before you search it in your guitar, imagine it with your mind and sing it over the tune. Once you get a melody that you really like, record it and share it here. You are invited to record many options to then choose the best one to continue working.

To get some inspiration if you are blocked, you can check Joe Satriani's songs who really makes his guitar talk/sing.


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Chris S.
post Mar 12 2015, 03:25 PM
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QUOTE (Gabriel Leopardi @ Mar 12 2015, 01:59 PM) *
Hi Chris, good first attempt. wink.gif

I notice that your phrasing is lacking direction and melody. I can hear fragments of the scale for one side and reverse, like if you would be playing random parts of the scale but without knowing how it will sound before you play. This is not a bad exercise since it's the first step to get familiar with the scale, and how the different notes sound over the different chords. But our main goal here would be to make your phrasing more defined to make your guitar talk or better said sing, and combine this singing with more flashy stuff that connects everything.

The next step is to get a leit motiv, a main melody that can last 4 measures. Before you search it in your guitar, imagine it with your mind and sing it over the tune. Once you get a melody that you really like, record it and share it here. You are invited to record many options to then choose the best one to continue working.

To get some inspiration if you are blocked, you can check Joe Satriani's songs who really makes his guitar talk/sing.

Thanks Gab!

I will take a few days to practice with the advice you have given me. You are right, I was kind of just playing random notes in the scale - instead I will try to create a melody in my head first and translate it over to the guitar.

biggrin.gif

This post has been edited by Chris S.: Mar 12 2015, 03:25 PM


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Gabriel Leopardi
post Mar 13 2015, 02:31 AM
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QUOTE (Chris S. @ Mar 12 2015, 11:25 AM) *
Thanks Gab!

I will take a few days to practice with the advice you have given me. You are right, I was kind of just playing random notes in the scale - instead I will try to create a melody in my head first and translate it over to the guitar.

biggrin.gif



Great! Please keep me updated. wink.gif


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Chris S.
post May 13 2015, 02:51 AM
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Hey Gab!

Sorry for the long delay - slowly making a comeback with my tendinitis so I've been inching my foot back through door slowly but surely!

I am going to resume where I left off and post a main melody in a day or two.

As for now - in response to the ear training thread you posted in the Practice Forum (which I'm super excited for!):

I listened to the track only once - and these are my first answers (I haven't listened to the track again, only once):

Assignment I:

1. Major 3rd
2. Perfect 5th
3. Major 3rd
4. Octave
5. Major 3rd
6. Perfect 5th
7. Perfect 5th
8. Octave
9. Octave
10. Major 3rd
11. Octave
12. Major 3rd
13. Major 3rd
14. Perfect 5th
15. Octave
16. Perfect 5th
17. Perfect 5th
18. Octave
19. Major 3rd
20. Octave
21. Perfect 5th

I know for a fact I didn't get them all right - but I think I did pretty good for my first listen!

This post has been edited by Chris S.: May 13 2015, 02:53 AM


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Gabriel Leopardi
post May 13 2015, 03:22 PM
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Hi Chris! Good job! Thanks for sharing the first answers that you've got before checking everything again. I found that most of the intervals are ok, but there are 8 wrong ones. I feel that there is some connection between the ones that give you issues so I invite you to re-check everything to find which are the wrong ones and try to see which ones are giving more problems, and why...

Remember to use very known songs as reference to detect intervals.


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Chris S.
post May 13 2015, 07:34 PM
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Hey Gab!

I'm not really good at this tongue.gif but I came up with a basic melody over the backing track like you said:

https://soundcloud.com/stortzmusic/gmc-gabs-army-improv-2

Very basic - but I'm not sure how to turn on Steve Vai / Joe Satriani mode and actually make music out of it unsure.gif

ALSO:

My ears are pretty bad I guess - I listened to it a second time and my answers are somewhat different:

12. 5th
13. 3rd
14. 5th
17. 3rd
18. 5th
20. 5th

So I only have 6 different answers instead of 8 and I might even have more if these are wrong too. Seems like the 5th and Octaves get me the most.


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Gabriel Leopardi
post May 13 2015, 08:34 PM
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Hi Chris,

the interval number 12 isn't right on the last list that you added so there are still 3 wrong ones from the original answers.

About your phasing, now your melodies make more sense and start to sound more musical. Those backings are great to get familiar with the scale and arpeggios. In order to start exploring a more musical side, I have an idea. What about learning, analyzing and then creating a solo taking variations of the licks combined with your own licks and ideas?

https://www.guitarmasterclass.net/ls/Beginner-Soloing-1/

That's the lesson. Analyze the structure, the notes choices and learn the licks. Also pay attention to the use of dynamics, bending and vibrato.

Deal?




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Chris S.
post May 14 2015, 05:21 PM
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QUOTE (Gabriel Leopardi @ May 13 2015, 07:34 PM) *
Hi Chris,

the interval number 12 isn't right on the last list that you added so there are still 3 wrong ones from the original answers.

About your phasing, now your melodies make more sense and start to sound more musical. Those backings are great to get familiar with the scale and arpeggios. In order to start exploring a more musical side, I have an idea. What about learning, analyzing and then creating a solo taking variations of the licks combined with your own licks and ideas?

https://www.guitarmasterclass.net/ls/Beginner-Soloing-1/

That's the lesson. Analyze the structure, the notes choices and learn the licks. Also pay attention to the use of dynamics, bending and vibrato.

Deal?

That's such a beautiful piece!

I will analyze the solo - I think a big problem as well is that I don't really know any of the scales. My problem is that instead of learning them I just pull up a picture of the scale - so instead of knowing where the notes are and trying to use them I have to "guess and check" to see if a lick I came up with fits the scale.

Do you have any advice on how to learn a scale other than just playing each position up and down over and over again?

Thanks Gab!


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Gabriel Leopardi
post May 15 2015, 04:11 PM
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Hi Chris, so you say that you know the scale shapes but not how to use the notes?

Have you ever worked on triads or arpeggios?



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Chris S.
post May 15 2015, 05:29 PM
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QUOTE (Gabriel Leopardi @ May 15 2015, 03:11 PM) *
Hi Chris, so you say that you know the scale shapes but not how to use the notes?

Have you ever worked on triads or arpeggios?

No - I don't know the shapes that well.

I will pull up a picture of the scale with the scale generator but when I'm playing I don't know if what I am playing fits the scale until I check the picture.

I know some basic triads - Major, Minor, Diminished and sus4. I know how to form them but I don't really know how to apply them on guitar.

I did this lesson in the past for an REC Take:

https://www.guitarmasterclass.net/ls/Triads..._Series_Part_1/

Which helped me understand the shapes but it wasn't really musical so I never really used them when playing.


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Gabriel Leopardi
post May 16 2015, 04:27 PM
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Ok, so let's start simpler, do you know this two Pentatonic major shapes?








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Chris S.
post May 16 2015, 09:07 PM
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QUOTE (Gabriel Leopardi @ May 16 2015, 03:27 PM) *
Ok, so let's start simpler, do you know this two Pentatonic major shapes?





I know the first shape - I know the second shape from the minor pentatonic scale but I didn't know it was part of the major pentatonic scale.


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Gabriel Leopardi
post May 17 2015, 05:41 PM
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Ok, how many pentatonic minor shapes do you know?



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Chris S.
post May 17 2015, 09:21 PM
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QUOTE (Gabriel Leopardi @ May 17 2015, 04:41 PM) *
Ok, how many pentatonic minor shapes do you know?

7-ish years and this is all that I have learned:

unsure.gif



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