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Pure_bordem
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The Bordem Practical Music Theory Series: Lesson 1 Reply to this Post Post Reply with Quote Edit/Delete Posts Report Post to a Moderator       Go to the top of this page

The Bordem Practical Music Theory Series
----------------------------------------


The aim of this series is to introduce functional and pracitcal music theory concepts for your typical electronic music producer.
The concepts elberated on in this series are usable in really any style but will be geared more towards the use of electronic
music; particularly those that use piano rolls. This series will assume you know which notes are which on a piano.

-----------
Lesson One: The Basics
-----------



I think that there is a question that needs answering, "What is music theory?" Music Theory is the practice of analyzing and
creating music in a structural and intelligable manner. It is a way to answer questions such as "Why did they put that chord
there?" or "I wonder what rhythm is?" However, the manner in which we analyze and structure the music is still a subjective
task no matter how many "rules" there are, hence it being theory and not fact. Many forms of music can be broken down into patterns
whether it is rhymthicaly, tonally, chord progession, etc. however there are some things music theorists have to simply say
"We don't know why they did it that way...probably cause they liked the way it sounded."

This is not intended to be an end all course in music theory, hardly. If anything I am barely qualified to teach such a process.
However when dealing with how to practically utilize it, I believe I am more that adequet. So with that all said lets begin!


-Steps and Scales

Western music is based on a set of 12 evenly spaced notes and their corrospodning octaves. It is from these notes we have
over the years (Somewhere between 2,000 to 3,000 of years to be more accurate) developed patterns in spacing of playing these notes
that have lead to the development of scales. Now in order to grasp a functional level of scales you must know the concept of a step.

The act of moving from one note to the next immeditate note is a half step; think of this as moving from a white key to a black key
on a keyboard. However, moving from B to C and E to G are also half steps even though they are both white keys. Why is this? Well
because there are no notes in between; if there were it would be a quartertone which does not exist in Western Theory. Make sure you
ingrain that into your head; B-C and E-G are HALF STEPS not whole steps! Which brings me to my next point, whole steps.
Whole steps are simply two halfs steps in a row so a white key to white key (except B-C and E-G!) or a black key to black key.

As stated before scales are simply varitions in what order we put half steps and whole steps that almost always end up being 8 notes
long. The first and last notes of the scale are an octave, aka the same note but either double or half the fundemental frequency of
previous note. So C4 is double the frequency of C3 but half the frequency of C5. Also remember, almost all scales have a b or #
sign which means either flat or sharp and these are known as accidentals. These are to help maintain correct order of the whole and
half steps as you start using black keys (and some rare occasions, white keys as well!). In addition, bb means double flat and X means
double sharp. Since it is by far the most common scale in all of music, let us take a look at the Major Scale; a 7 note scale.

The step spacing for this scale is as follows W-W-H-W-W-W-H. If we started on C for a C Major Sclae, we would get these notes
C-D-E-F-G-A-B-(C) and the spacing between C-D is a whole step, as is D-E, E-F is a half, etc. Now what if we want an F Major scale?
That scale would start on F and give you F-G-A-Bb-C-D-E-F. But wait, why Bb!?!? Well remember, we need a half step between notes 3
and 4, and using B instead of Bb would be a whole step. Something to keep in mind, when writing out scales and chords, never repeat
the same note with a different accidental (the b or # sign) So for example if we did F-G-A-A#...whoops we just repeated the letter A
and now have no room for a B, DONT DO THAT EVER! If you write out a scale and you get double letter names, switch from flats to sharps
or vice versa. Remeber, even though for example A# and Bb sound the same and are the same spot on the keyboard, they are not the same
for building scales or chords.

Try to take all of that in, remember, you can't build chords till you understand scales. Once you think you got a handle on scales,
try and build a major scale in another key, if you feel particularly adventurous try F# Major and make sure you get the note names
right. After that here are a list of other kinds of scales you can use for your songs.

*note* WH means a whole and a half step between notes

Minor Scales-

Natural Minor: W-H-W-W-H-W-W

Harmonic Minor: W-H-W-W-H-WH-H

Melodic Minor: W-H-W-W-W-W-H


Modal Scales-

Dorian: W-H-W-W-W-H-W

Phrygian: H-W-W-W-H-W-W

Lydian: W-W-W-H-W-W-H

Mixolydian: W-W-H-W-W-H-W

Locrian: H-W-W-H-W-W-W

There are many more scales but these should be more than enough to suffice for quiet a while.


Try to grasp the scale concept as best as possible and if you have any questions be sure to ask!

Looking ahead, Lesson Two: Chord Basics


Peace
~Bordem

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STICKY!

Nice one matey, will have a proper read later. I remember some of this theory from years back, but most of it is long gone Big Grin

Maybe we should open a new section just for Pure_bordem Wink

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RE: The Bordem Practical Music Theory Series: Lesson 1 Reply to this Post Post Reply with Quote Edit/Delete Posts Report Post to a Moderator       Go to the top of this page

quote:
Originally posted by Pure_bordem
never repeat the same note with a different accidental (the b or # sign)


Except when you want to play a blue note to give it a jazzy/blues feeling! Wink
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blue_note

You also might want to take a look at the circle of fifths:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Circle_of_fifths

It helps to remember which notes are flattened or sharpened in a particular scale.

Greets,
Vectrex

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RE: The Bordem Practical Music Theory Series: Lesson 1 Reply to this Post Post Reply with Quote Edit/Delete Posts Report Post to a Moderator       Go to the top of this page

Great job. Why don't you transfer this thread to the Tutorials section?

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Pure_bordem
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RE: The Bordem Practical Music Theory Series: Lesson 1 Reply to this Post Post Reply with Quote Edit/Delete Posts Report Post to a Moderator       Go to the top of this page

quote:
Originally posted by Benzin
[quote]Originally posted by Pure_bordem
never repeat the same note with a different accidental (the b or # sign)


Ill get to that later, theory is a process of learning the rules so you can break them later. Less confusing that way.

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RE: The Bordem Practical Music Theory Series: Lesson 1 Reply to this Post Post Reply with Quote Edit/Delete Posts Report Post to a Moderator       Go to the top of this page

quote:
Originally posted by Pure_bordem
quote:
Originally posted by Benzin
quote:
Originally posted by Pure_bordem
never repeat the same note with a different accidental (the b or # sign)

Except when you want to play a blue note to give it a jazzy/blues feeling! Wink


Ill get to that later, theory is a process of learning the rules so you can break them later. Less confusing that way.


Yeah, you're right. Great topic btw! You explain it really well.. Happy

Greets,
Vectrex

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RE: The Bordem Practical Music Theory Series: Lesson 1 Reply to this Post Post Reply with Quote Edit/Delete Posts Report Post to a Moderator       Go to the top of this page

quote:
Originally posted by Benzin
Except when you want to play a blue note to give it a jazzy/blues feeling! Wink


Also try playing a brown note for that "I gotta go to the bathroom" feeling.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brown_note
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pure_bordem is a piiiimp!

thx dude!!! cant wait for part 2.

This post has been edited 1 time(s), it was last edited by kanibalboy: 27-01-2010 07:45.

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people: here is a very useful tool for figuring out chords and scales.

you choose wich root note (c, c#, d, d#, e...etc.) and, (major, minor, etc.) and it shows you the scale, or chords of that note!

Piano Chords and Scales made easy
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selig
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Nutchords is the best app I've found for figuring out chords and scales, it's much better than any of those online ones.

The only problem is that it appears to have been discontinued.. but, fortunately, I've found a working link.

http://web.archive.org/web/2005090718432...et.fi/~saarnio/
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hell yeah i got that nutchords, thx for the link. its good!
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A bit late with my response, but according to the mastery we tend to achieve there is never too late to get information about something. In relation to this, here is one post that might help you in building appropriate chord progression. Everything hast a mathematical part in this world, so the music has this element too.

Here is the link, very well explained by Mr. Steve Mugglin:

http://chordmaps.com/
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