How educated are you in Music Theory?? - Jemsite
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View Poll Results: How educated are you in Music Theory??
I don't understand much theory 11 23.40%
I understand some, but have a long way to go 11 23.40%
I soon will have a good grasp of music theory 10 21.28%
I could sit down with Vai or A.Timmons and discuss theory 13 27.66%
I could teach theory at Berklee or GIT 2 4.26%
Voters: 47. You may not vote on this poll

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post #1 of 25 (permalink) Old 11-30-2003, 07:00 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 239
How educated are you in Music Theory??

How educated are you in music theory?

Is this something you work on , on an ongoing basis?

Have you found any particular course, book, or video useful??


Are you what many would consider an advanced player, that knows no music theory??

If so, you still have your "own" way of organizing the fretboard..... how do you approach the fretboard??
GuitarWizard is offline  
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post #2 of 25 (permalink) Old 11-30-2003, 07:40 PM
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: London, Ontario, Canada
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There's a difference between music theory and music technique.

Knowing your way around a fretboard is technique, not theory.

Theory is written music, notes, scales, chords, intervals, harmony, rhythm, etc.

I passed the Gr. 1 theory test from the Royal Conservatory of Music (basics, Gr. 2 goes into harmony, etc, I learned basic rhythms, times, scales, chords, intervals, etc. right up to 12-tone systems).

On the other hand, I can't shred worth sh!t.
Two hands31 is offline  
post #3 of 25 (permalink) Old 11-30-2003, 08:55 PM Thread Starter
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Two hands...

Love you brother, but disagree completely.

Hammer on's, pull off's, sweep picking, ghost bends...etc..etc.. is technique.

Knowing your way around a fretboard is theory.....IT MAKES NO DIFFERENCE if its standardized Western Music Theory, or a system of organization you came up with yourself.

Stephen Stills from Crosby, Stills, Nash, & Young was not only one of Jimi Hendrix biggest fans, but was one of his closest friends as well.

Stephen has said in many interviews that "Jimi, really didn't even understand what you meant if you said a "I, IV, V progression", but on the other hand, he had a way of organizing his own licks that was unbelievable, and went over all of our heads."

We all have heard the stories that SRV, Van Halen, Danny Gatton, Hendrix
(insert your favorite here) didn't study music theory.

And while this maybe true..... and maybe these fine guitarist don't understand music theory like a GIT instructor, I still protest that they have a way of organizing the fretboard.....even if its their own way.....and even if no one else understands it.
GuitarWizard is offline  
post #4 of 25 (permalink) Old 11-30-2003, 09:42 PM
Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: Berlin, Germany
Posts: 2,674
"Understand some but have a long way to go for me"...I have no trouble looking at the fretboard and seeing scales, patterns etc...I somewhat know how chords relate to scales and understand how these are built etc...but, ultimately, it's a long way to go for me.

There are a few interesting stories out there about Jimi and his knowledge of music theory (or lack thereof). Apparently Miles Davis was a big fan of Jimi, and gave him a few sheets of music to look at before they met, only to find out that Jimi didn't read music...
pawel is offline  
post #5 of 25 (permalink) Old 11-30-2003, 11:37 PM
Join Date: Jun 2001
Posts: 2,234
We can have our own personal definitions of things, but that doesn't help when communicating with the rst of the world. So, IMO, MUSIC THEORY is knowledge of the standardized language of music. That could be standard western (which differs a bit between classicos and jazzheads), whatever they use for eastern music, etc. But it's about the language.

And there is a difference between understanding a fretboard (or ANY instrument) and being able to play on it. Same as an orchestrator who knows the sounds of various registers of many instruments (and how to use and score for them), but can't play the instruments himself.
JESTER700 is offline  
post #6 of 25 (permalink) Old 12-01-2003, 09:13 AM
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Location: Edinburgh, Scotland
Posts: 325
After re-taking up the guitar after a 6 year break, I was in the woodshed for 2 years, almost back to my previous level of ability (technically) when I developed a bout of RSI.

Since then I pretty much stopped exercising, and have been concentrating exclusively on not classical theory (for which I do hold Grade but just kinda "general knowledge".

I'm using books called the Guitar Grimoire, one for scales/modes, one for chords, and learning every mode, pentatonic, chord progressions etc.

And although I have no way yet of applying it to the fretboard, I have no doubt its made me much better, much quicker, than 2 years of exercising did.
Jamie is offline  
post #7 of 25 (permalink) Old 12-01-2003, 09:16 AM
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Posts: 222
Intermediate player, know some theory. Long way to go, though. LONG way.
ShredOrDead is offline  
post #8 of 25 (permalink) Old 12-01-2003, 10:33 AM
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I never studied, don't care to.

The definitions I found for "theory" that best describe it are:

A set of statements or principles devised to explain a group of facts or phenomena, especially one that has been repeatedly tested or is widely accepted and can be used to make predictions about natural phenomena.

The branch of a science or art consisting of its explanatory statements, accepted principles, and methods of analysis

So as far as I can see, anything your fingers do on the fretboard is the Technique. The explanation of what your fingers do is the theory.
Knightmeir is offline  
post #9 of 25 (permalink) Old 12-01-2003, 11:48 AM
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: Michigan
Posts: 635
Music theory is brease. A long and boring brease, mind you, but a brease non the less. Once you get it all engraved into your brain, you've got it forever.
guitarkatana is offline  
post #10 of 25 (permalink) Old 12-01-2003, 11:50 AM
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Location: Hilversum, The Netherlands
Posts: 3,274
I'm with the majority so far. Then again, I have no plans (chances) of making this my day (or night) job.
Ibateur is offline  
post #11 of 25 (permalink) Old 12-01-2003, 05:40 PM
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I think I have a very good grasp at it.......whenever I try to learn something doesn't confuse as much anymore as when I was trying to learn it a few years ago.

Now being able to discuss theory with Joe Pass or Allan Holdsworth...that would be impressive (fook
Carlo is offline  
post #12 of 25 (permalink) Old 12-01-2003, 06:01 PM
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Location: Liverpool, UK
Posts: 740
I chose the third one because I am getting there I think , I took music theory at college , well A level music , and music theory plays a big role in A level music , Its quite hard for me at times because everyone in my music class has played in an orchestra , or played piano or something , so they've been familiar with music theory from the beginning , with me being a tab man , and being more of an ear player on the piano , its been hard , but like the option says , i will soon have a good grasp , btw guitarwizard , i noticed you mentioned andy timmons , do you like him ? , Hes my favourite player man , killer
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post #13 of 25 (permalink) Old 12-01-2003, 08:07 PM
Join Date: May 2003
Location: London, England
Posts: 796
"... getting there" one

I feel there should be more of a middle ground between that and the Vai Timmons one tho.
I have good knowledge of pre 19th century harmony and theory, and of the modes and uses. I'm currently studying 20th century harmony (composers such as Debussy) and chords beyond inversions and 7ths and their uses.
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post #14 of 25 (permalink) Old 12-02-2003, 04:57 AM
Join Date: Oct 2002
Posts: 297
Hendrix rules. If you look at his stuff, it's got some solid construction and other things are really advanced.

I've had a couple of college guitar classes and one beginning level theory class. I would like to progress. I have a music history class coming up, and I hope that will give me some idea as to which specific direction I should look towards for improvement. I'm not really that into jazz or trying to build up sight reading chops.

From what I've read about Vai, he's seems like he's the theory warrior. Both Satriani and Vai remind me of slightly deranged scientists.
Ancestor is offline  
post #15 of 25 (permalink) Old 12-02-2003, 10:42 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 239

Yes Vai is just a music fanatic on all levels.

Steve Vai has spent just as many hours studying theory without his guitar, as with.

He likes to break pieces of music down, then put it back together... or sometimes arrange it backwards...or change the tempo...etc..etc..

Guitarists like Vai, or Satch or Paul Gilbert have attained a level of theory mastery, where they are so grounded in the fundamentals, they literally can try breaking, and making their own rules.... even if their own rules doesn't work out, or sound pleasing to the ear.... they can quickly recover, because they have such a solid foundation.

This may be the most important reason for learning theory.

Note: I don't mean to sound like the "upmost authority" on these guys.... but I study all of their articles, interviews, and music.
GuitarWizard is offline  

allan holdsworth , andy timmons , chord progression , chord progressions , danny gatton , frank gambale , frank zappa , guitar playing , jeff beck , jimi hendrix , joe satriani , kurt cobain , miles davis , paul gilbert , scott henderson , shawn lane , steve vai , sweep picking , van halen

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