October 22, 2013

Why even learn music theory? | Articles

Why even learn music theory?

Vince Lauria
Submitted: Sunday, August 4, 2013 - 2:07pm
Vince Lauria Composer / Instructor
Learn to Burn
Many times when writing a song or piece the initial idea is not enough. To extend this idea music theory give options and techniques for expanding the idea/melody.
This next series of lessons will cover techniques using chord progressions, scales and harmonic principles.
1. A
Diatonic scale and diatonic chord progressions:
Take one scale / mode at a time, play it's family of chords and all its diatonic substitutions.
Example D minor, G seventh and C major chords - ii, V, I of the C major scale.
Dm7 //// G7 /// Cmaj7 ///
Substitute all seven diatonic chords with the 5, 6 and 7 notes harmonized extensions.
Dm9 //// G9 //// Cmaj9 ////
Dm11 //// G11 //// Cmaj11 ////
Dm13 //// G13 //// Cmaj13
Refer to chart with all diatonic chord extensions.
1. B
Create a melody or solo idea using the C major scale. Use two to six notes at a time.
Also play all chords arpeggio style for melody ideas.
Assignment record ii, V, I (later for all twenty eight modes covered).
Then create a melody or solo idea using the diatonic scale (mode).
Use two to five notes within one octave.
Another way to view a minor chord:
When you see a minor or minor seventh chord it usually can be thought of as the following:
A minor as the the vi chord of C major - play C major scale, Am as the ii chord of G major - play G major scale. And Am as the iii chord of F major - play F major scale. Experiment using these three scales!
This is sometimes called multiplicity. The C major scale played over the A minor chord is the Aeolian mode.The G major scale played over the A minor chord is the Dorian mode and the F major scale played over the A minor chord is the Phrygian mode. Then figure out the 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7 note diatonic chords and their arpeggios for each of the three keys for the minor chord.
Later do this for all keys: Bbm, Bm, Cm, C#m, Dm, Ebm, Fm, F#m, Gm, Abm.
Remember there are three major scales for each minor chord.
Assignment record the A minor chord (using quarter note strums) for twenty minutes and then play each of the three major scales for the one minor chord. As always use quarter then eighth notes with a metronome when playing the three major scales. (if you do not own a metronome go to: metronome on and download one free)
Listen to how each scale brings out a different feel (mode) over the same minor chord.
The next technique is when the root note of a chord is within the family of chords but the rest is the chord is not. Example given in the key of C major:
Regular diatonic chord progression - Dm7 //// G7 //// C //// Am7 //// (ii7, V7, I, vi7)
Diatonic root non diatonic chord - Dm7 //// G7 //// C //// A7 //// (ii7, V7, I, VI7)
The Am chord is the sixth of C major. The A dominant seventh is not within the
C major scale. This is sometimes called a Partial Diatonic chord. That means the lower tones of the chord in this case A and E are the same as within Am or Am7. The top part of chord C sharp is non diatonic or not within the key of C major. This is a common technique for giving a temporary lift to a progression. Also called tonicization.
The dominant seventh - A7 is the V7 of D major not C major. This is also called a secondary dominant, or the dominant from a second key. The dominant chord is always the fifth chord from any major scale root. When we play the A dominant seventh chord we temporarily go in the key of D major.
(the Beatles used this technique many times in there song writing).
When on the A7 chord play the D Major Scale. Play the C major scale until the A7 chord. On A7 play the D major scale - then return to the C major scale.
Another technique is to play C major scale starting on the A note then when the chord is A7 play the D major scale starting on the A note. You have to learn to change to each new key playing the closest scale note of the new key.
So you will have to be aware of where the new note or notes are in relation to the notes of the original key.
Assignment record the following chord progressions from the C major family of chords and practice temporally going into the new major scale key and then back to the original scale key.
Am7 //// E7 //// F //// G7 //// (on the E seventh chord you play the A major scale for one bar)
(vi, III7, IV, V7)
Am //// F7 //// C //// G //// (on the F seventh chord you play the B flat major scale for one bar)
(vi, IV7, I, V)
Em //// Am //// F //// B7 //// (on the B seventh chord you play the E major scale for one bar)
(iii, vi, IV, VII7)
Remember to transpose to all keys, at least one new key a week.
Now transpose all examples to each position (register) of your instrument, then to all 15 keys.
All materials copyright 2010. For personal use only.
Vince Lauria Sun and Earth Music
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