Intervals/theory help&understanding

JonR

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True! But I love it lol..... And to everyone yes I am playing songs but only a few! Here is my thought process...I am more focused on theory and technique because I want to learn the right way, by transcribing the way it should be done and not by looking up tabs/videos. Getting the rhythm down is easy, so once you know your basic theory, and by practicing it all over the neck you are essentially ear training so if you hear a sound you know how to recreate that sound and your options. And so far my theory is working, I learned foo fighters big me by ear (very easy song) and simple stuff like the Star Wars theme just by sitting there..thinking of the melody and then finding the proper intervals. I have cheated on a few occasions such as after midnight by Clapton and just a few other songs just to work in a certain technique im trying to perfect like you all suggest. But I'm trying hard to do it mostly by ear.

So to put those at ease, I'm just not focusing on theory
Great stuff! Theory is there to assist when you need it. But you're right, you work by ear first. (Because theory can often mislead, when you only have a beginner's grasp of it.)

When you ear gets stuck - again (as I think you mean by "cheating") you can look up chords, wherever you can find them. It's kind of cheating, but more like getting a second opinion, from someone with (hopefully) better ears. And of course you always check the sound of what you find (and if it sounds wrong, your ears are probably correct).
 

theWhiteKeys

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Great stuff! Theory is there to assist when you need it. But you're right, you work by ear first. (Because theory can often mislead, when you only have a beginner's grasp of it.)

When you ear gets stuck - again (as I think you mean by "cheating") you can look up chords, wherever you can find them. It's kind of cheating, but more like getting a second opinion, from someone with (hopefully) better ears. And of course you always check the sound of what you find (and if it sounds wrong, your ears are probably correct).

yep thats what i meant by "cheating"

how about this JonR, you just give me your ears :p
 

Quill

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ive only been practicing for a year..im so far behind :(

You're doing really well! Only a year in, and asking these questions? On your own? Holy smoke!

All I want to add is that listening is the most important thing. There's a mathematical side to all this - mostly ratios, really - sort of more simple arithmetic than mathematics; calling it mathematics is getting carried away - and speaking of getting carried away ...

Listening, remembering what things sound like, paying attention to the way those sounds feel, connecting those sounds to the names of the intervals - that'll help you to remember.

The spelling of all the chords and scales, in the different keys, all that stuff comes - but it's the sound that will make sense of it. That will make it all make sense.

And it's all background for tunes. Theory can get pretty interesting, especially when good writers like JonR and huw get going! But hear all that they are saying, which is all directed toward tunes. Toward music.
 

JonR

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yep thats what i meant by "cheating"

how about this JonR, you just give me your ears :p
You wouldn't want them, honestly. Well, not the way they started out anyway, which was crap. I had to spend decades training them to reach the (still unimpressive) level they're at now.
And at my age (over 60), I can no longer hear any frequency over 9 kHz. (Nothing to do with damage from loud music - although there may be some of that - just a natural deterioration with age; happens to us all.)

IOW, once my ears were rubbish in terms of musical discrimination. Now they're better in that respect, but rubbish in terms of appreciation of the upper harmonic spectrum: "air" and "presence", "S" and "T" sounds, cymbals, etc. I still hear them, and am not aware of any muffling effect, but complex, busy sounds can be confusing. Eg, I can't hear what people are saying at parties. And I don't enjoy loud gigs. (Luckily I don't go to either much these days.)
That's a sign of getting old! You no longer understand why music has to be so LOUD. (Luckily I do remember why it had to be when I was young ;).)


If you still have young ears, value them and look after them! (But train them, of course ;).)
 

shrp11

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Theory is a system created after the fact, usually to study something that becomes common practice. For example, for film-makers there are wonderful textbooks breaking down the development of cinematography - explaining every shot (close-ups, medium close-ups, the two shot, the establishing shot, triangulation within the frame, etc.), these books are often used as a "how to" guide by new film-makers and older guys wanting to refresh or bone up.

However, the people who invented the language of modern film weren't working from textbooks, they created the camera shots we all take for granted today - over many, many years and generations - eventually what happens is what works becomes common practice, is codified and then set down and studied.

As it should be :)

Ed
 

theWhiteKeys

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You're doing really well! Only a year in, and asking these questions? On your own? Holy smoke!

All I want to add is that listening is the most important thing. There's a mathematical side to all this - mostly ratios, really - sort of more simple arithmetic than mathematics; calling it mathematics is getting carried away - and speaking of getting carried away ...

Listening, remembering what things sound like, paying attention to the way those sounds feel, connecting those sounds to the names of the intervals - that'll help you to remember.

The spelling of all the chords and scales, in the different keys, all that stuff comes - but it's the sound that will make sense of it. That will make it all make sense.

And it's all background for tunes. Theory can get pretty interesting, especially when good writers like JonR and huw get going! But hear all that they are saying, which is all directed toward tunes. Toward music.

Yea just a year, joined this site in March of 2012 and I started playing in Jan 2012..(got my first guitar for xmas the month prior)

i very much depend on the "listening" aspect when im trying to figure out simple songs like stated earlier. Now here is my process and someone can tell me if im doing it wrong of if there is an easier way.

I will listen to the song over and over to get the basic melody down, (or in some cases i know the song so well i can just sit there and hum it like star wars for example.) And I will pick any root note on the thickest string. Cause once you learn that it doesnt really matter what notes you are playing to recreate that sound or melody, but the distance (intervals) between those notes that help you recognize a particular song. So i work out the intervals moving up form the root note until i "feel" that i got the next note right

so star wars i came up with this starting on A on the 6th string. (i hope i get this right, its a lot harder to think of it when im not sitting with my guitar)

A-E-perfect 5th
D-C#-D-perfect 4th to a major 3rd back to a perfect 4th
Octave A to E-perfect 5th
and so on

*note* star wars is not in the key of A, i simply used it as a starting reference point to determine the intervals.*

so then from here i take the intervals that i feel make up the song and i switch the root note to change the key until i find the key that i feel fits the song.

From here i start experimenting all over the neck...once i think i have found the correct key and what intervals make up the song, i forget about the intervals and i think of those individual notes because it is easier for me to find E all over the neck than it is for me to find the perfect 5th of A all over the neck. (even though they are the same thing, my brain just wants to look for a letter rather than an interval) And once i find a nice "sweet spot" i experiment further by turning those individual notes into chords using the same notes in the sweet spot as my root note for the chord...and i try to jam the same melody

hopefully i made sense and i didnt lose anybody lol


*edit* just to add i have not looked up the proper intervals or anything on star wars, once i feel that i have it right and i can convince other people that i am playing the right thing i feel accomplished lol*
 

AngryHatter

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You're doing really well! Only a year in, and asking these questions? On your own? Holy smoke!

All I want to add is that listening is the most important thing. There's a mathematical side to all this - mostly ratios, really - sort of more simple arithmetic than mathematics; calling it mathematics is getting carried away - and speaking of getting carried away ...

Listening, remembering what things sound like, paying attention to the way those sounds feel, connecting those sounds to the names of the intervals - that'll help you to remember.

The spelling of all the chords and scales, in the different keys, all that stuff comes - but it's the sound that will make sense of it. That will make it all make sense.

And it's all background for tunes. Theory can get pretty interesting, especially when good writers like JonR and huw get going! But hear all that they are saying, which is all directed toward tunes. Toward music.

Not even the underlying algebra, but both music and math are at the core, symbolic languages.
 

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