Music Theory?

Discussion of music production, audio, equipment and any related topics, either with or without Ableton Live
TheNobleNemesis
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Music Theory?

Post by TheNobleNemesis » Thu Sep 05, 2013 2:33 am

Hello, fellow Ableton users, and i'd like to address something that's been bothering me for a while. Ever since I got Ableton Live, i've been familiarizing myself endlessly with the software, it's many instruments, and all of the hardcore technical features, and no matter how much I work at learning this, whether I step-sequence or play my melodies on a MIDI keyboard; I can't seem to find a groove! No matter how hard I try, my melodies sound incredibly contrived, emotionless, etc.

Anyways, a few of my friends (non-producers) that're in bands and play instruments recommended 'music theory', some universal wizardry that apparently applies to all music... So eventually, I watched a bunch of tutorials on how to play piano and learn music theory, and now i'm back at square one.

There's gotta be an easier way, right? I mean at least some way that doesn't involve learning how to read sheet music! Help?

yur2die4
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Re: Music Theory?

Post by yur2die4 » Thu Sep 05, 2013 3:20 am

Pick a note.

Turn on the metronome.

Tap the metronome to whatever speed.

Start recording clips in relation to that note.

Add another instrument and do it again.

Do it where you just feel the keyboard with your fingers, lights off.

See if you've got anything.

dewaldo
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Re: Music Theory?

Post by dewaldo » Thu Sep 05, 2013 7:47 am

you don't need to learn sheet music in order to learn music theory.

just focus your efforts on learning:

1. scales (minor/major, the rest can come later) - see http://www.pianoworld.com/fun/vpc/piano_chords.htm. start with C major/minor. work out the pattern that each scale has, and practice.
2. chords (particularly scale tone chords, which use only the notes on a particular scale. inversions are cool too)
3. chord progressions (aka sequences of chords along a particular scale)
4. intervals (aka what the distance between note X and note Y sounds like, you can practice online at sites like http://www.good-ear.com/)

some googling will guide you through each topic. just remember that you're essentially just trying to learn patterns of notes. you will need to read a lot and mess around a lot in order to wrap your head around these patterns (and the terminology used to describe them). but it is worth becoming a musical toddler again in order to learn the language of music. the frustration you are experiencing should be great motivation to learn. because the knowledge will pay off for a lifetime

Tarekith
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Re: Music Theory?

Post by Tarekith » Thu Sep 05, 2013 2:22 pm

Here's a really good guide that's pretty easy to follow, maybe this will help:

http://www.worldofbryan.com/rsg2mt.pdf

chapelier fou
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Re: Music Theory?

Post by chapelier fou » Thu Sep 05, 2013 2:50 pm

Melodies are 10% of notes and 90% of rhythm.
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ark
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Re: Music Theory?

Post by ark » Thu Sep 05, 2013 3:07 pm

You've been studying "what" and "how." Music theory is about "why."

Angstrom
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Re: Music Theory?

Post by Angstrom » Thu Sep 05, 2013 3:08 pm

TheNobleNemesis wrote:whether I step-sequence or play my melodies on a MIDI keyboard; I can't seem to find a groove!
I think the notes about Music theory aren't pointing to solution to this problem. Of course learning theory is always good, but if you can't get a groove on - the issue is elsewhere.

You should have the groove before you even sit down at the computer. Make sure the version in your mind is funky, then hum and beatbox it badly into your phone/handheld device/a microphone. Now attempt to recreate that burbling in the computer.

You need to have an idea of the groove you want before you approach the computer. Then your job is merely to lay it down so it's still like your initial idea, and making sure the silicon bastard doesn't turn it into lifeless conformative grid musak. Computers love to churn out grid musak.

Tone Deft
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Re: Music Theory?

Post by Tone Deft » Thu Sep 05, 2013 4:57 pm

chapelier fou wrote:Melodies are 10% of notes and 90% of rhythm.
love this!

drop in the scale plug-in, relax and just play.
In my life
Why do I smile
At people who I'd much rather kick in the eye?
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oblique strategies
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Re: Music Theory?

Post by oblique strategies » Fri Sep 06, 2013 3:41 am

ark wrote:You've been studying "what" and "how." Music theory is about "why."
Well said.


My recommendations: listen to as wide a variety of music as possible, that way you'll hear the underlying fundamentals of what works, regardless of genre or form. And definitely listen a lot to the music you already love.

Congratulations on beginning to study traditional music theory, your music will be the better for it, even if you decide to break all "the rules" in your own work.

Music is basically emotion, so theory will only take you so far. You've also got to feel it. :wink:

Mister Natural
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Re: Music Theory?

Post by Mister Natural » Fri Sep 06, 2013 6:54 am

[quote="TheNobleNemesis"No matter how hard I try, my melodies sound incredibly contrived, emotionless, etc...There's gotta be an easier way, right? [quote]

no, sorry - there are no shortcuts


find a teacher
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& You Are Who You Google

http://soundcloud.com/mrnatural-1

oblique strategies
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Re: Music Theory?

Post by oblique strategies » Fri Sep 06, 2013 9:05 pm

Mister Natural wrote:find a teacher
Good advice

Tone Deft
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Re: Music Theory?

Post by Tone Deft » Fri Sep 06, 2013 9:50 pm

oblique strategies wrote:
Mister Natural wrote:find a teacher
Good advice
first thing a teacher will ask you, "how much are you currently practicing?"

they'll gladly sit with you for an hour and take your money but what are you already doing to help yourself? not just getting high and twiddling knobs for an afternoon, actual effective critical practice.
In my life
Why do I smile
At people who I'd much rather kick in the eye?
-Moz

Evengy
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Re: Music Theory?

Post by Evengy » Sat Sep 07, 2013 8:53 am

i learned music theory for a few years but i could´nt do anything with it. now im taking keyboard lessons since 10 month and thats what me really helps. it´s not enough to read it, you need practice to feel it, hear it and get comfortable / creative with it. i think i need one more year but it´s worth :D

djcl.ear
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Re: Music Theory?

Post by djcl.ear » Sat Sep 07, 2013 12:53 pm

Usually, it is like you explained: You start laying tracks, learning mixing software and effects, and producing music by way of supplying notes and rhythms, it might then come a time when your music sounds the same... until you find chords.

Later on, you continue to make tracks and songs, you master your software and your instruments, it might also come a time when your music sounds the same... until you find transposing, key changes, different scales and later on even different tunings.and out of tune sounds and out of metric structures.

If you reach these points, it happens that when you listen to music like http://youtu.be/S76CGGPqI3s you begin to realize why yours did sound contrive and lifeless, and how to start improving yours.

Sound is like a complex color palette. Many only use a few tones and many fail to acknowledge that they are using just a few of the available possibilities.
Many don't get to the point of realizing that the colors to be made are delicate and get blurred and lost easily... and those nice colors don't come in presets. You are faced by the keys themselves and you need to build the chords and the scales to perceive them. Once a mood or an atmosphere is perceived you may deconstruct them.

There are rules, however truly there are no fixed rules, except of perception and that involves timing, which is related to constructing and deconstructing, progression, silence, vibration, plus a long etc we are yet discovering

oblique strategies
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Re: Music Theory?

Post by oblique strategies » Sat Sep 07, 2013 10:28 pm

Evengy wrote:now im taking keyboard lessons since 10 month and thats what me really helps. it´s not enough to read it, you need practice to feel it, hear it and get comfortable / creative with it. i think i need one more year but it´s worth :D
I wonder what percentage of people making music (creating melodies, chords, etc.), don't actually play any traditional instruments.

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