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  1. #1
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    Q. How do you 'make sense of' music?

    OK. I should explain what I mean...

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    • A guitarist plays a C power chord. You listen to it. How does the musician part of your brain interpret it. You understand music, so what do you understand when you hear this most simple of chords?
    • Or a melody. Someone whistles a tune and you have to recreate it on the instrument of your choice. How do you do that? What are the thought processes?
    • 'A whiter shade of pale' by Procol Harum and 'Air on a G string' by Bach are very similar in chord structure. How do you interpret and make sense of this?





    For example: thebadger, who has only a tenuous grasp of music theory, hears tunes as parts of chords.

    The C power chord in the above example is heard by my stripey ears as either a C major or C minor chord with bits missing. A Cm scale is a Cm chord with all the other notes in... and played as an arpeggio.

    When someone whistles a tune, I subconsciously convert it to chords and the play the parts of the chords that make up the tune. Sometimes my other fingers are hovering over other notes in the chords which i'm not going to play, but which I recognise as part of the pattern.

    Although AWSoP and AoaGS are tonally different and in different Keys... to me they are (nearly) identical because they comprise of the (nearly) same chord movements.

    An Fmaj7 is actually an Am over an F pedal in badger's sorry music brain.

    I learnt what little I know about music the hard way; playing in pub rock bands as a teenager. There was no one to teach me how it all works so I just invented a strategy of using chords to make sense of it all. Now I'm told that this is an unorthodox way of understanding how music works....

    So how do you make sense of music?



  2. #2
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    melody first.. then harmony

    Greetings Sir Badger

    For me music breaks down into integers. Just like maths you learn things forward then in reverse. Add then subtract. YOu should pobably be looking at training the ear to hear intervals before you start to classify the colour of chords. I started with singing. Can you tell just by one note what is is? can you say that thats a A 440 ? spend some time training your ear to think about the exact frequency. Play a C ... does it make you feel something? see something? a colour? an emotion? tie it to that which is already in the brain. For me the C is lime green. ok thats single notes

    \lets go to intervals
    sing somewhere over a rainbow. You now have an octave. you can sing it loud or sing in your head. just train your mind to the interval. sing the interval from different root notes. Now subtract one- sing c3 to b4. then c3 to a4. keep decending till you get to c3 to d3.
    now see if you can sing random intervals. Sing a perfect fourth? Should all acquaintance be forgot and never brought to mind. there will be some tunes in your head that you can assign intervals to.


    now descend.

    Sing C3 to C2 ... C3 to D2.... repeat the process until you get to the leading note C3 to B3... im presuming here that midi note numbers increment at the start of the A octave... and not at the C... which the probably do... so i may have added license to midi note nomenclature.

    OK now lets add them together....yes it 2 note chords time. have someone play or make up a random midi file that plays 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 intervals ... see if you can determine what the two notes played together are. Don't just stick in c major now. Move to other keys and start to hear other colours.

    Now move to other scales and repeat all those processes. Minor scales, harmonic and melodic and so on. up and down... you get the idea.

    i copied air on a g string once. I played it in reverse so it wasnt so blatent.

    there is a program called ear master school that i have found to be of benefit. It will train the ear to inversions of all chords with 3 notes or more.
    http://www.earmaster.com/
    with this you can start with groups of three notes. i used it to train my ear to flatted fifths and augments and 7 9 11 13 etc. It was a really good help. I should revisit this learning again soon. It enabled me to substitute these special chords in place of other chords in a melody. a minor sixth in place of a commonly used seventh chord adds so much more colour for example opens a world of musical possibility. It is fantastic help to training not only chords but rhythms, intervals, and sight reading. The latter is pretty dull of course but once again, its all maths. Music written on a staff is merely a frquency time graph.

    best to you badger. Hope your tunes

    Chord trainging takes a long time. I spent about 7 months using earmaster for about 1/2 hour per day until i could easily pick up that the chord was a minor 9 with a flatted fifth.
    Last edited by r00n; 04-27-2013 at 01:56 AM. Reason: none required... its my life.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Audi01's Avatar
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    ha what a great thread!

    I am similar to both tB and r00n...I also trained my ear a little as r00n did when I started learning the keyboards and music theory. Prior to this I was just "a drummer and guitarist" (aka awesome garage jammer lol) with little theory. Despite learning how to read music in high school and play the violin, all that is in the sealed memory banks at the moment and I have had to re-learn how to read music. I re-learnt the basics but I've never gone further as I haven't seen a need as yet.

    So...I like to listen to the colours of the notes/chrods and see what they do to me...but I also like to break them down to search for root notes, alternative chords, harmonics and disharmonics, etc. Thanks for the earmaster link r00n; I'm going to check that out because while I'm ok with major and minor land the 5ths/7ths etc is an unfinished learning project for me.
    Last edited by Audi01; 04-28-2013 at 04:54 AM.

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