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I'm not sure I quite agree with everyone here. A lot of the questions he's asking come up and get explained (perfectly adequately, to my understanding at least) in the relatively early chapters of a number of college-level music theory textbooks (which I collect and enjoy studying from.,, outdated editions are cheap if you get them off-season).

And for the past decade or so, it seems like most college theory texts come with CDs to illustrate and/or quiz you on what's being taught. Then if there's a musical example that's not on the CD, either one can pick it up on the piano, or if not, it can be entered into a program like MuseScore so one can hear what it sounds like.

Reading stuff over my head was pretty much the way I learned to program computers too, back in the dark ages before there were learn-to-program books everywhere. I read more specialized manuals, which started out being very opaque, but whatever knowledge was assumed that I didn't have yet, well, that taught me what other info I needed to go in search of.

Studying a music theory textbook is much more straightforward than that path to programming ever was. The key is to go slow enough to get the information into your ears as well as your brain.



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tangleweeds,

I have done more than I care to recall of the kind of textbook-browsing you describe. In the end, a certain amount of it was helpful and the rest was a poor substitute for actually advancing my musical knowledge in a practical sense.

For me, personally, the amount of music theory (or vocabulary or any other "book learning") that I can benefit from in the abstract is pretty limited. Probably about as much as you'd gain from picking any one of those textbooks, reading and doing the exercises for the first few chapters.

Beyond that, without training my ear to hear what that theory is describing I'm just spinning my wheels. But my unified theory of music is if you can't hear it before you play it (or sing it) then you're just going through the mechanics and not really making music. So maybe the hearing thing is more important to me than some folks...


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I got your points and generally speaking i concur with your views, except for I am not trying to learn music through reading books.

In my quest to remain motivated, inspired and broaden and deepen my understanding of the music tools of the trade ( so to speak), I do some readings.

When reading, I come across music terms that I do not understand. I could brush them away and ignore them or seek to understand them. Being a detailed person, I am opting for the latter.

Am I wasting my time reading while I am commuting ? Or when my energy level is low ? Or when I can not focused on my playing ? ... I do not believe so. Reading is not robbing my practice time. It is complementing it. It is broadening my perspective. It is exposing me to the professional's world.

I recently read ( twice):
Piano Practice and Performamce by Wherli
Improve your piano playing by Meffen
"Practising The Piano" ebooks series by Graham Fitch

And currently reading :
Sight reading skills by Maydwell
The Musician's way by Klickstein

Most likely, this is will be the end of my music book reading spell for time to come. Equipped with the newly gained awareness of what I did not know what I did not know, my energy will be channeled into my musical practice and other non musical interests.

In summary, reading is shaping my thinking and in order to understand some unfamiliar terms,I could be using this forum or buy myself a good dictionary.


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@Brent

I'm sure you're a much better musician than I am, but sometimes I do like to speak up for (perhaps not very large) the segment of humanity that shares my mathematical/academic learning style.

I'm not one of those people who learns well from purely experiencing something. All of the new "learning by discovery" curriculums leave me entirely frustrated and bored. It actually works best for me to have the overarching theory of something explained to me as early on as possible.

In music, it was all just cool and attractive sounds, and I couldn't understans why some things sounded better than others until I sat down with theory books to explain to me the structure of what I was hearing. Theory helped me break down what I used to experience as "lotsa pretty sounds), so I could put names on what I was hearing, and thus evolve my understanding of the relationships to one another.

It was like the experience when you buy a certain obscure car, then suddenly start seeing the same kind everywhere you go. The theory helped me recognize stuff, and then I could hear it in the music I listened to or played

Learning theory also helped me shift from being able to memorize by only muscle memory, since I didn't understand why some notes were used instead of others. It taught me to understanding the harmonic structure of my pieces so I could play my pieces in my mind when I lie in bed with insomnia, and also to at least semi-audiate sheet music just by looking at it (given the sheet music was at my relatively low playing level).

Oops, gotta run for an appt... but I just wanted to post a reminder that all of us have different learning styles.


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Originally Posted by tangleweeds
I'm sure you're a much better musician than I am, but sometimes I do like to speak up for (perhaps not very large) the segment of humanity that shares my mathematical/academic learning style.


Well in fact I am almost totally a show-me-the-theory-behind-it person myself. A lifetime spent doing engineering and statistics definitely selects for those of us relish diving deep into the details. But when it comes to musicianship I'd be surprised if I were any farther along than yourself or most other ABF folks (not to mention the handful ABF'ers who are so far beyond you and me that it's almost scary).

Which is how I came, as I said, to spend more time than I'd care to recall wading through music-theory books. It's only in the last couple of years that I've began trying to drag myself toward some ability to hear and play more than a tiny fraction of the stuff I could work out on staff paper as a textbook exercise. It's early days yet and it's a struggle but I do feel I'm gaining ground.


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Originally Posted by JosephAC
I have some more questions :
a) Is 'rolled chords' same as arpeggio ?
Yes, they are the same but different names.

Quote
b) What is 'motifs' ?
Motive or motif is s short musical idea. A motive is the smallest structure or unit in a theme.

Quote
c) What does cadence mean ? Any mark for it ?
Cadence is a harmonic or melodic part where pausing or ending is created.
A few examples of cadences are Authentic cadence, Half cadence, Plagal cadence, Deceptive cadence, and etc.


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Originally Posted by Schubertslieder
Originally Posted by JosephAC
I have some more questions :
a) Is 'rolled chords' same as arpeggio ?
Yes, they are the same but different names.


To me arpegios are written as broken chords single notes while rolled chords are written as solid chord with rolled line next to the chord. They require very different technique to execute. Rolled chords usually should be played within the beat.

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Originally Posted by 4evrBeginR
Originally Posted by Schubertslieder
Originally Posted by JosephAC
I have some more questions :
a) Is 'rolled chords' same as arpeggio ?
Yes, they are the same but different names.


To me arpegios are written as broken chords single notes while rolled chords are written as solid chord with rolled line next to the chord. They require very different technique to execute. Rolled chords usually should be played within the beat.

Blocked chord or a solid chord with a rolled line next to it is also called arpeggio. Arpeggio is also called broken chord.



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Originally Posted by Schubertslieder
Blocked chord or a solid chord with a rolled line next to it is also called arpeggio. Arpeggio is also called broken chord.


Now I'm confused....

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I believe "arpeggio" is Italian and "a la harpe" French.

I also believe broken, blocked, solid, and rolled chord are all in English.


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Originally Posted by Schubertslieder
Originally Posted by JosephAC
I have some more questions :
a) Is 'rolled chords' same as arpeggio ?
Yes, they are the same but different names.

Quote
b) What is 'motifs' ?
Motive or motif is s short musical idea. A motive is the smallest structure or unit in a theme.

Quote
c) What does cadence mean ? Any mark for it ?
Cadence is a harmonic or melodic part where pausing or ending is created.
A few examples of cadences are Authentic cadence, Half cadence, Plagal cadence, Deceptive cadence, and etc.


Thanks Schubertslieder. Cool answers that I understand.

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Originally Posted by Schubertslieder
Originally Posted by 4evrBeginR
Originally Posted by Schubertslieder
Originally Posted by JosephAC
I have some more questions :
a) Is 'rolled chords' same as arpeggio ?
Yes, they are the same but different names.


To me arpegios are written as broken chords single notes while rolled chords are written as solid chord with rolled line next to the chord. They require very different technique to execute. Rolled chords usually should be played within the beat.

Blocked chord or a solid chord with a rolled line next to it is also called arpeggio. Arpeggio is also called broken chord.



I know what is broken chord. What is a block chord and a solid chord?

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Block chord and solid chord mean the same as each other: playing the notes of the chord all at the same time.


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I would use the term blocked chord rather than solid chord.
I was helping out someone to understand and he was using the term "solid chord" so I had to use it to make it easier for him. I personally would use blocked, broken, arpeggio, a la harpe, rolled chord, and so on.


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I just did a search on solid chord and just got the definition for "chord".


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Originally Posted by Brent H
It's only in the last couple of years that I've began trying to drag myself toward some ability to hear and play more than a tiny fraction of the stuff I could work out on staff paper as a textbook exercise. It's early days yet and it's a struggle but I do feel I'm gaining ground.

I don't think our disagreement goes very deep at all. There is definitely a huge difference between doing theory exercises, versus recognizing and utilizing the patterns of sound they're talking about. I agree that it's vital to get past reading about theory, and get out there and and capture some music in the wild,: not just by hearing it play out in pieces I learn, but also testing it all out in the music that I (at least try to) improvise. And that takes more time and attention than the dry reading ever did.

Last edited by tangleweeds; 06/26/13 12:26 AM. Reason: punctuation

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Joseph, I'd like to recommend that you check out this audio course: Understanding the Fundamentals of Music. It covers many of the topics you ask about (tempo, key, texture, cadences) through explanations and playing musical excerpts. I think you'd like it and get a lot out of it. It's on sale now for $35.



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Thanks Mary Bee for your recommendation. Just the price of a lesson. I will. It sounds like what I am looking for exactly at this stage of my development.

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Since my last posting, I have been watching Understanding the Fundemntals of Music DVDs. It was a mixed experience. On the one hand, I was keen to watch what is next. And I ended up watching all 16 sessions in less than a week.

On the other hand, it was overwhelming. Information overload. Some time, I wished I never asked my innocent questions. Other time, I find the answers to be simple and straight forward. Needless to say, I will need to watch these sessions again and again over the next year.... grasping the fundmentals of music.

On balance, it is an interesting and exciting journey... and it seems that there is far more to it than what meets the eye. My curiosity is statisfied for now and I am to spend more time on the piano, appreciating the simplicity of my method book and rudimentary instructions of my piano teacher. Viva Simplicity !

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There's also a great free online music dictionary here: http://www.music.vt.edu/musicdictionary/

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