Music Theory & Ear Training Experience?

PorkPieGuy

Platinum Member
I was a music major in college for a year and a half. I dropped out whenever we got to the chapter on secondary dominance. I know just enough theory to be dangerous.
 

GetAgrippa

Platinum Member
Thanks Push Pull that makes a lot of sense. The word “theory” can be used in lots of ways In communication- the scientific one I’m well aware. So since I’m a roll of naive questions did/does eastern music develop differently and used a different musical language-/notation (since those cultures predate western civilizations? I’m guessing the written music language/notation evolved in Europe we know today? I could Google or ask Wikipedia but I’m curious of answers since thread so weird.
 

Push pull stroke

Platinum Member
Thanks Push Pull that makes a lot of sense. The word “theory” can be used in lots of ways In communication- the scientific one I’m well aware. So since I’m a roll of naive questions did/does eastern music develop differently and used a different musical language-/notation (since those cultures predate western civilizations? I’m guessing the written music language/notation evolved in Europe we know today? I could Google or ask Wikipedia but I’m curious of answers since thread so weird.
The most developed musics (in terms of complexity and notation) are from India and China. Their systems of notation are totally different, and much, much older. Any deeper than that, and I’m going to have to go to Wiki myself. Lol
 
I think there is nearly nothing technical that is universal in music across the world, except the octave (remind me if there's some other stuff). But as a means to communicate, express emotions, and tell stories, music is pretty universally used.
 

GetAgrippa

Platinum Member
The most developed musics (in terms of complexity and notation) are from India and China. Their systems of notation are totally different, and much, much older. Any deeper than that, and I’m going to have to go to Wiki myself. Lol
Yep found a pic of music written in Babylon using a diatonic scale -the notation had to evolve and been reading about that. When I first Googled there were links to Music theory and racism which had me wondering what’s the heck is going on with that? Is this like the DW ad issue where some bot finds certain drum language but in this instance music theory language is offensive?
 

Push pull stroke

Platinum Member
Yep found a pic of music written in Babylon using a diatonic scale -the notation had to evolve and been reading about that. When I first Googled there were links to Music theory and racism which had me wondering what’s the heck is going on with that? Is this like the DW ad issue where some bot finds certain drum language but in this instance music theory language is offensive?
Music theory and racism? I don’t know about all that. And I had no idea about the Babylonians having musical notation. That’s wild. That was probably even before the Hindus and Chinese had it.
 

Rock Salad

Junior Member
I think there is nearly nothing technical that is universal in music across the world, except the octave (remind me if there's some other stuff). But as a means to communicate, express emotions, and tell stories, music is pretty universally used.
Actually contour is universal. That is why we can relate to musics of other cultures and it is referred to as the universal language.
So, ok. Here are my shallow thoughts on contour as applied to drums and non melodic percussion:
A general rule of thumb in contour is that notes generally go from higher to lower and melodic runs of ascending pitch introduce tension. Drum parts are generally repeating a theme, so variations from the theme introduce tension. One could take those rules and create parallel or contrary motion between the parts using theory.
But that's just theory. I like what Miles said about theory, that it is best used after the fact.
I bet you all at Sounds Like a Drum are all sighing collectively. I asked lots of questions here and elsewhere about tuning too. The best answer really seems to be: have at it until you figure it out. Then work on it some more.
 

GetAgrippa

Platinum Member
Well I would expect "music" to be universal in that it evolved either in early archaic humans or our ancestors before the migration 60k years ago. Music like everything else has evolved since. I get it now-it's treating music like a natural phenomena like Theory of Gravitation, Theory of Light, Theory of Evolution. Theory of Art does the same thing. But that interesting that a "man-made" phenomena (art or music) would be treated as a "natural phenomena" in this instance rather than just use definitions, but I see the value of expanding from definitions to broader theory. Both Art and Music has evolved so they are natural phenomena but generally things we create aren't held to "natural" (no other species is flying off to space station). Music and Art also fall into language and communication so Theory of Language. Well I answered my own question. Sorry Ben for side tracking your thread which I hope you have success with teaching Music theory-I know of a possible student who is clueless LOL!!!!
 

Push pull stroke

Platinum Member
Well I would expect "music" to be universal in that it evolved either in early archaic humans or our ancestors before the migration 60k years ago. Music like everything else has evolved since. I get it now-it's treating music like a natural phenomena like Theory of Gravitation, Theory of Light, Theory of Evolution. Theory of Art does the same thing. But that interesting that a "man-made" phenomena (art or music) would be treated as a "natural phenomena" in this instance rather than just use definitions, but I see the value of expanding from definitions to broader theory. Both Art and Music has evolved so they are natural phenomena but generally things we create aren't held to "natural" (no other species is flying off to space station). Music and Art also fall into language and communication so Theory of Language. Well I answered my own question. Sorry Ben for side tracking your thread which I hope you have success with teaching Music theory-I know of a possible student who is clueless LOL!!!!
Music is based on unavoidable facts of acoustics and math. Pretty much every culture uses either the diatonic scale or the pentatonic scale, or both. The pentatonic scale is just a subset of the diatonic scale, it’s 5 of the 7 notes. These scales evolved independently again and again. No doubt, if there are aliens on other planets, they’re using those same scales as well. There are other scales that get used, but those two scales (and versions of them including modes like the Mixolydian and Dorian) are the clear winners in the race to find a “universal” musical scale.

Also, rhythms are similar or identical between unrelated cultures. Nearly all music is in divisions of 2 or 3. A few cultures use odd time signatures like 11/8, 7/8, etc., but even those longer measures are divided into groups of two and three.

Music IS universal. The end. LOL
 

GetAgrippa

Platinum Member
Music is based on unavoidable facts of acoustics and math. Pretty much every culture uses either the diatonic scale or the pentatonic scale, or both. The pentatonic scale is just a subset of the diatonic scale, it’s 5 of the 7 notes. These scales evolved independently again and again. No doubt, if there are aliens on other planets, they’re using those same scales as well. There are other scales that get used, but those two scales (and versions of them including modes like the Mixolydian and Dorian) are the clear winners in the race to find a “universal” musical scale.

Also, rhythms are similar or identical between unrelated cultures. Nearly all music is in divisions of 2 or 3. A few cultures use odd time signatures like 11/8, 7/8, etc., but even those longer measures are divided into groups of two and three.

Music IS universal. The end. LOL
Awesome response PushPull. My initial question was a knee-jerk question of the moment (I know it seems a "stupid" question but seemed an odd use of "theory")-since I've been reading and "Lernin" and "recognln' on it. Music, as Art, are universal languages. Speaking of aliens remember Close Encounters of the Turd Kind. It wasn't just the music/sound communication but lights and visual communication also-a digital message likely was always my thinking. Math/Physics is also a universal language and does explain about everything (one of my pet peeves of most biology and anatomy/physiology text books is they are mostly descriptive rather that explaining in terms of math/physics how and why. The Theory of Everything may explain it all eventually LOL.
 

Deafmoon

Member
Studied Theory, Harmony, Form & Analysis for 4 years in the 70's. That said, if you don't study piano (for at least 1 year) all the study in the world is kinda moot.
 
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