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#2017861 - 01/20/13 02:27 PM Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited [Re: PianoStudent88]
rocket88 Offline
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Registered: 09/04/06
Posts: 3191
Nice post, 88. Thank you.

You are correct...it is my basic philosophy that to teach properly, one must explain the basics in such a way that they are firmly established.

However, I surmise that at least some of people reading this thread do not have a teacher, or have one (or had one) that did not cover the basics. (Most of my transfer students have had little or no theory, for example)

That is why it is so important with threads for beginners (on the ABF!) to start at square one, which is what I tried to do with the melody on top explanation.

Yes, there are exceptions to just about everything in music, but I did not see posting about the exception(s) as helpful to a beginner thread. Instead, I saw it as an overload potentially leading to confusion.

But perhaps the thread will "self-focus", as you say, by (here, for example) explaining that the exception is not the usual and common, and perhaps file it away for later use, so as not to confuse; and perhaps my post is one such focus.

All the best...


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#2017882 - 01/20/13 03:02 PM Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited [Re: PianoStudent88]
zrtf90 Offline
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Loc: Ireland (ex England)
Yes, stay with us, rocket88.

Starting out in Analysis is hardly the place for someone starting out in theory but here we are. We are all learning here whether our rôle is on the giving end or receiving end.

We are all 'dipping our toes in to test the water' though some of us, like myself, tend to splash in and muddy the water regardless. Let's all recognise these tendencies to try and accommodate the audience without trying to confuse the absolute beginner, mislead the intermediate, or frustrate the expert. We all have good intentions here even if we sometimes miss the mark.

If there's disagreement with the answers let's assume it's a simplification for didactic purposes and add clarification where it might be considered misleading.

I, too, have blinkered vision and can learn from the breadth of experience here.
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#2017922 - 01/20/13 04:09 PM Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited [Re: rocket88]
keystring Offline
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Originally Posted By: rocket88

My post about the melody being the top note is what beginners need to understand before getting into more complicated things.

I understand this line of thinking, and I want to address it. Theory rudiments is something that I have taught, so for once I am writing from a place of experience, besides that of being a student in other areas.

Beginner things must be presented clearly, simply, and basically. Any concept that you present becomes the foundation for everything that is learned later on. You want to have concrete examples, something to play with etc. I think we're on the same page so far.

I believe strongly that presentations must also be true and accurate. Both as a student, and later in teaching, but especially as student, I have encountered explanations that turned out to be simplifications and not really what the thing was - and it has messed up understanding. What are the possible consequences from this kind of teaching:

- possibility: The student believes that melody is always the top note, and we only hear it that way. Later the teacher expands the explanation, and the student (hopefully) gets the full picture. This is easier if the student didn't try too hard to understand the first time round, and had restricted listening.
- possibility: The student believes that this is the nature of melody, and rejects anything else he hears, even blocking himself from hearing melody in the bass when it occurs, because it doesn't fit what he "knows".
- possibility: The student is open to the real explanation, but he has to recalibrate everything that he thought he understood so far. This is an enormous effort, which could be prevented.

I have experienced all three, and in various areas, not just in music, have had to pull students out of such things. Shortcuts are "easier" in one sense. Say that the "eighth note is half a beat" instead of mapping out relationships to notes, and worry about 3/8 time later when it occurs in music. Say this about melody now, and it will be easy to get the student to think "top line" --- beginner music is written that way. But what about the concepts being formed during the most critical time?

I also believe that beginners can hear or start hearing things which they cannot yet play. In the same way, even with the melody in the top line, a beginner may not yet be capable of bringing out that melody.

I had to work my way out of a number of such misconceptions which I'm sure were written in the books I worked on, or the explanations I was given, with the purest intent. And the hardest thing in teaching is get at a basic concept which is misperceived, and turn that around.

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#2017940 - 01/20/13 04:50 PM Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited [Re: PianoStudent88]
keystring Offline
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In theory we also have a more general meaning of "melodic" vs. "harmonic" which are two theory terms that have been used. In this case, "harmonic" (anything) refers to what we see vertically, as in stacked notes one beneath the other. These are the notes we hear all at the same time. "Melodic" (anything) refers to what we see going across the age vertically, and happens over a period of time from one beat to the next beat. You have "melodic intervals" which means when you play C, then D, then E, and you have "harmonic intervals" which means you are playing CEG or CE both at the same time. Since we are using these terms, I set up my explanation along those lines.

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#2017945 - 01/20/13 05:05 PM Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited [Re: PianoStudent88]
torquenale Offline
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First, thanks to all the excellent tutors that are making great this thread.

Different ways of teaching - different levels of explanation - are welcome. We are students, real or false beginners, but all of us adult and strongly motivated to face a not really basic presentations. Examples are really appreciated.
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#2017989 - 01/20/13 06:58 PM Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited [Re: PianoStudent88]
keystring Offline
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There were some problems with the minor Sad Birthday I wrote so it's gone back to the drawing board.

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#2018087 - 01/21/13 12:12 AM Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited [Re: PianoStudent88]
PianoStudent88 Online   content
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I want to say something about chords, directed towards learning how to name the chords in Happy Birthday 1, and then a little bit extra to explain why the chords in Happy Birthday are "major" chords.

First off, what is a chord?  Perhaps the most basic definition is "several notes played at the same time."

We'll actually be stretching this definition in several ways in the future: naming chords for sets of notes that are not played at the same time, or taking some of the notes and saying they're not part of the chord after all.  But to start with, I think it's safe to start with "several notes played at the same time."

A chord can be any set of notes.  Go ahead, sit at the piano and bring your fingers down anywhere.  That's a chord.  But western music has traditionally used certain combinations more than others.  I think it's useful to start from the simple traditional chords, and only build up later to the wider ranges of chords used more frequently in later eras.

Go to the piano again.  Using just the white keys, play three notes at a time alternating piano keys (that is, skipping one piano key between each piano key that you play).  For example CEG, or DFA, or EGB, etc.  Now pull out some staff paper (or draw a staff with five lines on blank paper) and notate your chords.  All three notes will fall either on three adjacent lines, or on three adjacent spaces.  These are called "triads in root position".  "Triads" because there are three notes.  "Root position" because in each case the "root" of the chord is at the bottom.  (Unfortunately, I can't quite define "root" without simply giving a circular definition, so I'm going to gloss over that.  Hopefully it will become clear by example, or maybe someone else will rescue me with a good definition.  Please note that I am deliberately avoiding talking about intervals yet.)

Pick one of these chords, say CEG.  This is a C major chord.  Now play combinations of C, E and G at the same time, but anywhere on the keyboard and in any order.  Use both hands and see how many Cs, Es and Gs you can cover at the same time.  Include at least one of each note, C, E, and G.  Ta-da!  These are all C major chords.  Notate them on your staff paper if you like.

Repeat with some of the other chords.

At this point you're actually ready to identify the chords in Happy Birthday 1.  All except one of them you can now recognize as "root position triads", and you can read the name from the bottom note of the chord: C, G, or F.  The one chord that isn't in root position, at the start of measure 7, what are its notes?  GCE which is just a scrambled form of CEG, our friend the C major chord.

Let's listen to and look at these chords a little more closely.  I called it a "C major" chord, not just a "C" chord.  What does that mean?

Play your white-key triads starting on C (notes: CEG), starting on F (notes: FAC), and starting on G (notes: GBD).  Now play white-key triads starting on D (notes: DFA), starting on E (notes: EGB), and starting on A (notes: ACE).  Can you hear that the chords in the first set sound similar to each other, and the chords in the second set sound similar to each other?  But the two sets sound different.  If you can hear this, what you're hearing is "major" chords in the first set and "minor" chords in the second set.  If you can't hear it, don't worry: I struggle with it too.  (Try playing CEG vs. CEbG and see if you hear the difference there -- using flats is the approach keystring took earlier; I'm covering similar material but from a different angle.)

Whether or not you could hear the difference, let's count half-steps in a chord from one note to the next.  For example, in CEG.  Start at C.  From C to C#, one half-step.  From C# to D, a 2nd half-step.  From D to D#, a 3rd half-step.  From D# to E, a 4th half-step.  So there are four half-steps from C to E.  Start at E now.  From E to F, one half-step.  From F to F#, a 2nd half-step.  From F# to G, a 3rd half-step.  So there are three half-steps from E to G.  This relation: four half-steps from the first note to the second, and then 3 half-steps from the second note to the third, defines a major triad in root position.  (OK, there's actually a bit of refinement which I'm ignoring having to do with note names, but I think the 4-3 half-steps is sufficient for now.  If we'd started this thread by a linear progression through rudiments, I would just define these chords as two intervals -- a major third and a minor third -- but I'm trying to avoid talking about intervals yet).

Check out the triad starting on F and the triad starting on G.  You should find the same pattern:  4 half-steps, then 3 half-steps.  These are all major triads.  Major chords can be named just with their letter name: we can call these chords C major, F major, and G major.  Or for short we can just say C, F, and G, and the "major" is implicit.

Now check the triads from the second set: starting on D, starting on E, and starting on A.  You should find a different pattern: first 3 half-steps, and then 4 half-steps.  For example in the triad DFA, there are 3 half-steps from D to F, and 4 half-steps from F to A.  This pattern gives a minor triad.  These triads are named D minor, E minor, and A minor.  For short, we can write Dm, Em, and Am.

Practice counting the half-steps, and check that you're coming out with the same answers that I do.  If you don't, please post so we can clarify the discrepancy.

I left the white-key triad starting on B out of our fun and games.  The notes are BDF.  What are the half-step counts from B to D, and from D to F?  Can you hear that this chord sounds different from both the major and the minor chords?  How would you describe the sound?  (Again, you may not be able to hear this difference.). This pattern of 3 half-steps and 3 half-steps gives a "diminished triad.". This chord is called "B diminished", and can be written Bdim for short.  (I should mention that AIUI in lead sheets a "dim" chord often is understood to include a fourth note added to the triad.  I don't want to get into that yet -- perhaps it will suffice to say that there are a lot of conventions about realizing lead sheets and interpreting chord symbols for a modern sound that are beyond this post's initial introduction to chords.)
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#2018088 - 01/21/13 12:13 AM Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited [Re: PianoStudent88]
Valencia Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/06/11
Posts: 256
Thanks so much for everyone for addressing my questions. Your posts are all extremely informative and helpful! It's getting late so I'll be back to post more tomorrow, but I've already learned heaps from this thread and we've only just started! I'm putting music theory and analysis in my daytimer for tomorrow so, see you then...:)

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#2018115 - 01/21/13 01:32 AM Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited [Re: PianoStudent88]
PianoStudent88 Online   content
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Registered: 06/16/11
Posts: 3206
Loc: Maine
My post on chords may look long: it would be so much easier to show you this sitting at the piano with you. If you haven't yet, take the time to explore chords as I described. This material is the first building block for "harmonic analysis". Harmonic analysis means understanding the chords and progressions (sequences of chords) used in a piece, and what effects they create. This can help with deciding what to bring out in a piece, with understanding where the phrases end, with understanding the logic of a piece so it's easier to memorize, with understanding why a piece sounds the way it does, with appreciating a piece's standing (whether typical or revolutionary) in the history of music. And I think it's fun, quite apart from any practical benefits.

Once you've played and worked through that exercise, congratulations! You now know every root-position triad built out of only white keys. That means you know ALL the triads native to the key of C major. How many are there, and what are their names?
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#2018123 - 01/21/13 01:47 AM Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited [Re: keystring]
JohnSprung Offline
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Registered: 08/02/11
Posts: 1651
Loc: Reseda, California
Originally Posted By: keystring
Originally Posted By: rocket88

My post about the melody being the top note is what beginners need to understand before getting into more complicated things.

I understand this line of thinking, and I want to address it. ....


Perhaps a way to handle this would be to replace the single word "always" with: "almost always, and you won't have to deal with the exceptions for quite a while".

As Al used to say, all things should be made as simple as possible, but no simpler.
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#2018128 - 01/21/13 01:50 AM Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited [Re: PianoStudent88]
PianoStudent88 Online   content
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Registered: 06/16/11
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Loc: Maine
Another benefit of harmonic analysis (or, more simply, identifying chords): it can guide you in where to (change) pedal in a piece.
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#2018145 - 01/21/13 02:30 AM Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited [Re: PianoStudent88]
JohnSprung Offline
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Registered: 08/02/11
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Loc: Reseda, California
Originally Posted By: PianoStudent88
I  (I should mention that AIUI in lead sheets a "dim" chord often is understood to include a fourth note added to the triad.  


Interesting -- I haven't seen that. "dim" so far as I've seen means a three note chord. "dim7" is used quite commonly, and "dim9" less so. I suppose you could also write "dim6", but "m6b5" gets you the same chord, and is used more often. If there's a fourth note included in "dim", which one is it?

As for three note chords, there's one more worth mention, Aug.
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#2018159 - 01/21/13 03:49 AM Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited [Re: PianoStudent88]
JohnSprung Offline
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Registered: 08/02/11
Posts: 1651
Loc: Reseda, California
Originally Posted By: PianoStudent88
As a way of getting oriented and not getting bogged down in the too-advanced stuff.....

It would be great if there were some way of maintaining and revising a core text, and updating it as questions are asked about it. Maybe it could be a PDF or text file that you could link to. After a while it would contain the refined polished results of these discussions, and it would be far more useful to beginners because it would be a lot less material to go through than the whole thread. Sort of like a wikipedia article.
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#2018198 - 01/21/13 07:30 AM Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited [Re: PianoStudent88]
zrtf90 Offline
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Registered: 02/29/12
Posts: 2458
Loc: Ireland (ex England)
A diminished chord is two stacked minor thirds. The diminished seventh is yet another minor third again.

In practise "dim" is often used to signify a dim7 chord or a dim7 chord is frequently played in it's stead. The difference in sound does not change the essential character of either chord.

A good reference work on harmony and theory can serve as summary. The bonus of this thread is that even advanced works that would be too much for self study are made understandable by the interaction here.

We can leave the augmented chord until we need it. Let's stick with the triads that are formed from the diatonc major scale first. Hmm?
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#2018220 - 01/21/13 08:25 AM Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited [Re: JohnSprung]
keystring Offline
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Originally Posted By: JohnSprung

It would be great if there were some way of maintaining and revising a core text, and updating it as questions are asked about it. Maybe it could be a PDF or text file that you could link to. After a while it would contain the refined polished results of these discussions, and it would be far more useful to beginners because it would be a lot less material to go through than the whole thread. Sort of like a wikipedia article.

What would have been awesome is if we had a section called "music theory", just like there is a section for composing. And then have a bunch of stickies evolving, one for each topic such as chords, key signatures, chord degrees, which we could refer back to as they evolve.

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#2018228 - 01/21/13 08:46 AM Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited [Re: PianoStudent88]
rocket88 Offline
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Registered: 09/04/06
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Originally Posted By: PianoStudent88

First off, what is a chord?  Perhaps the most basic definition is "several notes played at the same time."

A chord can be any set of notes.  Go ahead, sit at the piano and bring your fingers down anywhere.  That's a chord.


I never teach that a chord is several notes played at the same time.

Play five or six notes in a row, all at once...C, C#, D, D#, E, F, F#, for example.

It sounds horrible, and, unless there is some odd exception somewhere on the planet, a group of random notes (half-steps here, for example) played together is NOT a chord.

It is a mess.

Alfred books teach the "Three notes played together is a chord" thing, so for beginner students, when we reach that in the book, I always clarify the phrase: "A chord is several notes played together that sound good."

I don't have to teach that to more advanced students because they already know that chords are a specific and precise group of notes, not just any.

And of course further (much further) ongoing discussion about chords continues throughout virtually every lesson from then on.

(ps...Yes, I am aware of Schoenberg's 12 tone approach.)
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#2018232 - 01/21/13 09:02 AM Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited [Re: PianoStudent88]
keystring Offline
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I would teach triads first, which is a specific kind of chord consisting of three notes which in root position skips letters and visually is on adjacent lines or spaces. Triad kinds are: major, minor, diminished, augmented. Usually only majors and minors are taught first.

But a chord IS a group of notes played together and belonging together. As horrible as it sounds, C C# D D# E F F# IS a chord and it even has a name: "cluster chord". wink

When you get into more advanced analysis, you have to start deciding which notes that are played at the same time in music are part of the chord, and which are "non chord notes". Chords can get quite complex, and at that point it's your understanding of the music and it's context that lets you decide. I don't think that we'll be dealing with these complex chords in this thread.

PianoStudent88's definition is correct, with the caveat that in more complex music you need to decide which notes belong to the chord.

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#2018253 - 01/21/13 09:46 AM Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited [Re: keystring]
rocket88 Offline
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Registered: 09/04/06
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Originally Posted By: keystring


But a chord IS a group of notes played together and belonging together. As horrible as it sounds, C C# D D# E F F# IS a chord and it even has a name: "cluster chord". wink



Yes, there are cluster chords, and if you want to write a music encyclopedia, then cluster chords do belong.

However, if there ever was a rare item in music, cluster chords would be at the top of that list.

And if there ever was an unpleasant sound in music, its a cluster chord.

And if there ever was something that beginners would never encounter, its a cluster chord.

The only time I see cluster chords in any of my teaching work is when someone makes a mistake and plays the wrong notes. laugh

The focus of this chord discussion has been (appropriately) that chords are groups of notes in a specific pattern. That is true for 99.9 percent of the time.

But if this thread is to morph into a music encyclopedia, rather than a focused teaching for beginners, then yes, include the very rare .001% random notes groups as "chords".

But my students find it very helpful to know that just any old fist-pound of notes is not a chord except in the most esoteric definition.

Stick with triads, root and the inversions, diminished, augmented, sevenths, major and minor, etc. Thats enough for a few years of study and practice.
_________________________
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#2018268 - 01/21/13 10:03 AM Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited [Re: PianoStudent88]
keystring Offline
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Rocket88, if you could bear with me (us) for a moment so that we're all working together. I think I see a couple of things going on. There are some differing teaching philosophies, which we may be getting caught in.

One philosophy gives a broad overview of a subject, and then starts mapping out the details. Another begins with a few select details which it presents in limited form (or not), and then expands those details over time. (What Alfred, which you quoted seems to do.) One might begin with rudiments like RCM does, and another may begin with analysis, and discover the rudiments via analysing pieces. What we have here is probably a hybrid via concerted effort.

Ok - Alfred's presentation:
Quote:
Alfred books teach the "Three notes played together is a chord" thing, so for beginner students, when we reach that in the book, I always clarify the phrase: "A chord is several notes played together that sound good."

Alfred is presenting triads, which are a kind of chord. So Alfred is doing the approach of presenting a detail in a limited manner, expecting to expand on it later. It is also utilitarian - the immediate need is for a student to be able to play the music which has chords and melody. So you give it a simple name, and a fast definition which will work with the kind of music the students will play.

I thought for a long time that triads and chords were the same thing. Then when "seven chords" were added, I expanded my definition to "major chord with a minor third plopped on top". But at some point I had to understand that triads are a type of chord, and that "chord" is to "triad" what "animals" is to "cattle". I'd prefer to know from the onset.

Alfred seems to be introducing the primary and secondary chords that belong to the key signature in diatonic music. In C major, these are I, IV, V (C, F, G chords) for primary, and ii, iii, vi, viio (Dm, Em, Am, Bdim) for secondary - with the last usually skipped in favour of the V7 (G7 - GBDF).

All of these chords except Bdim "sound good" as you say. They are all major and minor chords, so there is no dissonance.

It is GOOD that you are presenting these solid chords this way. Personally I wanted to have a handle on some solid chords that are easily recognized, and where I can see a direct relationship to the music I am playing. If my piece is in C major, and I have an F major chord, I can recognize this triad and I can also see that all of its notes are the notes of the key of C major. That gives me a handle - a reference point.

That said, chords themselves are as broad as PianoStudent88 wrote. If I were starting out I would want to:
a) know that chords are a group of notes that belong together. They can be played at the same time or staggered as in arpeggios and "broken chords".
b) decide to work ONLY with the simple basic chords until I had solid footing.

The men and women here are not children, and are not in any single controlled music program, with varying backgrounds. In that scenario I prefer to give a full idea of what something is, but then suggest to start with simple things in their studies. I include myself in this btw.

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#2018270 - 01/21/13 10:09 AM Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited [Re: keystring]
rocket88 Offline
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Registered: 09/04/06
Posts: 3191
Originally Posted By: keystring

The men and women here are not children,


For your information, the Alfreds book I referred to is the Adult version.
_________________________
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Free Tune from my Blues & Boogie-Woogie Piano CD:

https://app.box.com/files/0/f/0/1/f_2665138101

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#2018274 - 01/21/13 10:12 AM Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited [Re: rocket88]
keystring Offline
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We are studying theory here, and in theory terms need to be defined correctly. A chord is not just triads. A chord is not just the notes belonging to diatonic music. If we give an incorrect definition of chords, it will mess up understanding of theory. The idea that chords only consist of pleasant sounding groups of notes as in major and minor triads is incorrect. It already falls apart for a V7 chord, which contains the dissonance of a major third, as well as a tritone.

These are all chords:
- major, minor, diminished, augmented triads (the latter not sounded that "pleasant" to the ear.
- all seven chords
- cluster chords
- polychords
- C9, C11, C13 etc.
- quartal

And then you also get the chords that have been touched on already which we're skirting because it's too advanced for this thread: you have a pedal tone with chords dancing over it. I'm analyzing a Mozart concerto right now which is "basic" in most things, but it has pedal.

In addition, if you stay with "pleasant sounds", you are avoiding an essential element of music - the movement of dissonance to consonance which is elementary to making music work.

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#2018280 - 01/21/13 10:23 AM Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited [Re: PianoStudent88]
rocket88 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/04/06
Posts: 3191
Quote:

The idea that chords only consist of pleasant sounding groups of notes as in major and minor triads is incorrect. It already falls apart for a V7 chord, which contains the dissonance of a major third, as well as a tritone...


In addition, if you stay with "pleasant sounds", you are avoiding an essential element of music - the movement of dissonance to consonance which is elementary to making music work.


Thank you for schooling me in such elementary topics, Keystring.

For your information, by "pleasant" I meant NOT a cluster-style assemblage of notes, which move way beyond "dissonance" into a sound that everyone I have ever demonstrated it to reacted with "unpleasant", like scratching one's nails on a chalkboard.

Of course dissonance is necessary. (except, of course, not in elevator music...at least some elevator music!)

Have a listen to my free song in my signature line...lots of dissonance, V7 chords, etc.

_________________________
Music teacher and piano player.

Free Tune from my Blues & Boogie-Woogie Piano CD:

https://app.box.com/files/0/f/0/1/f_2665138101

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#2018298 - 01/21/13 10:46 AM Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited [Re: PianoStudent88]
Allard Offline
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Registered: 03/27/12
Posts: 342
Loc: Netherlands
A chord is a couple notes played together, but sitting your butt on a random part of the keyboard does not make a chord.

Sounds like a fine definition to start with. No need to exhaustively list every possible combination until we get to the more complex ones. (Though I do wonder about these dim7 and add9 chords in my book...)
_________________________
David Lanz - Where the Tall Tree Grows
Nobuo Uematsu - Aerith's Theme (Final Fantasy VII Piano Collections)

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#2018300 - 01/21/13 10:49 AM Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited [Re: Allard]
rocket88 Offline
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Registered: 09/04/06
Posts: 3191
Originally Posted By: Allard
A chord is a couple notes played together, but sitting your butt on a random part of the keyboard does not make a chord.


Not in real life, anyways. Good post.
_________________________
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Free Tune from my Blues & Boogie-Woogie Piano CD:

https://app.box.com/files/0/f/0/1/f_2665138101

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#2018350 - 01/21/13 11:48 AM Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited [Re: rocket88]
keystring Offline
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This is an open forum, and a thread where a large number of people are trying to understand basic theory. When I explain something, it is not in order to "school" you, Rocket88. Earlier you corrected Piano88's presentation of what a chord is. You then gave this information:
Quote:
Alfred books teach the "Three notes played together is a chord" thing, so for beginner students, when we reach that in the book, I always clarify the phrase: "A chord is several notes played together that sound good."

This implies, to anyone reading it, that the definition of a chord is: "three notes played together", and also "several notes played together that sound good." This will give people starting out the impression that a chord is only a chord if it is a triad.

For this reason, I took the time to write out some of the possible chords that do exist, in order to correct that impression.

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#2018357 - 01/21/13 12:00 PM Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited [Re: PianoStudent88]
zrtf90 Offline
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Registered: 02/29/12
Posts: 2458
Loc: Ireland (ex England)
Originally Posted By: Allard
A chord is a couple notes played together, but sitting your butt on a random part of the keyboard does not make a chord.


1:20

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#2018367 - 01/21/13 12:12 PM Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited [Re: keystring]
rocket88 Offline
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Registered: 09/04/06
Posts: 3191
Originally Posted By: keystring
This is an open forum, and a thread where a large number of people are trying to understand basic theory. When I explain something, it is not in order to "school" you, Rocket88. Earlier you corrected Piano88's presentation of what a chord is. You then gave this information:
Quote:
Alfred books teach the "Three notes played together is a chord" thing, so for beginner students, when we reach that in the book, I always clarify the phrase: "A chord is several notes played together that sound good."

This implies, to anyone reading it, that the definition of a chord is: "three notes played together", and also "several notes played together that sound good." This will give people starting out the impression that a chord is only a chord if it is a triad.


My original post will only give that impression if the reader were to read just the fragment of the post as quoted by you.

The actual meaning of my post, if one reads it fully, is to show for beginners that a fist-pound selection of notes is not a chord, unless you get into esoterica.

My post was in direct response to this from PianoStudent88:

Quote:
First off, what is a chord? Perhaps the most basic definition is "several notes played at the same time.


To which you countered with "cluster chords", an odd and rare thing.

As with many threads for beginners, they often morph into people sharing encyclopedic amounts of knowledge.

IMHO, that can be good if the student is in the teaching studio, and the teacher can see whether or not the student is getting it, or is overwhelmed by the avalanche of minutae.

On the web, there are some who will get it, but others will be overwhelmed, and the poster of the avalanche most likely will never hear of their confusion.

But the teacher in me always looks out for the little guy, and always wants to make sure that no one is left behind by a blizzard of info.

Keystring, I have made two attempts in this thread to simplify concepts for beginners (Melody usually on top, Chords not a random mess of notes but a pattern).

In each, you have countered with an encyclopedic showing of your knowledge.

That is a very different approach from mine, an approach that I have never found helpful in teaching adults or children.

I will add that I do agree with you that a quick overview of the overall topic (which I do with some people who I can see are "getting it") is helpful to show that there is more to it than what we are teaching at the moment.

But most know that there is more to it because they are, after all, "beginners", and they know they are beginners, and the music they hear others play contains more that a root triad. laugh

But the operative word is "quick" because I have yet to have a beginner who is learning about chords understand any of the advanced chords. They usually have enough to deal with with inversions!

So if you are going to be the "thread police" and search for all the available exceptions however odd or rare to correct me, then carry on!

You have a lot of good information, just a very different style, and I do not have the time to constantly re-explain myself in an attempt to keep it understandable for the folks.
_________________________
Music teacher and piano player.

Free Tune from my Blues & Boogie-Woogie Piano CD:

https://app.box.com/files/0/f/0/1/f_2665138101

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#2018392 - 01/21/13 12:49 PM Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited [Re: PianoStudent88]
keystring Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11851
Loc: Canada
Rocket88, before responding to your post, I wrote posts of my own. A post which responds cannot be as clearly set out. I covered each topic in a clear and careful manner. It is meant to be studied and maybe kept somewhere. It is not "encyclopedic" - it gives the necessary information. My response to you was of a different order, and here I am also writing to an advanced musician.

This thread attempts to teach basic theory via examples of music, which began with Happy Birthday. The problem with that is that if you want to discuss chords, key signatures, cadences, Dominant etc., the students need to have basic knowledge OF chords, key signatures, cadences etc. For that reason I created reference material.

This is not how I teach when I teach rudiments. Some of the things that I covered in a single post encompass two or three separate chapters in the source book I use. We also don't launch straight into a concept's definition. We explore with concrete things, via experience, build the definition, make sure it's understood, and then work with it.

But the fact is that there is this disparate group of people with all kinds of backgrounds gathering in one place, considering examples drawn form music, and analyzing for chords, degrees, intervals, cadences and whatnot. Some kind of basic concepts have to be there. And we're all winging it.

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#2018393 - 01/21/13 12:57 PM Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited [Re: rocket88]
keystring Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11851
Loc: Canada
Originally Posted By: rocket88


The actual meaning of my post, if one reads it fully, is to show for beginners that a fist-pound selection of notes is not a chord, unless you get into esoterica.

I usually suggest to anyone that the first step in responding to a post is to ask, "What did you mean by this?" or "Did you mean xxx, which is how I'm understanding your post?" So I'm getting that the impressions I got are not the message you were trying to convey.

Thank you for your explanations.


Edited by keystring (01/21/13 01:11 PM)
Edit Reason: simplified

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#2018394 - 01/21/13 01:00 PM Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited [Re: rocket88]
zrtf90 Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/29/12
Posts: 2458
Loc: Ireland (ex England)
Originally Posted By: rocket88
I never teach that a chord is several notes played at the same time.

The Oxford Dictionary of Music, a very respectable publication, defines a chord as "Any simultaneous combination of notes, but usually not fewer than 3". (So now we can sit at the piano or on it to produce chords.)

We don't have to introduce or study more chords than is necessary but we do need to define our terms correctly whoever is the intended audience.
_________________________
Richard

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