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#2061435 - 04/08/13 06:59 PM Music theory. Who loves it, who hates it???
dynamobt Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/07/13
Posts: 715
Loc: NH
I will admit that I'm not a fan. Any ideas of making it more interesting or relevant? I just can't seem to force myself to study it.
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#2061441 - 04/08/13 07:09 PM Re: Music theory. Who loves it, who hates it??? [Re: dynamobt]
LarryShone Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/01/10
Posts: 856
Loc: Darlington, UK
I love it,I just don't have a great understanding of it.
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#2061442 - 04/08/13 07:13 PM Re: Music theory. Who loves it, who hates it??? [Re: dynamobt]
heathermphotog Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/19/12
Posts: 90
Loc: Georgia
I love it too, but then again I'm a bit of a geek smile

Although I must say that I think children's method books make it more interesting and relevant IMHO. Have you tried any?
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Knabe WMV247
“When you play, never mind who listens to you.” ― Robert Schumann
“The piano ain't got no wrong notes.” ― Thelonious Monk

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#2061448 - 04/08/13 07:29 PM Re: Music theory. Who loves it, who hates it??? [Re: dynamobt]
PaperClip Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/21/09
Posts: 522
Loc: Amsterdam, Holland
I would love it, if I could afford lessons from a teacher. But just reading it, I find it kinda dull. And that I hate.
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Playing since May 02 2009

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#2061452 - 04/08/13 07:32 PM Re: Music theory. Who loves it, who hates it??? [Re: dynamobt]
Polyphonist Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/03/13
Posts: 7707
Loc: New York City
I hated it when I had to learn it, until I understood it and why it was so brilliant and why music couldn't exist without it. Now I love it. You'll find that's true for many things. smile
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#2061468 - 04/08/13 07:53 PM Re: Music theory. Who loves it, who hates it??? [Re: dynamobt]
hamlet cat Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/01/13
Posts: 103
Loc: Mojave Desert
I'm with Larry and Heather on this one. Theory is great. Sometimes I feel that I'm a bit slow to absorb it though. But its worth the work to understand it. I think in time it will pay dividends in my playing and ability to compose down the road.

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#2061490 - 04/08/13 08:50 PM Re: Music theory. Who loves it, who hates it??? [Re: dynamobt]
Sand Tiger Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/25/12
Posts: 1086
Loc: Southern California
How about both? The websites and books tend to make my eyes glaze over. It's as if the authors of those, speak in ancient Greek and I have zero idea about how it relates to the music that I know. Sometimes the jargon can be intimidating.

However, when someone can show me, with sound, with motion, or perhaps pointing at elements of a score and telling me the context, and I get it, it feels like a veil lifting.
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#2061501 - 04/08/13 09:13 PM Re: Music theory. Who loves it, who hates it??? [Re: Sand Tiger]
dynamobt Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/07/13
Posts: 715
Loc: NH
Maybe that's my problem with it, as I have only tried to learn it on my own through books. I'm 61. I loved to study various subjects when younger. Now,I just want to learn new music and play it well. Studying? Blech!!!

Maybe if I worked with someone one on one and had it more explained to me, I might like it better. I'll admit that I'm terrible on chords. I thought I'd hit the jackpot when I finally after years could figure out the key signature of a piece! But simply memorizing stuff like the circle of fifths just turns me off.
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#2061531 - 04/08/13 09:49 PM Re: Music theory. Who loves it, who hates it??? [Re: dynamobt]
Polyphonist Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/03/13
Posts: 7707
Loc: New York City
Originally Posted By: dynamobt
But simply memorizing stuff like the circle of fifths just turns me off.


It's one of the most basic, rudimentary elements of an understanding of theory. Next you're going to tell us you don't know the order of flats or sharps, or what a triad is. And you aspire to learn music and play it well?
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#2061542 - 04/08/13 09:57 PM Re: Music theory. Who loves it, who hates it??? [Re: dynamobt]
dynamobt Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/07/13
Posts: 715
Loc: NH
I do know the order of the sharps and flats. But, I said in my intro that I did not have a good teacher when I was young. Theory was not hardly mentioned at all. The real truth is that the first time I even heard of the circle of fifths was about ten years ago.

If I play well, it is because I have listened to good music for all these years. I know how a piece should sound. And I try to play as cloe to how I hear the music in my head. I really don't know a lot of music theory. I know I probably should know it. Just rote studying is tedious. So, I end up not doing it. I'm just telling the truth.
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#2061552 - 04/08/13 10:02 PM Re: Music theory. Who loves it, who hates it??? [Re: dynamobt]
Polyphonist Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/03/13
Posts: 7707
Loc: New York City
Originally Posted By: dynamobt
I do know the order of the sharps and flats. But, I said in my intro that I did not have a good teacher when I was young. Theory was not hardly mentioned at all. The real truth is that the first time I even heard of the circle of fifths was about ten years ago.

If I play well, it is because I have listened to good music for all these years. I know how a piece should sound. And I try to play as cloe to how I hear the music in my head. I really don't know a lot of music theory. I know I probably should know it. Just rote studying is tedious. So, I end up not doing it. I'm just telling the truth.


I'd call the circle of fifths anything but rote learning, unless you are learning it without any comprehension of why you are doing so. I find it very intuitive and logical, and there are patterns in it which make perfect sense with all other aspects of theory.
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#2061559 - 04/08/13 10:21 PM Re: Music theory. Who loves it, who hates it??? [Re: dynamobt]
jotur Online   blank
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/16/06
Posts: 5639
Loc: Santa Fe, NM
I am fortunate that theory has always related to something I'm playing. When I returned to piano after about a 30-year break I started by playing oom-pah behind some fiddles. So I had to learn to read chord charts. So first I figured out major triads, and I knew I could do inversions because they're all inverted on a guitar laugh Then at some point I had to look up what a minor triad was. And then I got curious about the chord progressions, so I picked up on the I-IV-V. So it was organic to me. By the time I took a theory course at the community college mostly it kind of tied together stuff I already had some knowledge of.

For me, that's the way to learn theory.

Cathy
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#2061569 - 04/08/13 10:41 PM Re: Music theory. Who loves it, who hates it??? [Re: dynamobt]
Mark Polishook Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/29/12
Posts: 728
Loc: Leicester, UK
One of the reasons theory can seem so irrelevant is it's often taught badly and w/out any real understanding on the part of the teacher. And music theory books usually, but not always, are not written by the most gifted writers. And/or theory books are written as textbooks for classes where the assumption is the book is a collection of formal rules to be used as a reference.

To give one example, the the circle of fifths is a beginning step w/theory. But just knowing the circle of fifths is, well, useless unless you know some way or another to apply that information to some musical goal - such as learning how to emphasise circle-of-fifth patterns to highlight phrases that use them. Or making phrases that use circle-of-fifth patterns sound related - or contrasting - in some way or another. That said, more than a few musicians know nothing about theory but play gorgeously because they have a strong sense of what the music they're playing should sound like. So they intuitively hear patterns, such as the circle of fifths, and however they do it, they know that those patterns require a certain kind of interpretive approach.

If you can find a way or a teacher to open the door and show how much it can help you in music making, well, then, that's the way to go about it. But if theory is just there for rote learning and no practical application, well, it probably is pretty useless.

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#2061630 - 04/09/13 12:40 AM Re: Music theory. Who loves it, who hates it??? [Re: dynamobt]
Sand Tiger Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/25/12
Posts: 1086
Loc: Southern California
BobPickle gathered a lot of resources and questions in this older thread:

http://www.pianoworld.com/forum/ubbthreads.php/topics/1992607/Music_Theory_101_Ask_your_theo.html

link

Like I said, I have found many traditional approaches to teaching theory to be boring, bordering on painful. That said, I'm sure that some beginners reading this thread will connect with some of the material and find great value in it.

I'm glad Printer1 chimed in. Many good musicians know some of this stuff intuitively, or know it when they hear it, or play it, or see it on a score, or when they write music, but can not verbalize it in the jargon that theory folks often like to use.

For example, I still don't quite understand why the circle of fifths is made out to be such a big deal. Yes, I studied it, printed it out, looked at it over and over because so many told me it was such a foundation to music. Yes, I see that many folks use some variation on it, for chord progressions.

I am still missing something. Printer1 explains it better than most, but I am not close to the point where I understand it enough to use the Circle of Fifths as a tool in my own original compositions. And the next step to explain to someone else why I used it here, and not there. That would be understanding, and I am not close.
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#2061636 - 04/09/13 12:56 AM Re: Music theory. Who loves it, who hates it??? [Re: dynamobt]
Bobpickle Offline

Gold Supporter until July 10  2014


Registered: 05/24/12
Posts: 1383
Loc: Cameron Park, California
printer said it all. I love it, but only when - and thus because - it's relevant to what I'm playing or honestly think I will be playing in the near future (otherwise it's likely to be forgotten knowledge if unused for too long). Fortunately, knowledge of basic notation, musical form, [jazz] chord theory, and functional (and/or jazz) harmony are essential to understanding any given piece of music and so they're not only interesting to know and learn, but they also significantly facilitate accelerated learning and progress (something that interests everyone).

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#2061640 - 04/09/13 01:05 AM Re: Music theory. Who loves it, who hates it??? [Re: dynamobt]
Bobpickle Offline

Gold Supporter until July 10  2014


Registered: 05/24/12
Posts: 1383
Loc: Cameron Park, California
Thanks for the mention, too, Sand Tiger. My teacher loves the circle of fifths; he thinks it akin to a musical pandora's box - housing all kinds of secrets and wonderful information.

The lessons at http://www.musictheory.net/lessons under "Chord Progressions" near the bottom may interest you.

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#2061668 - 04/09/13 02:58 AM Re: Music theory. Who loves it, who hates it??? [Re: dynamobt]
rnaple Offline

Silver Supporter until April 24 2014


Registered: 12/23/10
Posts: 2107
Loc: Rocky Mountains
I have not looked at the link of Bobpickle's, yet. Although I am on the track of learning piano with theory. I am interested in writing music. In composing melodies.

I won't get into explaining about me. I've learned just a little so far. My teacher has verified that once I learn all the theory. Which is not easy. Once learned, the music comes alive on a sheet of paper. There is much understanding. It all really does work together and gives understanding. It isn't just a bunch of rationalizations so you can look at notes and play.

All this said. I still have always enjoyed music. Have always wanted to play piano. It's entertaining myself.
_________________________
Ron
Your brain is a sponge. Keep it wet. Mary Gae George
The focus of your personal practice is discipline. Not numbers. Scott Sonnon

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#2061747 - 04/09/13 08:04 AM Re: Music theory. Who loves it, who hates it??? [Re: dynamobt]
TrapperJohn Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/11/08
Posts: 3596
Loc: Chocolatetown, USA
I love it...at least in theory...
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#2061786 - 04/09/13 10:04 AM Re: Music theory. Who loves it, who hates it??? [Re: dynamobt]
Farmerjones Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/25/12
Posts: 202
Loc: USA
I've been playing instruments in the folk tradition since the early 80s. I've found in 3 decades, I've absorbed much more theory than I thought. One eventually gets to a point where one has to describe or relay an idea, so one learns bit by bit. But it has been mentioned, learning anything without a practical application is tuff. Be it music theory, mathematics, or a foreign language. Essential no. There was music much before Pythagorean theorem.


Edited by Farmerjones (04/09/13 10:06 AM)

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#2061797 - 04/09/13 10:24 AM Re: Music theory. Who loves it, who hates it??? [Re: dynamobt]
peterws Online   content
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/21/12
Posts: 3797
Loc: Northern England.
Wen I had to do it, I did it. When I stopped taking lessons, I stopped it, but some must`ve stuck. To me, doing scales and other stuff is theory . . I don`t do `em!
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#2061825 - 04/09/13 11:12 AM Re: Music theory. Who loves it, who hates it??? [Re: dynamobt]
Andy Platt Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/28/10
Posts: 2417
Loc: Virginia, USA
I find it all relatively straightforward - I'm currently on the final book in the Snell/Ashleigh "Fundamentals of Piano Theory" series which is further than anyone in the studio so far. So I presumably love it more than others.

But at the end of the day it's a tool. If it doesn't help with my piano playing, I ignore it. But it does help, particularly with reading and memorization, so I have to love that!

But in it's own right? Not so much.
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#2061907 - 04/09/13 12:57 PM Re: Music theory. Who loves it, who hates it??? [Re: dynamobt]
Mark Polishook Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/29/12
Posts: 728
Loc: Leicester, UK
circle of fifths and why it's useful .... if you're playing Bach 2 & 3 part inventions notice they ALWAYS begin in whatever key they're in and they ALWAYS modulate from that key to the key of the dominant .... for example, C major to G major. Once you see that pattern you know something about ALL Bach 2 & 3 part inventions. And you mAy start to hear that pattern in Beethoven, Mozart, etc.

In jazz, look at Autumn Leaves. The 1st 8 measures are a COF pattern. Practice that pattern in a bunch of other keys and you'll hear it (and variants) pop up all over the place!

... patterns, patterns smile

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#2061912 - 04/09/13 01:03 PM Re: Music theory. Who loves it, who hates it??? [Re: dynamobt]
Mark Polishook Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/29/12
Posts: 728
Loc: Leicester, UK
ummmm ... what most call music 'theory' could just as well be called music 'grammar.'

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#2061922 - 04/09/13 01:16 PM Re: Music theory. Who loves it, who hates it??? [Re: TrapperJohn]
heathermphotog Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/19/12
Posts: 90
Loc: Georgia
Originally Posted By: TrapperJohn
I love it...at least in theory...


grin ha
_________________________
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Knabe WMV247
“When you play, never mind who listens to you.” ― Robert Schumann
“The piano ain't got no wrong notes.” ― Thelonious Monk

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#2061930 - 04/09/13 01:30 PM Re: Music theory. Who loves it, who hates it??? [Re: dynamobt]
Plowboy Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/26/08
Posts: 2384
Loc: SoCal
Theory is very relevant. Knowing theory helps your reading, which helps you learn a piece quicker, which expands the number of pieces you play. It's great.
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#2061955 - 04/09/13 02:02 PM Re: Music theory. Who loves it, who hates it??? [Re: dynamobt]
dynamobt Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/07/13
Posts: 715
Loc: NH
So, we did a bit of theory at my request at my lesson today. I'm working on the A minor Waltz of Chopin. It's relevant when I see what's going on in a piece of music. Just studying for the sake of studying has gotten me nowhere. So, today was good!
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#2061999 - 04/09/13 03:11 PM Re: Music theory. Who loves it, who hates it??? [Re: Plowboy]
torquenale Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/29/12
Posts: 348
Loc: Italy
Originally Posted By: Plowboy
Theory is very relevant. Knowing theory helps your reading, which helps you learn a piece quicker, which expands the number of pieces you play. It's great.

I agree, and I would like to learn more. But I don't have much time to play, and I don't want to reduce practice time in order to study theory. At work I'm daily studying something, so in the evening find more relaxing practicing and playing.
Maybe I'll try to study music theory during summer holidays, because I know it is really helpful.
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#2062015 - 04/09/13 03:29 PM Re: Music theory. Who loves it, who hates it??? [Re: dynamobt]
Polyphonist Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/03/13
Posts: 7707
Loc: New York City
Theory really does bear similarities to grammar.
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Polyphonist

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#2062077 - 04/09/13 05:50 PM Re: Music theory. Who loves it, who hates it??? [Re: dynamobt]
rnaple Offline

Silver Supporter until April 24 2014


Registered: 12/23/10
Posts: 2107
Loc: Rocky Mountains
Have you ever talked on the phone to one of these call centers that is in another country? Like India? The person speaks english. But during the conversation, you realize they don't understand english. There is only a superficial communication going on.

That is the way it is with music and theory. If you don't know theory. You're only playing superficially. No real communication is going on with the song.
_________________________
Ron
Your brain is a sponge. Keep it wet. Mary Gae George
The focus of your personal practice is discipline. Not numbers. Scott Sonnon

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#2062100 - 04/09/13 06:59 PM Re: Music theory. Who loves it, who hates it??? [Re: heathermphotog]
TrapperJohn Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/11/08
Posts: 3596
Loc: Chocolatetown, USA
Originally Posted By: heathermphotog
Originally Posted By: TrapperJohn
I love it...at least in theory...


grin ha


It's clear that you're a supremely intelligent woman with a finely honed sense of humor smile
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Every difficulty slurred over will be a ghost to disturb your repose later on. Frederic Chopin

Current favorite bumper sticker: Wag more, bark less.

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