How Much Influence Does Theory Have On Your Playing?

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How Much Influence Does Theory Have On Your Playing?

Postby shredaholic » Sat Mar 20, 2010 1:27 am

I'm interested to see what everyone says for this. Personally I find it something that I tend to fall back on when improvisation or composition starts to run dry, but then again I wonder if I'm always using it subconsciously to some degree...
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Re: How Much Influence Does Theory Have On Your Playing?

Postby TheWannabeMusician » Fri Apr 23, 2010 6:09 pm

When I started playing, I used only one scale and stayed there, and never did anything other than patterns and stuff. Now, after almost a year of playing jazz, that changed a lot. Nowadays I'm way more concious of chords, how I can briefly change the scale I'm playing on a couple of chords.

Also, at first I didn't use any chords other than normal minor/major chords. That, too, changed a lot since I started playing jazz. The most difficult jazz songs I've learnt are Straight no Chaser (walking bass 8-) ) and Lullaby of Birdland. Very educational, I guess, and enjoyable too.

I like using complex theory stuff, but if I haven't excessively studied the rhythm, it's not of much use. Can't do advanced stuff, most of the times connected to weird chords, without knowing the chords. Yet I still hear it when a harmonic minor, for example, is in place. Also if it's the next chord I can use it on. It's strange, but logic at the same time. 'Cause the only reason we have music theory is because our aural brain thing likes to hear that stuff. Of course a lot of it comes naturally, theory is just a way of understanding why it sounds good, or if not good, why it has that charakter, and a way of repeating it.
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Re: How Much Influence Does Theory Have On Your Playing?

Postby ONEbpm » Fri Apr 23, 2010 10:54 pm

Hey all,

I got a book by Arnie Berle not too long ago and I'm learning some Jazz but Verrrrrry slowly since I'm doing it on my own. I know some theory, but I can't read a lick. I know for example that an A5 chord (two notes) is not even a chord but an intreval. God that drives me nuts when I see people playing it. It's neither major nor what can't you impovise over it??????

I decided to expand my horizons and learn more than just major and minor chords after seeing the movie Let it Be by the Beatles. One of them was saying " What's after the G there??? Are we going with Major 7th?" I was stunned! I had no idea that they knew more chords than most of the people covering their tunes. No wonder their tunes were so popular, their chords were complex compared to today's A5. I learned the makeup of the 7th chord from a Metal Method cassette tape somewhere in the 80ies..."the seventh chord doesn't even contain a's a flatted seventh...".

I recently discovered the Major 6th chord. I like the sound of it. Sometimes I do what I call noodling as apposed to shredding. I'll play some strange chord I don't know the name of, then follow it with whatever sounds good. It's starts getting into the chord-melody area. The only thing that stops me from playing Jazz is the backing chords. I have a good enough ear to impovise over what I hear and not sound too retarted, but playing the chords behind the next soloist would leave me lost, unless I knew the tune entirely.

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Re: How Much Influence Does Theory Have On Your Playing?

Postby cob » Wed Oct 12, 2011 10:37 pm

Theory shows up in my writing and playing frequently. In writing, I always consider the theory behind what I'm doing, following voiceleading, the push and pull of music, and figuring out chord progressions as necessary. I've been cracking down on my modal theory lately; its been helping me with some improvised solos with the band I'm currently playing with
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