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notlob 09-06-2006 05:17 AM

Dr. Music
ok, fine, maybe i did rip-off Deans idea of a 'Question and Answer' thread.. but there are many distinct differences here.

This thread is for any musician of any instrument really, and its basis is very much musical theory and instrumental technique.

Having played guitar (and other lutes) for 4 years now, playing trumpet for 3 years, and done music theory for 6 years, please do ask about whatever problems you're having with instrumental technique, no matter what the instrument or theory question is, i'm almost totally confident i can answer any of your questions, mostly based on experience.

So ask away, and i shall do my best to answer :biggrin:

(sorry dean, for stealing the thread idea but it is different in a sense, your's was solely guitar-based, as for mine being a more, all rounded musical thread)

Kali 09-06-2006 05:30 AM

Re: Dr. Music
ok, a tester question: how do you make a flute flatter or sharper?

notlob 09-06-2006 05:42 AM

Re: Dr. Music
hehe, good start,

a flute, due to its design (3 sectors = 1 mouthpeice, 2 key-sectors) has to be adjusted to have its tuning set properly, in the key of Concert C (that is the key for regular concert flutes, there are many other types of flute but tuning has the same concept).

To do this, you slide the mouthpeice in to the first key-sector, and with the assistance of a tuner, adjust it by pushing the flute mouthpeice furthur in (to make it sharper, and pull the mouthpeice out slightly (to make it flatter), it does take a while to get an accurate tuning, but it's all worth it.

Nothing worse than playing out of tune :grin:

Kali 09-06-2006 06:01 AM

Re: Dr. Music
well done kiddo.

*Lady Macbeth* 09-06-2006 12:22 PM

Re: Dr. Music

in your 6 years of studying music theory, did you happen to do grade 5?

i've never come across anything in music as tedious as the alto clef. what a waste of time- like matrices in maths.

where's middle c in them, again?

EmperorChaos 09-06-2006 01:56 PM

Re: Dr. Music
*scratches head*


*runs to Wikipedia*

Hmm... I got nothing. I really want to think of a good question though. Keep your eyes peeled Hashim. I'm coming for you.

(And I promise that any question I do query will be something of which I sincerely want to know. I'm not going to try to throw you off or anything.)

notlob 09-06-2006 03:18 PM

Re: Dr. Music

Originally Said by *Lady Macbeth* (Post 230567)

in your 6 years of studying music theory, did you happen to do grade 5?

i've never come across anything in music as tedious as the alto clef. what a waste of time- like matrices in maths.

where's middle c in them, again?

i haven't done grade 5, the highest i've gotten to was grade 4, but it doesn't matter, i'll help you all i can anyway.

Ah the alto clef.. such a pointless stave indeed, but hey, without it, Viola players would have a hard time (being that their lowest string is tuned to a C).. but anyway, the Alto Clef is given the shape it has for simplicity (which is rather laughable given its shape). The alto clef is drawn in such a way, over the 5 stave lines, to show that Middle-C is on the middle line of the stave (rather convinient i might add). Notice the clef's shape, it's like 2 backward 'C's connected by a sideways 'V' if you will... the line that C is set onto, is the central line (and line of symmetry too).
In relation to the treble cleff, you could say that C, now lies where B is on the treble cleff, so transposing is simple, just take everything a semitone down.. but anyway

To answer your question directly:

The middle-C is on the centre line of the Alto Clef stave.


on a totally different note:

Jason, Bring It On!


moonlight_serenade 09-06-2006 08:31 PM

Re: Dr. Music

Originally Said by notlob (Post 230582)
on a totally different note:

Ahahahaha... Note! Get it? Get it? Huh? Ah, bad puns...


On topic: Honestly, double flats and sharps are useless. Wouldn't it just be easier to write the note with a natural sign in front of it to cancel any other flats/sharps in the key sig?

notlob 09-07-2006 04:01 AM

Re: Dr. Music
haha well spotted moonlight_serenade :tongue:

as for double flats and sharps, honestly, i've never seen the point in them, as i agree with you, it's easier to just put a natural sign instead of having to confuse everyone.. but that's just how it is, i believe the classical composers found it easier to comprehend... i'm not entirely sure

but i know one thing, it may be absurd... but at least its not as pathetic as 'half-sharps or '3/4-sharps' cos that's just absurd...

anyway, yes it is just alot easier and less time consuming if you just put the natural sign. It depends on a musicians preference and what they find easier..

me inside 09-07-2006 04:11 AM

Re: Dr. Music
I do have some quest. i would like to ask you notlob:
Well, i have been playing the drums for quite a few years now. And my enthusiasm to the whole thng hasnt grown much. Anyways, i was really excited on learning the cello, yet im afraid if so, Id lose my other talent of playing the drums. Only because i have time for only one instrument. what do u think?

notlob 09-07-2006 04:32 AM

Re: Dr. Music
hehe, i know how you feel man, i've gone through this,
i played trumpet for a few years before i started guitar... but i enjoyed guitar more.. and my mistake was, that i gave up trumpet for it cos i enjoyed it so much... now then, my advice to you is simple:

never say that you don't have enough time, because if you plan your times out right, you should be able to carry on with both.
for example:
say you practise drums for 4 hours a day, cut down your practise time to 2 hours on drums, and 2 hours on cello.
you can practise drums one day, cello the next, and just alternate between them both.

now, if it comes down to having to choose one insturment out of the two, i can't help you, it all depends on which you find more fun, and which you really like.. so if it comes down to it, make the choice you think is right.

Kali 09-07-2006 05:03 AM

Re: Dr. Music
all three of us have been through the whole 'two instruments what do i do' quandry - hashim, as he said, with trumpet and guitar, me with flute and piano, little one with clarinet and bass now.

the fact is that all of this pales in comparison to people who can play every wind instrument, or every brass instrument or whatever else [and there are people like this outside of stardom - they taught at my old school].

just bear in mind that the more you love music, the more you make time for it, and the more you'll get out of it at the end of the day.

EmperorChaos 09-07-2006 05:14 AM

Re: Dr. Music

Originally Said by Kali (Post 230672)
the fact is that all of this pales in comparison to people who can play every wind instrument, or every brass instrument or whatever else

Yes, like my late great-grandfather, Frederick Elias Sabback.

Quoted from some magazine obituary I found on google:

Fred E. Sabback, Charleston, SC, died Sept. 3, 2002. An accomplished music teacher, he was the founder of 13 music schools in South Carolina and Georgia. In 1955, his orchestra appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show, and in 1956, performed at Carnegie Hall. He is survived by two sons, eight grandchildren, 15 great-grandchildren and a great-great-grandchild.
Damn, has it been four years since my Jiddi died. Sad.

And what's also sad is that I can barely play the drums and he could play 43 instruments!!

ablethevoice 09-07-2006 09:06 AM

Re: Dr. Music
Wow, you guys. That exchange between moonlight and you notlob utterly lost me. As I taught myself to play drums by ear, and I am teaching myself to play keyboards by ear, I know NOTHING about written music or music theory. I will, however be reading this thread with great interest because even if I am musically "illiterate", I still consider myself a musician of sorts and anything read here can only add to my fund of knowledge on the subject.

Hell, I don't even know what key the pieces I play are in!:laugh: :ermm:

notlob 09-07-2006 09:56 AM

Re: Dr. Music
hmm, that is interesting.
i understand that you don't know your keys, being a drummer and all.. but being a keyboardist and not knowing the key that you're playing in is astounding!

Keys are relatively simple, that is, if you know your scales, which i'm assuming you do..
Anyway, there are 3 ways to find the Key of a song.. 2 proper ways.. and 1 not-so-proper way.

The Proper Ways

1. Looking at the key signature at the start of a peice of music.
The key signature is normally found in the form of sharp or flat signs next to the treble clef (or whatever clef you're in) and it can be found in the middle of a peice to show a key change (if indeed, there is one).
Each key to a peice of music has it's own number of sharps or flats, and each key signature is assigned to 1 major key, and one minor key

The Key's are as follows:

0 = C major / A minor
1 = G major / E minor
2 = D major / B minor
3 = A major / F minor
4 = E major / C minor
5 = B major / G minor
6 = F# major / D minor
7 = C# major / A minor

0 = C major / A minor
1 = F major / D minor
2 = Bb major / G minor
3 = Eb major / C minor
4 = Ab major / F minor
5 = Db major / Bb minor
6 = Gb major / Eb minor
7 = Cb major / Ab minor

to remember them, i used wikipedia to help on these 4 points:

- No sharps or flats is C major
- One flat is F major
- For more than one flat, the (major) key is the next-to-last flat.
- For any number of sharps, take the last sharp and go up one semitone to get the (major) key

2. Knowing the right scale of a peice.
Now, this is simple, if you're messing around to a song, like, playing over it and just improvising and doing whatever, if you are playing a scale that works with the song, there is a high high chance that you are playing in the right key, so if you're playing in C minor, you'll be playing in the key of C minor but of course, there are many other intricacies in it.

now then

The Not-So-Proper Way

The starting chord:
The starting chord sometimes (not always) tells you the key immidiately! for example the beginning of Roundabout by Yes, the starting chord is an E minor chord, so the key of the peice is E minor!

it doesn't always apply, but yeah.. that's it :grin:

ablethevoice 09-07-2006 10:55 AM

Re: Dr. Music

Originally Said by notlob (Post 230705)
...that is, if you know your scales, which i'm assuming you do..

LOL... actually, I don't. When I say I play by ear, I mean that in the most literal sense. My fingers are like pieces of concrete and pretty much everything after the bass and rhythm lines are "felt/heard" out. I can have the bass and drum line laid out in CEP and I might do 20 takes on the lead line before I hit one I like. (Dark Strut comes to mind here. The atonal parts were deliberate. I was trying to emulate Keith Emerson's style of hitting deliberately wrong notes that sound "right" like he did a lot in The Nice, and to a lesser extent in ELP). What I decided to keep wasn't exactly what I heard in my mind but it was pretty close.

I get really frustrated when I hear in my mind a piece and literally can't pick it out on the keys. I have several huge and ambitious pieces still in my head that I've tried to get out into real sound, but they just aren't working out:angry: :puzzled:

Most everything on the podcast started in my mind as a much different piece. I admit that afterward, I am happy with what I've produced in its own right, but it really isn't what I had in mind when I started.

I realize that knowing this might take down the respect level you might have in me as a musician, but it's the truth. I must say though, that what I did in the first couple of months of playing keys (about 2 years ago) was noise compared to what I'm doing now. And , yeah, I admit that what I'm doing now probably isn't exactly "music" to a lot of folks who listen anyway.

I'll continue, though. I do this for fun (which it is, although it's hard work too) and I can only hope what I do is pleasant to others as well.

notlob 09-07-2006 11:04 AM

Re: Dr. Music
no respect lost mate. i understand how it is writing a song which ends up totally different to how you wanted it to start, we've all done it.. well... not all, but i have, that's for sure.

as for the scales thing, one musician does spring to mind who has the same thing you do, and he is 'Slash' from Guns 'n' Roses. He didn't know his scales, he just went by what he thought sounded right, the only peice of scale theory he knew was his pentatonic scale.. that's all.. the rest of it was just improvised on notes, not scales... so don't feel left out here hehe Slash did it too!
You've lost no respect from me, in-fact, if anything, you've gained it.. being able to write a full song without any knowledge of scales is well beyond me..

well done man, and i hope that what i posted earlier, helped.

ablethevoice 09-07-2006 11:11 AM

Re: Dr. Music
Well thanks for telling me about Slash. I really don't like G&R in the least, but knowing there is at least one "pro" musician who is almost as much in the dark as I am is heartening. Yeah, the part about playing "what sounds right" is exactly what I do. I have the ear without having the language if that makes sense.

EDIT: Oh and, I copied your "what key is it in" guidelines to a wordpad file so I can do some homework on my own pieces and maybe I can determine what key I do these pieces in...eventually...

notlob 09-07-2006 11:29 AM

Re: Dr. Music
oh and to help you a bit more with your scales. here is

*drum roll*

The Piano Room

shows you all possible chords and scales for piano! and as a bonus: has sound to play it back!

Bamcubz 09-07-2006 11:44 PM

Re: Dr. Music
You made his day. YEAH!!!!

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