The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #26622   Message #321766
Posted By: Marion
18-Oct-00 - 10:36 AM
Thread Name: Theory questions that make me nuts--
Subject: RE: Theory questions that make me nuts--
Hello M.Ted. There are three things I'd like to say here.

1. The honour of being our theory expert might be dubious but it is definitely not undeserved. I for one have found your postings to be very helpful and confidence-inspiring, whether answering a question from me or from somebody else. Thank you, M.Ted.

2. I very much agree with you that writing chords separately with some kind of system that indicates timing (I find the RUS system works well for me) is more useful than writing the chords over the lyrics. Sometimes chord changes occur when nothing is being sung, or a beat before the word, or things like that... and it can be hard to generalize chords written above the first verse into the other verses.

3. I have a feeling that I'm one of the names you're not mentioning, because of the Cm7sus thread I started. I didn't start that thread to find out what chord to play; I did have a chord I was playing, although I ended up switching to the progression you suggested. I started it because the chord name didn't jive with my basic understanding of chord construction, and this bothered me. I didn't understand (or struggle hard to figure out) everything that was posted in that thread, but I did pick up an idea that is probably very important from the discussion: that chords don't exist in isolation, they have be thought of in relation to the surrounding chords and the overall key (this from what you said about suspensions and what Happy Farmer said about the harmonic function of a chord).

When I had an injured hand I spent some time studying basic theory, but I haven't been able to make a link yet between what I learned (names and categories of intervals, names and kinds of scales, etc.) and how to play my instruments better. I am not studying theory systematically now, but through things like the Cm7sus thread and my own observation that a "G tune followed by a Em tune works better than a G tune followed by an A dorian tune", I am slowly absorbing ideas about how theory relates to playing. As Peter said, it takes knowledge to ask questions properly, and my ignorance is still a little too general. But I expect that next time I hurt my hand and open my theory book again, a lot more things will click - due in no small part to the discussions here that are going over my head but brushing it lightly on the way by.