farmduck 2011-04-05 - 2:05pm

Theory Wars

Over on http://www.jazzguitar.be/forum/ there are a couple of guys at the moment who have turned Music Theory into a full-contact sport, where you can only win by Knock-Out.

I know my limitations when it comes to theory but I also know that on many forums, if a guy asks the difference between a 13th and a 6th, he's probably just learning a song and he is stuck on a chord. He's not asking for a 15-page argument about the development of Western Musical Theory.

Over on http://www.jazzguitar.be/forum/ there are a couple of guys at the moment who have turned Music Theory into a full-contact sport, where you can only win by Knock-Out.

I know my limitations when it comes to theory but I also know that on many forums, if a guy asks the difference between a 13th and a 6th, he's probably just learning a song and he is stuck on a chord. He's not asking for a 15-page argument about the development of Western Musical Theory.

A big part of the problem there seems to be credentials. This is always a problem on the Internet. Did I ever tell you guys that I used to sleep with Julia Roberts, just after I gave up teaching at Juilliard, and just before I was asked to join the NASA shuttle programme as an astronaut. I don't talk about it much, mainly because I prefer to focus on the Gold Medals I won at the Seoul Olympics.

Anyway, as often happens in cyberspace, you have one well-trained academic who is (from what I can see) nearly always 100% on theory. Unfortunately, his tone is condescending and politely abusive. In the other corner we have a guy who claims to have gone to Berklee with Metheny, and to have been working as an arranger, musical director and player ever since. He's dropped a few names - Anthony Jackson was one. Every time he posts some bizarre statement re:theory, he posts a vid of his playing, supposedly to illustrate what he's saying. If that's him on the vids, he's a very good player. He effectively withdraws from the thread and uses the vid to disguise the crap he's just posted.

 

Here's an example of his crap: The subject is "Jazz Minor" over Am chord. He claims he's never seen anyone play A Melodic Minor (descending) in jazz. But then next post he talks about playing C Ionian over Am!?!?!? For me this raises 2 questions:

- surely C Ionian = A Melodic Minor (descending)?

- if you are thinking modal, why are you playing C anything over A minor? Isn't that, by definition, contra-modal thinking?

 

I wish I had some letters after my name and a couple of vids of really flash playing so I could tell this guy to STFU!

 

Yeah, I know. It's a poor excuse for a theory thread, but at least it's a thread.

 

 

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