Music Theory and Music References So how does Music Theory apply to reference products? These days, there are a lot of decent music theory books, tapes etc. on the market, and many of them feature good technical content. There are no real replacements for these guides. However, most of the information in them seems to lack specific details that, otherwise, never really get you to the point of playing your instrument.
For example, many music theory publications do a good job of explaining Key Signatures and the history of music, yet, these subjects might not interest you as much as getting your instrument out and actually getting down to the matter at hand… playing it!
How can music theory be both educational and fun and interesting at the same time?
The thought of having “all” references to music theory… like: chord structures, melodic notes, scales, all-in-one hand held device (dial) was born in the form of a reference dial (see reference below).
“Implied” music theory is a technique that while you play your instrument, you are consciously and sub-consciously learning insightful music theory information, naturally. And indeed, you’re having the enjoyment of playing your instrument at the same time.
All songs are played in a key. Most songs for most styles can be played using only 8 chords for accompaniment and 6 scales for melodies or solos in each key. Music Dials instantly show you the chords & scales you need in each key.
The 8 chords in each key you should know…
The 6 common chords come from the major scale notes in each key and are called scale tone chords (I = do, IIm = re, IIIm = mi, IV = fa, V = so, VIm = la). The 2 optional chords (bIII, bVII), commonly used for rock & blues, come from the flatted third and flatted seventh (notes of the major scale and can also be used to play songs in each key.)
Except for jazz, most songs use only major, minor and seventh chords and these are the basic chords you should learn in each key. Experiment with and have fun playing, creating or improvising great sounding chord progressions in each key.
There are four chord types: major, minor, augmented, diminished. There are many extensions of these chord types including: suspended, fifth, sixth, seventh, ninth, eleventh and thirteenth chords. Chord formulas define which major scale notes are contained in the chord (1 = do, 2 = re,3 = mi, 4 = fa, 5 = so, 6 = la, 7 = ti).
The specific scale you use to play solo in each key depends on the type of sound you want to create. Here are the 6 most commonly used scales including 2 for “melodic” sounding solos, 2 for “blues” sounding solos and 2 for various other sounding solos.
Scale formulas define which major scale notes are contained in the scale (1 = do, 2 = re, 3 = mi, 4 = fa, 5 = so, 6 = la, 7 = ti).
I hope this section has shed some light on music theory and how tools like the Music Dial and other music reference guides could assist with your resolve to play better, whether you are a guitar player, bass guitar player, keyboard player, mandolin or banjo player, or any instrument for that matter (like horns, etc.).