Musical theory is one of my particular interests. I was lucky enough to spend three years studying with one of the world's greatest music theoreticians, Prof. Jon Gittins of York University. I also worked for him as a research assistant, writing software to test his theories on the properties of scales that can be derived from a given set of generation rules. That is probably too technical a topic to bother with here. After that, I went through the standard music theory program at the University of Illinois. While I learned a lot about such topics as musical structure and counterpoint, I discovered that much of the harmonic theory that was taught in the program was unnecessarily complicated, and in some cases inconsistent or just plain incorrect. I was able to make sense of it because I had already learned a simple, logical and consistent system of musical theory; however, I felt sorry for my fellow students who hadn't!
I don't claim to be a genius at music theory, but I have worked with one and I think I picked up a few things from him. Many people think you need to be a genius to understand theory because it is usually taught so poorly. Actually, you can go a long way with just a few simple ideas.
Traditional music actually does not use much in the way of harmonic complexity compared to, say, Stravinsky or Miles Davis. The area of most complexity is found in the melodic line and how it is treated. So this Music Theory Corner is a simple little place where just a few simple ideas can be found.
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