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snazzypadgett

musical thought

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I've always wanted to know more about how other people think of music, as I have my own way and i feel like it's very specialized as no one i've talked to seems to share the kind of thoughts i have.

So just post any kind of anything about how you think of music away from your instrument. I'll start! **DISCLAIMER: by posting in this topic, you're pretty much voiding all modesty. just try to be honest in your introspection**

Since about three years ago I started thinking about the keyboard all of the time in my head, like if i hear a melody in real life or even just in my memory, I try to play it on my mental-piano. I dont have any piano friends that I would talk to about this, so does anyone else do this? I'm also really compulsive about inverting and revoicing chords in my head. With easier chords, i can audiate them, but now that i am being introduced into these new jazz chords, i cant audiate them but i find myself still doing lots of voicings of them in my head with just the visual of the keys. for the last two years or so i've been pretty limited in my mental-keyboard exercises but these new jazz chords are really complicating the amount of inversions and voicings that i can finger out in my head, so it's really exciting and i hope i can learn a lot of new stuff from it. aside from chords, i also have exhausted some ideas to a point where i get very frustrated to find myself thinking about it again and again, like the different equal divisions of an octave and the chords it makes (augmented, dim. 7th, whole tone scale) or how augmented chords can turn into either major or minor based on raising or lowering any note, ETC ETC and for this reason i am very excited to have some new material to think about with the jazz chords. i would really appreciate some other cool theory ideas that i can practice on Mental Piano®.

so that's what happens in my head when something's not already occupying it. i consider myself lucky to have somehow guided myself into obsessively picturing the piano in my head, since it's relevant to what i want to improve at. what about you guys? Do guitarists have something similar for their instrument? i imagine that'd be a hell of a lot harder to audiate with, just because it's...well it's a guitar.

Aside from note-patterns/theory, what else do you picture in your head? my imagination is just not as creative as what you guys can actually say you have going on in your heads!

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I suppose you should just figure out what modes you enjoy, and focus your thoughts on that. I like minor-sounding modes. And just to be a bastard I am constantly thinking of melodies that would work in Locrian. That's a cool mode too. It's pleasing to me, painful to others, and it's taboo. Just like sex.

Phrygian with an augmented 3 is one of my favorite modes. Phrygian Half-Cadences are pretty cool too. [(iv), first inversion to (V)]

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I PLAY NOTES ON A KEYBOARD UNTIL THEY SOUND GOOD

And by that I mean theory bores me in a lot of ways. I know enough to understand what people are talking about when talking to me but aside from that I don't really care because people can talk up and down about music but what really matters is the end result. Maybe this is all because I can't play anything but drums (and I kinda suck at that too) but w/e.

In terms of thinking about music, I come up with entire songs in my head: basslines, drums, synths, the works; rarely have I ever remembered it though, probably because this usually happens in the shower - which reminds me that the very first thing I'm going to do when I'm rich is install a touch-screen water-proof computer in my shower so I can sketch out songs when I think of them. When it comes to writing songs I'll either have a chord progression in my head (not knowing the notes, just what it sounds like) or I'll stare blankly at a computer screen until something sounds halfway decent.

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Spanish Phrygian, right? I think I heard it called that before...

Yes, this.

Theory helps me when I know what sound I want next, but I'm not exactly sure which note is written next.

A lot of times I'll even just look at how the notes appear on the staff, and have them diverge and converge.

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I PLAY NOTES ON A KEYBOARD UNTIL THEY SOUND GOOD

I have a similar approach. I play SOME keyboard but I'm not that good with it. I think its a great tool for composing and music in general, but I must admit that I don't understand much of it.

To be honest, I don't know anything about chords. I can maybe make a difference between minors and majors etc. but I just don't think of music that way, and frankly I don't CARE about minors or majors or anything like that. I can play some random chords on piano and guitar but I have no idea what they are called. Can't read music, and basically don't know any theory.

When I make music I usually just start up with something, maybe a bassline or a few chords or just an idea in my head, and start to build to that, both musically and productionwise. I know when stuff sounds right but I have no idea what I've done in terms of musical theory. Composing for me is basically humming, going through the song in my head, and playing. And listening if it sounds right in terms of chords and harmonizations and well.. stuff. So I just have a few basic chords that I play on guitar or keyboard, and when making music I just play with them and fiddle with all kinds of variations and try stuff until it sounds good/right. Basically my thought process when making chords on keyboards would be "what would this sound like if I press this key instead of that one". So basically I have some idea how to make a chord sound jazzier or simpler or darker etc, but thats basically it. I have no idea what I'm doing in terms of theory.

Yeah, maybe its because I'm a bass player originally. When I started to learn music I didn't think about chords or anything, just sounds from the bass. And pretty quickly I got rid of tabulatures and stuff like that because they only slowed me down, and were usually wrong anyway. Of course today I love to make chords even with the bass, but again, I have no idea what I'm doing - I just listen if it sounds right and build from that.

The Mental Piano™® thing reminded me of a thing that happened when I was still learning music. I was really into old Metallica back then and listened to Ride the Lightning album all the summer while we were on our summer cottage with the family. My bass guitar was back home so I couldn't practice the songs. By the time I got home I had listened to the album so many times that I actually could just go ahead and start playing the songs. I knew them by heart (and by ear apparently) and for some reason I just knew how to play the stuff with bass. So thats basically how it is with my relationship with music today. I don't think much about it, I just listen if it sounds good/right to me.

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I'm not a terribly great guitarist, but in my experience with visualizing my instrument in my mind, I find that I focus much more on basic chord progression, as (aside from solos) almost all acoustic and even electric guitar work is done by figuring out what the chord setups are and then figuring out how you're going to play them out (which variates in a HUGE way). Currently I'm obsessed with sweep picking, which happens to be completely lame...

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i percieve/cognate music in intervals. just the relationship between the two notes, pretty much completely aurally (I don't think of note names b/c i don't have perfect pitch)

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I usually just start with a bassline or chords as well and and things until it sounds good, or just trash it all together.

My big thing with writing music though is that I don't do any planning. I pretty much just start, and then think: "What would I want to hear next?" and just go from there. Usually this works pretty well, but sometimes I like to try something different and actually plan out the song first, but not very often.

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I like to sit at the piano and fiddle around until something starts to develop. I tend to base my original ideas on feeling while slowly adding a little chord structure/progression at the same time. Once I have a good base to work with, I incoporate more difficult passages and ornamental notes into the song to add interest. It's important not to go overboard with that, as I've learned, because it deters the listerner from the original melody. Some of the most beautiful and stunning musical phrases are the most simple.

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In terms of thinking about music, I come up with entire songs in my head: basslines, drums, synths, the works; rarely have I ever remembered it though, probably because this usually happens in the shower - which reminds me that the very first thing I'm going to do when I'm rich is install a touch-screen water-proof computer in my shower so I can sketch out songs when I think of them.

THIS. capsfilter10char

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Move to Seattle. Maybe the rain will stimulate creativity and help you focus. lol

Interesting. I've always known I have my clearest thought processes when I am in the shower. I haven't heard too many other people attest to this though.

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In terms of thinking about music, I come up with entire songs in my head: basslines, drums, synths, the works; rarely have I ever remembered it though, probably because this usually happens in the shower - which reminds me that the very first thing I'm going to do when I'm rich is install a touch-screen water-proof computer in my shower so I can sketch out songs when I think of them. When it comes to writing songs I'll either have a chord progression in my head (not knowing the notes, just what it sounds like) or I'll stare blankly at a computer screen until something sounds halfway decent.

yeah, this happens to me too. Bustatunez explained it to me as this: the shower is a primordial soup of sound, because you're in an echoy room with water droplets hitting all around you at various pitches and rhythms, as well as hitting you, which stimulates your mind as well. A great place to think up stuff :D

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I think of music in staff notation. Boring, I know.

I suppose you should just figure out what modes you enjoy, and focus your thoughts on that. I like minor-sounding modes. And just to be a bastard I am constantly thinking of melodies that would work in Locrian. That's a cool mode too. It's pleasing to me, painful to others, and it's taboo. Just like sex.

Phrygian with an augmented 3 is one of my favorite modes. Phrygian Half-Cadences are pretty cool too. [(iv), first inversion to (V)]

Locrian's taboo because in order to write an honest to God Locrian piece, you can't use dominant harmony and you have to use all those diminished intervals. Phrygrian is probably my favorite mode. I'd never heard the Phrygian Dominant called Spanish Phrygian before now. I'd always heard, well... Phrygian Dominant or (once or twice) Jewish scale.

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I can analyze music pretty well, but I tend to have to want to do that. When I'm playing, I rarely think about theory at all, unless I'm learning a song. Once I know it, I kind of go on autopilot, thinking about what sounds good, what changes to the chords I can make that will compliment what everyone else is playing (again, without thinking of chord names, more like "if I move my hand here, it will sound good").

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