Thursday, April 29, 2010

Passion Party #204 - the Rules

One of the things I love about music theory
is that there are set rules.
The rules are mathematical, and the rules are natural
based on sine waves, vibrations, and the overtone system (which is mathematical, once again).

My first theory and composition class in college
consisted of a year of theory and composition techniques.
We learned the fundamentals
We learned to write in basic forms and styles
and we learned Species Counterpoint,
the strict music system used by Palestrina, Bach, and many composers in the late 1600s - 1700s.
Species Counterpoint has numerous specific rules that tell a composer where each note should - must! - go next, depending upon other notes and their relationship to each other.
And some things are NOT ALLOWED: like parallel octaves or fifths.
Of course, today in music, half of what we listen to consists of parallel octaves and fifths.

So what is the point of learning the rules?

We learn the rules
so we know how to break them properly.

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