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Music Theory Self-Teaching -- reconsidered (Read 724 times)

Offline maxim3

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Music Theory Self-Teaching -- reconsidered
« on: September 03, 2019, 12:51:25 AM »
I recently posted a very pessimistic opinion about learning music theory on one's own; I said basically that with such a grimly boring topic, it is more or less hopeless without a real live teacher to correct and explain one's mistakes. One ends up gradually convincing oneself that it really isn't worth learning.

I thought it over and I have a somewhat more hopeful perspective today. The fact is, I have tried a number of times over the years to teach myself music theory, and while I always gave up after a while, I would start again later (sometimes MUCH later, I am sad to say) and got a little further each time.

So there is that. But nowadays, what with Youtube and so many other online resources, it IS possible to get correction and feedback -- maybe not as efficiently as with a real human teacher, but much better than nothing.

For example: I've been brushing up on voice-leading and part-writing, and there are so many tutorials and videos with worked-out examples that it is quite possible to do many exercises and then watch experts do them (or read completed exercises). Of course it requires a BIT of self-discipline.

Dr. Christopher Brellochs has a fairly complete 47-part theory course on Youtube "for high school students taking A.P. Music Theory, first year music majors, and anyone who wants to understand how to compose and arrange." He usually has incomplete arrangements on his whiteboard, which he completes with explanations during the video. I complete the exercises on my own before watching Dr. B do it. It's almost like having a real teacher!

I hope this will inspire people to give music theory another go, if like me, you have had the experience of trying and giving up. But you have to invest some time into seeking the sort of resources which give you fully corrected, or worked-out exercises, with complete information and explanation. It all takes a bit of digging, I'm afraid.

Finally, there are a few ways to study counterpoint with automatic correction. The first, which I mention just for the sake of completeness, is a software product called "Counterpointer" from https://www.ars-nova.com . You enter your counterpoint and it automatically indicates and explains your mistakes. I cannot evaluate the program's accuracy, but I'm afraid to say that as software (Windows version at least), it is a bug-filled, barely useable piece of s***. Note entry and editing is horribly difficult, the general design is awful and hardly adjustable, and it crashes every few minutes. Perhaps you will have better luck with it but as far as I'm concerned it's garbage.

Second is a website named https://artinfuser.com -- with this one, you convert your counterpoint to MusicXML and then upload it; a PDF file with your mistakes indicated then appears for you to view and download. Again, I don't know what a music prof would think of it, but at least the damned software works.

So to all wishing to learn music theory without a teacher, spend a bit of time digging online for good resources. Perhaps there are more I'm not aware of.

*UPDATE -- I just ran across this:
https://counterpointservice.cfapps.io/#

Offline maxim3

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Re: Music Theory Self-Teaching -- reconsidered
«Reply #1 on: September 10, 2019, 06:22:36 PM »
Another fantastic resource -- This is an online music theory textbook with exercises AND SOLUTIONS TO THE EXERCISES:

Music Theory for the 21st-Century Classroom

http://musictheory.pugetsound.edu/mt21c/MusicTheory.html