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MikkoKarhula

Keyless Thinking in Guitar Composition

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Hello!

Years ago when I was studying music I tried to find reasons and relations every where in music. It was important for learning theory but happily after music school-years I took steps back and started to rely on naturalness of music making. Everything can be analyzed but do we need to analyze everything?

When I made this little song I put theory thinking away as much I could. Normally I might think keys and theory-based next chords when composing. But this time I didn't think what key I was in or what chord belongs to another. This way of composing is IMO very inspiring.

Keep on playing and loving life!

Mikko

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"Normally I might think keys and theory-based next chords when composing. But this time I didn't think what key I was in or what chord belongs to another. This way of composing is IMO very inspiring."

I don't think this gives an explanation of how you arrived at your composition. "I didn't think" isn't going to get most of us anywhere.

Obviously, what you relied on were the patterns you knew and the fretboard knowledge you had developed. That means you were still thinking in keys and using harmonic theory IMO.

The old saying goes; you have to master the rules before you can successfully break the rules.

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I've never known any music theory. I just play the notes that sound good to me. Yes, I can find the scales in any key, but I never think about them when playing an ad-lib solo, or any time. And, yes, I have picked up some music theory over the years, but not enough to hurt my playing. There are definite "Sweet spot" notes for almost anything I play. If I do my Jethro Bodean like cyphering and can tell you the note's name and it's position in the scale.

I also have had the advantage of getting my first guitar about 50 years ago. I spent a lot of time with a guitar in my lap. Just noodling or as accompaniment to sing with, and lots of lap time.

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"Normally I might think keys and theory-based next chords when composing. But this time I didn't think what key I was in or what chord belongs to another. This way of composing is IMO very inspiring."

I don't think this gives an explanation of how you arrived at your composition. "I didn't think" isn't going to get most of us anywhere.

Obviously, what you relied on were the patterns you knew and the fretboard knowledge you had developed. That means you were still thinking in keys and using harmonic theory IMO.

The old saying goes; you have to master the rules before you can successfully break the rules.

I'm not trying to break musical rules or show-off or anything like that. Question here is to try different methods to bring something different to player itself. Everyone has his/her own limit in theory knowledge and it's about breaking his/her own rules. My intension here is to show my way and hopefully inspire others to try this or invent their own. Luckily many people has told me that this video and the idea has inspired them.

There are many things we are relying in playing and I wanted to shut off one of them for a while. That was not thinking keys. I didn't know what key I was in and when. I just wanted to produce different feelings and indeed I used lot of voicings and motifs which I haven't played before. The root for them comes from deep memory and they come out in different form. Forms they get with the tools I have in that moment.

cheers

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"Luckily many people has told me that this video and the idea has inspired them."

No offense intended but, obviously, I'm not one of those people.

"The root for them comes from deep memory and they come out in different form. Forms they get with the tools I have in that moment.", is jibberish to me.

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Nice, btw I compose ALL my songs merely by ear! I can't even read note more know much about theory. I mostly play in unusual tunings so I can't apply any scales, pattern or chords anyway. And I love this free creative composing! I call this the "Columbus effect" it's like discovering totally new riffs and possibilities. 

But I see that there are different approaches and ways to compose songs. No "one size fits all" here too.

Happy playing ;)
Tobias

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1 hour ago, Tobias Rauscher said:

Nice, btw I compose ALL my songs merely by ear! I can't even read note more know much about theory. I mostly play in unusual tunings so I can't apply any scales, pattern or chords anyway. And I love this free creative composing! I call this the "Columbus effect" it's like discovering totally new riffs and possibilities. 

But I see that there are different approaches and ways to compose songs. No "one size fits all" here too.

Happy playing ;)
Tobias

Hi Tobias! "Columnus effect" is great name. It's nice to have your comment here. Your way is something really pure.

After I released myself in thinking where everything has to be analyzed or strictly according to rules of styles, I have used this columbus effect a lot in my compositions. When composing some parts, I just hear in my head before hand that here should be something like this or that and I find it from the notes but I have no glue about the scale or key. I just want to have the effect. It's wonderful. It feels like I'm making something new at least for myself. That's the reason I have had a lot of hard time trying to practice jazz standards because they are standards. There is very little surprises. Lovely music though. :)

 

Cheers!

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