Working through a lot of music theory exercises today and watching a few Bitwig tutorial videos to get familiar with its features. I think this will be the last dedicated music studying day for a while, and tomorrow I actually create some minor music and sound effects.
When I hit something in these Music Theory books that expects you just to memorize the name and does not give you a detailed explanation or history, I jump on the Wikipedia wagon. Or, find other sources that are more targeted towards the mathematics and history. Most of the most interesting information about music I have found under various mathematical headings.
As an example. Why does the piano have this particular arrangement of keys? Is it because it is perfect for the fingers? No.
For a start, at one point our most popular system only had 6 keys, not 7. When attempts were made to normalize the frequency so that they all fitted within an octave, there was this large jump between the frequency of two keys. An extra key was inserted to even out the frequencies, but there were other 5 gaps noticeable in the arrangement. Where those gaps are you can see by looking at a normal keyboard and seeing that particular arrangement of black keys for the semitones. But that was not good enough because the frequency ratios between the keys was not even. Which is why we now tune the keys to be the 12th root of 2, times the previous key.
I did write up a small melody today by just using musical notations on a piece of paper and my guitar. Took a bit of an effort to walk through it, but it was worth it. Not having a piece of software to assist you, forces you to stay alert.
What I really like about classical music is that it is so rich in mathematics and structure. They have so many ways and rules to help you manage complex things and to enrich the sounds and create grand pieces. Which are very nice to know if you are writing any type of music and want to actually benefit from ages of musical analysis.
Anyway, I am going to finish a small batch of exercises and call it a day.