I have this strange view on learning music theory

Discussion in 'Education' started by Boosire, Oct 20, 2020.

  1. Boosire

    Boosire Producer

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    I've been producing for more than a decade, both on the computer and with my guitar but somehow always osculted any idea of learning true music theory.
    I can play anything by ears and melodies albait longer to form than someone with music theory knowledge, still come to me more or less easily.

    The thing is that, although i love to learn i always felt like it wasn't a necessity because i make electronic music with guitar in it and not jazz or blues or something more serious.

    But what stops me is this strange thought : I am somehow convinced that the knowledge would kind of take out the magic in making melodies, that i'll just think of the melody i'm making as an exercise in theory more than something heartfelt that comes from instinct.

    Does it make sense ?

     
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  3. reliefsan

    reliefsan Audiosexual

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    dont try to fix whats not broken is the thought that appears first when reading this.
     
  4. farao

    farao Rock Star

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    Yes, just before you come to your senses.
     
  5. Valnar

    Valnar Producer

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    I've never heard of anybody who was worse off after learning theory
     
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  6. Olymoon

    Olymoon MODERATOR Staff Member

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    It depends of each one personality IMHO.
    I know theory, and believe me, the magic is still here after all these years, every time I play an instrument.
    It's not as opposed as you think.
    I dont think about theory every time I play or compose...
     
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  7. farao

    farao Rock Star

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    Think of it this way. Do you think the people who has made the music you like the best had good knowledge in ”music theory” or do you sense that the majority of this music was made by people who stayed away from learning ?

    And why do you care if YOU sense some kind of magic when producing??? I think you should be more interested in what your listeners will feel when listening to your music and if you think you already have all the knowledge necessary to accomplish this.

    Can you sense that a piece of music is good because it was made without knowledge of music theory? If not, you might think you would do yourself and your listeners a favour by learning more about yor field of interest, not staying away from learning more about it. I dont think any sense of magic will be lost in the world if you learn more about how music works. I think you will find that you will have more possibilities to offer your listeners a sense of magic the more you learn about music theory. I also think you yourself will enjoy the ride. There is still a lot of mystery and ”magic” in music, no matter how much you learn. I think that the more you learn, the more chance there there is of you taking the music further and expand the boundaries of the wonderful world of music for you and everyone else to enjoy.
     
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  8. Kinghtsurfer

    Kinghtsurfer Audiosexual

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    IMHO, theory helps you as a composer. Sure, at first you may find yourself falling into theory patterns while composing... But, very soon you'll break out of it... And then, when theory becomes ingrained in your brain, it'll show you different and possibly more interesting paths you could take with your music... in my case specifically with musical arrangement.

    Just my personal opinion... I am well aware that many genius musicians didn't know music theory (formally).

    Cheers.
     
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  9. Futurewine

    Futurewine Audiosexual

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    think of music theory like the engine to the car. do we need to learn about the engine to drive a car? learning about the engine may just helps to decide what to do when the car is broken.. something like that.. :shalom:
     
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  10. Zeyad eLmoghazy

    Zeyad eLmoghazy Platinum Record

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    "A little learning is a dangerous thing; drink deep, or taste not the Pierian spring: there shallow draughts intoxicate the brain, and drinking largely sobers us again."
    Alexander Pope
     
  11. Pontius

    Pontius Ultrasonic

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    Had the same thought, and after a lifetime of educating myself in music, I'd say you will experience a fallow period while you get your bearings in theory, and then be able to compose much more facilely. Worth it? Up to you, but theory is not a creative death sentence.
     
  12. Epcot

    Epcot Guest

    Music theory is divided into some well-nigh different periods. Each period of theory is related to the music of its own.

    A legitimate reason, the many feel they can make music without theory is because the music we are listening to right now is the most unembellished kind a musician can make.

    For the music on the Internet today, you don't need much theory and instead you require more mixing techniques. If you give notice to the questions that individuals ask, you'll make out that I am not saying the wrong thing.

    The more you try to come up with more theories, the more you'd lose your audiences. Because listeners want something oversimplified from you and you have to not let your knowledge of music grow as much as you can. The more you know about music, the more your audiences will keep their bodies off your hands. This is the only period in the history of music where this happens.
     
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  13. RiffMaster

    RiffMaster Guest

    All those words you learned at school and using dictionary's and jumping through endless hoops for class never stopped you having spontaneous and animated conversations with your mates , if anything it helped you express yourself more clearly ? Music theory is actually wonderfully liberating and creates awesome new maps to explore territory you thought you already knew ? Go for it dude ............................
     
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  14. Coronazi

    Coronazi Kapellmeister

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    First of all, why does the word "Theory" have to be connected to music?
    That is total bullshit.
    Only those who want to dominate (make you a slave to make the music) can come up with "Theory".
    Music comes from the Heart the Body and the Soul.
    The ones who think that can make music only copy history and morph it into something else.
     
  15. famouslut

    famouslut Audiosexual

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    Theory is for when you get stuck. If you're not stuck, you are prolly a natural panda genius and I envy you! If you do get stuck, learn?
    Side note: if you think you know a subject, try teaching it? Esp to kids! Also, the more you learn about music, the more there is to learn!
     
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  16. rhythmatist

    rhythmatist Audiosexual

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    I am a drummer (although I play other instruments, drummer at heart). Learning theory helps me communicate my ideas to other musicians. When arranging your own songs it's nice to be able to understand how to find substitute chords, or the different inversions and voicings of chords. Things like the circle of 5ths and relative major and minor scales help you understand how to get from one idea to another when composing. Do you have to learn it to make good music? No. But it's one of those things that can't hurt, and is actually interesting when you are studying different types of harmonies.:bow::drummer:
     
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  17. Coronazi

    Coronazi Kapellmeister

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  18. EddieXx

    EddieXx Rock Star

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    sure, you suddenly start to question the "whys" of everything when you before just pressed whatever key/string sounded good. it kills the spontaneity, momentarily. but its a hill to climb where its uphills until you eventually start ripping the benefits

    its it worth it? is it necessary?
    well i would say absolutely. its a no-brainer really and isn't exclusive to music really.
    for someone to reject knowledge in your working field is the definition of pointless

    so i would say that if you didnt know any theory and are starting from the bottom its natural to feel a bit awkward for a while. its new and you need to cover at least a minimum to figure out what you need and how it can benefit you, after a while you will know what to use, when to care and when to not care.
     
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  19. WillyA

    WillyA Kapellmeister

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    When I went to school (many years ago), my folks forced me to learn to play violin, because the school had classes and my great-grandmother was a violinist. I was given her violin to learn on. It was in a wooden case with a brass plate on top with her name on it. It was shaped very much like a coffin.

    When I got onto the bus to go to school with it, the bus conductor used to laugh "Got yer baby brother in there have yer?" I was only 12. You can imaging the effect that sort of thing had on me.

    I HATED that thing and I hated the violin. Music theory was rammed down my throat. I was forced to play all the dreary shit they gave me to practice. I made a decision that I would NEVER try to play anything once I was free.

    Then, when I was fifteen, a new guy suddenly appeared in my class, he was the son of an army officer who had come back to the UK with his family. He had a guitar. He could play 4 chords, C, Am, F and G7 and he would whistle and sing to it. I got interested and he showed me how to play the 4 chords. A year later, his father and family were posted overseas and he gave me his guitar.

    I managed to find out the notes of the 6 strings and suddenly all that useless theory opened my eyes. I could play more than 4 chords. I could play entire melodies. I saw Cliff and the Drifters (as they were back then) and I was really hooked. I saved my pennies and bought an electric guitar, soon after I was playing in a band. Now I'm retired, I can make music with my guitar and Studio One.

    I'm so glad that I was forced to learn theory. Had it not been for that I could never have produced anything. Now, it's all I have left for my remaining years.
     
  20. Baxter

    Baxter Audiosexual

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    That's messed up. It's like thinking learning a new language or two (or improve spelling and grammar) will make telling a good story to shift the focus more towards the words and sentences than the actual story.
     
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  21. dkny

    dkny Producer

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    Nope. It just gives you a greater ability to make magic. :)

    Knowing what the notes are, or what chords you're playing doesn't turn you into a robot just churning out numbers or scales - you can still play with feeling. A lot of musicians will just play, knowing the key we're in, and the analysing comes later.

    For me, the magic in art is when the end result of what you make is greater than the sum of it's parts. If you have no idea what you're doing, the likelyhood that those parts are good is lessened and more due to chance, whereas the more skill you have, the more you stay away from the bad, boring, ordinary or mediocre, and the more you naturally tend towards what (you think) sounds good. And the more inspiration you can put into those parts, mean the likely outcome is better too. And you can still dick around with some random shit if you want to, it's not like those doors are closed because you know what a flattened fifth is.

    I'm going to play what I feel. If you don't have musical skill, you can't effectively turn that feeling into music- you're just relying on chance to make that happen - move some notes around, hope you can find something that sounds ok. Now - I'm not knocking chance, chance is cool and interesting and throws up unexpected surprises. And I'm not saying that someone with no musical knowledge can't knock out something interesting - I have known people with no musical ability to play anything who can produce some pretty amazing beats and stuff - that's all still a skill, driven by the taste of the artist.

    But skill (knowledge, experience, ability, etc) lets you translate intention into art. Without the skill, the intention is removed - you can still make stuff, but there's a much higher chance it will be hollow.

    Learning how to be better (at anything) is *never* a waste of time, nor are you ever worse off for it. imo.
     
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