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Old 02-10-2013, 09:53 PM   #41
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Old 02-10-2013, 10:24 PM   #42
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Old 02-10-2013, 11:01 PM   #43
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Originally Posted by LeeAlacoque
So I'm getting farther and still don't understand how this could help me write music. One lesson was an analysis of a piece of O Canada and all it did was name each chord. Nothing about why these chords were used or anything. It just seems like stuff you would need to know if you wanted to write sheet music
Look into functional harmony (i.e. chord functions). That will help explain why certain chords are used.

However, there's no straightforward explanation for why anything sounds inherently "good" or "bad." That's up for our ear to rationalize.

I don't know if it's been said yet in this thread, but theory is descriptive not prescriptive, meaning you use it to explain an existing section of music, NOT to put together a bunch of notes that are "supposed" to sound a certain way. You need to develop the ear to be able to recognize patterns in music so that you can recreate them or alter them to get a specific sound you HEAR in your head. You don't write music mathematically. You write it by hearing it.

Of course, learning theory helps you internalize these different patterns aurally, but only if you match the proper ear training with it.

For example, sing a major scale in solfege. Now sing a minor scale in solfege from la to la. NOW sing a major scale again, then lower the 3 6 and 7 each a half-step (mi becomes me, la - le, ti - te). This helps you internalize the differences between how these intervals sound.

Here may actually be a practical use of the modes: Try singing each mode rooted on do (for example, phrygian would be do ra me fa so le te).

Look up some basic solfege lessons and sing everything you possibly can in solfege.
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Old 02-11-2013, 12:22 AM   #44
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Originally Posted by LeeAlacoque
So I'm getting farther and still don't understand how this could help me write music. One lesson was an analysis of a piece of O Canada and all it did was name each chord. Nothing about why these chords were used or anything. It just seems like stuff you would need to know if you wanted to write sheet music




Do you have any idea what the words coming out of your mouth actually mean?
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Old 02-11-2013, 12:31 AM   #45
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Originally Posted by LeeAlacoque
The same thing but starting at a different spot. I don't get why this is important or why it would help me.

That's because they're not important / won't help you.
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Old 02-11-2013, 01:37 AM   #46
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Originally Posted by CarsonStevens


Do you have any idea what the words coming out of your mouth actually mean?


I mean it's not helping me come up with my own music. It would help with writing it down though
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Old 02-11-2013, 01:41 AM   #47
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Originally Posted by LeeAlacoque
I mean it's not helping me come up with my own music. It would help with writing it down though


Do you know anything about intervals and functional harmony? Or just what the difference in sound from a tonic to a minor 3rd and a tonic to a perfect 5th is? Or how to construct a simple triad?
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Old 02-11-2013, 01:41 AM   #48
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Originally Posted by LeeAlacoque
I mean it's not helping me come up with my own music. It would help with writing it down though

This is a big simplification, but here goes:

Theory doesn't come up with ideas for you. That' all on you. What it does do is make it easier to take that idea and run with it.
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Old 02-11-2013, 03:53 AM   #49
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nice discussion about the point of learning music theory.
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Old 02-11-2013, 04:06 AM   #50
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Obviously I do see value in it if I'm attempting to learn some. Don't get all mad


then if you see value in it, stop bitching about how "you don't see it will help you". you see it or you don't. if you don't see it, don't go for it. if you see it, go for it.

you waste so much of your time that i'm inclined to believe you won't get much of a result even with a prolonged study. get serious with it or don't.

i'm trying to push you towards results. if you want to fight me on it, i'm going to stop pushing you, and you'll get your results that much more slowly.
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Old 02-11-2013, 04:07 AM   #51
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In my experience theory has not helped me write anything, i've tried to incorporate it into my playing and it's useless. I'd much rather just run around on the neck and figure it out like that, i know what sounds good together and jumping around until you get it right for me works a whole hell of alot better. Never wrote anything good or unique trying to use theory. Maybe i never learned the right parts or didnt learn it the right way, but at this point i don't care, i see it like this, theory is like a manual for writing music, and the last time i checked no one used a manual to make anything unique or oringinal. I got tired of reading about all theory shit and trying to make it all make sense, when i could have used that time to play my insturment and improve my skills. Theory will do a good job improving your reading skills tho.

So my advice don't even waste your time studying it, when you could be using that time to practice your insturment and actually get better. work on techniques of playing rather than a theory of playing. So stupid...

hey that's some really Great Advice given out to other users of this Forum on the Internet

what a Cool Post, metal forever, theory is gay and if you like theory then your a gay butt

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Old 02-11-2013, 06:05 AM   #52
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If you have 'why' questions about music, music theory gives you answers.

All human beings are born with a strong sense of curiosity. For many people that curiosity fades in time but a small proportion continue to nurture it throughout their life. They always want to know 'why'. I find much music theory not especially useful in making the kind of music I make, yet I'm still interested in the mechanics of what works and what doesn't.

I see music as a thing that no one can comprehend fully and no system can describe perfectly. But music is a harmonious, holistic thing. Anything you learn in one area of theory may have an echo in another. And everything you learn adds to your understanding of everything you do, and music as a whole.

Some parts of theory are essential. An understanding of keys can give you the ability to exploit tension. An understanding of how chords are constructed (and voice leading) can add a degree of refinement that just thinking in terms of blocks of chords can't achieve.

Maybe the ideal situation is that while you're free to make music by ear you study theory too, and eventually they'll meet.
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Old 02-11-2013, 06:59 AM   #53
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Yeah, theory doesn't write the music. You write the music. But theory will help. For example you can analyze a song that you like and see why you like it. Is it the chords or melody or the rhythm? And that way you know which kind of melodies/progressions/rhythms you like and you can use them in your songs (I'm not talking about stealing, I'm talking about using similar stuff and you really start using it automatically). If I listen to my compositions from the time I didn't really know that much theory, they really use very simple progressions and stuff. Back then they felt like magic (Em-D-C-D and that kind of stuff, lol) but now I can come up with that kind of progression easily and I instantly know how it will sound like.

You can learn it the other way like the musicians that don't know theory that much. They really know theory but they know it the other way. They might not know any note names but they know how they sound like and how they work. But that's the harder way to learn things and it takes much more time than learning all the "fancy" terms like major and minor and the note names.

Before I knew theory, there was just music that sounded good or bad. Now I can analyze all the parts independently and really find some cool things in all songs. Now I know why something sounds like you've heard it a hundred times before or something sounds new. I listen to music differently now.
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Old 02-11-2013, 07:20 AM   #54
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Generally I find people delve into theory as their curiosity about music increases, if you can't see any use whatsoever to it as far as your playing goes, then you might down the line. On the flip side, you might not, lots of players has a very limited theoretical knowledge
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Old 02-11-2013, 09:27 AM   #55
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For most people the choice comes down to A) learn Theory, or B) spend years "discovering" basic concepts that you could have learned in two weeks of reading about theory.
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Old 02-11-2013, 09:54 AM   #56
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For most people the choice comes down to A) learn Theory, or B) spend years "discovering" basic concepts that you could have learned in two weeks of reading about theory.

Yeah, both ways work but why wouldn't you choose the option A?
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Old 02-11-2013, 10:38 AM   #57
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The one thing I want to say is that so many players say 'Oh, this guitar player doesn't know theory'. The thing is, while he may not know conventional classical theory, over the years, they would have worked out their own way of doing things, their own music theory, so the 'doesn't know theory' idea is just wrong, and, as a Metal fan, if you say 'Oh, I play Metal, I don't need to know theory', then, I'm sorry, but you're ridiculous. Even Metallica know what sounds right and what doesn't, and they're often the subject of many 'Why I shouldn't learn theory' debates. And, with Metal, you never know where it'll take you, five years ago, I was playing Metallica covers with friends, now I study Classical Theory, play Symphonic Metal, and I'm gonna be honest, I wouldn't even call my thirteen year old self a musician after hearing what I can write and compose nowadays. If you want to write music of any kind, you need theory, it's very important in Black Metal, too, as you need to know how to build tension and exactly when to defy theory to create an evil, dark sound.
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Old 02-11-2013, 10:53 AM   #58
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The one thing I want to say is that so many players say 'Oh, this guitar player doesn't know theory'. The thing is, while he may not know conventional classical theory, over the years, they would have worked out their own way of doing things, their own music theory, so the 'doesn't know theory' idea is just wrong, and, as a Metal fan, if you say 'Oh, I play Metal, I don't need to know theory', then, I'm sorry, but you're ridiculous. Even Metallica know what sounds right and what doesn't, and they're often the subject of many 'Why I shouldn't learn theory' debates. And, with Metal, you never know where it'll take you, five years ago, I was playing Metallica covers with friends, now I study Classical Theory, play Symphonic Metal, and I'm gonna be honest, I wouldn't even call my thirteen year old self a musician after hearing what I can write and compose nowadays. If you want to write music of any kind, you need theory, it's very important in Black Metal, too, as you need to know how to build tension and exactly when to defy theory to create an evil, dark sound.


As I like to say when explaining music theory, especially to people that say that music theory will stunt creativity because they're too lazy to learn it... "You have to learn the rules to learn how to break them."
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Old 02-11-2013, 01:49 PM   #59
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The thing is, while he may not know conventional classical theory, over the years, they would have worked out their own way of doing things, their own music theory, so the 'doesn't know theory' idea is just wrong


bullshit. knowing what sounds good isn't knowing music theory. by that logic, everyone who has a good ear knows music theory, which is simply not true. you're welcome to argue the point further if you still think you can.

even if you were correct, there's a big difference between chopping down a tree with an axe and doing it with a spoon.
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Old 02-11-2013, 02:20 PM   #60
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Originally Posted by AeolianWolf
knowing what sounds good isn't knowing music theory.


it's pretty damn close. being able to filter input/output and understand dissonance and consonance is something far too many "theory-heads" can't actually do. no point knowing a textbook if you don't have the balls to back it up

that's under the pretense that they're mutually exclusive, though. you should definitely learn as much as you possibly can in as many ways as you possibly can, but i'd always recommend prioritization of your ears and intuition (until you've reached a level where you can call the shots for yourself and understand the best way to better your education)

your ear and common sense will give you the tools to be self sufficient, both technically and compositionally. without that, you're sunk, because those two tools are the key to your ability to rationalize a wide world of musical logic - if you don't have those tools, why even bother learning music theory? music probably doesn't mean a hell of a lot to you if you can't hum along to your favorite tunes and be naturally curious about it.

a good ear is part of having proper theoretical understanding, and is, to me, very much the more important part until you've reached a level where diminishing returns set in. don't trivialize it as if it were an insignificant part of the equation, and that you can't get proper fulfillment out of transcription and deduction of knowledge.

you don't need a textbook to come to terms with the scientific method through natural curiosity and rationality. it sure as hell helps, but what happens when you introduce classical theory prior to someone having their feet wet in aural comprehension can be very easily seen in our articles section. you get hung up on misappropriation of the basics and look like an asshole.
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