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Old 02-19-2013, 05:06 AM   #1
rabbittroopsux
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i cant figure out the wisdom of this board

i mean as musicians were supposed to be creative and not feel like we have to follow some preconceived set of rules, and patterns right? but at the same time a certain level of sophistication or even succinctness is expected. you appreciate complex music, but what is complex? does complex need to be able to be explainable through accepted theory? cant any group of sounds be described through theory, no matter how atonal? does the theoretical description of a piece require elegance to be a good piece of music? if you just throw the rules out the window and just go with your feeling, how do u know if your music is complex or just nonsense?
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Old 02-19-2013, 05:44 AM   #2
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It's music theory, not music law. I think you're getting bogged down thinking of music theory as a set of rules that must be followed. Music theory is better thought of as a description of certain types of sounds and the methods that can be used to achieve those sounds.
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Old 02-19-2013, 05:55 AM   #3
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One could write a novel knowing nothing about storytelling and nothing about language past how to write it. But, knowing about plot curve, metaphor, theme, active and passive voice, dramatic irony, character arcs and so on really helps.
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Old 02-19-2013, 06:19 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rabbittroopsux
i mean as musicians were supposed to be creative and not feel like we have to follow some preconceived set of rules, and patterns right? but at the same time a certain level of sophistication or even succinctness is expected. you appreciate complex music, but what is complex? does complex need to be able to be explainable through accepted theory? cant any group of sounds be described through theory, no matter how atonal? does the theoretical description of a piece require elegance to be a good piece of music? if you just throw the rules out the window and just go with your feeling, how do u know if your music is complex or just nonsense?


The question is not 'does it follow the correct set of preconceived rules?'. The question is 'does it sound good to me?'

That's all there is. As subjective as you like.

Whether a particular theory can describe it or not doesn't change the sound of the music. It sounds like you're misunderstanding the role of theory.
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Old 02-19-2013, 06:47 AM   #5
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I think this quote is appropriate:

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Originally Posted by AeolianWolf
don't worry about what's proper and what isn't, what is right and what is wrong. music theory is so powerful that anything that sounds good can be justified. anything that sounds bad can also be justified. anything that sounds at all can be justified.


The way I see it, theory is just a language. As languages most it makes it easier to communicate. It's also a powerful tool for analyzing - making the process of internalizing musical phenomenons easier (you know what you are listening for/to). And when you analyze music, you start to observe patterns. The "rules" in music theory are merely observations of recurring patterns in almost all music, and from which scales etc. are derived.
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Old 02-19-2013, 07:26 AM   #6
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The way I see it, we use music theory to describe why a song we like sounds good.
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Old 02-19-2013, 01:24 PM   #7
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Complex music is what feels like complex to you. It might have to do with chords (simple songs use fewer chords), rhythm (lots of different rhythms, syncopation, unusual time signatures like 5/4) or the parts the musicians play (they might be technically challenging).

As everybody has said: theory doesn't limit you in any way. It's not the rules of music that need to be followed. Music theory just explains everything you play.

And really, your music doesn't need to be complex to be good. I like simple songs. AC/DC is a great band because they do straight forward rock. That's their thing and I like it. A couple of years ago I thought Dream Theater was the best band because of their complex music but now I don't like them that much any more. I noticed that you can do good music with simple things, it doesn't need to change time signature every second bar. I still like them but I also like other bands that make simple music. If you can make simple sound good, I appreciate it more than complex music because it doesn't make me feel tired (sometimes too complex music only makes me feel tired). Also simple music seems to appeal to the masses because otherwise Justin Bieber or other pop artists wouldn't be so popular.

Simple music doesn't demand anything from the listener. It's very easy to listen to and that's why it appeals to people. So don't worry about the complexity of your music, just write what you hear in your head.
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Old 02-19-2013, 04:33 PM   #8
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Complexity for only the sake of complexity is pointless. The reason complex music can be better in certain cases is because it communicates MORE.

However, it does not necessarily communicate BETTER. That's why simple music can often be much more effective than complex music. There's no excess. It gets straight to the point. Simplicity of harmony/melody/form makes way for timbre, expression, tempo, dynamics, etc. to shine through more easily.
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Old 02-19-2013, 06:55 PM   #9
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Music theory is not a dictation of what you write, it's a way for describing what you write. Anything that makes a sound in music can be described and explained with music theory in a pretty astounding level of detail.

But if you hate the rules, it's no big deal, so long as you understand them, because you need to know the rules to know how to break them and still sound good.
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Old 02-19-2013, 07:40 PM   #10
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lol you're in the wrong music forum dummy
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Old 02-19-2013, 08:20 PM   #11
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The answer is yes to all your questions. In the future learn about a subject before criticising it.
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Old 02-19-2013, 10:35 PM   #12
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You can ask an architect to design a house for you, he will bring you a beautiful blueprint which is mostly mathematics. You will either like it or not, you can ask him to change some lines there, but in the end, you will end up with something still perfect mathematically.
If in the end it's not mathematically perfect, it doesn't mean that it's wrong, it means that you like it that way. Yet everyone that will pass by your house will think that it's ugly, but you like it.
And every once in a while, someone ****s up the mathematical rules and creates something so weird that it becomes beautiful, and everyone likes it.

There is a reason why there are this "rules", you should go with your feeling. But everything is easier if you follow the "rules".

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Old 02-19-2013, 10:51 PM   #13
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tx for all the replies. i guess i just have to write without worry. its just so easy to second guess myself.

Quote:
Originally Posted by AlanHB
The answer is yes to all your questions. In the future learn about a subject before criticising it.


whos being critical? i felt sincerely conflicted and wanted perspective from ppl w more experience, knowledge than me.
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Old 02-19-2013, 11:33 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rabbittroopsux
whos being critical? i felt sincerely conflicted and wanted perspective from ppl w more experience, knowledge than me.


Obviously the root of your hypothetical questions was some notion that theory is some set if rules that we must subscribe to, and the alternate is you play whatever you want and be free from thr chsins of theory. This could be interpreted as a being critical of theory as it limits what you play.

Of course this isn't true, but yes your initial question was being critical of use of theory.
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Old 02-19-2013, 11:44 PM   #15
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well you misunderstood me. i knowingly asked conflicting things because as i said i feel conflicted when i write. not between whether theres theory or not but more whether music loses something if the the description of the piece becomes loose.

but lets not get off track. too often threads devolve into ppl speculating on what other posters are "really" thinking and feeling instead of just trying to be helpful.
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Old 02-20-2013, 12:05 AM   #16
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Theory is as theory does.
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Old 02-20-2013, 12:19 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rabbittroopsux
well you misunderstood me. i knowingly asked conflicting things because as i said i feel conflicted when i write. not between whether theres theory or not but more whether music loses something if the the description of the piece becomes loose.

but lets not get off track. too often threads devolve into ppl speculating on what other posters are "really" thinking and feeling instead of just trying to be helpful.


No, it never loses anything unless it stopped meaning something to you.
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Old 02-20-2013, 01:32 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rabbittroopsux
well you misunderstood me. i knowingly asked conflicting things because as i said i feel conflicted when i write. not between whether theres theory or not but more whether music loses something if the the description of the piece becomes loose.


Without intending to be offensive, the questions and this latter statement indicate that you think theory is something that it isn't. Im not sure what you mean by "loose", theory describes all equally.
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Old 02-20-2013, 04:37 AM   #19
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Theory is a language that allows us to think about music in a different way. We can analyze the music and share our observations with others. When we find something that we like we can pick it apart understand it and apply it to our own music.

There are certain "tricks" that have been identified by a large number of observers over centuries to work extremely well. These "tricks" are not rules but suggest that there people find certain musical relationships to work better than others. Studying these "tricks" by no means restricts you to using only them.

You are completely free in all artistic endeavours to pursue the creation of an art that suits you. But as has been mentioned in this thread numerous times understanding the wider principles of art as well as the details will help you to produce something that is more accessible. Things like contrast, thematic developoment, story/song structure etc.

Knowing these things does not have to come from the study of theory and can be picked up intuitively through a repetitive exposure to good art. But study specifically deals with and discusses many of these things, as well as the more intricate details specific to the art in question.

Take contrast for example. Ask yourself what contrast is - what it means. Once you have settled on your own working definition then apply that definition to music and think about how it might be applied to a musical work. Then go out and listen to a whole bunch of your favourite music and look for different kinds of contrast in each one.

By doing this kind of thing you are actively participating in music theory. Then when you write a piece of music you write what sounds good to you. Then you can listen to it critically and identify what might be missing. Maybe there is a lack of, or weak contrast that leaves the piece of work flat and without depth despite the good melodic ideas and accompanying harmony.

Contrast is obviously not the only focus there are many of these broad kind of ideas that tend to apply to all art that you can examine. And of course there is also a whole world of specific musical devices (voice leading, harmony, melodic countour, rhythm, etc etc) that you can look at and can help you understand the music that you love so that you can incorporate some of the same ideas (tricks) into your own music.
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Old 02-20-2013, 02:39 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rabbittroopsux
i mean as musicians were supposed to be creative and not feel like we have to follow some preconceived set of rules, and patterns right?


you keep telling yourself that. i look forward to the next lil wayne album, by the way.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rabbittroopsux
does complex need to be able to be explainable through accepted theory?


if you can't explain something, then the inadequacy is yours -- simply put, you don't know enough if something doesn't make sense to you.

you're more than welcome to ignore the culmination of musical knowledge that has accumulated over the centuries. but that's pretty idiotic. i mean, you willingly utilize the information that has led to the development of the instrument you play, but you ignore the information that has led to the development of the musical craft? that seems extremely stupid to me.

the musicians who waste their time trying to reinvent the wheel are always overshadowed by those who hone their skills and improve.

as for you personally, TS, your time would be better spent improving, studying, learning, and applying than philosophizing. your self-conflicting problems make it evident that you are not yet at the level where establishing your own brand of philosophy will be in any way effective -- you're only going to trip over yourself, and it will make it more and more difficult for you to be able to improve.
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