Go Back   UG Community @ Ultimate-Guitar.Com > Music > Musician Talk
User Name  
Password
Search:

Reply
Old 04-07-2013, 09:16 PM   #1
KinkyC
Registered User
 
Join Date: Feb 2013
Amount of music theory knowledge to be in a band

So a little back story that my question stems from, I'm trying to put a band together, so far I got a singer and possibly a drummer, not too bad. Yesterday the singer and I met up with a bassist that was interested in joining. He was a music theory "nut" (I guess you could put it that way), he started playing classical instruments then switched over to bass and still takes music theory classes. Anyway I thought it went great but apparently it did not. He texted me today saying how he wouldn't join the band because I didn't know any music theory and before I attempted to start a band I should learn.

I've been playing guitar for 6 years, so I'm pretty confident in my abilities. I'm definitely not a music theory expert but I do know basic stuff like scales, etc. and I can read music somewhat.

tl;dr: How much theory should I really know to start a band? I was comfortable with the amount I know but now I'm thinking twice. Am I just letting this asshole's comments get under my skin?
__________________
Q is for Cheese
KinkyC is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-07-2013, 09:31 PM   #2
food1010
Bassist
 
food1010's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
None, but it's always better to know theory than to not know theory.
__________________
Only play what you hear. If you don’t hear anything, don’t play anything.
-Chick Corea
food1010 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-07-2013, 10:10 PM   #3
AlanHB
Godin's Resident Groupie
 
AlanHB's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Canberra, Australia
Zero. That bass guy needs a reality check.
__________________
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
AlanHB is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 04-07-2013, 10:31 PM   #4
MaXiMuse
Has an X in his name
 
MaXiMuse's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Holland
I'm a huge theory freak, I know all the scales, modes, octotonic, whole-scale and tritone dominant substitute and whatsoever, but that bass player is completely wrong. Theory can help you a lot but it has never been, and will never be mandatory.

But if you're in a prog band I would really, really advice you to learn it but for any rock/metal band (say Foo Fighters to Pearl Jam to Deftones) you don't really need it
__________________
...

This is an electronic track I made, influenced by Trentemøller and Meshuggah
If you want C4C just give me a message!
MaXiMuse is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-07-2013, 10:42 PM   #5
AWACS
I want all of the things
 
AWACS's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: The frozen wasteland that is, central canada.
All of it.

Kidding.

It's not needed, but theory helps communicate your ideas and what you're playing. Instead saying you're playing "3 on the E string, 5 on the A string, 5 on the D string, 4 on the G string, 3 on the B string and 3 on the high E string", you could just say you're playing "a barred G major chord".
__________________
Caution: This post may contain my opinion and/or inaccurate information.

Mesa Boogie Mark V PRS SE Cu24 Voltage S212 Pedals!
Dunlop CryBaby WayHuge Swollen Pickle CMATMods Signa Drive Digitech BadMonkey
Boss TU-3 TCE Corona Boss DD-6 HBE Mimic
AWACS is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-07-2013, 10:48 PM   #6
supersac
Registered User
 
supersac's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
none

but it doesnt hurt to know the names of at least the chords and a few scales

but anyone who wouldnt join a band because you dont know theory is an idiot
__________________
a youtube link?
maybe you should click on it
http://www.youtube.com/user/supersac69


Quote:
Originally Posted by whoomit
You sound like an amazing friend
i sound like one...im secretly a huge dick

my bands soundcloud
http://soundcloud.com/thenativetongues
supersac is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-07-2013, 10:59 PM   #7
Macabre_Turtle
UG's UGer
 
Macabre_Turtle's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Hermitage, PA
As everybody else has said, you don't need to know any, but every bit that you learn will be good for you.

As for that bassist, it seems everybody else here is a dick, but I can see his point. It's hard to be in a band with people that aren't on the same level as you.
__________________
My upcoming album.
Atlas Burden'

Covers:
STS - Emersion - Dual Guitar/Bass
STS - Redwoods - Dual Guitar
BTBAM - The Backtrack - Bass/Guitar
BTBAM - Sun of Nothing - Guitar
Macabre_Turtle is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-07-2013, 11:04 PM   #8
Bad Kharmel
Registered User
 
Join Date: May 2009
I.... IV...... V...... and you're good
Bad Kharmel is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-07-2013, 11:12 PM   #9
vIsIbleNoIsE
The Asian-Viking Paradox
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
he's not wrong for not joining, but he's wrong in saying you need to know theory to start a band.
__________________
Quote:
Originally Posted by archerygenious
Jesus Christ since when is the Pit a ****ing courtroom...

Like melodic, black, death, symphonic, and/or avant-garde metal? Want to collaborate? Message me!
vIsIbleNoIsE is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-07-2013, 11:26 PM   #10
KG6_Steven
Serving Knowledge
 
KG6_Steven's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Neither here nor there.
You'd be surprised at how many pro musicians don't know a lick of theory. They play by ear and it's all the theory they need.
KG6_Steven is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-07-2013, 11:48 PM   #11
cdgraves
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jan 2013
Dude sounds like a dick.

That said, I probably wouldn't join a band with people who couldn't talk theory, myself. I don't think you need to know traditional tonicization patterns in late classical ternary forms, but it helps a lot if you can discuss music in terms of harmony, rhythm, and form. It's just really hard to communicate ideas if you can't talk say what chords you want to play, for how long, and on what beats you intend to change. Being in a group with people who can all solfege is also very convenient for communicating melodic ideas.

Knowing about voice leading and harmony in an ensemble will also do great things for your playing and writing on your own.

Quote:
Originally Posted by KG6_Steven
You'd be surprised at how many pro musicians don't know a lick of theory. They play by ear and it's all the theory they need.

Like who?

Last edited by cdgraves : 04-07-2013 at 11:50 PM.
cdgraves is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-07-2013, 11:54 PM   #12
krehzeekid
Me like guitars
 
krehzeekid's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Edmonton
definitely not none. the reality is that to have a remotely successful band, you need to have some basic theory. nothing fancy, but knowing some chords, scales and the like is pretty much a necessity. you don't need tonnes, but you definitely need to know what you're doing a little bit
__________________
Don't sweat the petty things and don't pet the sweaty things...
krehzeekid is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-08-2013, 12:16 AM   #13
Cavalcade
Days, I feel it...
 
Cavalcade's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
As a "music theory nut", it really helps to know some basic stuff (intervals and chords), unless the rest of the band writes all the music and spoon-feeds you tabs. If someone says a progression goes, say, Am Bb F C Dm, you should probably know how that'll sound.
Beyond that, if it sounds good, who cares?
__________________
If you're reading this, it means UG still has this, but not a :sam: smiley.
Cavalcade is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-08-2013, 03:50 AM   #14
Withorwithout
Registered User
 
Join Date: May 2012
Well, i think what the bass player meant and in that case i would agree, you need to be able to talk the music language. Or at least understand it by hearing. For example, when one of you says "ok this is a riff in A minor, goes from Am to F then E, try to accompany." You should be able to know what to play, at least hear what to play. Be that familiar with music and your instrument. Otherwise itd be pretty hard to communicate within the band, wouldnt it?
Withorwithout is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-08-2013, 04:07 AM   #15
Captaincranky
Registered User
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Quote:
Originally Posted by KinkyC
Am I just letting this asshole's comments get under my skin?

Duh..., well yeah...

With that said, playing the bass is a bit more dependent on theory than say, rhythm guitar.

The guitar player needs to know how to hit an A barre chord. But a bass player should know the names of the notes in that A chord and their relation to the key being played, with both chord and scale degrees.

For example, say the guitars are pounding away on "A5" (power chords). The bass guy should that the 3rd of that A chord is "C#", and that if you want a whole triad, he needs to play a C# on his bass. And if you want an A minor triad, that 3rd needs to be flatted, so he's gotta play a "C" natural.

It helps a guitar player to know the same things, but there's a lot more wiggle and cheat room the guitar.

Last edited by Captaincranky : 04-08-2013 at 04:21 AM.
Captaincranky is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-08-2013, 04:20 AM   #16
MaggaraMarine
Slapping the bass.
 
MaggaraMarine's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Finland
The thing is, theory is not hearing. Knowing how Am F E sounds like isn't knowing theory. But knowing what Am F E means is knowing theory. It's not just a bunch of chords, the chords have a function i-bVI-V, that's knowing theory.

But yeah, it's easier to communicate with the band members if you know what it means if somebody says "the song is in the key of E".

But in a band aural skills are much more important. A good sense of rhythm is also very important.

And I don't see a point in not starting a band. I mean, you can learn the stuff while you are in the band. No band will sound great when they start. You can just have fun and jam some songs. You need to learn to play together first. If the bassist knows so much theory, why couldn't he teach you some basic things? Me and our band's guitarist talk a lot about music theory.

I learned a lot when I joined a band. It really helped my ear and "jamming skills". I think playing in a band is the best way to get better in these skills. It's a very practical way to learn necessary things fast. You won't learn to play in a band any other way than by playing in a band.

Has the bassist even played in a band before?
__________________
Quote:
Originally Posted by AlanHB
Just remember that there are no boring scales, just boring players.

Gear

Charvel So Cal
Ibanez Blazer
Digitech RP355
MXR Micro Chorus
Laney VC30
Tokai TB48
Hartke HyDrive 210c

Last edited by MaggaraMarine : 04-08-2013 at 04:22 AM.
MaggaraMarine is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-08-2013, 05:06 AM   #17
innovine
Registered User
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
Band members need to be all arounda certain level, and if theory is his thing, he'll get frustrated when he can't talk theory with the rest. Probably best that he finds people more into that. He's ignorant and full of himself if he thinks its necessary for starting a band though,.
innovine is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-08-2013, 05:12 AM   #18
20Tigers
1
 
20Tigers's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Quote:
Originally Posted by KinkyC
So a little back story that my question stems from, I'm trying to put a band together, so far I got a singer and possibly a drummer, not too bad. Yesterday the singer and I met up with a bassist that was interested in joining. He was a music theory "nut" (I guess you could put it that way), he started playing classical instruments then switched over to bass and still takes music theory classes. Anyway I thought it went great but apparently it did not. He texted me today saying how he wouldn't join the band because I didn't know any music theory and before I attempted to start a band I should learn.

I've been playing guitar for 6 years, so I'm pretty confident in my abilities. I'm definitely not a music theory expert but I do know basic stuff like scales, etc. and I can read music somewhat.

tl;dr: How much theory should I really know to start a band? I was comfortable with the amount I know but now I'm thinking twice. Am I just letting this asshole's comments get under my skin?

At first it sounded a little like Led Zep. Jimmy Page didn't know any theory found a drummer and singer that both got by on raw feel, then got John Paul Jones in on bass. John Paul Jones had a good foundation in classical music and a solid grasp music theory. I guess it's a good thing for John Paul Jones that he wasn't as dimwitted as the bassist you interviewed. Amount of sleep to lose over what that guy said = 0
__________________
Si
20Tigers is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 04-08-2013, 09:27 AM   #19
schwinginbatman
Excuse me, good sir!
 
schwinginbatman's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Kansas
Quote:
Originally Posted by cdgraves
Dude sounds like a dick.

That said, I probably wouldn't join a band with people who couldn't talk theory, myself. I don't think you need to know traditional tonicization patterns in late classical ternary forms, but it helps a lot if you can discuss music in terms of harmony, rhythm, and form. It's just really hard to communicate ideas if you can't talk say what chords you want to play, for how long, and on what beats you intend to change. Being in a group with people who can all solfege is also very convenient for communicating melodic ideas.

Knowing about voice leading and harmony in an ensemble will also do great things for your playing and writing on your own.


Like who?

It does makes things a lot easier. I play in two bands; one of which features musicians who have a pretty good knowledge of theory, and one in which I'm the only one with much theory knowledge. It's far easier to communicate ideas in the former, and when, say, the other guitarist solos, I can just say "F Minor!" Or something of the like. Whereas in the latter band, it's harder to teach the other guitarist riffs in person, as we have to go by fret number rather than notes, which is a lot more difficult.

Of course, you don't need that much theory, essentially you just need to know chords, keys, notes, and intervals, and you should be able to get by. Some people get by with just a good ear, but that's it: few musicians below the pro level have good ears, and they'll need theory to compensate. Many musicians see pros going without theory and eschew it as well, not understanding that you need a good ear to compensate.
__________________
MINECRAFT!


Quote:
Originally Posted by ThrashIsWin
It's like someone listening to some really old blues or whatever and going, "What a prick. Obviously you ****ing 'woke up this morning'. Twat."
schwinginbatman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-08-2013, 12:52 PM   #20
KinkyC
Registered User
 
Join Date: Feb 2013
Quote:
Originally Posted by Withorwithout
Well, i think what the bass player meant and in that case i would agree, you need to be able to talk the music language. Or at least understand it by hearing. For example, when one of you says "ok this is a riff in A minor, goes from Am to F then E, try to accompany." You should be able to know what to play, at least hear what to play. Be that familiar with music and your instrument. Otherwise itd be pretty hard to communicate within the band, wouldnt it?


I agree it would be hard to communicate with someone who didn't know notes, but I do know the notes. As I said in the OP I'm not an expert but I know my notes, chords, scales, etc.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MaggaraMarine
Has the bassist even played in a band before?


Nope
__________________
Q is for Cheese
KinkyC is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

vB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump



All times are GMT -4. The time now is 06:44 AM.

Forum Archives / About / Terms of Use / Advertise / Contact / Ultimate-Guitar.Com © 2014
Powered by: vBulletin Version 3.0.9
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.