Poll: What are your motives for learning theory?
Poll Options
View poll results: What are your motives for learning theory?
Become a better song writer
41 30%
Become a better improviser
40 29%
Become both a better song writer and improviser
64 47%
Become a better guitarist in general.
72 53%
Show off your theory knowledge.
17 13%
All of the Above
53 39%
Another Reason (please reply to thread)
18 13%
Voters: 136.
#1
Hey everybody, I know there are tons of people out there striving to learn more theory, and I'm wondering... Why do you want to learn it? Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying theory is a bad thing. I'm just wondering what your motives are behind learning it. Is it because you want to be better at improv? You want to be able to write songs easier? You want to be able to come up with cool original riffs? Or do you just want to learn tons of it, so you can teach people, and it will make you look smart?

Personally for me, I like to learn it so for two reasons. When learning theory I feel like I'm accomplishing something instead of just playing around. And, it also helps me with my song writing/improv ability. What about you guys?

Feel free to use my my motives, considering a lot of you guys probably have the same reasons

Edit: Sorry, I forgot to include "write better riffs" in the poll option. All though, that can fall under improv and song writing... Anyways, just reply to the thread, if "writing better riffs" is your reason.
Last edited by tele432 at Jan 13, 2009,
#2
it helps with everything that involves music. not only writing your own songs, but learning BY EAR songs of others. it also helps if you want to branch off to other instruments as a major scale is still a major scale on piano
#4
learning theory is a matter of how far you want to take music

if you are happy covering Nirvana, and Green Day all your life - then why bother. But, if you are trying to make a career out of it, then you should understand your industry - thus learn the Theory, History, and everything else that is involved with it.

Thats the way I see it

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#5
so i can write in key,know how to transpose,better in general,when istenign t oa song you can go "woa! thats in the key of G and a accidental Bb."
for example
Just call me Julius, J, etc.
Taking an Internet break for a while, will come on when I can.
#6
It really depends. I only bother to learn the theory behind a song I'm trying to get down on paper from my head or when I'm trying to learn a cover. The thing about theory is, when you know it, you know it forever. If you don't, you have to keep learning it and learning it each time you need to use it in a new song.
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nice discovery, sir.


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Last edited by coryklok : Today at 01:10 PM.
#8
I take theory as inspiration.

Theory is basically ideas of things that people used and that other people could relate to in a way.

I see theory as musical "Experiments" that have been made (in the past) that will save you time to find out urself.

Use it as guidelines, and it could potentially give you more satisfaction.

Whether ur music will be better, is totally subjective, cause this has many different (non musical) reasons as well.

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Last edited by xxdarrenxx at Jan 13, 2009,
#9
So I can become an amazing musician and songwriter - im not interested in constant arpeggio neo-classical shreding forever.

I.E - Yngwie Malmsteen - Great great shredder, but his songs all sound like backing tracks, it just sounds like listening to someone play exercises.
But David Gilmour and Micheal Akerfeldt are not known for thier guitar speed, but ****ing hell can they write mindblowing songs.

Quality not quantity
#10
Quote by GuitarMunky
- to learn more.... because you want to.

+1

music in general interests me and as much as i love music, i'd like to be able to write music that other people can enjoy. subsequently to be able to better express my self/ideas/thoughts etc through music. also, it can't hurt
#11
Although i like the idea of relying on instinct more, I'm learning theory because it's still extremely helpful to know all the mechanisms behind the machine that is a song . I don't want to become an expert, but I'd like to learn more about chords and scales, so basically for practical application in songs.
part of the "Right-handed guitarists that are actually Left-handed otherwise " group
#13
Pfft. I don't want to be a better guitarist, I want to be a better MUSICIAN.

And showing off your theory knowledge is silly. Why would you want to make others look ignorant? That's not being respectful of your peers, and if you're not, no one's going to play with you. Or have a conversation with you. Or have sex with you. Or deliver your mail. Or kill you.

Oh yeah, I'm also learning theory cause I want to. It's so fascinating!
If you play guitar, please don't waste your time in The Pit, and please instead educate yourself in the Musician Talk forum, where you can be missing out on valuable info.
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Last edited by SilverDark at Jan 13, 2009,
#14
To learn how to write. Also, I plan on teaching in a few years.
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#15
because once you actually know the theory behind what you're playing, it expands your creativity and your musical mind. i think it's absolutely stupid to NOT learn theory, it really does make you a better musician.
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#16
Helps you understand what you're doing and makes learning songs easier instead of looking at the fretboard as numbers when reading a tab
#19
whats there to lose?
Just call me Julius, J, etc.
Taking an Internet break for a while, will come on when I can.
#20
Quote by nowa90
whats there to lose?



Some people think it hinders your creativity by giving you rules.
Soon you will sit on the bench
of those who deny I have my soul
You sell a dream you create
Condemned by what you condemned before
Smooth are the words you sing down and high
Underground is your joy your laws
#21
Quote by MedicreDemon
Some people think it hinders your creativity by giving you rules.

Pshh... When will they realize that it's just a set of recommended guidelines that can help you... Unlike Counterpoint, which does have a set of rules.
If you play guitar, please don't waste your time in The Pit, and please instead educate yourself in the Musician Talk forum, where you can be missing out on valuable info.
Quote by DiminishedFifth
It's like you read my mind!

I got meself a self-approving sig. Kick. Ass.
#22
Quote by MedicreDemon
Some people think it hinders your creativity by giving you rules.

pfft,things people say!


p.s. would someone please either PM some good theory lessons,or even wright me one,or make a video on youtube?
i already know the circle of fifths!
Just call me Julius, J, etc.
Taking an Internet break for a while, will come on when I can.
#23
Quote by SilverDark
Pshh... When will they realize that it's just a set of recommended guidelines that can help you... Unlike Counterpoint, which does have a set of rules.


I'm gonna look up counterpoint now but it sound similar to contrasting motion? Is it almost the same thing?
Soon you will sit on the bench
of those who deny I have my soul
You sell a dream you create
Condemned by what you condemned before
Smooth are the words you sing down and high
Underground is your joy your laws
#24
Quote by MedicreDemon
Some people think it hinders your creativity by giving you rules.

and those are the same people that will continue to suck while you progress if you learn your theory
#25
Quote by MedicreDemon
I'm gonna look up counterpoint now but it sound similar to contrasting motion? Is it almost the same thing?

...You're looking it up, I might as well not tell you

But yeah, counterpoint is a form of composition using two or more individual melodies and combining them in one single form. There's sooo many rules, but it just fascinates me, like learning how to play chess. There's some contrasting motion, but it's really strict. I just started looking it up.
If you play guitar, please don't waste your time in The Pit, and please instead educate yourself in the Musician Talk forum, where you can be missing out on valuable info.
Quote by DiminishedFifth
It's like you read my mind!

I got meself a self-approving sig. Kick. Ass.
Last edited by SilverDark at Jan 13, 2009,
#26
Quote by SilverDark
...You're looking it up, I might as well not tell you

But yeah, counterpoint is a form of composition using two or more individual melodies and combining them in one single form. There's sooo many rules, but it just fascinates me, like learning how to play chess.



Yeah I did look it up, it's not really that complicated unless you plan on memorizing it though.
Soon you will sit on the bench
of those who deny I have my soul
You sell a dream you create
Condemned by what you condemned before
Smooth are the words you sing down and high
Underground is your joy your laws
#27
Quote by SilverDark
...You're looking it up, I might as well not tell you

But yeah, counterpoint is a form of composition using two or more individual melodies and combining them in one single form. There's sooo many rules, but it just fascinates me, like learning how to play chess. There's some contrasting motion, but it's really strict. I just started looking it up.


But even so, you can break those rules, but then you just change the name. Its not really a constraint unless your intent on that word.
#28
But you can't break them when you're in a classroom doing it, unfortunately. Following rules was a bitch in my theory class.
Soon you will sit on the bench
of those who deny I have my soul
You sell a dream you create
Condemned by what you condemned before
Smooth are the words you sing down and high
Underground is your joy your laws
#29
Quote by isaac_bandits
But even so, you can break those rules, but then you just change the name. Its not really a constraint unless your intent on that word.

If you break the rules, it wouldn't be called Counterpoint, yes, but neither would Chess be called Chess if you broke the rules all the time.
If you play guitar, please don't waste your time in The Pit, and please instead educate yourself in the Musician Talk forum, where you can be missing out on valuable info.
Quote by DiminishedFifth
It's like you read my mind!

I got meself a self-approving sig. Kick. Ass.
#30
you're meant to break some rules when you're writing in counterpoint. If you look at any post-baroque composers works, they completely rape the rules. You just need to know which rules to bend and how to bend them. Like, you're never allowed to use parallel fifths, but you can use dissonant harmonic intervals if you use passing tones and do them on unstressed beats and stuff.

And yes, it's still called counterpoint if you're breaking the rules, just make sure you know what you're doing. Counterpoint is combining two melodies, simple as that.

BTW, I'm not talking about classroom counterpoint, I'm talking about practical counterpoint. If you're doing classroom counterpoint, you're not allowed to break the rules. Enjoy your course.
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[U]     | \|_ |     |     .-|      [/U]
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Last edited by demonofthenight at Jan 13, 2009,
#32
So i can apply myself to instruments other than guitar with ease.
If i can read music, know my scales by heart it will be easier learn a wide range of instruments
#33
Quote by MedicreDemon
Some people think it hinders your creativity by giving you rules.



It actually helps your brain become better in tune with music and I've actually become better at it with creativity and others. (Except for Ears I'm working on that !)


By the way to the thread creator, I learn theory to do everything that I can with everything that relates to music. That's my#1 reason.
#35
Theory started out as basically my gateway into learning how to play and write my own stuff, rather than learn other peoples songs. One day I discovered that hey, Whole Whole Half, wow it all fits, I know that scale. Then it just kept building, it kept fitting together in my understanding of every single element that I know now, and I'm still trying to learn. When I figured out chord progressions it just kept fitting together.

I also want to be able to use it as a language, to simply say, alright man, I'll do an I-iii-IV-V chord progression in G major, play a lead over it. But no one else speaks the language yet, so... oh well. Maybe my band'll get it in check so we can get over this "Okay, 3rd fret, 7th fret, 8th fret..."

Blah blah blah. Better songwriter, better understanding, more and more doors unlocked, and I feel like I'm digging a hole, but I like where it's going. Theory ROCKS.
#36
Quote by MedicreDemon
But you can't break them when you're in a classroom doing it.
No, but you need to learn the standard ideas before you violate those ideas. For instance, a chemistry student cannot take quantum mechanics/p-chem until *he first learns classical mechanics, not that quantum mechanics is such a weird concept these days.

*Yes, God damn it, it is he. This is coming from a chick, albeit one who gets pissed whenever she sees someone write "he or she" or "the person" or "she," which is the worst, in an attempt to be politically correct.

Quote by nowa90
whats there to lose?
Time if you gain nothing from learning the theory.

Quote by MedicreDemon
Some people think it hinders your creativity by giving you rules.
Some people also voted for Jimmy Carter.

Quote by SilverDark
but neither would Chess be called Chess if you broke the rules all the time.
Yup. There was a hockey game in Wrigley Field on New Years Day, but we didn't call it baseball just because it was in the Cubs' stadium.

I learn theory to become a better musician. Plenty of what I write is simple, but plenty is not and as a scientist, I need something to explain what is going on.
#37
To be able to communicate with other musicians.

Understanding theory is invaluable for improv, songwriting, reading, creating. playing, communicating, etc.

Personal achievement like anything else
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#38
Here we have the perfect illustration of why other instrumentalists don't take guitarists seriously. On any other instrument the students do not question "why" they should study theory. They accept the logic that learning the science of the craft will make them better at the craft.

The problem stems from the fact that way too many completely inept guitarists have become rock stars in spite of their lack of skill or talent. Once corporations learned how much money could be made by creating rock stars, anyone with cool hair could be handed a guitar and told to pose for photos that will be shoved down the public throat until people start buying it. That justified sucking on the guitar. "Hey, he's a rock star, and he sucks. Why not me?"

We are living through the "dumbassification" of music.

Can you imagine going on a forum of doctors and seeing a survey like this....?

Why should I study physiology?

A. It will make me better doctor.
B. It will make me a better golfer.
C. It will make me a better doctor and golfer.
D. It will minimize malpractice lawsuits.
E. It will help me to not cut off the things I shouldn't.
F. All of the above.

Seriously... The guitar is a beautiful instrument. Too many guys are too concerned with how fast thay can shread, and not nearly concerned enough with how to play cool chords with a groove. Getting an image of what you want to do with your music would help. And, anything but trying to elevate the quality of the music is selling yourself short.

Sure, studying theory takes some discipline. But, it really is not that tough. You just have to want to learn it. And, if you can count to 7, you can do it.

I wish this were not true.....

How do you get a guitar player to turn down?
Put a chart in front of him.
#39
because if i don't i won't pass music class......

seriously though, i picked to be a better songwriter and improviser.
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along with fire escape routes...

#40
I look at it like this:

You arn't good at Calculus I material until you've taken Calculus III. Same with music, take the tougher classes, and the stuff you will actually use will become very easy.