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#1
Im doing a school project on the topic of "Does music theroy actually help you become a better musican?" can someone give me their veiws on this? I need both, it makes you better and it doesnt help at all viewpoints please discuss here thanks guys
#3
The more theory you know, the better. It will help you better express yourself musically.
#4
Think about it for a second, you're basically asking "Does understanding music help you get better at making music?"

Can you think of any subject, hobby or field of study where knowing more about something doesn't make you better at it?
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#5
well i can remember a detriment to theory: i used to play drums and trumpet as a kid, and enjoyed it, until i started taking regular lessons involving theory. it was so dry and boring that iit made actually thiniking about/playing hte instrument suck. so when i started guitar i taught myself, and i still love it. i feel that if i tried to learn theory i would stop playing again because theory isnt fun, it ruins it. so yea, theory wouldn't make me a better musician because i would stop playing.
#6
Yeah I know all this, i need someone to provide a valid arguement about how so and so doesnt know theory and look at them its not worth it this project determines weather I pass high school or not

Quote by cthuludawn21
well i can remember a detriment to theory: i used to play drums and trumpet as a kid, and enjoyed it, until i started taking regular lessons involving theory. it was so dry and boring that iit made actually thiniking about/playing hte instrument suck. so when i started guitar i taught myself, and i still love it. i feel that if i tried to learn theory i would stop playing again because theory isnt fun, it ruins it. so yea, theory wouldn't make me a better musician because i would stop playing.


thank you this is what I needed can I use this statement in my paper?
Last edited by therealtater at Feb 9, 2009,
#7
When there is inspiration, music theory helps to make happen all the things that are inside your head. Music theory will not make you write a great song. It will help you structure it.. best of luck with your project..
#8
thank you this is what I needed can I use this statement in my paper?

sure, that's why i posted.
#9
yes, theory makes you a better musician.. If a group of musicians get together and they all know theory, communicating your ideas will be much easier

If you can write sheet notes, it'll be much easier to show your ideas as well

also, improvising and expressing yourself on an instrument is much easier if you know the scales and modes, and know their theoretical background.

also, writing songs is much easier if you know your way around the circle of fifths etc.

so yeah, to me, music theory is an invaluable tool.
#11
I think music theory helps put words on what you already know, that way its easier to communicate with other musicians/band mates what you're doing, what they're doing, etc.

however some of it I haven't used.....like writing sheet music.

I think ear training is the most important. Learning to play by ear is a great skill and makes guitar a lot easier.
Last edited by PumpkinPieces at Feb 9, 2009,
#13
Quote by therealtater
Im doing a school project on the topic of "Does music theroy actually help you become a better musican?" can someone give me their veiws on this? I need both, it makes you better and it doesnt help at all viewpoints please discuss here thanks guys



The ultimate UG MT argument. No offense but I find it to be a pointless topic as worded. its kinda like saying "does learning make you smarter"?

Yes, theory knowledge can enhance your musicianship. (make you a better musician, if you really need to put it in those terms).

No, it doesn't guarantee that you will be better. It's entirely possible to be knowledgeable in theory and not be a good musician.


I would suggest doing a more useful, less polarizing topic. Maybe you could so something like. "How musicians can benefit from learning music theory"
Then there are no silly opinionated arguments, and you can get some useful answers.


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^ Not necessarily true. You're wrong in thinking that no-one can disagree with your point.
Last edited by GuitarMunky at Feb 9, 2009,
#14
I think that if you start learning it early on in relation to learning any instrument, you'll get bored very quickly, but learning it bit by bit along the way like I am takes the boring edge off of all the jargon and teaches me new things as I go along.
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#15
Quote by sadistic_monkey
Yes, it makes you better. Whoever disagrees is just wrong.

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#16
i'm not saying that theory wouldn't make you a better musician. of course learning theory will broaden your horizons etc. what i was trying to get across was that without theory, i can get so far, and have, yet i know from past experiences that introducing theory to my already satisfactory playing will only be a detriment to me, personally, due to how much i can't stand music theory. the answer i gave wasn't mroe of "i learned theory and now i suck", but, learning theory frustrates me and makes me lose interest, and due to THAT, my playing stops or slows, and therefore i wouldn't progress as far due to my lack of interest. i don't know if it is possible to learn theory and then lose progress due to it.
#17
It all depends on the musician. Guys like Freddy Mercury and Buddy Rich wouldn't take lessons because they felt they would be detrimental to their natural ability. With that mentality, it's probably impossible for theoretical understanding to be beneficial. However, one more receptive to the idea will almost certainly benefit quite substantially from learning theory.
#19
I would suggest doing a more useful, less polarizing topic. Maybe you could so something like. "How musicians can benefit from learning music theory"


Then you can focus on something positive and useful rather than negativity and opinions.
#20
Quote by cthuludawn21
well i can remember a detriment to theory: i used to play drums and trumpet as a kid, and enjoyed it, until i started taking regular lessons involving theory. it was so dry and boring that iit made actually thiniking about/playing hte instrument suck. so when i started guitar i taught myself, and i still love it. i feel that if i tried to learn theory i would stop playing again because theory isnt fun, it ruins it. so yea, theory wouldn't make me a better musician because i would stop playing.


Theory is not inherently boring. You just think that learning it is boring. I happen to enjoy learning theory immensely.
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#21
I'm going to play Devil's Advocate.

Music theory is not essential to becoming a good musician. Some of the most respected musicians of the past fifty to sixty years had no training in music theory. Jimi Hendrix, Jimmy Page, and John Lennon are three such examples.

To suggest music theory makes you a better musician would be to suggest that these musicians could have been better than they were - which feels like a demotion of how great they actually were as musicians simply because they might not have been be able to pass a written test.

But they are musicians not academics. Music theory is the academic side of music. And it is very difficult to argue the point since most supporters of music theory are academic by nature, and as a result they tend to provide more eloquent and persuasive arguments.

But being a good musician is not measured by how good a pass mark you get on a written test nor is it the mark of a poor musician if someone heads toward their freezer when a Neopolitan sixth is mentioned.

Music theory is born of a need to explain how things work. It's not necessarily a means to understand but a means to explain that understanding and communicate it to another person in a form other than through the music itself. It's a great tool for teaching and communicating ideas to other people that speak the language.

It is important that a musician understands how music works and what things make the music work but they can have that understanding intuitively without being able to explain it. To suggest such a musician would be better if he could put those intuitive understandings into words doesn't seem to hold much water really.

Being a musician is not about being eloquent or academic. It's about playing music and playing it well. Music theory is not required for this. What is required is creative genius, a good ear, and years of devoted practice to improve technical ability.

Music theory is a descriptive tool. Music comes first and then the theory comes in to explain the music and how it works. A musician is involved in the first part of the chain - the music.

They don't need to be able to explain anything - they can leave that to the academics.

EDIT: I just saw this post...
I would suggest doing a more useful, less polarizing topic. Maybe you could so something like. "How musicians can benefit from learning music theory"


Then you can focus on something positive and useful rather than negativity and opinions.
This is true. The original question is pretty tough for several reasons. One reason is that better is a relative term that is super hard to understand when comparing musicians. What makes a musician better than another? If it's a knowledge of music theory then music theory makes you a better musician. Is it being able to play 16th notes at 200 bpm? Then music theory won't make you a better musician.
Si
Last edited by 20Tigers at Feb 9, 2009,
#22
Quote by GuitarMunky
The ultimate UG MT argument. No offense but I find it to be a pointless topic as worded. its kinda like saying "does learning make you smarter"?

Yes, theory knowledge can enhance your musicianship. (make you a better musician, if you really need to put it in those terms).

No, it doesn't guarantee that you will be better. It's entirely possible to be knowledgeable in theory and not be a good musician.


I would suggest doing a more useful, less polarizing topic. Maybe you could so something like. "How musicians can benefit from learning music theory"
Then there are no silly opinionated arguments, and you can get some useful answers.


^ Not necessarily true. You're wrong in thinking that no-one can disagree with your point.


I cant do that it has to be an aguementative paper
#25
Quote by therealtater
Im doing a school project on the topic of "Does music theroy actually help you become a better musican?" can someone give me their veiws on this? I need both, it makes you better and it doesnt help at all viewpoints please discuss here thanks guys


If you need an "argumentative" paper, then you'll probably want to start with at least valid arguments on both sides. You can boil any argument down to premise 1 + premise 2 = conclusion. A valid argument follows strict logic rules. I don't want to get into that, but you can probably intuit them.

Premise 1: Music theory stifles creativity
Premise 2: Everything that stifles creativity won't help you be a better musician
Conclusion: Music theory won't help you be a better musician

That is a valid argument. You have to start at least with that.

The real work and most latitude in any argument is about how SOUND it is. That's where you'd attack or defend the truthfulness of the premises.

Make up lists of premises that lead to pro or con conclusions. Then defend the premises that support, and attack the ones that don't support your point of view. You DO have a point of view, right?
#26
Quote by edg
If you need an "argumentative" paper, then you'll probably want to start with at least valid arguments on both sides. You can boil any argument down to premise 1 + premise 2 = conclusion. A valid argument follows strict logic rules. I don't want to get into that, but you can probably intuit them.

Premise 1: Music theory stifles creativity
Premise 2: Everything that stifles creativity won't help you be a better musician
Conclusion: Music theory won't help you be a better musician

That is a valid argument. You have to start at least with that.

The real work and most latitude in any argument is about how SOUND it is. That's where you'd attack or defend the truthfulness of the premises.

Make up lists of premises that lead to pro or con conclusions. Then defend the premises that support, and attack the ones that don't support your point of view. You DO have a point of view, right?


when you say point of view, your asking wether Im arguing for it or against it, Im going to argue that if you learn it your music will sound better but it wont make you a great muiscian thats talent
#27
Quote by edg


Premise 1: Music theory stifles creativity
Premise 2: Everything that stifles creativity won't help you be a better musician
Conclusion: Music theory won't help you be a better musician




I don't get how Theory should stifle creativity.
If you know theory, you know the rules that make a song sound good. Take it from there and you exactly what rules you want to break.

Problem solved.
#28
Quote by therealtater
when you say point of view, your asking wether Im arguing for it or against it, Im going to argue that if you learn it your music will sound better but it wont make you a great muiscian thats talent


how is theory in any way going to make your music "sound better"

you'll have a better idea of how to compose what you want but it wont make you "sound better"

i could use theory and compose a song that the melody is harmonized w/ tritones, then i'll switch to m2's then M7's..
and then the accompaniment will be all aug7 chords and it will end on a dim7 chord.
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#29
Quote by victoryaloy
how is theory in any way going to make your music "sound better"

you'll have a better idea of how to compose what you want but it wont make you "sound better"

i could use theory and compose a song that the melody is harmonized w/ tritones, then i'll switch to m2's then M7's..
and then the accompaniment will be all aug7 chords and it will end on a dim7 chord.


I meant sound right, you know the rules you know why this note sounds right with one note and not the other thats what I meant by that
#30
Quote by therealtater
I meant sound right, you know the rules you know why this note sounds right with one note and not the other thats what I meant by that


thats what i figured you meant.. i just felt like being a dick.

but anyway..
yeah it helps.. for the reason you wrote above

one the other side..
people tend to view it as a strict set of rules and limit themselves to that.
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#31
Quote by Nilpferdkoenig
I don't get how Theory should stifle creativity.
If you know theory, you know the rules that make a song sound good. Take it from there and you exactly what rules you want to break.

Problem solved.


That was an EXAMPLE. From my personal point of view, an unsound argument(but a valid one) He has to put both things he agrees with and doesn't in there.
#32
Quote by Nilpferdkoenig
I don't get how Theory should stifle creativity.
If you know theory, you know the rules that make a song sound good. Take it from there and you exactly what rules you want to break.

Problem solved.

music theory is not about "rules".

There is only one rule in music - if it sounds good it is good. Theory will then attempt to explain why it sounds good. Theory will also explain why music sounds bad. But don't be confused. Music theory won't tell you if it is good or bad it will only describe the structure, relationships, and what is happening within the music itself. It is your ear that tells you what sounds good.

Why people argue that theory stifles creativity - the view is understandable. By not learning theory one will not rely on these "rules" that make a good song and will instead rely solely on their ear to determine what comes next and focus more on what sounds good than on what follows the "rules".

This argument is born by people such as yourself claiming that music theory outlines some mythical magical "rules" that when followed will make good sounding music. Then new students take that argument to the point where they think learning these "rules" will just be like training their brain to think a certain way and the end result will be music that is stale and formulaic.

Music theory describes music. Musicians learn from other musicians. Music theory is one way of facilitating that learning cycle. When you write you don't think in terms of music theory.

Music theory might help you acquire certain licks, tricks, or ideas from other musicians and songs that you like. You might decide to use some of those ideas. But they aren't rules or suggestions just something you have heard and liked and decided to use yourself. But music theory isn't telling you what to write, it's not suggesting an idea. It's describing another piece of music or a common musical idea that you are applying to your own work.

I hope this makes sense to you because what you are saying really is damaging to people's perceptions about what music theory is and isn't.
Si
#34
Playing guitar is physical. Theory is mental. You need both, to some extent or another. I guess it depends on your style. But learnig basic theory such as chromatics, and chords, and scales is prety much a necessity, if you want to be good. Especially for things like shred.
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#35
Music theory is not essential to becoming a good musician. Some of the most respected musicians of the past fifty to sixty years had no training in music theory. Jimi Hendrix, Jimmy Page, and John Lennon are three such examples.

To suggest music theory makes you a better musician would be to suggest that these musicians could have been better than they were - which feels like a demotion of how great they actually were as musicians simply because they might not have been be able to pass a written test.


Claiming that the above mentioned musicians couldn't possibly have been been better (and thus couldn't possibly be surpassed) is just partisan idiocy. I'll go even further and suggest that their respect is largely limited to a population who's only exposure to music is in the form of structurally, harmonically, and melodically simplistic popular music. Complexity is obviously distinct from "good", given the large amount of subjectivity inherent in music, but you're dealing with an incredibly biased sample. The simple fact is that Hendrix and the others you mentioned, while influential and certainly capable of "moving" many people, were mediocre and limited composers.

Music theory is a descriptive tool. Music comes first and then the theory comes in to explain the music and how it works. A musician is involved in the first part of the chain - the music.


Music theory describes musical concepts, and knowledge of those concepts very often comes before a composition. Skill as a composer comes from being able to design and manipulate musical relationships in order to achieve an effect. The more complex the effect, the more skill is required to achieve it. Music theory is certainly not necessary to write good sounding music, or catchy music, or music that moves people, but it is very strongly related to one's skill as a composer.
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Last edited by Archeo Avis at Feb 9, 2009,
#36
Quote by Archeo Avis
Claiming that the above mentioned musicians couldn't possibly have been been better (and thus couldn't possibly be surpassed) is just partisan idiocy. I'll go even further and suggest that their respect is largely limited to a population who's only exposure to music is in the form of structurally, harmonically, and melodically simplistic popular music. Complexity is obviously distinct from "good", given the large amount of subjectivity inherent in music, but you're dealing with an incredibly biased sample. The simple fact is that Hendrix and the others you mentioned, while influential and certainly capable of "moving" many people, were mediocre and limited composers.


I have to write an arguementitive paper the whole things going to somewhat biased...if I understood the teacher right
#37
Quote by Archeo Avis
Claiming that the above mentioned musicians couldn't possibly have been been better (and thus couldn't possibly be surpassed) is just partisan idiocy. I'll go even further and suggest that their respect is largely limited to a population who's only exposure to music is in the form of structurally, harmonically, and melodically simplistic popular music. Complexity is obviously distinct from "good", given the large amount of subjectivity inherent in music, but you're dealing with an incredibly biased sample. The simple fact is that Hendrix and the others you mentioned, while influential and certainly capable of "moving" many people, were mediocre and limited composers.


Music theory describes musical concepts, and knowledge of those concepts very often comes before a composition. Skill as a composer comes from being able to design and manipulate musical relationships in order to achieve an effect. The more complex the effect, the more skill is required to achieve it. Music theory is certainly not necessary to write good sounding music, or catchy music, or music that moves people, but it is very strongly related to one's skill as a composer.
How can you argue that Jimi Hendrix and Jimmy Page were mediocre composers? They may be limited but they were capable of making more beautiful music with their limited knowledge than any neo-classical guitarist I've ever heard. Little Wing and Bold as Love are two of the greatest songs of the past 100 years.
#38
Quote by flclisfun
How can you argue that Jimi Hendrix and Jimmy Page were mediocre composers? They may be limited but they were capable of making more beautiful music with their limited knowledge than any neo-classical guitarist I've ever heard. Little Wing and Bold as Love are two of the greatest songs of the past 100 years.


The ability to move people through music is related by not synonymous with skill as a composer. They were fortunate that they didn't need compositional skill to accomplish what they wanted to. Your friend may be able to build the most beautiful napkin holder you've ever seen, but that doesn't make him an extremely talented woodworker; certainly not more talented than someone with the skills to accomplish anything asked of them with the material.

Regardless of how beautiful their music was (I find it boring and cold, but that is irrelevant), they were mediocre composers.

Little Wing and Bold as Love are two of the greatest songs of the past 100 years.


Unbelievable. Scriabin composed The White Mass, and yet Little Wing is the greatest composition of the past 100 years.
What you mean to say is that you enjoy the song, which is perfectly fine. You may not even be able to stand Scriabin's work. That's also fine. Both of those are subjective judgments. What is much less subjective is skill as a composer. As a composer, Scriabin is objectively superior to all of the musicians listed, as are many guitarists alive today.
Someones knowledge of guitar companies spelling determines what amps you can own. Really smart people can own things like Framus because they sound like they might be spelled with a "y" but they aren't.
Last edited by Archeo Avis at Feb 9, 2009,
#39
Quote by Archeo Avis
The ability to move people through music is related by not synonymous with skill as a composer. They were fortunate that they didn't need compositional skill to accomplish what they wanted to. Your friend may be able to build the most beautiful napkin holder you've ever seen, but that doesn't make him an extremely talented woodworker; certainly not more talented than someone with the skills to accomplish anything asked of them with the material.

Regardless of how beautiful their music was (I find it boring and cold, but that is irrelevant), they were mediocre composers.


Unbelievable. Scriabin composed The White Mass, and yet Little Wing is the greatest composition of the past 100 years.
What you mean to say is that you enjoy the song, which is perfectly fine. You may not even be able to stand Scriabin's work. That's also fine. Both of those are subjective judgments. What is much less subjective is skill as a composer. As a composer, Scriabin is objectively superior to all of the musicians listed, as are many guitarists alive today.
Good music is judged on whether it sounds good. If a composer writes a good song he is a good composer. Also, you need to make the distinction between talent and skill. Skill is something that can be practiced and refined. Talent is something that you're born with. Thus, the skilled woodworker who creates a technically flawless napkin holder is not as good of a woodworker as the friend unless his is more beautiful. Music is measured on how it sounds. Enough said.
#40
Also, I never claimed that either of the songs were the greatest songs of the 20th century. I just said they were up there.
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