#1
So yesterday, my friend was like "You can't write any good music without music theory" and i was like "What El F**k! Of course you can"

What do you guys think?
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#2
You can, but it's so much harder that I can't see why anyone wouldn't learn theory.
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Theory is descriptive, not prescriptive.


Quote by MiKe Hendryckz
theory states 1+1=2 sometimes in music 1+1=3.
#3
you can but its not going to be as good or make very much sense as if you knew a bit of theory.
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#4
You can - but for most people its an awful lot easier (and quicker) with some theory behind you
#5
You can definitely write music without a load of theory. But a good knowledge of chord structure will change you forever. I mean its always awesome to play in E minor and throw in all the same chords you always know but it gets stale.

If you ever find yourself getting bored with the chord progressions your playing, or your leads, its time to learn some theory. Basic theory is super easy and it can make a world of difference.

On that note, I have another friend who is a guitar player and he has a great ear. He just hears things in a way I don't, and he uses that as a way to do things like write good chord progressions and stuff. But I can do everything he can do, I can do lots of stuff better, and create more interesting things. And hes been playing longer...

But he can shred my face off to so... ya know... lol
#6
There's going to be theory behind it even if you dont understand what it is. Music theory exists because it is the science of what sounds good.
#7
Personally... I don't have any "formal" theory training. I was involved in school music for 9 years and have pursued theory topics and what not on my own time.

You don't have to have theory, it probably makes things easier and more diverse, but for me I don't use it. I make things that I like the sound of, depending on my mood. I like to think of music as an expression of myself when I play. Theory to me makes it seem to methodical and planned.
#8
Quote by Thepekins
So yesterday, my friend was like "You can't write any good music without music theory" and i was like "What El F**k! Of course you can"

What do you guys think?


Your friend is ignorant, and you are correct.

You certainly can, and many people have written music without music theory lessons.
shred is gaudy music
#9
Quote by GU1T4R-H3R0
you can but its not going to be as good or make very much sense as if you knew a bit of theory.

Completey bullsh*t. Sorry.

It'll take longer to get the hang of the art, and it'll be harder, but you sure as hell can write great music without a stich of theory knowledge. But honestly, you're going to have to argue semantics with the theory snobs about what's "good music" first. I've taken up learning theory, and it makes sense - like learning the mechanics behind making a car work as opposed to just driving one.
But to say you can't drive the car, and drive it well, without knowing the specific and technical aspects of how it works, is ignorant.
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#10
Also someone else kinda said this to but to reiterate...

Knowing theory will help you understand why things sound.

Like have you ever played something new and think" Wow that sounds great" but can never pick it up exactly the same again. Well its a lot easier to just realize what notes you picked out of the scales that give you that sound... Then you can apply that to different keys, or different chords and all kinds of stuff... Really much better.

Also... I haven't posted in ages... anyone know how I can change my avatar...?
#11
Quote by ProfDrum
There's going to be theory behind it even if you dont understand what it is. Music theory exists because it is the science of what sounds good.

Truth. Even if you dont know any of the names or progressions - note or otherwise - and only play what 'sounds right' from experience, you're still using it - you just don't realize it.

That's what I meant by the metaphor in my last post about the car and driving.
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#12
Quote by ProfDrum
There's going to be theory behind it even if you dont understand what it is. Music theory exists because it is the science of what sounds good.


!!!MUSIC THEORY DOES NOT EXPLAIN WHY SOMETHING SOUNDS GOOD!!!

Read that out loud at least six times. Music theory just explains what something sounds like, you decide what sounds good. Music theory is also not a set of rules, it just explains what sounds like what in what context.
Quote by Zaphod_Beeblebr
Theory is descriptive, not prescriptive.


Quote by MiKe Hendryckz
theory states 1+1=2 sometimes in music 1+1=3.
#13
Quote by blade_shredder
Also someone else kinda said this to but to reiterate...

Knowing theory will help you understand why things sound.

Like have you ever played something new and think" Wow that sounds great" but can never pick it up exactly the same again. Well its a lot easier to just realize what notes you picked out of the scales that give you that sound... Then you can apply that to different keys, or different chords and all kinds of stuff... Really much better.

Also... I haven't posted in ages... anyone know how I can change my avatar...?



Control Panel... it's NOT in your profile. Upper left hand corner when your looking at the forum.
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#14
What? Are you kidding me? Of course you can, just play what sounds right.

Bob Dylan doesn't know how to read music, neither does Pete Townshend, and they all wrote some great songs in my opinion. Look at the many punk bands out there who write great songs while knowing little to no theory. When I first started writing, I knew **** all. Just keep playing as much as possible and you'll figure it out.

THEORY IS UNNECESSARY.

Actually, I would say that until you learn how to really play your instrument smoothly and fluently, theory can be detrimental. Most people get too caught up on if something is "correct" instead of if it sounds "correct". These people telling you that you need theory are either lying or stupid.
#15
Of course you can.


EDIT: Theory isn't unessecary^

Thoeyr is just a way of explaining the great minds and ears of people who did it without theory. Sure you can not know theory and jam over a blues or rock track. But that is because it is what you have been exposed to all you're life. Now could someone without any theory knowledgle play over "All These Things You Are" or some Indian music? I doubt it.

Music is our language so you are best off learning it... you did learn English after all.
And if you can learn to speak English, learn to walk, and learn to love/hate someone then you sure as hell can learn music.
Last edited by Volvic at Mar 17, 2009,
#16
I sorta have to disagree with the car analogy, like no offense and I don't want to start a giant argument or anything. But I just think it works different.

This is a good summary I think...

Music theory is just that... theory. But like someone else said its the science of what sounds good, it's been proven that those things sound good. But also, in the late 1500's it was assumed that parallel fifths and octaves were a nasty bland sound ( fifth chords anyone?)
So with that said, things that don't necessarily agree with common theory aren't really bad.
It all depends on what kind of music you play, chord structure probably isn't a big deal to lots of hardcore bands. So I dunno...

Theory=good

Creativity=better

Creativity backed by theory=best

Thats what I think.
Last edited by blade_shredder at Mar 17, 2009,
#18
Quote by blade_shredder
I sorta have to disagree with the car analogy, like no offense and I don't want to start a giant argument or anything. But I just think it works different.

This is a good summary I think...

Music theory is just that... theory. But like someone else said its the science of what sounds good, it's been proven that those things sound good. But also, in the late 1500's it was assumed that parallel fifths and octaves were a nasty bland sound ( fifth chords anyone?)
So with that said, things that don't necessarily agree with common theory aren't really bad.
It all depends on what kind of music you play, chord structure probably isn't a big deal to lots of hardcore bands. So I dunno...

Theory=good

Creativity=better

Creativity backed by theory=best

Thats what I think.

No worries man I wouldn't argue over it - it's opinion - just how I view it - doesn't mean it's true for everyone.

Theory can be a good thing. Playing without it can be a good thing. It's all in how hard you work and how well you can apply your skill set.
Do you feel warm within your cage?

And have you figured out yet -


Life goes by?
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#19
You certainly can. But it will probably be harder, take longer, and youll have less understanding of the how and why.

So basically, you can, but thats no excuse not to learn everything you can
#20
Quote by learnyourtheory
You certainly can. But it will probably be harder, take longer, and youll have less understanding of the how and why.

So basically, you can, but thats no excuse not to learn everything you can


This + lulz at this guys/girls name.


Also, why not learn theory?




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#21
Quote by blade_shredder
I sorta have to disagree with the car analogy, like no offense and I don't want to start a giant argument or anything. But I just think it works different.

This is a good summary I think...

Music theory is just that... theory. But like someone else said its the science of what sounds good, it's been proven that those things sound good. But also, in the late 1500's it was assumed that parallel fifths and octaves were a nasty bland sound ( fifth chords anyone?)
So with that said, things that don't necessarily agree with common theory aren't really bad.
It all depends on what kind of music you play, chord structure probably isn't a big deal to lots of hardcore bands. So I dunno...

Theory=good

Creativity=better

Creativity backed by theory=best

Thats what I think.


A "theory" is something that has been tested and proven over and over and over again, not a guess. That is a hypothesis.

Instruments before the 20th century also didn't use 5th chords due to their ability to stand up to distortion without sounding like crap. 5ths are used for a reason in power chords, and it's because of "modern" technology.
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#22
The only things you need to do to be able to write music is listen to music. That's from where all your writing comes. The challenge is getting the music out of your mind and onto your guitar. A lot of guesswork will ensue, but music theory may help this process. To me, music theory makes predictions as to the name of the note(s) which come next in my mind. Music theory does not explain why something sounds good; it makes stabs at the patterns which appear in the music in our mind.
#23
It depends, do you want theory to write the songs or the songs to write the songs?


maybe that makes sense
#24
Im pretty positive music came before music theory. So you dont, but music theory makes it alot easier and more fun.
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#25
Quote by Thepekins
So yesterday, my friend was like "You can't write any good music without music theory" and i was like "What El F**k! Of course you can"

What do you guys think?

well technically no. music theory really just means how we understand music. if you have no understanding of music, then no you cant write anything.

but can you write good music without any formal theory lessons? yes of course. a lot of musicians dont know much of formal theory and they do just fine. "good" music is opinion anyway.
#26
Quote by DaddyTwoFoot
A "theory" is something that has been tested and proven over and over and over again, not a guess. That is a hypothesis.

Instruments before the 20th century also didn't use 5th chords due to their ability to stand up to distortion without sounding like crap. 5ths are used for a reason in power chords, and it's because of "modern" technology.

actually in science, a theory is never 100% proven. there is always room for updates. but no, its not a guess at all. theories are used to explain an event. but sometimes new evidence is brought to the table. it doesnt make the event not true, but it changes how we explain it a little bit. so it cant ever be 100% proven.
#27
Music theory is how we understand music names attached to them, so if you write music, you are essentially teaching yourself theory, just without the names.
Quote by Zaphod_Beeblebr
Theory is descriptive, not prescriptive.


Quote by MiKe Hendryckz
theory states 1+1=2 sometimes in music 1+1=3.
#28
Quote by Volvic
Music is our language so you are best off learning it... you did learn English after all.
And if you can learn to speak English, learn to walk, and learn to love/hate someone then you sure as hell can learn music.

I'm not quite sure I understand the message behind this analogy but I often compare music to language too.

But it's kind of like learning a second language. It can help tremendously to go to classes and take formal lessons where you learn the vocabulary and the formal structures of the language. This is the way most people learn to speak a new language.

However it is quite possible to immerse yourself in a new language and learn it quite well and fairly quickly without ever taking a single formal lesson.

My brother learned Spanish by living in Argentina for a year. He never took a formal lesson in his life.

Same thing with music. You can use theory to assist your learning or you can just learn through immersing yourself in it completely.

When my brother came home and took Spanish and Italian at University he learned the underlying structures and this improved his Spanish skills further (but so would living in Argentina for another year).


Music theory is great. It's not the be all and end all of music. You don't need it to become a great musician. You can get by without it and it doesn't just come down to trial and error.

I've seen GuitarMunkey say it before...It's just two different paths. What is right for one person may not be right for another.

For me music theory offers interesting ideas and new points of view regarding music. It offers another way to think about things. It's not by any means the only way. Theory rarely enters my mind when I come up with a song idea. It will often come into my mind as I develop those ideas and add parts, but not always. I'm always more concerned with what feels and sounds right than with anything else.
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#29
Music theory merely paraphrases practise.
Learn theory and you have a short cut to understanding what has already been practised, and, as a bonus, a logical system to explain why it works.