#1
Someone with an understanding of music theory can write good music without hearing how it sounds.

Basically... do you believe it's possible to acquire the ability to write good songs (melodies/progressions) on paper before ever hearing how they sound when played?
#2
sure

they can hear it in their heads.
Last edited by Coagulation at Jul 8, 2010,
#4
Yeah. I hear chords and notes in my head all the time. Mostly it's just melodies, and I can't match it with mt guitar. But I do hear it.
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#5
100%. It's no different from the way you hear a tune or riff in your head, then put it on the fretboard. They're just putting it on paper and chart instead.
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#6
You also need to have a good ear to do that. For instance, someone with a good ear who knows how to read sheet music can see a piece of music written out and know how it will sound without having to play it.
#7
Beethoven composed music even when he was completely deaf so yeah
#8
True.
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#9
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Beethoven composed music even when he was completely deaf so yeah


I was about to say that :P
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#10
Quote by illmatic2594
Someone with an understanding of music theory can write good music without hearing how it sounds.


not always true. you'd need a good ear to do that. it's easier if you combine a good ear and good theory knowledge, but you're better off with only a good ear than the other way around.

Quote by illmatic2594
Basically... do you believe it's possible to acquire the ability to write good songs (melodies/progressions) on paper before ever hearing how they sound when played?


yes, i do. i've written a couple of good melodies that way, and i write good progressions that way all the time. i check my voice-leadings quickly, and determine what chord would provide me with a fairly fresh, unexpected sound (or other sound, depending on the overall feel of the piece i'm trying to compose).

it's easier to write good progressions than good melodies -- but if you have a really good ear, it doesn't matter.
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#11
Of course it is!

How do you think I made it through AP Music Theory? ;] I wasn't sitting there checking everything on piano. I was making a melody and then winging it. I got frequent praise from my teacher and even got called out on making "too complex" 4-part harmonies (harmonically speaking. My teacher described them from the "Romantic Era") ;]

As time goes on, and you do your own experimenting, you'll begin to be able to hear what it is you're writing before/as you do. I know how a Perfect Authentic Cadence sounds. I know how a I - IV - V sounds. I know when someone takes a chord, and moves it a M3/m3 up. Tritones are easy to pick out. i - VI - v (V) are easy to hear now. Among other things... So I'll know what I know what I just wrote will (generally) sound like before I do it using these. I'll also know how to get to where I want because I know the progression of what I'm hearing is.
#12
Quote by DiminishedFifth
Of course it is!

How do you think I made it through AP Music Theory? ;] I wasn't sitting there checking everything on piano. I was making a melody and then winging it. I got frequent praise from my teacher and even got called out on making "too complex" 4-part harmonies (harmonically speaking. My teacher described them from the "Romantic Era") ;]

As time goes on, and you do your own experimenting, you'll begin to be able to hear what it is you're writing before/as you do. I know how a Perfect Authentic Cadence sounds. I know how a I - IV - V sounds. I know when someone takes a chord, and moves it a M3/m3 up. Tritones are easy to pick out. i - VI - v (V) are easy to hear now. Among other things... So I'll know what I know what I just wrote will (generally) sound like before I do it using these. I'll also know how to get to where I want because I know the progression of what I'm hearing is.

Slightly off topic - but your post reminded me -

I'm just starting off in seriously learning theory, and I continually hear that I - IV - V referred to. Could you please elaborate on that? I have no idea what it means, and it seems to be pretty common, so I'd like to know, if you've got the time.
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#13
Quote by strat0blaster
Slightly off topic - but your post reminded me -

I'm just starting off in seriously learning theory, and I continually hear that I - IV - V referred to. Could you please elaborate on that? I have no idea what it means, and it seems to be pretty common, so I'd like to know, if you've got the time.


The Roman numerals are used to indicate scale degrees and also chord progressions as far as I know. In that sense it would be talking about major chords constructed from the tonic, subdominant and dominant scale degrees. In C major, the chords would be C - F - G, because C is the tonic, F is the subdominant (4th) degree and G is the dominant (5th) degree.

EDIT: It's important to realize that uppercase letters denote major chords and lowercase denote minor chords.
Last edited by Sóknardalr at Jul 8, 2010,
#14
Yes sir
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#16
Ultimately it's no different to you being able to compose a sentence or even an entire speech in your head and deliver it without ever having heard it or written it down.

We can all do that because we're all incredibly more familiar with our native language we've been hearing it since birth, trying to use it since birth and usually reading it from the age of 3 or 4. Think about learning a new language, French for instance...at the start it's difficult. You're learning new sounds that you don't normally use, the grammar's different, there's words that don't even correlate directly with anything in English etc. When it comes to actualy trying to use the language you constantly have to refer to your dictionary, check grammar and generally spend a lot of time consciously translating from English to French and back again.

Eventually though there comes a point where it all clicks, you realise you've stopped consciously trying to work things out and you're simply "thinking in French". Music is no different, at the end of the day it's just another language to learn.
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#17
The rules for 4 part harmonies are so strict that you could write one without knowing what it sounds like even in your head. Its not only like writing a speech without hearing it out loud first, its like writing a speech without knowing what the words mean

Of course, good is subjective, but it could easily sound passable
#19
Quote by illmatic2594
Someone with an understanding of music theory can write good music without hearing how it sounds.

Basically... do you believe it's possible to acquire the ability to write good songs (melodies/progressions) on paper before ever hearing how they sound when played?

i dont see why not. i believe some people have and still do this.
#20
The problem with all these people saying "Beethoven was deaf" is that that has nothing to do with it.

He didn't write using theory... he wrote using his ear (or lack thereof). He knew what it sounded like as he was writing it. And then there's also that anecdote about how he sawed off the legs of his piano so he could feel the notes. Again, this is not using theory.
#21
I'm pretty sure the TS is asking if a song can be written without any sort of aural feedback, be it from an instrument or from your head, since theoretically if your ear is good enough then both resources are on equal footing. I would say it's definitely possible, at least on a basic level, since there are fundamental rules of counterpoint and typical chord progressions that are pretty mechanical, and can be applied without resorting to your ear.

In terms of writing something that isn't just mindless counterpoint though, I'd imagine it'd be pretty difficult just to suppress your mind from hearing the notes as you're writing them. I guess a better way to think about the question could be to ask if a computer program could produce music just by using a database of rules. There's definitely been research done on that idea, but I've never personally heard any of the results, so I couldn't say how things are going, but I'd imagine that the possibility is definitely there.
#22
Quote by illmatic2594
Someone with an understanding of music theory can write good music without hearing how it sounds.

Basically... do you believe it's possible to acquire the ability to write good songs (melodies/progressions) on paper before ever hearing how they sound when played?


This is how I write half my music.