i agree to an extent...but once theoretical concepts are absorbed they should become part of the practical side of playing otherwise its just reading books to pass the time and being able to comment intelligently in music theory conversations.
Hey Andy,

I don't know if I agreed with all of your article, and I know that you are expressing a point of view, I just think that statements like:

"Now there are definitely players out there who know nothing or very little of music theory but still produce amazing music. This is certainly the exception, not the rule "

Can produce arguments, even from me, that there's probably more people making interesting music than not, that do not know their theory.

I think your explanation of language falls short on the following areas. Theory present's not only understanding, but options...as in more doors that can open for you, simply from seeing the big picture and knowing what possibilities I can take and use and know why they should work. As I like to say, in any given key I can start with 13 different chords just at the triadic level...as options. Where a guy without theory might have 3 to 4 that feel right by ear. A guy in diatonic harmony, well he may have 6 assuming that he isn't using the diminished triad that often. The more you know the more doors that you have - like colors of crayons. A 64 color box of crayons presents more of the color spectrum than an 8 color box. It allows us to develop a sense of nuance.

I think you are blurring the lines between mechanics and theory and knowledge, chasing the wrong rabbit down the wrong rabbit hole. When you apply theory I agree that its mechanics as far as practice and application is concerned, but thats not unique to theory. If all you do is apply them in the traditional way, i.e arpeggios, anything will sound mechanical. The idea is to get from musical practice to musical insight and then musical voice. Theory is perceived is mechanical when applied as such. For example Guthrie Govan shreds, he knows his theory. But when I listen to his Erotic Cakes album even though he shreds like a beast...I only hear...man that's some incredible music. He doesn't make me think he's shredding (album...now live I think he hams it up and often swings towards the shredder side to cater to that, and for me it removes the musicality) but on that album the playing feels more mature and on point. I say that because theory and application are what you make of them. So I wouldn't even give quarter to the technique argument, I think when you open up grey areas you leave the article weaker. My opinion, your mileage may vary.

I think that the most beneficial point of this...is only realized when the player discovers its not about abstract facts, it's understanding. It's not about rules, its about more doors that are available to you as options.

I was watching, of all things, tutorials on You Tube about people who make amazing spray painted planets, because I'm thinking of a cool music based idea (mural) for my real life school, and while very cool, the same "idioms" seemed to be present...comets, stars, waterfalls and rocky outcroppings. Just because you learn to do them doesn't mean that EVERY painting has to have them. But in the ones I looked at almost every painting had the space castle the comet the waterfall with the reflection. For me this made me draw a strong parallel to theory, because if I make 8 space paintings with these things in every one of them, I'm not going to want to make any more. That's the weakness of every space painting Ive seen...I feel like I've seen it before.

If I apply everything to everything, after a while, I've caught up with the options and used them all. Just because you understand something, doesn't mean you have to use it every time. Its about color and nuance, and theory opens that up - that's the real benefit of theory in my opinion...you have more colors in your box.



PS - By the way I didn't rate the article, I see you have perfect 10's and its not my point to down your article rating, just wanted to share some food for thought and honest feedback. I can do that without rating it.
Last edited by Sean0913 at Jul 22, 2011,
Quote by Andy_Mclaughlan
HI guys,
Check out my new article on UG and rate it if you have the time.



p.s. if you have any questions about the article please ask.

I'm all for learning music theory, but not ^ that.

Quote by Andy_Mclaughlan
Thanks! All support is appreciated and I hope the information can help people!

If you want to do that leave out the opinions and judgments, and just post useful information.
shred is gaudy music
Last edited by GuitarMunky at Jul 22, 2011,
If I worte an article of the same name, it would go something like this:

Nothing that is worthwhile in life will ever come easy.
Quote by soviet_ska
If I worte an article of the same name, it would go something like this:



IMO if you want to become a better guitarist you HAVE to know theory. but cool article though.
The point of the article is not that you have to be thinking about any music theory concepts when playing. Its about exploring the options that are available through organising them. This is only possible through studying them. Now about opinions and judgements. It each guitar for a living. I see results daily. These opinions have been developed through experience. So yes, of course I am opinionated on the subject. Anyone who can write an article trying to sell the benefits of learning something surely can't have his heart in it if he does not have an opinion