#1
So, who wants to tell me what musical theory is? Ive heard about it alot, but honestly, I dont know what it is. They are having a music theory UIL thing at my school, im planning on doing it but before I do, I want to know exactly what it is.
#3
It's all that crap that you need to know to play and create music, me thinks. What are scales, chords, minors/majors, octaves, etc, etc, and how to use them, combine them, change them, and basically just everything related.

People, can anyone please suggest a very good (a.k.a. easily understandable) book on guitar on all that crap above? I'm reading articles on UG, but it's just too confusing. They are written for people who are in musical school, I think, because I don't understand half of what is being explained, WHILE the article is trying to explain something. It says "it's like octave", or "it's basically C major" - how the hell a complete newbie suppose to know what those things are?! I just started out, I can already play about 10 songs pretty good, practical stuff isn't as hard as all that theory, and I feel like I need to learn it, because I'm not able to read music properly (except for simple tabs now).

I'm thinking of maybe buying "Guitar for Dummies". Has anyone read that, does it cover all those aspects and will it be enough? I'm not trying to become a musician, I just want to be able to understand when people on YouTube are teaching a song.

Thanks for any tips!
#4
Quote by BurningTurkey
Don't do it. it's just a theory.

So is gravity.

Music theory is the system of notes, scales, chords, and all that good stuff that describes how music works. Some people on this forum think that it's a set of rules that have to be followed, and so they treat it like something evil that you have to avoid, lest you become a slave to the ghost of Bach or something. Learning music theory will make you a better player, since you'll have a better understanding of what you're playing.
But...
You don't have to know theory. A lot of musicians in a lot of genres get by fine without it. Maybe someone else can help you decide whether it would be worth it to learn theory. Obviously I'm a bit biased towards it.
Last edited by Cavalcade at Nov 30, 2011,
#5
A bunch of tools you can use to write music, but you don't have to use them.
#6
It allows you to predict and control what sounds you will get and how to harmonize those sounds when you play or write, it's like a massive shortcut to getting the sound you want and removes an awful lot of trial and error to writing music, it will show you how to sound like anyone you want or how to create any sound you want (so long as you stick with it)
#9
Quote by Cavalcade
So is gravity.

gravity's a law bro.
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#10
1. Learning music theory is always a good idea.

2. Theory and law are interchangeable terms in the science world. The belief that they are different, or that one is proven and one isn't, is a common misconception.
#12
Uhhh. Yeah. Or at least according to my physics professors it is.

It's referred to as both the theory of gravity and the law of universal gravitation. They are interchangeable terms, but I digress.

Music Theory. Do it.
#13
^I think he was just talking about theory and law for musical purposes as opposed to the science world.

Music theory isn't a set of rules at all, that's all he was trying to say.
#14
Nope I was trying to say that law =/= theory. There is a law of gravitation (i.e. Newton saying: this is how shit works, believe it) and there's a theory of gravitation as well (i.e. the explanation of why gravity works the way it does, something to do with Einstein's general relativity). Law is observable phenomenon, theory is an explanation as to why that phenomenon happens that has never been disproved by an experimental method.

Law: Stuff falls
Theory: Einstein using big words and fancy numbers.

Holy shit this is pointless.

Oh yeah, and music isn't rules, just get stoned and play man.
#15
Quote by Excellery
So, who wants to tell me what musical theory is? Ive heard about it alot, but honestly, I dont know what it is. They are having a music theory UIL thing at my school, im planning on doing it but before I do, I want to know exactly what it is.


This link has all the answers you will need to answer your questions:

edit (dang, forum didn't like my link). Trying again:

http://lmgtfy.com/?q=music+theory
Last edited by HotspurJr at Dec 1, 2011,
#16
"Music theory is da herpin' of da derpin'."

-PDQ Bach

...modes and scales are still useless.


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#17
there's two things to consider.
In very simple terms music theory is a set of observations about how sounds interact to create musical effects.

In this sense of the term any songwriter or composer (and nearly all musicians) have at least some grasp of music theory whether they have any formal training or not. They make observations and form ideas about what works and use those ideas in order to create specific musical effects.

Music theory also covers normative ground in as much as specific terms and names that relate to different ideas. For example there is a certain thing that is called a Major Scale. This label decribes a specific concept and there are rules about how it is used and a correct way to use the term and incorrect ways to use the term. Other terms cover more, or less complex ideas and some of them have slight variations depending on the different theorists you are talking to but for the most part they form a language used to discuss musical ideas. In order for this language to be effective there must be an agreement about what those terms mean.

The essense of music theory though is the ideas around which there are no "rules" on how to use them.
Si
#18
Quote by Excellery
So, who wants to tell me what musical theory is? Ive heard about it alot, but honestly, I dont know what it is. They are having a music theory UIL thing at my school, im planning on doing it but before I do, I want to know exactly what it is.

Don't bother, it's a waste of time.
#20
Quote by dogmax
A bunch of tools you can use to write music, but you don't have to use them.


Pretty much this. They're just guidelines.
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#21
Music theory is descriptive, it allows you to understand what is happening in music and analyse other peoples music and take inspiration from them. Comments like the following make my blood boil:

"hey mann, you don't need to learn scales man, they just hold you back, its fine to break the ruless and play other notes not in the scale dawgg"

No F***ing S***. Nowhere has any theory textbook or treatise said "this is a scale, you can't use any other notes". Out of scale notes are easily described by MT. There are no rules in music theory.

Guidelines? I can't say I've ever received any guidelines whilst learning theory, where is this holy list of guidelines in music theory?

Music theory as a tool? An analytical tool? Yes. An actual tool for writing music? No.

/Rant
Last edited by griffRG7321 at Dec 1, 2011,
#22
Quote by griffRG7321

Guidelines? I can't say I've ever received any guidelines whilst learning theory, where is this holy list of guidelines in music theory?

I think what people think of as guidelines are actually conventions that people have used for years and that have worked for the most part.
^^The above is a Cryptic Metaphor^^


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MUSIC THEORY LINK
#23
^ +1 , as far as i know the only rules are in species counterpoint which to be honest the average rock guitarist probably won't ever get into.

theres never a "have to" but plenty of "this will sound good because of this and this and this"
#24
And that 'this will sound good' stuff is irrelevant because each era of music and country for each era of music used different 'this will sound good' things throughout music theory. There is no definitive all encompassing music theory that could describe anything in terms of sounds good or bad.
#25
Quote by Vlasco
There is no definitive all encompassing music theory that could describe anything in terms of sounds good or bad.



Music theory is all encompassing. Music theory does not describe anything in terms of sounds good or bad.

Anyone that understands music theory will understand that terms like good or bad are personal opinions and that the music theory is a tool to analyze and understand what is happening in the music to create the effect that the person thinks is good or bad.

Many people argue that there are concepts or relationships between sounds that we are predispositioned as human beings to find appealing and other's that we find unappealing. Music theory can be used to describe these things and how they work.
Si
Last edited by 20Tigers at Dec 2, 2011,
#26
Music theory as a descriptive device is constantly changing, as well. I've read countless theory books that describe theory in an archaic way that is far from all-encompassing. The way theory is taught as a descriptor does bias towards certain cultural perceptions of good and bad because theory is grounded in what others have done in the time up to the writing of the book. Different books are different snapshots of different forms of theory at different times.

My point is that :

theres never a "have to" but plenty of "this will sound good because of this and this and this"


isn't relevant because the 'this will sound good' things are fantastically varied depending on the source you get your theory form.
#28
It's the understanding of the musical language.
You might look at an B7 to E as just 2 chords that fit with each other.
Someone who knows theory he might say that it's a cadence.