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#1
Theory makes numb; lets discuss this.

Today i had a dude in the studio who claimed that theory makes numb, music comes from the heart, theory from the brain and those two dont work together all that well. QUOTE: Every day you tell yourself not to watch porn, but well..... you know

Personally i think it is true to an extend, i mean, knowing how to move around the fingerboard seems kinda essential to me. But knowing too much will make you static and play in pre-made patterns and way to thoughtful.... Then again, if you could combine the two, who cares
#2
I disagree completely. Everytime i've heard people say that it's usually pretty obvious that they don't really know any theory.
#4
Quote by ridicilus
Theory makes numb; lets discuss this.

Today i had a dude in the studio who claimed that theory makes numb, music comes from the heart, theory from the brain and those two dont work together all that well. QUOTE: Every day you tell yourself not to watch porn, but well..... you know

Personally i think it is true to an extend, i mean, knowing how to move around the fingerboard seems kinda essential to me. But knowing too much will make you static and play in pre-made patterns and way to thoughtful.... Then again, if you could combine the two, who cares



Theory isn't the problem.

What happens with some people is that they start learning the fancy words, but then stop listening. Their music becomes about a fancy word instead of human expression.
shred is gaudy music
#5
he sure didnt play like shit :P Probably didnt have a clue what he was playing though
#6
And an understanding of color theory makes you a shitty painter, I suppose.
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#7
Quote by ridicilus
he sure didnt play like shit :P Probably didnt have a clue what he was playing though



I've no doubt his playing was superb, but it sounds like he was talking shit.


Theorie's just guidelines. If you decide to let it dictate then that's your fault. Theory isn't to blame.


In short: Theory doesn't write bad music; bad composers write bad music. No need to give theory a bad name.


EDIT: that makes me sound a lot madder than I am. I'm not mad at all, it's just the name "theory" is what it is, a theory. I've never understood why people don't get that.
Last edited by rocknrollstar at Dec 21, 2011,
#8
Quote by GuitarMunky
Theory isn't the problem.

What happens with some people is that they start learning the fancy words, but then stop listening. Their music becomes about a fancy word instead of human expression.

+1

"Knowing too much" is never going to be the problem - the issue arises only when you lose sight of actually playing music, which can happen whether or not you know theory.

The fact that some people doesn't know what they're doing (in theoretical terms) doesn't mean anything is "coming from the heart", it generally means that they're too lazy to learn anything about theory. People treat the two camps of thought as though they're mutually exclusive, when they should be working together.
#9
I feel like once you acquire the amount of theory that appeases your individual, musical curiosity, you began to expand upon it. Theory is a stimulant for your creativity, if anything.
#10
Quote by rocknrollstar
I've no doubt his playing was superb, but it sounds like he was talking shit.


Theorie's just guidelines. If you decide to let it dictate then that's your fault. Theory isn't to blame.


In short: Theory doesn't write bad music; bad composers write bad music. No need to give theory a bad name.


Where does this bad name come from anyway? I am from a piano background and it is all theory, in guitar we have tab..... you can be a great guitarist without knowing shit basically...
#11
From what I've seen, people like the guy you mentioned are just reluctant to learn any theory, and like to BS about emotion and expression, which, without a doubt have their place in music, but shouldn't dictate someones learning.
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#12
Think of theory as a ruler...

It can tell you how far a distance is but it doesn't tell you how far to go when you're drawing/designing something. It's merely a guide.

Music is romantacised (spelling) in a lot of instances and theory can perhaps take away from that. Think Robert Johnson for example. It's a good story about a dude who sold his soul for mad skills... but seriously? The truth is a lot of solid practicing.
#13
music theory is like training wheels for people who dont have the knowledge to express themselves musically
#14
It can be exhausting and sometimes even make u want to stop writing music and "playing around" on a guitar. But knowing theory will make you better. And when your done whining and complaining and do the work you will be better for it. There are talented people who have good ears who can pick stuff out and play it or not know what scale they are playing when they play it. But you can take things further when you understand the concept of what your doing, instead of just doing whatever comes to mind.
Last edited by alias1347 at Dec 21, 2011,
#15
Quote by fatmysummer
music theory is like training wheels for people who dont have the knowledge to express themselves musically

how can you express yourself musically if you cant even find a c note
#16
A tool is only as good as its user.

If I decide to use a hammer to put in a screw, chances are I'm going to royally screw up. (pun slightly intended)
#18
Quote by fatmysummer
music theory is like training wheels for people who dont have the knowledge to express themselves musically


That's cute.
Quote by Joshua Garcia
my chemical romance are a bunch of homos making love to a mic and you like that cuz your a huge gay wad. You should feel pathetic for being such a gaywad you gay mcr loving gaywad olllol.
#19
Quote by alias1347
It can be exhausting and sometimes even make u want to stop writing music and "playing around" on a guitar. But knowing theory will make you better. And when your done whining and complaining and do the work you will be better for it. There are talented people who have good ears who can pick stuff out and play it or not know what scale they are playing when they play it. But you can take things further when you understand the concept of what your doing, instead of just doing whatever comes to mind.


That is so true! I think every great guitarist who doesnt know theory can be an even greater guitarist when they would know what they are actually doing! I cant stand standing in a crowd and watching a guitarist play stupid stuff
#20
people who follow patterns don't actually know theory, and have to use their swollen ego to prove this to everyone they meet

people who are too lazy to learn what they're doing generalize anyone who knows more than them in the group of 'nerds'

he might have played fantastically, but i'm guessing his compositional skills weren't nearly as powerful as they potentially could be if he were to put in the elbow grease to understanding his and other instruments.
modes are a social construct
#21
Quote by Hail
people who follow patterns don't actually know theory


Alot of people that say things like this don't realize that following patterns is fundamental part of music. a scale in itself is a pattern... .on any instrument. Even in notation you can see the pattern.
shred is gaudy music
#22
Quote by GuitarMunky
Alot of people that say things like this don't realize that following patterns is fundamental part of music. a scale in itself is a pattern... .on any instrument. Even in notation you can see the pattern.


Depends on how you use that pattern i guess. I mean, i've seen a lot of people playing scales up and down, yeah great, now lets use the whole neck of the guitar, you have paid for the whole neck not just the box shape. Patterns are OK if you know how to use them.

I remember last year when i was at PinkPop (a dutch festival) and i got soooo irritated by the way a guitarist was playing. His note choices were just plain stupid, jumping around the fingerborad, and any idiot could tell he didnt know what he was doing. Yes he was playing patterns, just extremely stupid patterns. He could probably drink a beer after playing smart, instead of having a painful hand.
#23
Quote by GuitarMunky
Alot of people that say things like this don't realize that following patterns is fundamental part of music. a scale in itself is a pattern... .on any instrument. Even in notation you can see the pattern.


okay, following patterns strictly without being able to operate without them

i figured that was implied and obvious
modes are a social construct
#24
Theory doesn't make you have dull, bland music. If I could think on the fly and say

"Hey, An E minor here will add excatly the effect I want, E G B are my notes, here they are on my fretboard!" I play it then add my unique style, some vibrato, trills, string skipping, whatever I want. Then everyone would be like "Woah! That was amazing! The way he thought it out how that would fit perfectly with what was wanted then executed!"

Rather then this...

"O No!!! I don't know what will sound good here or fit! I'll shot from the hip!" I play F G B. Then everyone is like "Well I love how that was executed... But it didn't fit so well..."

Just combine the two and you have an excellent mix. Technique and Knowledge! Ying and Yang.
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#25
Quote by GuitarMunky
Theory isn't the problem.

What happens with some people is that they start learning the fancy words, but then stop listening. Their music becomes about a fancy word instead of human expression.
Thank you. Now can everyone who disagrees with this please shut up and learn how to play their God damned guitars?
#26
Quote by ridicilus
Theory makes numb; lets discuss this.

Today i had a dude in the studio who claimed that theory makes numb, music comes from the heart, theory from the brain and those two dont work together all that well. QUOTE: Every day you tell yourself not to watch porn, but well..... you know

Personally i think it is true to an extend, i mean, knowing how to move around the fingerboard seems kinda essential to me. But knowing too much will make you static and play in pre-made patterns and way to thoughtful.... Then again, if you could combine the two, who cares


I disagree. I think its a sign of someone that doesn't know their theory and how to apply it in meaningful ways. I don't think knowing the alphabet makes one numb.

I think people somehow invent rationalizations out there to compensate for being dumb, lazy or insecure.

Best,

Sean
#27
A dare say a lack of theory while exclusively using theory makes you numb. I have this problem these days abit. I know theory, but not that advanced at all - but i've started really subconciously sticking too much to the "safe zones" and have a hard time getting out of this

This numbs you, however it should not be too hard a problem to overcome. A good advice is always, if things become too stale - try and close your eyes and randomly tune your guitar - then make riffs - none of the rules apply anymore, since everything is now out of place, that forces you to think in different ways.
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#28
Quote by ridicilus
Where does this bad name come from anyway? I am from a piano background and it is all theory, in guitar we have tab..... you can be a great guitarist without knowing shit basically...



I won't slag off tab cause I did use it (and sometimes still do) when learning material, but sheet music offers so much more. Especially if you are a songwriter because it lets you see the melody and how it works with everything else in the song. Tab is what I use if I can't get sheet music/get the song by ear. Sean said it best later in the thread:

Quote by Sean0913


I think people somehow invent rationalizations out there to compensate for being dumb, lazy or insecure.


Boom.
#29
The mods are gonna love this.

But OT, I agree with the guy who said the thing about letting theory dictate.
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#30
I learned theory and now I play like a machine. I WARN YOU TO AVOID THEORY FOR THE SAKE OF THE CHILDREN - THINK OF THE CHILDREN!
#31
Quote by ridicilus
Theory makes numb; lets discuss this.

Today i had a dude in the studio who claimed that theory makes numb, music comes from the heart, theory from the brain and those two dont work together all that well.


Maybe some people have difficulty integrating theory with their instincts. This integration process isn't part of music theory itself. Perhaps a knowledgeable player could post a few lessons on how they used theory to come up with a particular composition - not just an exercise, but a real tune. Nothing vouches more for theory than actual results.
#32
Quote by ridicilus
Theory makes numb; lets discuss this.

Today i had a dude in the studio who claimed that theory makes numb, music comes from the heart, theory from the brain and those two dont work together all that well. QUOTE: Every day you tell yourself not to watch porn, but well..... you know

Personally i think it is true to an extend, i mean, knowing how to move around the fingerboard seems kinda essential to me. But knowing too much will make you static and play in pre-made patterns and way to thoughtful.... Then again, if you could combine the two, who cares

Use theory to train your ears. I use fancy words quite a lot on here, but never let my playing be dictated by that "fancy shit." Ears first.
#33
Quote by Sean0913
I think people somehow invent rationalizations out there to compensate for being dumb, lazy or insecure.

Best,

Sean

this

hell even i learned theory because to me the necessity outweighed the laziness
#34
Quote by Sean0913
I disagree. I think its a sign of someone that doesn't know their theory and how to apply it in meaningful ways. I don't think knowing the alphabet makes one numb.

I think people somehow invent rationalizations out there to compensate for being dumb, lazy or insecure.

Best,

Sean


Certainly true for some people, and it goes both ways. Like you could use theory to compensate for being dumb, lazy and insecure in other areas, like actually playing your guitar, and listening.

people say all sorts of things. "don't learn theory it makes you xxx"..... "don't learn scale shapes" ........ "you can't play with feel because emotion isn't inherent in music"...... " if you don't learn theory, you're not a real musician".......

Theory doesn't doesn't cure the dumb, lazy, and insecure. it just gives them fancier words to throw around in arguments, and a false sense of accomplishment.
shred is gaudy music
Last edited by GuitarMunky at Dec 22, 2011,
#35
Quote by GuitarMunky


Theory doesn't doesn't cure the dumb, lazy, and insecure. it just gives them fancier words to throw around in arguments, and a false sense of accomplishment.

so you after spending a great deal of time (often years) becoming familiar with music and learning theory you shouldn't feel some sense of accomplishment? wth does someone have to do to feel a sense of accomplishment? cure cancer?

i'm not saying people need to walk around like they're the sh!t but really if you spend a long time becoming good at anything you should feel some sense of accomplishment.
Last edited by z4twenny at Dec 22, 2011,
#36
Quote by z4twenny
so you after spending a great deal of time (often years) becoming familiar with music and learning theory you shouldn't feel some sense of accomplishment? wth does someone have to do to feel a sense of accomplishment? cure cancer?


I didn't suggest that you shouldn't feel a sense of accomplishment. I'm saying that alot of people aren't actually accomplishing anything beyond putting new fancy words into their vocabulary and that it gives them a false sense of accomplishment.
shred is gaudy music
#37
Quote by ridicilus
Theory makes numb; lets discuss this.

Today i had a dude in the studio who claimed that theory makes numb, music comes from the heart, theory from the brain and those two dont work together all that well. QUOTE: Every day you tell yourself not to watch porn, but well..... you know

Personally i think it is true to an extend, i mean, knowing how to move around the fingerboard seems kinda essential to me. But knowing too much will make you static and play in pre-made patterns and way to thoughtful.... Then again, if you could combine the two, who cares

that dude is an idiot and probably sticks to the same played out patterns and claims "but they have more feeling". what does he think chords and scales are? even simple ones are all theory. even if all you know is basic major and minor chords and the pentatonic scale, you know some theory. you are just choosing to limit yourself to that little bit you know.

in reality he is making an excuse as to why he isnt a better player or hasnt taken the time to learn theory. personally, i just admit that im lazy and thats why i dont know much theory. why cant others?

if he actually learned some, he might see that it doesnt make you numb at all. theory also isnt like a set of rules and "not knowing" theory isnt like breaking the rules and carving your own path. "theory" is just an explanation of how music works and how others have used it in the past. we wrote it down to make the learning curve easier and faster. personally, a lot of stuff i do SOUNDS like i know a lot of theory, but its mostly just by ear. but i dont claim it to be better than those who learned the same thing with theory. its just two different paths leading to the same thing. in fact, they probably got there faster than me.
#38
I've never met anyone who knew a lot of theory who had the attitude that it was bad for their development.

The "theory is bad for you crowd" is made up almost exclusively of people who haven't studied music theory very deeply.

I think part of the problem is that a little bit of theory seems limiting. eg, you learn the harmonized major scale and all of a sudden you're like, "What, I can only use the 1, 4, and 5 major chords? How limiting!" but you quickly realize, if you keep going, that theory goes much deeper than that.
#39
Theory is used to describe what you are doing on your instrument, so no.
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#40
Quote by GuitarMunky
Certainly true for some people, and it goes both ways. Like you could use theory to compensate for being dumb, lazy and insecure in other areas, like actually playing your guitar, and listening.

people say all sorts of things. "don't learn theory it makes you xxx"..... "don't learn scale shapes" ........ "you can't play with feel because emotion isn't inherent in music"...... " if you don't learn theory, you're not a real musician".......

Theory doesn't doesn't cure the dumb, lazy, and insecure. it just gives them fancier words to throw around in arguments, and a false sense of accomplishment.

lol theoretical knowledge and technical mastery of an instrument aren't exclusive and can go together you know

just because they have big words doesn't mean they're wrong. "****in nerds tellin me i suck at singing, i'm a good singer" doesn't help when you suck at singing

didn't somebody say in that thread that "feel" comes from the rhythm far more than your note choice? that's absolutely true. groove dictates your "feel", not what shape and how big of a bend you're using to enter your 20 second wank bridge of your generic song
modes are a social construct
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