"why learn this stuff?", "will learning theory ruin my playing?", "dude I play by feel", etc.... etc..... etc....

I love the study of theory, it really is nothing more than the study of musical history, of how this art that we know and love has evolved. Having a thorough understanding of the musical language is so beneficial. For instance, it allows one to really appreciate why the greats are the greats. It allows you to understand the musical mind of a composer, past, present or future, without ever having met him, just by hearing his music.

It provides a common language with which to describe our musical ideas.

I was a composition major in college, so needless to say I was fed theory the whole way through. But I learned theory by apprenticing with a composer at my University. I also had a mentor, a really great Avant Guard jazz guy here in Jacksonville named Matt Butler.

The thing about learning musical theory is that it is not meant to teach you how to play or how to write. Beethoven himself said "Musical forms are not molds into which one simply pours his ideas". This is so true. But once one has really gained a true understanding of the musical arts, understanding traditional theory and analysis becomes almost second nature.

Musical traditions, like all things, evolve. The theory taught at universities around the world exists so that we may witness the large scale of that evolution. It is because someone has studied this that they can tell you why John Coltrane's improvisations are so brilliant, or what the difference between a Classical Symphony and a Romantic Symphony is, or for that matter, what a symphony is anyway.

The key is to realize one important point. Theory was not invented, nor discovered, it is observed. There are basic psychological principles involved in all art, there is a reason why music is structured the way it is. Knowing that is a whole lot more important thant knowing whether you are playing a G#7b9 chord or not.

This is why many people, without ever formally learning "theory", can still understand music, theory just explains why our ears and minds understand music in the way we do. Some people pick up on that intuitively. But there is a lot of science in music too, whether you are talking orchestral music, chamber music, jazz, prog rock or any artfully constructed music. An architect may have a great eye for beautiful structures, but without an engineers understanding of load bearing principles and such, he would be building beautiful death traps that would collapse under their own weight.

This is what happens when the musically ignorant attempt to write concerti or symphonies or even something so *apparently* simple as a string quartet. (considered one of the most sublime forms of musical art)

Knowledge of theory and good understanding of musical principles alone will not make one a good musician. That just simply takes time and careful attention to music; listening (true, attentive, analytical listening) and practice are the true path. Our knowledge of the various intricacies inherent in well written music will help in understanding just what we are hearing: how a particular harmony aids in the musical flow, or why a particular rhtythm compels the listener to react a certain way.

One need not learn how to write properly, or study grammar, in order to speak or even write, but just read something that was written by an illiterate fool and tell me if you can even make sense of what you are reading, or if it was enjoyable to read. Thus it is with music as well. What we learn studying theory aides in organizing our musical thoughts, it does not originate them.

Think of your musical journey as a road trip. The road signs do not tell you where to go, or really even how to get there, but they tell you where you are. Such is theory in the mind of a competent musician.
cool. i always used Jimi Hendrix, Page, Mozart,bach and a couple of others as a musical theory thing. lol. i know im just using icons that are widly popular. but they are mine. O and i forgot Munky from korn. its not hard to play just very intersting to know why he mad it fairly simple
Unburnzing consists of 1 simple step:Unburnzing

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Nice user name
Love live metal

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ive seen these before. one guy sold 2 air guitars, for $2 each or something. people are retarded, what can i say.
I have to say, when people actively avoid theory, I think they're just being stupid. It is the logical patterns that occur within music, and when one can understand the great complexities that it brings, one can really compose a piece that sounds like you know what you're doing. Even studying simply the extensions of chords (7ths, 9ths suspended 4ths etc) can really boost up the standard of any style of piece.

Understanding certain theoretical elements (even just notes of the scale, tonic dominant and subdominant etc) can help you understand how other people write their songs, and as such can lead to some great tributes. I do it all the time.