#1
okay well today my i asked my friend a question about music theory, thinking he would know the answer because he writes alot of songs for his band, and he told me he never learn it.....and he has been playin for about 6 years and he is really good..

i was wondering if i do need music theory to write songs and melodies....or does my friend just have the gift of the knowing how to write songs
#2
You don't need it, but it will be extremely beneficial if you plan on becoming an actual musicians and/or associating yourself with other musicians. Let's say you are recording an album and you called in a string quartet to play on one of your tracks. Don't even try handing them a sheet of tablature. You will be laughed at.
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#3
Theory makes life ALOT easier...

it's like communication. you don't NEED it but it makes life one hell of alot easier.
#4
Your friend lied. He knows what he's doing, even if he doesn't know the official names.

While it's not necessary to learn theory, it will help you a whole bunch.
#5
Theory helps you understand how you can better express yourself musically. I also helps your improv and playing in general. I would say music theory is what separates the casual guitarist from the serious one. The funny thing is, you need to throw theory out the window some times. When you're writing a song for instance, you shouldn't depend on your diatonic knowledge to write a melody, you should depend on your creativity to do that, then supplement it with your theory knowledge. Make sense? But yes, it is important to learn.

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Last edited by Black_Fender at Mar 9, 2008,
#6
Quote by Sixxology
okay well today my i asked my friend a question about music theory, thinking he would know the answer because he writes alot of songs for his band, and he told me he never learn it.....and he has been playin for about 6 years and he is really good..

i was wondering if i do need music theory to write songs and melodies....or does my friend just have the gift of the knowing how to write songs



the real question is .... do you want to learn it? If the answer is yes... then you should.

but no you don't need theory to write music, and your friend is not an anomaly. There are lots of musicians that dont have a music theory background, but can play, and write music.

Its really up to you. I would encourage you to look into theory if it interests you. There are alot of situations where that information will be useful.
shred is gaudy music
#7
if you dont know theory and get into a band you will feel dumb. the bassist and drummer will be talking about "then do i hit the cymbal on the 'and' of three?" and the bassist will be like: "i dont know.... wat do you think?" and youll be like: "i just play guitar.....i cant count that kind of stuff out."
you will basically be worthless to the band unless:
A) you write EVERYTHING
B)you are a robot

otherwise you will be the guy who stands in the corner and is told what to play.
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#8
You may not need to formally learn theory to make music but there is no bad consequences for learning theory and there is extreme benefits so there is no reason not learn it.
#10
i dont find learning theory "unfun" or not "entertaining".
it is just learning about a subject i really enjoy.
it makes my songs sound better, lets me know what im doing, and also lets me express it better to other musicians.

its all pluses.

so dont be all "gah, theorys a drag, do i have to?"
i enjoy, and if you like music, then so will you.
#11
Theory is necessary for communicating with other musicians, and it allows an understanding of why musical concepts sound the way they do. There is no conceivable reason not to learn it.
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#12
With theory you will actually understand what you are playing and why it sounds so good, and you'll be able to work things out.
For example, if you know the structures of chords then you will be able to work out a chord even if you don't know it instead of having yo look it up.
Also, before i knew the small amount of theory i know now my violin teacher would ask me what key the pieces i was playing were in. I would usually say whatever the key signature was, eg. Dmajor, and my teacher would sometimes tell me i was wrong and it was actually Bminor (or whatever the realtive minor was). And i'd just think WTF?
Then my teacher realised i didn't know any theory (which i should have from when i played piano but i never bothered to do any then) and made me learn it.

And i've realised how cool theory is.

Which makes me sound like a total geek.

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#13
ok your friend is just trying to sound cool and act like he knows everything. it would be very hard to write a good song without using theory. you dont need a ton of theory to write one song but you should know some.
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#14
I know a guy with a gold record and a Juno award (like Canada's version of the Grammy's) who can't tell you that the third string eleventh fret is an F#, that the F# in question does not fit into the key of C major, can't read music, and can't tell you the difference between a dominant seventh and a major seventh chord. He's played arenas and stadiums throughout Europe, Asia and North America. He can shred quite handily, has a great ear, and has a great sense of melody and song structure.

I know my theory pretty cold and am a strong advocate for learning it, but it is hardly crucial, depending on what you want to do and what your other skills are.

CT
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I know it sounds crazy, but try to learn to inhale your voice. www.thebelcantotechnique.com

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#15
As already said, you don't need it. But its a great tool.

I'm not a great player but knowing basic theory has helped keep things interesting for me. When i hit a wall i analyze what i'm playing and use my tool(theory) to help me past that wall.
epic7734
#16
Quote by axemanchris
I know a guy with a gold record and a Juno award (like Canada's version of the Grammy's) who can't tell you that the third string eleventh fret is an F#, that the F# in question does not fit into the key of C major, can't read music, and can't tell you the difference between a dominant seventh and a major seventh chord. He's played arenas and stadiums throughout Europe, Asia and North America. He can shred quite handily, has a great ear, and has a great sense of melody and song structure.

I know my theory pretty cold and am a strong advocate for learning it, but it is hardly crucial, depending on what you want to do and what your other skills are.

CT


well said. and it really answers the TS's question about whether you need it to write music.

Whether you should pursue music theory for the purpose of broadening your understanding is another issue altogether. And I think most people that have studied theory, would encourage it.

so whos this guy you know? that would be cool if it was like Rik Emmet or something.
shred is gaudy music
Last edited by GuitarMunky at Mar 9, 2008,
#17
2 choices are available to you. Know what your doing and work more efficiently or get there eventually by trial and error.
Theory will not diminish "feel" as seem sto be the popular myth. If you have feel it never goes away
#18
Theory will help you out A LOT if your planning on taking a serious music career.
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#19
Quote by RichieJovie
2 choices are available to you. Know what your doing and work more efficiently or get there eventually by trial and error.
Theory will not diminish "feel" as seem sto be the popular myth. If you have feel it never goes away


I dont think anyone in this thread said anything negative about learning theory. The TS just wanted to know if you need it to write music. The simple answer is..... No.

when it comes to writing music.... trial and error is part of it, whether you know theory or not.

I agree with you though. Learning theory will in no way diminish your "feel".... you either have that or you dont.
shred is gaudy music
#20
Quote by GuitarMunky

so whos this guy you know? that would be cool if it was like Rik Emmet or something.


I don't know if he'd like me telling the whole world about his limitations, so I'll narrow it down to the lead guitarist in one of the following bands:

Lee Aaron (Metal Queen)
Honeymoon Suite (New Girl Now)
Brighton Rock (We Came To Rock)

Funny Rik Emmet story, though.... a very good friend of mine used to teach grade 3 in Mississauga, just outside of Toronto. We met when we were both in the music program in university, both of us studying classical guitar. Once he was teaching, he would often bring in his guitar and play for the kids. One day, one of his kids came up to him and said, "You know, Mr. Armour, you're a pretty good guitar player and all, but you should hear my T-ball coach play. He has his own albums out and everything!"

"Oh, yeah... what's your coach's name?"

"Rik Emmet."



Of course, the kid had no idea that his T-ball coach was one of the ultimate guitar heroes of a generation.... just that he was a good guitar player who had albums out.

Awesome....

CT
Could I get some more talent in the monitors, please?

I know it sounds crazy, but try to learn to inhale your voice. www.thebelcantotechnique.com

Chris is the king of relating music things to other objects in real life.
#21
Quote by axemanchris
I don't know if he'd like me telling the whole world about his limitations, so I'll narrow it down to the lead guitarist in one of the following bands:

Lee Aaron (Metal Queen)
Honeymoon Suite (New Girl Now)
Brighton Rock (We Came To Rock)

Funny Rik Emmet story, though.... a very good friend of mine used to teach grade 3 in Mississauga, just outside of Toronto. We met when we were both in the music program in university, both of us studying classical guitar. Once he was teaching, he would often bring in his guitar and play for the kids. One day, one of his kids came up to him and said, "You know, Mr. Armour, you're a pretty good guitar player and all, but you should hear my T-ball coach play. He has his own albums out and everything!"

"Oh, yeah... what's your coach's name?"

"Rik Emmet."



Of course, the kid had no idea that his T-ball coach was one of the ultimate guitar heroes of a generation.... just that he was a good guitar player who had albums out.

Awesome....

CT


LOL great story =)
shred is gaudy music