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#1
Why is theory necessary? I've made a few songs on my own with the help of one of my friends without the use of theory and they sound great.... I just want to know why everyone says...oh well do you know what chords your playing, what key your playing in or what the name of a random chord is?...is important. Playing guitar is one of my greatest interests and i think theory imo is useless, i haven't memorized any chord names, any scales or anything like that but i still think i am very good at guitar....rythm anyways.. So....what is the point of learning theory? What do you accomplish from theory besides making a song have a *theoretical melody* or a good chord progression? or making you look like your smart ****? but your actually not (in some cases).
#2
i no exactly wat u mean...im self taught and ive been playing for a year and a half and i only now the basic chords and i dont no any scales at all...and i play fine...im sure u can be a great guitarist without theory...cause all theory is is set notes, chords an scales...i think without it u can be more diverse
#3
Yeah you should definately, it's the only way to actually understand music properly and make good songs and not complete crap
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#5
Where you can be selftaught, I almost garauntee you use theory, you just don't know it. I didn't know any for the first two years I played, and then when I started to learn I realized that alot of the stuff I wrote was actually in scales. Theory IS important, don't be turned away from it because you think it will stunt your creativeness (which I thought beforehand) it will actually open up doors to make so much more than you could have ever imagined.
#6
If it sounds good there is probably alot theory behind it.

THeory is useful when you want to know what else you can do. THe dillema is that you houldnt use theory to hinder you.

THe issue you might encounter is playing with other people - theory provides a common language that every can understnad. I dont expect evertyont to know about neoplotan 6th chords but it is good to know the differnece bewtween major and minor and chord names
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#7
I totally disagree. People that do not know theory have to experiment a lot to figure out what sounds good. Learning music theory is nothing more than letting someone else do all that work for you, and then learning the whole package at once.

Look at it like making cookies. You can experiment, and make a decent batch of cookies after a few tries. Or, you could use a recipe and make them perfect in 20 minutes.

Theory makes a great starting point. You can always experiment by adding your own flair later. It is a real time saver. It also gives you more options for alternate arrangments if you have a basic understanding of embelished cords and possible substitutions.
#8
Quote by domino_92
i no exactly wat u mean...im self taught and ive been playing for a year and a half and i only now the basic chords and i dont no any scales at all...and i play fine...im sure u can be a great guitarist without theory...cause all theory is is set notes, chords an scales...i think without it u can be more diverse


That mindset is a pretty obvious sign that you really have no clue what you're talking about, no offense.

Look into the theory of improvisational jazz and try to tell me that it's not diverse. And how are you supposed to be a diverse, talented guitarist if you don't know anything beyond "the basic chords?"

I've been playing for a bit over a year and I have devoted a lot of my effort to studying theory. I know for a fact that it has made me a much better player than mindlessly practicing chromatic exercises to a metronome for hours on end.

And to the TS, have fun trying to improvise with people who do know their theory. They will probably get really annoyed at the fact that you have no idea what they (or you, for that matter) are playing.

But I guess if your goal is to be really good at playing music that other people wrote, or just sit down and jam by yourself, then theory isn't very useful.

Pretty much, what I'm trying to say is this: LEARN YOUR THEORY N00B
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#9
Absolutley thoery is a nesecity - at least basic theory. You should know basic chord names and how to manipulate chords to change their color.
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#10
If you don't want to learn it don't


Others do want to know more about the subject and thus expand their understanding of music. It's not compulsory but at some point when you hit the creative wall and you can't think of anything else to do Theory will be your way out of the rut.
#11
very simply, (generally ive found) if you want to be really creatvie you have to break the mold/rules, you have to know the rules to break the rules.

learn theory, even a little and you will see the benefits. for expample if you cplay in a band and come up with one good chord progression/riff and then getting stuck on how to move it on or what to solo over it you will see the paths open to you much quicker than if you are trying to guess by ear what sounds good. if you've played in a full band (i.e. drummer, bassist, guitar & singer) for any length of time and tried to come up with songs of your own you should understand.
#12
Quote by seedmole
That mindset is a pretty obvious sign that you really have no clue what you're talking about, no offense.

Look into the theory of improvisational jazz and try to tell me that it's not diverse. And how are you supposed to be a diverse, talented guitarist if you don't know anything beyond "the basic chords?"

I've been playing for a bit over a year and I have devoted a lot of my effort to studying theory. I know for a fact that it has made me a much better player than mindlessly practicing chromatic exercises to a metronome for hours on end.

And to the TS, have fun trying to improvise with people who do know their theory. They will probably get really annoyed at the fact that you have no idea what they (or you, for that matter) are playing.

But I guess if your goal is to be really good at playing music that other people wrote, or just sit down and jam by yourself, then theory isn't very useful.

Pretty much, what I'm trying to say is this: LEARN YOUR THEORY N00B

No offenese taken...i can see y u wood learn theory...and i plan on doing so sometime...but is it really that impossible to b decent withotu out theroy
#13
Quote by domino_92
No offenese taken...i can see y u wood learn theory...and i plan on doing so sometime...but is it really that impossible to b decent withotu out theroy


You may be able to write things that sound good to you, but it will become a huge chore if you ever plan on working with any other musicians in a band, or otherwise.

You should probably start reading the theory sticky ASAP, and come back to it every so often. It will start out slow, but, before long, you will start getting what it is talking about.
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#14
theory lets you go places you couldn't otherwise...
iron maiden use thoery to make all those harmonies that sound great.
bon jovi use theory to make all those key changes that don't sound terrible or put-in-for-the sake-of-it.
any great guitarist uses it to take their solo's places that a basic pentatonic minor can't...by using scale extensions, different positions, different scales, and modes.

it isn't essential unless you want to make writing music easier, because you can't do any of that what i just said without theory knowledge, although that is advanced theory...

less advanced theory: know your pentatonic major and minor scales and chord names. that way, you will know what key you are playing in, and therefore know what scale to use to write the solo or any filler licks.

Knowing the time signature and tempo tells you when to tap your foot and how fast, although admittedly this usually comes naturally anyway.
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#15
Quote by seedmole
You may be able to write things that sound good to you, but it will become a huge chore if you ever plan on working with any other musicians in a band, or otherwise.

You should probably start reading the theory sticky ASAP, and come back to it every so often. It will start out slow, but, before long, you will start getting what it is talking about.

alrite...thanks alot...seriously
#16
There was a guy i met and he was a GREAT guitar player.He was shredding licks throw a little tap in here and sweep picking like crazy and i said"dude what can i play to back you up like what key are you playing in"and he said "i dunno like 17 here and a 9 there..."

To me thats like a runner who doesn't know how to run on a race track,ya know?

I don't know all my theory yet but im getting there so you should try learning some too even if its just starting out with learning a scale or something.
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#17
The way that I look at it is that you can't hurt yourself by learning more about music. There are things that I had never even thought about in regards to music until I started learning theory. Theory doesn't tell you what to play; it just gives you a few guidelines for you to **** all over when you get bored with playing completely diatonically. After you get to a certain point in your studies, you realize that the 'WHAT' isn't nearly as important as the 'HOW'.
#18
Quote by ~Gu1t4r~N00b3h~
Why is theory necessary? I've made a few songs on my own with the help of one of my friends without the use of theory and they sound great.... I just want to know why everyone says...oh well do you know what chords your playing, what key your playing in or what the name of a random chord is?...is important. Playing guitar is one of my greatest interests and i think theory imo is useless, i haven't memorized any chord names, any scales or anything like that but i still think i am very good at guitar....rythm anyways.. So....what is the point of learning theory? What do you accomplish from theory besides making a song have a *theoretical melody* or a good chord progression? or making you look like your smart ****? but your actually not (in some cases).


you have some great points.... but the one thats really way off is calling music theory useless. Music theory is by no means useless. its great that you understand that music can be made without theory. You can accomplish alot simply by listening, learning, and playing.... however there is alot that you can get out of music theory. Your attitude towards it isnt helpful to anyone, including yourself.
shred is gaudy music
#19
Quote by titopuente
The way that I look at it is that you can't hurt yourself by learning more about music. There are things that I had never even thought about in regards to music until I started learning theory. Theory doesn't tell you what to play; it just gives you a few guidelines for you to **** all over when you get bored with playing completely diatonically. After you get to a certain point in your studies, you realize that the 'WHAT' isn't nearly as important as the 'HOW'.


+1. Perfectly said.
#20
So if you have a bassist, how does he decide what to play under your melodies, if you aren't even able to tell him what notes you are playing? He could play the same notes as you only an octave lower, but that gets very boring. He could try to make something else up, but it would take very long to come up with something that works. OR you could both learn theory, and have him be able to quickly come up with a bass line which compliments your guitar line, while not just repeating it.
#21
Quote by ~Gu1t4r~N00b3h~
Why is theory necessary?


It's not, but the position you're taking is one of ignorance and, it appears, one in
which you wish to remain ignorant.

If you had crappy eyesight all of your life, you'd be blissfully unaware of how bad your
vision was until you got a pair of glasses. The contrast between crystal clear vision
and the fuzzy blobs you used to see the world as would boggle your mind. Music
theory works in a similar manner.
#22
Quote by edg
It's not, but the position you're taking is one of ignorance and, it appears, one in
which you wish to remain ignorant.

If you had crappy eyesight all of your life, you'd be blissfully unaware of how bad your
vision was until you got a pair of glasses. The contrast between crystal clear vision
and the fuzzy blobs you used to see the world as would boggle your mind. Music
theory works in a similar manner.


I like that analogy, only learning theory is not as simple as putting on a pair of eyeglasses.
#23
^^Yeah, these analogies are great. Here's some more cuz I'm bored!
Why should I read if I can already talk?
Why should I go to a concert when I already have their mp3's?
Why should I have sex when I can do it myself?
Why should I drink wine when beer gets me drunk?
Why should I have friends if I have the internet?
Why should I learn about music when I can already play the guitar?
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#25
Of course, learning theory is not necessary but neither useless. If you're a good guitarist without any knowledge of formal theory, with theory you will be better.
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#26
When you screw around and find things that sound good, you ARE learning theory! You're not learning the standard names for things, but you're learning what goes with what. So why not use the knowledge of 1000 years of music and just read about theory? You can always screw around.
#27
one thing i always argue is how do you comunicate your music to a dufferent instrument???

let's say for argument sake you wanted a saxaphone to play in the background

with out thoery how would he know what notes to play???

i would say by telling him what key you are playing in would that make sence.

if you wanted to solo you can know exactly which notes would soot your progression the best.

look at bethoven he was def and still made a synphony. he was able to this by comunicating to people to play music through music thoery.
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#28
The melodies you wrote probably have theory behind them. Even if you don't realize it, every decent sounding melody is derived from a scale.
#30
Quote by killbox2490
The melodies you wrote probably have theory behind them. Even if you don't realize it, every decent sounding melody is derived from a scale.


right, but your point also proves the fact that they can be written without the knowledge of theory.

melodies are derived from your creative mind. Your right though that the notes in those melodies are most likely are associated with a scale.

Quote by one vision
No theory = No Jamming.


There can be plenty of jamming without theory.

No theory = No understanding

No listening skills = no jamming (ofcourse other things are involved... but at the core of it all is how you listen,react, and create)
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Last edited by GuitarMunky at Mar 13, 2008,
#31
Quote by GuitarMunky

There can be plenty of jamming without theory.


I find it hard to jam with friends without theory knowledge. Someone says 12 Bar Blues in E. What do you do without theory knowledge? Sure you can try to pick it up by ear. It's 100 times easier to learn the scales and chord positions.

W/e lol I'm not picking an arguement. I'm just one of those theory nazis ok lol.
#32
Quote by one vision
I find it hard to jam with friends without theory knowledge. Someone says 12 Bar Blues in E. What do you do without theory knowledge? Sure you can try to pick it up by ear. It's 100 times easier to learn the scales and chord positions.

W/e lol I'm not picking an arguement. I'm just one of those theory nazis ok lol.


LOL... .dont get me wrong it helps.

Blues is a good example though, now that you bring it up. Think of the origins of blues. Think of the people that started that genre. Do you think that blues music was conceived by people that studied theory books ? Ever listen to African music? Listen to the complex rhythms they use. That stuff did not come from theory books either. We may study it and classify what we learn in "music theory"... but the music itself wasn't conceived that way.

again dont get me wrong..... I encourage the study of theory.... just not the notion that its required to make music. It sure helps us to understand it though.

Theory is science.. creating music is art.
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Last edited by GuitarMunky at Mar 13, 2008,
#33
Quote by GuitarMunky

again dont get me wrong..... I encourage the study of theory.... just not the notion that its required to make music. It sure helps us to understand it though.

Theory is science.. creating music is art.
Theory isn't a science at all. It's theoretics plain and simple. If it's a science everyone would like the same music because all of our ears would respond the same way to things. Theory is required to make music. BECAUSE theory is based on how people generally like things to sound. If there was no theory in music you make, it would sound really really strange to us.

You're right about Blues. The pentatonics were fitted into our musical system and tones were changed. But if your ears think it sounds like music and not noise...there is a theory to why that is.

EDIT: all right, 2nd time it happened. There is really something f8cked up to where my posts are ending up. Some kind of time error.
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#34
Quote by KryptNet
Theory isn't a science at all. It's theoretics plain and simple. If it's a science everyone would like the same music because all of our ears would respond the same way to things. Theory is required to make music. BECAUSE theory is based on how people generally like things to sound. If there was no theory in music you make, it would sound really really strange to us.

You're right about Blues. The pentatonics were fitted into our musical system and tones were changed. But if your ears think it sounds like music and not noise...there is a theory to why that is.

EDIT: all right, 2nd time it happened. There is really something f8cked up to where my posts are ending up. Some kind of time error.


yeah something is messed up at UG today.

I have to respectfully disagree. There is a "scientific" nature to music theory. The word theory itself is tied to science...... to studying...... to understanding.

theory is not required to make music. The fact that lots of music is written without it is proof.

anyway there is no need to get defensive... because that fact does not in any way suggest that learning theory is bad. It just says something about art and creativity.

studying and attempting to understand music from a theoretical point of view can certainly have its benefits. As I already said.... I encourage it..... just not the idea that you cant be creative and make music without it.
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Last edited by GuitarMunky at Mar 13, 2008,
#35
You start leaning theory the moment you pick up the instrument...

What sounds good and what doesn't sound good is the basics of theory (consonance and dissonance).

What you don't learn is how to communicate with other musicians. I could say "play like this' blah blah blah, but it is much easier to tell the people you are playing with a chord progression and the key that you are playing in.
#36
You're right about the science and art. My father is a conductor and he taught me pretty much everything I know. But he said, when you're composing, forget everything you've ever learned about theory, composition should come from the heart. But I think that once you know scales, progressions, ect, you subconsciously use them to your advantage. Why does the I - IV - V progression sound so good? And why do harmonic minor scales sound so much more intersting, and how is that sharped 7th related to the dominant chord ect ect ect ect ect. I know some musicians who improvise well without theory OR fretboard knowledge, but they do have a hard time improvising to chords. The point is, without theory, I think it's all hit and miss, but with theory, you know what you're doing, or at least have a better understanding of the relation between notes and whatnot. As Frank Zappa once said, "You have to know the rules to break them."

1000th post
#37
simple example.

A few years ago I tried to learn Hotel California, and could not for the life of me memorise the harmonised pull off passages after the solo.

A few years later and they're beyond simple, because I know they're pretty much just using the notes of the chords...I don't even need to "remember" what to play, a bit of basic theory knowledge and knowing the chords is enough to tell me what to play.
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#38
Quote by imgooley
You start leaning theory the moment you pick up the instrument...

What sounds good and what doesn't sound good is the basics of theory (consonance and dissonance).

What you don't learn is how to communicate with other musicians. I could say "play like this' blah blah blah, but it is much easier to tell the people you are playing with a chord progression and the key that you are playing in.



very true.

its definitely helpful in many situations, I could never disagree with that.
shred is gaudy music
#39
Quote by one vision
You're right about the science and art. My father is a conductor and he taught me pretty much everything I know. But he said, when you're composing, forget everything you've ever learned about theory, composition should come from the heart.
1000th post


You dont know how many times I've heard that exact same thing.... always from accomplished musicians. There must be something to it.
and sure everything you learn will have an effect on your writing. I would never suggest that someone should avoid learning theory.

Quote by steven seagull
simple example.

A few years ago I tried to learn Hotel California, and could not for the life of me memorise the harmonised pull off passages after the solo.

A few years later and they're beyond simple, because I know they're pretty much just using the notes of the chords...I don't even need to "remember" what to play, a bit of basic theory knowledge and knowing the chords is enough to tell me what to play.


for sure.... it definitely is helpful. knowledge of music theory has lots of useful benefits.
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Last edited by GuitarMunky at Mar 13, 2008,
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