This should start some debate


Not me and as not to break any SA rules in quotes

[quote]Why I don’t Learn Music Theory

Music to me is mysterious & magical. Without restriction, I can explore music through trial & error & come to my own conclusions, as well as make my own discoveries. I enjoy playing guitar or my keyboard & fingering out variations of simple chords until I hear something that excites me. It gives me this wonderful boost of energy. It’s that “wow cool, I just discovered something new!” feeling. I still get that to this day.

I can still recall regularly walking over a mile to the music store as a kid just to play the sounds on the amazing Roland Juno 60 synth. I had no idea how this instrument was creating such wonderful sounds. All I knew is that when a played a couple keys, it sounded fantastic. As the years went by I eventually bought the Roland Juno 106 which was largely the same sound engine. Little by little I discovered what certain knobs did to the sound. I certainly didn’t know what all of the knobs did. I just knew that when I pushed up that fader, it sounded even better.

As time went on, by default, I gained a bit more musical experience & started understanding what was previously behind the curtain. Soon enough I started to lose a bit of the magic because I knew the tricks. When you know the magician’s (or musician’s) tricks, they no longer drive the imagination the same way.

I had to set the synth down for a while & rediscover the magic in the guitar. While working with the synth, I was able to forget & unlearn some of what I know about the guitar. I felt like a beginner again. It felt new again. Like I was starting over for the first time. That was extremely exciting for me. I’ve always liked the “give me 4 chords & an imagination” approach. I like to drop an instrument when I feel too comfortable on it for a while & explore something new.

When I was first given one of my dad’s guitars, he also gave me a chord book. I tried, honestly I did. All I got was bored… and sore fingers. None of the music I was listening to were using these chords anyway. I then thought of all the guitar players at my school who played much better than me & realized that although I was impressed by their playing, I wasn’t impressed with what sounded to me like a cookie cutter approach to writing songs. I imagined them arguing “No, it’s gotta be this chord, anyone who knows music knows that!”. Sometimes getting it all wrong can have pleasant results.

Listening to Bauhaus, The Cure & New Order were much more exciting to me even though there were no elaborate guitar solos. I knew these bands didn’t play their instruments as well, but there was something else they did have that sparked my imagination much more.

My argument is not that one style of music is better than another. It’s that sometimes when you create your own path, it may take longer, but it’s more likely that you’ll find your own sound, and in doing so, a much deeper satisfaction.

Would you prefer to know all the chords in existence & lose that feeling of discovering them on your own? Would you prefer to play that 1 chord because your education has taught you that it’s appropriate or because it feels good to you? Education can be pretty important to understand some of the rules before you break them, but letting go & using “the force” might help you express things that simply can’t be taught.

For me, every time I sit down to make music, I still get to feel like a beginner in this magical & mysterious world. Of course I get better instincts which help me solve problems faster, but it’s very satisfying to know that I made these discoveries on my own or through conversations with others of similar tastes. There is still a bit of fear that I might suck or that I might not know how something I want to accomplish is done, but the problem solving involved in making music is one of the things that drives me creatively. After all these years, I wouldn’t trade what I don’t know about music for anything. My ignorance has been bliss. Bring on the magicians![/quote]

learn the rules then forget them. use the rules to your advantage then break them. there are some edm artists out there who probably swear by the rules… paul van dyk, andy blueman come to mind then there’s artists like skrillex who broke boundaries of music theory.

dont get me wrong though skrillex still uses the rules but intends on breaking them… often.

one needs to know the rules in order to break them or elaborate on what can be done. I dont think its any debate that if you want to succeed in the business, one would have to break the rules at some point of time (one hit wonders come to mind).

Personally, I would start off using the rules of music theory and if things are going well switch it up a little (cant hurt right?)

nice article . i think that the Dance Genere have a broad styles .

Musical and non Musical . i think it still requires Knowledge and Theory to learn how to express your Music . like this Keyboard Player that i met . he pretty much knew how his Music would sound before producing in his studio . he wrote the sketches of the beat, bass and the swing . and i want to learn to do that because i seen how far it can take you . Music Production became more accessible and easy to alot of people. especially to people who never played an instrument ( like me :P). so for me is fascinating when i see a Musician perform and translate their Ideas the way they want.

It’s nice for James that it works like this for him, but it’s all so personal.

Some need the basic guidelines of music theory and with their creativeness they’ll be able to make wonderfull tracks. (there’s a vid that shows you numerous tracks with the same 3 chord progression)

Others are so musical and gifted with a good ear for harmony & musicality that they can go on the fly.

Whatever works for you best.

I am not a big fan of music theory (who would have guessed - lol ) sure you need to keep to the basic rules but certainly with my genre of choice it’s all to do with breaking the rules :cool:

[quote]slender (29/11/2011)[hr]I am not a big fan of music theory (who would have guessed - lol ) sure you need to keep to the basic rules but certainly with my genre of choice it’s all to do with breaking the rules :cool:[/quote]

I agree , u still need to have a basic Knowledge.

Agreed +1, Omar Rodriguez-Lopez from The Mars Volta said somewhere that he hates the guitar, so whenever he plays he tries to make the guitar not sound like a guitar… i guess this sort of falls under the same rules. I mean for a prog rock band they’ve broken a lot of boundaries of music theory.

Look at a lot of guitar based bands I reckon over half don’t know any music theory

Certainly when i was in punk bands i knew nothing

I think the quote in the opening post is basically just saying that the person hasn’t had any formal music training. I’m not sure what the issue is.

They seem to be saying, “Oh, I’m so much better off not knowing something.”

But how would they know if they don’t know?

[quote]Samuel (29/11/2011)[hr]

But how would they know if they don’t know?[/quote]

You got a good point there Samuel!

[quote]daniaan (29/11/2011)[hr][quote]Samuel (29/11/2011)[hr]

But how would they know if they don’t know?[/quote]

You got a good point there Samuel![/quote]

We could have a theological debate now :w00t:

[quote]daniaan (29/11/2011)[hr][quote]Samuel (29/11/2011)[hr]
But how would they know if they don’t know?[/quote]

You got a good point there Samuel![/quote]

Yes Samuel, impeccable logic. I don’t need to even read though the quote properly now. Thanks for saving my time.

[quote]slender (29/11/2011)[hr]

We could have a theological debate now :w00t:[/quote]

One of the reasons why I couldnt study Theology in College.

The Philosophy - yes… but magic tricks, no. Voted with my feet :smiley:

If a chord falls in the woods, and no one’s there to hear it, does it make a sound?

I reckon the answer is Gm. It often is.

[quote]jonsloan (30/11/2011)[hr]If a chord falls in the woods, and no one’s there to hear it, does it make a sound?

I reckon the answer is Gm. It often is.[/quote]

I don’t use genetically modified chords due to health reasons :w00t:

LOL - Very good!!

I know everyone likes to ride the music is just feeling through your soul bandwagon. But im here to deliver you the facts. Ive been in the studio with a session keyboard player and it was amazing. I could hum out a melody and he would play it along with chord progressions, arps, basslines. It all sounded amazing. Music theory isnt a must know but it sure would make everything easier.

How sanguine of you, Jon! :D:P


I reckon the answer is Gm. It often is.[/quote]

you don’t need to know medicine to do brain surgery, but you’ll def have a higher success rate if you do lol

I enjoy this topic every time it comes up :slight_smile:

The “I’m going to ignore your rules and make my own” ideal is really funny to me for two reasons. 1) Music theory doesn’t tell you what to do, it just describes what you are doing. People who understand music theory don’t sit around and say, “It has to be this chord, anybody knows that!”, they just know better how to describe the sound in their head. 2) They’re not really making their own rules. The twelve tone system of music didn’t come about by accident. Western music is set up the way it is after thousands of years of experimentation and learning. If you’re using a piano scroll, midi keyboard or guitar and you haven’t at least changed the intonation, then you’re squarely in the realm of “music theory”.