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Music vs. sound? Virtual Instrument Plugins
Old 5th April 2010
  #181
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Quote:
Originally Posted by grumphh View Post
This thread is a rant about modern music relying to little on theory - and then all you claqueurs to the op come in and join the "non-educated-musician bashing party".

...

To use an analogy: Your claim is as stupid as claiming that in order to appreciate reading books one must have several years of litterature studies under the belt and everybody who reads books should know their litterature history.
This analogy shows more similarities - because to enjoy some books you definitely need a lot of knowledge about litterature - but most books are easily read and enjoyed even by people who have not spent several years at university learning how to "truly enjoy litterature"...
I started this thread, and I did not intend it to be a rant about anything -- just an observation and a quest for an explanation of that observation.

However, I do feel the need to point out that there is a third alternative to the two presented here about literature (only one t near the beginning, by the way; not two): There are some works that just about anyone can appreciate, but which take on a new meaning in the minds of people who have appropriate specialized knowledge.

Consider Travesties, a play by Tom Stoppard that won a Tony award in 1976. Part of the play revolves around a minor British consular official named Henry Carr, who starred in a semi-professional production of Oscar Wilde's play The Importance of Being Earnest in Zürich during World War I, a production that was directed by James Joyce. Carr and Joyce got into a dispute over payment that eventually wound up in court.

I saw Travesties, so I can say from experience that it is a very funny, well-written play. The audience certainly thought so.

But I can also say that the play takes on a whole new dimension for someone who is also familiar with The Importance of Being Earnest, because part of how Travesties shows the audience how obsessed Carr is with his dispute with Joyce is by making the entire plot of Travesties--which is shown to us as Carr's somewhat fractured reminiscences--a parallel to the plot of The Importance of Being Earnest.

As another example, consider this video of Lady Gaga's Bad Romance. If I didn't tell you, would you know that the music at the very beginning of the video is the beginning of Bach's fugue #24 from Book I of The Well-Tempered Clavier? Would you care? But because I happen to be very familiar with that particular piece of music, I recognized it immediately, and I am quite confident that that recognition caused me to hear it differently than would someone who didn't recognize it.

Good, bad, or indifferent? I don't know. But I do know that people's outside knowledge affects how they perceive all creative work, including music, and that creators have the choice to use their own knowledge to affect their audience's experience.
Old 5th April 2010
  #182
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Tom Stoppard is, to me, akin to a prog-rock group -- you actually go see something he wrote just for the references (which makes me feel better about having gone into debt to study literature. . .). I think being geeky is more than okay, but artists can use the intellect and craft to steer away from emotional authenticity and to pander either to the elite or to the masses. I like it when artists "embody" the tradition rather than overtly reference it.
Old 5th April 2010
  #183
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wolfenstadt View Post
Ok stupid analogy time:
There is just no way one can build a house without having engineering knowledge and the technical skill to pull it off.
Stupid analogy indeed.

Because that means that gamelan music according to this definition is not "lasting" or "well crafted" music.

I mean, just ask a villager and gamelan player from east Java how he feels about counterpoint - or just how he would relate the basic major scale to his array of metallophones... heh

Then again, we all know that them coloured folks really can't produce anything of cultural value
Old 5th April 2010
  #184
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Quote:
Originally Posted by grumphh View Post
Stupid analogy indeed.

Because that means that gamelan music according to this definition is not "lasting" or "well crafted" music.

I mean, just ask a villager and gamelan player from east Java how he feels about counterpoint - or just how he would relate the basic major scale to his array of metallophones... heh

Then again, we all know that them coloured folks really can't produce anything of cultural value
Are you trying to imply that indonesian music lacks any need for formal knowledge and experience and is a simple hit and bang stuff ?

Education in MUSIC is needed regardless of country and continent. In Europe a 'standard' degree is 3 to four years of study ( if you can get on the course ) - In India a 'standard' music degree is Seven Years of study... .. Tabla players stay with there Guru masters for much of their lives.

Its all to be learned if you want to do it !
Old 5th April 2010
  #185
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Beermaster View Post
Are you trying to imply that indonesian music lacks any need for formal knowledge and experience and is a simple hit and bang stuff ?

Education in MUSIC is needed regardless of country and continent. In Europe a 'standard' degree is 3 to four years of study ( if you can get on the course ) - In India a 'standard' music degree is Seven Years of study... .. Tabla players stay with there Guru masters for much of their lives.

Its all to be learned if you want to do it !
Actually gamelan is "learning by doing" - although people have started trying to notate it to preserve it for future generations it used to be a form of music where you learned your parts by heart...
And participation was/is just a part of being a villager - no formal training or specialized musicianship there.

And anyway, who cares about music degrees?
Did the Stones, Jimi or Cobain have them?
...oh right, primitive negroe noises (them damn coloured people again - except for that cracka Cobain, how white can you be...) not worthy of the title of music...
Old 5th April 2010
  #186
Quote:
Originally Posted by grumphh View Post
Stupid analogy indeed.

Because that means that gamelan music according to this definition is not "lasting" or "well crafted" music.

I mean, just ask a villager and gamelan player from east Java how he feels about counterpoint - or just how he would relate the basic major scale to his array of metallophones... heh

Then again, we all know that them coloured folks really can't produce anything of cultural value
education doesn't have to mean the western convention.
Old 5th April 2010
  #187
Gear Maniac
 

Unnecessary either / or.

Ref: Coil from their Lumar - Final Phase.

Enough said.
Old 5th April 2010
  #188
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Quote:
Originally Posted by golden beers View Post
education doesn't have to mean the western convention.
And the discussion was not about western theory?
Old 5th April 2010
  #189
Quote:
Originally Posted by grumphh View Post
And the discussion was not about western theory?
i never said it was?
Old 5th April 2010
  #190
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by grumphh View Post
Actually gamelan is "learning by doing" - although people have started trying to notate it to preserve it for future generations it used to be a form of music where you learned your parts by heart...
And participation was/is just a part of being a villager - no formal training or specialized musicianship there.

And anyway, who cares about music degrees?
Did the Stones, Jimi or Cobain have them?
...oh right, primitive negroe noises (them damn coloured people again - except for that cracka Cobain, how white can you be...) not worthy of the title of music...
Is there some reason you keep using the words "negro" and "colored"??

Also, The Stones drummer Charlie Watts writes his own big band arrangements if I'm not mistaken. I also thought I remembered reading that Jimi Hendrix was working on learning more about theory before he died (although he made lots of incredible music without knowing how to read). I'm remembering this from Miles' autobiography which I can't put my fingers on right now, so I hope I'm remembering correctly, and apologize if I'm not.

Learning to read music, and understand how to build different chords and the basics of how they work together really does seem to me like such a small investment of time, and has so much value in terms of being able to communicate your ideas to other musicians and being able to access hundreds of years of (yes, western) tradition. Plus probably more than 90% of music we hear uses equal tempered tuning, so you are acquiring a basic familiarity with what still amounts to a pretty common musical language. When I talk about theory, I mean what I said above - the basics. Yes you can make good music without it, but all things being equal, It's hard for me to imagine making a conscious choice not to learn any of it. But, YMMV.

Best,
John
Old 5th April 2010
  #191
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BigBadJohn View Post
Not knowing about theory might not hold back a really talented individual from finding his own way, and making great music, but I don't think it's anything to be proud of either.
Its nothing to be ashamed of either. Thats the point that some here are trying to make, albeit a bit too defensively.
Old 5th April 2010
  #192
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Quote:
Originally Posted by grumphh View Post
Stupid analogy indeed.

Because that means that gamelan music according to this definition is not "lasting" or "well crafted" music.

I mean, just ask a villager and gamelan player from east Java how he feels about counterpoint - or just how he would relate the basic major scale to his array of metallophones... heh

Then again, we all know that them coloured folks really can't produce anything of cultural value

This is completely ridiculous. Are you trying to be rude?

I never said anything about gamelans or East Javanese villagers. I mentioned 303 arpeggios and counterpoint music as two examples of music coming out of the same theoretical tradition, where the latter is more advanced than the former. You just didn't get my point, did you?

What you are implying with the Javanese reference is that 1) where there's a gamelan and a random dude to bang on it, the most wonderful East Javanese folk music will automatically occur and 2) that I am a racist for not acknowledging that fact. You know what?

fuuck
Old 5th April 2010
  #193
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BigBadJohn View Post
Is there some reason you keep using the words "negro" and "colored"??
Yes.

Because the elitist approach to theory is still the same as that of the (white) people who not even 100 years ago claimed that "negroe music" wasn't real music because it couldn't be notated...

Also this insisting on having to know western theory is insulting to other cultures music - where the approach might be a totally different one.
Old 5th April 2010
  #194
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Quote:
Originally Posted by grumphh View Post
Yes.

Because the elitist approach to theory is still the same as that of the (white) people who not even 100 years ago claimed that "negroe music" wasn't real music because it couldn't be notated...

Also this insisting on having to know western theory is insulting to other cultures music - where the approach might be a totally different one.
I don't see how trying to link a discussion about the usefulness (or lack thereof) of knowing (western, twelve tone, whatever) theory to race is particularly illuminating. It actually looks bit like an indirect ad hominem attack on people who disagree with you by attempting to label their views as racist in some way. It's either useful and important to know some theory, or it isn't. We're just talking, sharing opinions, and everyone makes up his own mind. Also, as far as I know, a music education in for example, asian countries, still involves a lot of "western" theory. I think though, that the scope of a traditional music education is going to be getting a lot broader, and will certainly include more non-western music, and studies of electronic, and synthesized music. The emphasis on classical and jazz will remain, at least for a while, but it will have to make room for lots of new things as the definition of "musician" and "music" keeps expanding. But check out some pop stuff from anywhere in the world. There's still a lot of equal tempered music out there. So for the time being, yes, I think at least some western theory makes sense. But so does checking out other cultures' music as well.

John
Old 5th April 2010
  #195
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kasprouch View Post
Its nothing to be ashamed of either. Thats the point that some here are trying to make, albeit a bit too defensively.
heh What people should be ashamed about is proclaiming that others somehow are lesser musicians/less creative because of a lack of theoretic knowledge.

No one here has said that learning theory is somehow stupid or bad.
If one feels so inclined, go ahead and learn all the theory you want.

For some of us that proposition is just not attractive - i feel no desire to play jazz or recreate classical melodies/harmonies nor the need to learn how to play other peoples music correctly.
I also don't feel a need to compete with other musicians about my musicianship, neither theoretical nor practical.

Look, it is simple, many people simply don't need western (nor any other) harmonic theory for what they do musically.

If the theory proponents could accept the above statement, all would be fine and dandy, but instead we who do not care about theory have to listen to mindless drivel about being inhibited by our "lack of knowledge" and similar accusations.

...telling people who are completely happy with creating music without feeling the need for knowing theory that they "need" theory to be somehow "better" at what they do is plain and simply insulting.

Some of you theory guys are the same as some religious people who can't refrain from telling everybody else that they need to belive in their particular version of a god to be "really" content with life...
Old 5th April 2010
  #196
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BigBadJohn View Post
I don't see how trying to link a discussion about the usefulness (or lack thereof) of knowing (western, twelve tone, whatever) theory to race is particularly illuminating. It actually looks bit like an indirect ad hominem attack on people who disagree with you by attempting to label their views as racist in some way. It's either useful and important to know some theory, or it isn't. We're just talking, sharing opinions, and everyone makes up his own mind. Also, as far as I know, a music education in for example, asian countries, still involves a lot of "western" theory. I think though, that the scope of a traditional music education is going to be getting a lot broader, and will certainly include more non-western music, and studies of electronic, and synthesized music. The emphasis on classical and jazz will remain, at least for a while, but it will have to make room for lots of new things as the definition of "musician" and "music" keeps expanding. But check out some pop stuff from anywhere in the world. There's still a lot of equal tempered music out there. So for the time being, yes, I think at least some western theory makes sense. But so does checking out other cultures' music as well.

John
It is no more an ad hominem than theory guys implying that i should be a lesser musician for not having learned the same stuff they have.

And once again, of course western theory makes sense - IF you are in a context where it is needed!

The idiocy (yes, strong word, i know...) of you theory proponents is to (religiously) assume that it is needed (or at least could improve the result) in every musical context.

I think i have given quite a few examples of musical contexts where that claim is obviously not true. What more can i say?
Old 5th April 2010
  #197
Gear Head
 

We're just a bunch of guys talking about music. A good discussion of the pros and cons of learning theory. Hell, maybe some kid was thinking of plunking down thousands of dollars of his parent's money to go to music school and changes his mind after reading this thread. Maybe someone else goes out and finds a teacher. Who knows? We're just sharing ideas and information and opinions. I don't think (hope) anyone meant anything personal about anyone else.

Best,
John
Old 5th April 2010
  #198
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Whoa... messy thread I'm jumping into here!

Apologies if this has already been said... I started trying to read every page, but just got way too irrelevant after page 3/4 (as ever!!)

Going back to the original question... my opinion on this is that it's a simple matter of fashion... and I don't mean that in a negative sense;

Bach made cracking music for his time... but once everyone clicks onto the good ideas and applies them to their own music, the ideas become overused... then someone does something revolutionary & the process repeats.

Over time, 'taste' in harmony develops and things once considered incoherent trash become completely acceptable; When Wagner dropped Tristan und Isolde only 150 years ago it sounded shockingly dissonant to audiences then... but that already sounds acceptable to most audiences now.

Recently, a lot of deep house & tech house music has eschewed harmonic progression altogether and sticks to a single (often dissonant) chord, and then often has a very simple bass line that has very little movement in it.
This is not done out of ignorance or inability to write chord progressions; it's done because (when done tastefully & paired with good production) it can create tension & sound really fricking nasty (in a very pleasing way.).

Unfortunately, this:


Is not going to get much of a positive reaction on most dancefloors, whereas this tune:


Which essentially has just one chord running through it will get people dancing.

... It's not artists neglecting to be ars*d to compose something more complicated... it's simply that this is what the record buying punters are wanting to hear.
Old 5th April 2010
  #199
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Quote:
Originally Posted by grumphh View Post

The idiocy (yes, strong word, i know...) of you theory proponents is to (religiously) assume that it is needed (or at least could improve the result) in every musical context.
I only said I thought it was useful in general. I agree that it is not important or essential in every context. There is great music that has been made, and there will be more, that could not be helped by knowing theory, and that is not lacking in any way. I do think however, that you are unfairly inferring a negative judgement on my part toward musicians who don't know theory. I'm only responsible for what I actually say. Words like idiocy and stupid, are not really conducive to an open honest discussion. All I've said is I personally think there is a good case to be made for learning some theory in the general case. That's it.

John
Old 5th April 2010
  #200
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BigBadJohn View Post
I only said I thought it was useful in general. I agree that it is not important or essential in every context. There is great music that has been made, and there will be more, that could not be helped by knowing theory, and that is not lacking in any way. I do think however, that you are unfairly inferring a negative judgement on my part toward musicians who don't know theory. I'm only responsible for what I actually say. Words like idiocy and stupid, are not really conducive to an open honest discussion. All I've said is I personally think there is a good case to be made for learning some theory in the general case. That's it.

John
You have indeed been one of the reasonable "pro-theory" voices here, so please don't take that attack on "theory proponents" to personal.

Others however have through their writings shown that they consider themselves "better" than people without theoretical training, and those are the ones i accuse of idiocy in their reasoning.

Live and let live...
...or something like that anyway heh
Old 5th April 2010
  #201
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Grumph, so many people have made positive comments about the need and use of education and how it can ONLY be for good and better but you seem to view them as elitist which is your problem. How can something that is nothing but positive be received as elitist ?

You sound like someone with a chip on their shoulder as none of your comments show any reason why learning more about music is a bad thing.. you do show that you have a bit of a hang up on admitting that education is a good thing.

I've worked as a musician and composer for most of my life and I realize that now more than ever I have SO much more to learn...

I also appreciate more than ever that it is all one music out there. knowledge from one area of music DOES translate to others. The more you know about the more options and roads you can take.

Its one big universal language and one big learning curve

Beer.
Old 6th April 2010
  #202
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i think what's going on here in this thread is similar to what i see in the So Much Gear forum a lot, where some people can be kind of elitist about jazz and guitar music over all other forms. i think this is kind of just gearslut paranoia here -- people on the theory side may not be attacking anyone, but the slutz environment lends itself to that being at the edge of the knife at all times.

i only know about as much theory as a middle schooler in band, and well... let's just say if i had a cat, i'd be encouraging it to run across the keys a bit more than i proly should. surely everyone can agree that without any training, writing something can sometimes be just taking shots in the dark. HOWEVER -- and this is an opinion borne a lot out of DJing -- i think that one at the level of a Slut should indeed be confident enough in the culmination of music they've absorbed in their life that they have a pretty firm idea of what they want out of themselves for a track than the average bear, and i dont think there's anything wrong with that. in the past and to this day, i'm if anything a bit wary of theory, because i feel as tho it will disrupt the zen of my writing approach, if that makes sense. there's something to be said of coming musically from a place within yourself that is not already inhabited by, well, everyone else.



i've had the pleasure of working with Stargate before (as much as an assistant "works with" anyone, at least). for those who dont know who they are, Stargate is a small group of norwegians who write a lot of hit music, over a span of genres, they've had their name attached to supergroups/-artists plenty of times. (in their country, the lead guy is something of a long-time superstar himself.)

now, it goes without saying that these guys are incredible writers (and their work ethic, btw, is top notch). but if you are in the position i was, in which they book lockouts spanning months at a time, and you see the flow of artists and then hear the tracks produced, you start to be able to pick out a Stargate track -- i dunno if they wrote Fall Out Boy's music or not, but it wouldnt surprise me, kuz it's basically like that, it's like super-harmonic; obviously working on many genres it all comes out different, but were you to generalize the sound, it's the most like that, ultra-melodic, educated-melodic. i dont think of these guys as writers, i think of them as "melody-scientists" -- it's very much an approach where they come up with a riff, and then you see the wheels turning, note by note, as it gets improved upon, until it's this ultra-melodic thing i'm describing.

this is basically where my "fear" of theory comes from -- the idea that if i learn what i'm "supposed" to do, then what i know i want now and always have out of my music will change, become formulaic; i'll no longer be able to approach a track from the zen that can only come from listening only to yourself. it's almost the same as the fact that i'm participating in the engineering game at all; i never really wanted to be an engineer, i always wanted to be the artist, but somewhere over the long-time span of learning everything you have to learn to get the workings of these machines into your head, which is basically an engineer's path, i forgot that.

i hate the term "sell-out" kuz it reminds me of how it was the word that came most out of my mouth in 6th grade when i was riding skateboards and wearing chains and "sticking it to the man" or whatever, ignorant of the fact that really to make money at all in the music industry is to "sell out" at least a lil' bit. but for me at least, the wariness i have for learning theory is the same as that, in a way. it's conforming, and as much as that approach has many things right, you still have to make yourself "stay between the lines". did you guys ever have to read that APA book in high school (i think those are the right letters), the book that told you how to write the "right way"? well there are many instances in which that book is, in fact, dead wrong; if you look at how we use language and symbols like periods quotes etc, the book really is just wrong on some things, but it's just like one of those historical errors that we still just go by, just kuz it's written, or is history, or whatever. i'm sure there are instances of that in music theory as well. i think the fear of theory is the fear of losing the ability to go with your gut.

srry, i write a lot sometimes, i'm done now, but just for the record, i'm not bashing or supporting either side of this argument, if anything i'm attempting to mediate it with my viewpoint. there are many times i sure would like to know theory, if nothing else just kuz i feel it would help me out of writer's block, or make things go faster. but then i remember Stargate, and as cool as it would be to be those guys, the person i am would be smacking myself around if i ever turned into that.
Old 6th April 2010
  #203
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Quote:
Originally Posted by in a blue field View Post
i think what's going on here in this thread is similar to what i see in the So Much Gear forum a lot, where some people can be kind of elitist about jazz and guitar music over all other forms. i think this is kind of just gearslut paranoia here -- people on the theory side may not be attacking anyone, but the slutz environment lends itself to that being at the edge of the knife at all times.

i only know about as much theory as a middle schooler in band, and well... let's just say if i had a cat, i'd be encouraging it to run across the keys a bit more than i proly should. surely everyone can agree that without any training, writing something can sometimes be just taking shots in the dark. HOWEVER -- and this is an opinion borne a lot out of DJing -- i think that one at the level of a Slut should indeed be confident enough in the culmination of music they've absorbed in their life that they have a pretty firm idea of what they want out of themselves for a track than the average bear, and i dont think there's anything wrong with that. in the past and to this day, i'm if anything a bit wary of theory, because i feel as tho it will disrupt the zen of my writing approach, if that makes sense. there's something to be said of coming musically from a place within yourself that is not already inhabited by, well, everyone else.



i've had the pleasure of working with Stargate before (as much as an assistant "works with" anyone, at least). for those who dont know who they are, Stargate is a small group of norwegians who write a lot of hit music, over a span of genres, they've had their name attached to supergroups/-artists plenty of times. (in their country, the lead guy is something of a long-time superstar himself.)

now, it goes without saying that these guys are incredible writers (and their work ethic, btw, is top notch). but if you are in the position i was, in which they book lockouts spanning months at a time, and you see the flow of artists and then hear the tracks produced, you start to be able to pick out a Stargate track -- i dunno if they wrote Fall Out Boy's music or not, but it wouldnt surprise me, kuz it's basically like that, it's like super-harmonic; obviously working on many genres it all comes out different, but were you to generalize the sound, it's the most like that, ultra-melodic, educated-melodic. i dont think of these guys as writers, i think of them as "melody-scientists" -- it's very much an approach where they come up with a riff, and then you see the wheels turning, note by note, as it gets improved upon, until it's this ultra-melodic thing i'm describing.

this is basically where my "fear" of theory comes from -- the idea that if i learn what i'm "supposed" to do, then what i know i want now and always have out of my music will change, become formulaic; i'll no longer be able to approach a track from the zen that can only come from listening only to yourself. it's almost the same as the fact that i'm participating in the engineering game at all; i never really wanted to be an engineer, i always wanted to be the artist, but somewhere over the long-time span of learning everything you have to learn to get the workings of these machines into your head, which is basically an engineer's path, i forgot that.

i hate the term "sell-out" kuz it reminds me of how it was the word that came most out of my mouth in 6th grade when i was riding skateboards and wearing chains and "sticking it to the man" or whatever, ignorant of the fact that really to make money at all in the music industry is to "sell out" at least a lil' bit. but for me at least, the wariness i have for learning theory is the same as that, in a way. it's conforming, and as much as that approach has many things right, you still have to make yourself "stay between the lines". did you guys ever have to read that APA book in high school (i think those are the right letters), the book that told you how to write the "right way"? well there are many instances in which that book is, in fact, dead wrong; if you look at how we use language and symbols like periods quotes etc, the book really is just wrong on some things, but it's just like one of those historical errors that we still just go by, just kuz it's written, or is history, or whatever. i'm sure there are instances of that in music theory as well. i think the fear of theory is the fear of losing the ability to go with your gut.

srry, i write a lot sometimes, i'm done now, but just for the record, i'm not bashing or supporting either side of this argument, if anything i'm attempting to mediate it with my viewpoint. there are many times i sure would like to know theory, if nothing else just kuz i feel it would help me out of writer's block, or make things go faster. but then i remember Stargate, and as cool as it would be to be those guys, the person i am would be smacking myself around if i ever turned into that.
Totally! I have never really cared for Stargates productions myself - for whatever reason they seem bland and genderless to me, but then again those qualities seems to be in high demand, so who am I to judge? The lead guy is in no way a long-time superstar here in Norway though - whoever told you that was either lying, confused or coked up heh

Anyways, I think your notion of a composers personal vs social musicality is interesting. I believe most of the discussion has centered around that distinction (and the East Javanese villagers of course). Personally, I am not totally convinced such a distinction is meaningful though. For it to be meaningful, the personal musicality (the subjective expression) would have to be something different and separate from the social normative musicality (to which you say you are afraid to conform). The question is where excactly YOUR subjective expression would draw its power from, if not from YOUR life, your musical experiences, your social interaction with other people, musicians etc. My point here would be that all interaction, in whatever form and whatever medium, requires conformation. There is no such thing as a pure, undisturbed personal musicality - the personal is always an interpretation of the social. In other words: Music is in essence a social construct - an agreement over which sounds and pitches fits together, or rather which doesn't. This will of course vary wildly from culture to culture.

I agree wholeheartedly that the music theory of one culture can not be used to analyse the music of another. I would also say that it would be naive to think that any music theory could ever give a complete explanation for what music is, and what part it plays in our (including Javanese people's) lives.

The point I tried to make earlier in this thread was specifically regarding western music: Theoretical knowledge is good because it gives us insight into what we are all conforming to allready, namely the western tonal and rythmic tradition. There are many ways to go about learning of course, and I am sure the Javanese learning (i.e. acquiring knowledge about the javanese traditions) by doing is an effective and powerful method.
Old 6th April 2010
  #204
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Quote:
Originally Posted by simonator View Post
[...]
Unfortunately, this:


Is not going to get much of a positive reaction on most dancefloors, whereas this tune:


Which essentially has just one chord running through it will get people dancing.

[...]
but how about this? :



p.
Old 6th April 2010
  #205
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Beermaster View Post
Grumph, so many people have made positive comments about the need and use of education and how it can ONLY be for good and better but you seem to view them as elitist which is your problem. How can something that is nothing but positive be received as elitist ?

You sound like someone with a chip on their shoulder as none of your comments show any reason why learning more about music is a bad thing.. you do show that you have a bit of a hang up on admitting that education is a good thing.

I've worked as a musician and composer for most of my life and I realize that now more than ever I have SO much more to learn...

I also appreciate more than ever that it is all one music out there. knowledge from one area of music DOES translate to others. The more you know about the more options and roads you can take.

Its one big universal language and one big learning curve

Beer.
No. Most people have not made "positive" comments.
It is always implied that non-theorists lack knowledge or are somehow limited when it comes to music.

That is why i constantly bring up the "negroes" with their "blues" music.
The mindset of the (educated) whites simply was that people who had no idea of theory could not produce music.
This is still the same argument brought forth.

(But music does not rely on knowledge of western theory - it is a very democratic art form where everybody can contribute in his or her way, including people who have never even heard of 12 tone scales...)

Next - musical knowledge does not translate at all - even when you take people with very high theoretic skills.
Would you have a jazz violinist perform classical solo pieces?
Would you have a classical violinist sitting in on a jazz session?

Whilst they both can read each others scores, we all know that the results of such genre crossovers are less than spectacular...

The two simply don't mix (and if they do it usually sounds horrible to people who know how the stuff should be played), because all the theory in the world does not make up for the fact that those are two very different kinds of music.

Which brings us to the next point.

Your claim that "all music is one" and the attached claim that you can somehow learn more of everything by knowing your theory.

It isn't, and i find that claim very limiting indeed - because even though music certainly is a common ground to all of humanity the approaches with which it is created are very different from culture to culture - and even within cultures themselves, as evident by our society and this very debate.

Reducing all these differences to one where you claim that you can somehow grasp them better because of formal training in your particular musical approach is naive at best and elitist at its worst.

Because music, as you correctly state, is so diverse that no one can ever learn it all.
And attempting that - or just believing one can actually do so (especially with the limited tools you get coming form just one theoretic approach) is futile...

Warning: Analogy time

My best developed personal skills are linguistic (i'd rather have that talent in music, but hey, that's life...), i.e. i speak three languages (german, danish and english) fluently, without accent and, most importantly, grammatically correct.
I was brought up bilingually german/danish and have picked up english on holidays when i was a child.
I find it easy to pick up new language bits as i travel and could probably (after all i am 44 years old now) learn one more language to perfection if i went to live in a country where that language was spoken on a daily basis.

I do NOT know grammatics at all - in any of these languages.

In fact my grammatical skills are so low that i even have a hard time finding the subject and object in basic sentences.

Yet i have no problems in understanding and constructing even very complex sentences in the languages i know.

In that way grammatics and musical theory are very similar:
They are theoretic constructs that describe and categorize human practices, but that are not needed to actually practice the subject they describe
.
For some they are tools to aid learning, for some they are a science in themselves, and lastly, for some they are totally irrelevant...

So if someone told me that i personally would benefit from knowing grammar to improve my linguistic skills, i would in plain english tell them to bugger off.

As i am telling the people that tell me that i need theory to better understand and play music to bugger off...
Old 6th April 2010
  #206
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Grumph, your very first sentence in your very first post in this discussion was to bring up some comparison to the oppression of "negroes" and then trying to divert the meaning of 'Musical Education' to be confined to "Formal western European classical harmony and counterpoint"... Which many of us have been trying to explain is only a tiny part of a much bigger 'Musical Education'

You have to recognize that the diatonic piano keyboard is the standard interface with nearly every bit of software and electronic instrument you can find. Likewise western the chromatic scale is in most cases the only tuning available to synths and plugins ... the few exceptions being East West's Silk which allows you to specify all kinds of wonderful world scales and temperaments and others

Take a look at those guiatrs, banjos and pianos that those early blues artists used way back when.... Western European tunings ! BUT in its simplest form the blues still has a structure that makes it the blues ! - you still have to know the three basic chords to even get to lesson 101. You still need the education to play these chords.. this need not be from scored out notes on a bit of manuscript it could be someone showing you how to play these chords... That's the learning and that is the education part .... When you get to grips with the fundamental chords and simplest voicing you may start to learn better voicings ... you may go on to learn the blues in a different key.... may go on to learn alternative substitutions and more interesting chord sequences... you may just stick with the traditional 12 bar format and spend your time developing your own style of playing and freeing up your soul so you can sing the blues with some real emotion and flow.

Its all learning and its all musical education. It needn't be tied down to "formal classical counterpoint and harmony" which is what you seem to confuse the word 'Education' to mean.

By listening and learning and practicing you can unlock any style of music.... how else to people become fluent as musicians in these various styles of music if not ! We all have the same set of ears. Anything is possible with dedication and practice.

I won't even begin to discuss how many artists and performers are fluent in more than one type of music and who make livings from being so talented. the list is huge and the knowledge is based on the same principals... Knowing what a particular musical style is all about, how it ticks, how it's preformed, its rhythms its nuances that make it what it is..

It's not a great mystery if you dig a bit deeper and learn ! ! !

Beer.
Old 6th April 2010
  #207
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Beermaster View Post
Grumph, your very first sentence in your very first post in this discussion was to bring up some comparison to the oppression of "negroes" and then trying to divert the meaning of 'Musical Education' to be confined to "Formal western European classical harmony and counterpoint"... Which many of us have been trying to explain is only a tiny part of a much bigger 'Musical Education'

You have to recognize that the diatonic piano keyboard is the standard interface with nearly every bit of software and electronic instrument you can find. Likewise western the chromatic scale is in most cases the only tuning available to synths and plugins ... the few exceptions being East West's Silk which allows you to specify all kinds of wonderful world scales and temperaments and others

Take a look at those guiatrs, banjos and pianos that those early blues artists used way back when.... Western European tunings ! BUT in its simplest form the blues still has a structure that makes it the blues ! - you still have to know the three basic chords to even get to lesson 101. You still need the education to play these chords.. this need not be from scored out notes on a bit of manuscript it could be someone showing you how to play these chords... That's the learning and that is the education part .... When you get to grips with the fundamental chords and simplest voicing you may start to learn better voicings ... you may go on to learn the blues in a different key.... may go on to learn alternative substitutions and more interesting chord sequences... you may just stick with the traditional 12 bar format and spend your time developing your own style of playing and freeing up your soul so you can sing the blues with some real emotion and flow.

Its all learning and its all musical education. It needn't be tied down to "formal classical counterpoint and harmony" which is what you seem to confuse the word 'Education' to mean.

By listening and learning and practicing you can unlock any style of music.... how else to people become fluent as musicians in these various styles of music if not ! We all have the same set of ears. Anything is possible with dedication and practice.

I won't even begin to discuss how many artists and performers are fluent in more than one type of music and who make livings from being so talented. the list is huge and the knowledge is based on the same principals... Knowing what a particular musical style is all about, how it ticks, how it's preformed, its rhythms its nuances that make it what it is..

It's not a great mystery if you dig a bit deeper and learn ! ! !

Beer.
You didn't read my analogy and the point i made there?

I'll repeat it for you:
Grammatics and musical theory are very similar:
They are theoretic constructs that describe and categorize human practices, but that are not needed to actually practice the subject they describe
.

Living by theory is fine - but theory is not all there is to human activity.
In fact, rather the opposite.

Doing things without a theoretical foundation can be just as rewarding as knowing theory.
Old 6th April 2010
  #208
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grumphh's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Beermaster View Post
Grumph, your very first sentence in your very first post in this discussion was to bring up some comparison to the oppression of "negroes" and then trying to divert the meaning of 'Musical Education' to be confined to "Formal western European classical harmony and counterpoint"... Which many of us have been trying to explain is only a tiny part of a much bigger 'Musical Education'

You have to recognize that the diatonic piano keyboard is the standard interface with nearly every bit of software and electronic instrument you can find. Likewise western the chromatic scale is in most cases the only tuning available to synths and plugins ... the few exceptions being East West's Silk which allows you to specify all kinds of wonderful world scales and temperaments and others

Take a look at those guiatrs, banjos and pianos that those early blues artists used way back when.... Western European tunings ! BUT in its simplest form the blues still has a structure that makes it the blues ! - you still have to know the three basic chords to even get to lesson 101. You still need the education to play these chords.. this need not be from scored out notes on a bit of manuscript it could be someone showing you how to play these chords... That's the learning and that is the education part .... When you get to grips with the fundamental chords and simplest voicing you may start to learn better voicings ... you may go on to learn the blues in a different key.... may go on to learn alternative substitutions and more interesting chord sequences... you may just stick with the traditional 12 bar format and spend your time developing your own style of playing and freeing up your soul so you can sing the blues with some real emotion and flow.

Its all learning and its all musical education. It needn't be tied down to "formal classical counterpoint and harmony" which is what you seem to confuse the word 'Education' to mean.

By listening and learning and practicing you can unlock any style of music.... how else to people become fluent as musicians in these various styles of music if not ! We all have the same set of ears. Anything is possible with dedication and practice.

I won't even begin to discuss how many artists and performers are fluent in more than one type of music and who make livings from being so talented. the list is huge and the knowledge is based on the same principals... Knowing what a particular musical style is all about, how it ticks, how it's preformed, its rhythms its nuances that make it what it is..

It's not a great mystery if you dig a bit deeper and learn ! ! !

Beer.
Second reply: Do you really think that learning how to play an instrument has to be based on theory?
Can one learn music in other ways than "the established"?
Isn't it actually practising music that which makes musicians great?

I am sorry, but if i as a noob ask some guy to show me some chords on a guitar so i can try to sound like the blues guy on the radio and he shows me some fingerings and tells me in what order i should play them i would not call that "learning theory".

That is learning how to play.

And playing that stuff for decades and listening to others and learning from them without ever bothering to learn harmonic theory is what has made people great blues players - despite the sad attempts to write off their music as primitive and worth less than music created by formally trained musicians...



Theory is when the guy starts telling me that all i have to do is to play the 1 4 5 progression and then add some 7'ths and solo over it in a variety of the pentatonic scale...

All i wanted to do was just play the guitar and have fun...
Old 6th April 2010
  #209
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Beermaster's Avatar
 

I did read your analogy but you make no sense in what you say:


Quote:
Originally Posted by grumphh View Post
Warning: Analogy time[/COLOR]
My best developed personal skills are linguistic (i'd rather have that talent in music, but hey, that's life...), i.e. i speak three languages (german, danish and english) fluently, without accent and, most importantly, grammatically correct.
Followed by:

Quote:
Originally Posted by grumphh View Post
I do NOT know grammatics at all - in any of these languages.[/I]
In fact my grammatical skills are so low that i even have a hard time finding the subject and object in basic sentences.
So Which is it ? Do you understand the Grammar or not ? if you do you understand the language, if you don't then you don't then you clearly don't speak the language.

You grew up with LEARNING to speak these languages by being spoken to in these languages and slowly and gradually learning the dialect... this was learned ! you also learned that any language is made up of words that make sentences and statements... there is a correct way to ask for pint of beer and there is a polite way to ask for a pint of beer. there is a rude way to ask for a pint of beer..... these are structures and forms that produce and end result..... its IS very structured and defined... the same as music is.

you can by all means go off piste and speak your own made up language by making up your own words or by using existing words but randomly joining them to other random words.. nobody else will understand you

You can sit at a piano and randomly hit notes...... and clusters..... nice if randomness is what you want to achieve.

Most music like any language has various structures that define it and make it what it is. You can of course try to learn more about it on your own... and by default if you're using a keyboard you'll probably discover chords that work with each other and that sound better to you than other chords and notes... you can discover harmony on your own... like it or hate it much of what you'll discover will be part of a bigger picture of musical knowledge that has existed for centuries.
Old 6th April 2010
  #210
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kilon's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by grumphh View Post
Second reply: Do you really think that learning how to play an instrument has to be based on theory?
Learning is a two way process :

1) Acquiring the knowledge (which can happen in two ways a) by being taught Musical Theory , b) by learing with practise )

2) Developing the skill . This means that you develop the right habits in such way that your brain automates the common musical tasks.

What makes a player/composer great is 95% skill and 5% knowledge. And because musical theory is actually not the only way to acquire musical knowledge (by the way musical knoledge is not the same as musical theory ) , musical thoery becomes alot less important than people really think.

And we are talking about composition its even less important cause musical theory is more about playing than it is about composing.
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