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Knowing music theory, important or not?
Old 24th January 2019
  #1
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Knowing music theory, important or not?

You mentioned in another thread that you work on chord structures a lot. Listening to your songs it sounds like you know what you’re doing in that department.

In my own experience, knowing a bit of theory helps understanding what happens in music that I like and it is often a great help when getting stuck in my own songwriting.

How much are you into music theory and the importance of such knowledge? Any defining moments when you cracked the code, so to speak?

And a follow-up question to that is what your background in music is, self-taught or any formal training?

Regards,
Carl
Old 24th January 2019
  #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cramse View Post
You mentioned in another thread that you work on chord structures a lot. Listening to your songs it sounds like you know what you’re doing in that department.

In my own experience, knowing a bit of theory helps understanding what happens in music that I like and it is often a great help when getting stuck in my own songwriting.

How much are you into music theory and the importance of such knowledge? Any defining moments when you cracked the code, so to speak?

And a follow-up question to that is what your background in music is, self-taught or any formal training?

Regards,
Carl
I remember taking 1 year of piano classes when I was 7 or 8 but after that we could only afford piano or french so I picked french because the teacher was doing a terrible job of imbuing some sense of wonder in the process and the information.
(Same reason why 99% of people think they're bad at things, really. It's almost never them, it's the half assed teacher's fault :/)
I take a looooooong time on my progressions because I'm always looking for the dynamic relationship between a standard structure and the off-kilter chord that stands out. Over the years I've tried to make that more elegant and find the surprises in the subtleties, rather than having to put a wtf chord switch on every single song, that can get old and there's only so many chords haha.
Music theory is a funny one. I think I'm a better composer for the lack of it but I think I could be better if I learned it NOW. Meaning that not standardizing it and demystifying it from the get-go gave me a sense of discovery and allowed me to think out of the box , but id love to formally learn the structure and chord progressions of Cory Henry, for example.
Gospel music is actually one of the most complicated forms of music (chord and progression wise), much more so than any etude or fugue, I find. I never really learned how to mix bass and chord notes in that way so I have a very deep fascination with it.
But all that being said, music is emotion, it's one of the most fundamental and ancient ways of doing what any form of religion has been trying to do for years, which is to mentally take you to a state of ecstasy. You don't need to know the circle of fifths for that, you need to mentally dive into the song and see how it affects you. The more music you listen to, the more you learn what chord switch or structure does that effectively, until you build a mental library, or palate.
Also keep in mind that we live in a post Bach world, where we've had giants like Stravinsky and John Zorn that have proved tonalism and traditional structure is not necessarily the only thing out there that works. One of my favorite pieces of music is SebatiAn's 13 minute version of Threnody, which takes this completely atonal piece by Penderecki and makes an 11:19 riser out of it that resolves in a devastating rhythm that only has THREE NOTES and still hits you like a sledgehammer.
That's not everyone's cup of tea, but to me and to whoever is open to the concept of it, that's firmly in the realm of Genius.

So I guess tl;dr you don't need manuals to figure out the music
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