Music Theory - Does it matter?

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Mossbank
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Post by Mossbank » Wed Mar 18, 2009 8:25 pm

I've been playing for several years and know a few bits and pieces. But in a bit to better myself, I've enrolled on a ten-week, part time guitar course in the evenings. It wasn't cheap but it sounds really good on paper and I'm looking forward to advancing my skills. I've never been taught 'officially'.

My question is, how high up the theory ladder are you guys? And does it matter?

Thanks,

Drdos
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Post by Drdos » Wed Mar 18, 2009 8:34 pm

If their teaching Keyboard Theory which most instructors will(Common Practice Period theory used exclusively for teaching from 1600-1910) it will benefit you to a certain extent since it is based on the keyboard... Theory that applies to the specific instrument is also greatly beneficial (Jazz Guitar Theory-Chordal structure)All in All theory makes you a stronger musician, but not always a stronger player. A combination of a good ear, and theory is the ultimate IMO. Congrats and Enjoy...
Vince

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Post by blackcloud45 » Wed Mar 18, 2009 8:45 pm

I don't know anything and wish I did. Having said that, I've been playing 21 yrs by the seat of my pants and I do ok :)
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Post by RockerAIC » Wed Mar 18, 2009 8:54 pm

Define theory. Do I know what a major chord is and how to construct one? Yes. Do I know what a Fmaj79b13diminished-whatever chord is? No. Do I need to know what it is or want to know what it is? No. Do I need to know what it is to write songs? No. Do I write songs using those chords despite not knowing their names? Yes.

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Post by sgpornstar » Wed Mar 18, 2009 9:03 pm

IMHO, it doesn't hurt to be solidly grounded in theory... but some of the world's greatest music has been made by people who couldn't read music and didn't care how it all worked. Theory doesn't teach soul, in other words. But I think it's not a bad idea to know a little about music theory.
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Post by zombie youth revolt » Wed Mar 18, 2009 9:03 pm

knowing music theory to some extent is VERY helpful
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Mossbank
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Post by Mossbank » Wed Mar 18, 2009 9:11 pm

@RockerAIC - Modes, key signatures, scales, chords etc...

Not really what works over what, that's up to your ear. But using some knowledge when constructing guitar parts, rather than guessing or meticulously trying out every next note to find out what's best.

I basically grew up on Metallica, and while I listen to lots of different stuff now I'm in my early 30s, I can't help but find myself stuck in Kirk Hammett pentatonic hell :oops:

I'm trying to break out of those boxes :D

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Post by Drdos » Wed Mar 18, 2009 9:20 pm

Studying the Church modes is a great tool to help open up improvisational thinking or tinkering on the guitar.. Your on the right path My Friend!
Vince

blackcloud45
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Post by blackcloud45 » Wed Mar 18, 2009 9:24 pm

I don't care so much about leads as I do about chord composition and relations. I think if I had a better understanding of the fundamentals of chords, my leads would naturally follow because I would then have opened up my options and note choice.
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RockerAIC
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Post by RockerAIC » Wed Mar 18, 2009 9:34 pm

<blockquote id="quote"><font size="2" face="Verdana" id="quote">quote:<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"><i>Originally posted by Mossbank</i>
<br />@RockerAIC - Modes, key signatures, scales, chords etc...

Not really what works over what, that's up to your ear. But using some knowledge when constructing guitar parts, rather than guessing or meticulously trying out every next note to find out what's best.

I basically grew up on Metallica, and while I listen to lots of different stuff now I'm in my early 30s, I can't help but find myself stuck in Kirk Hammett pentatonic hell :oops:

I'm trying to break out of those boxes :D
<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"></font id="quote"></blockquote id="quote">

Yeah that's a whole different issue. I never got deep into modes as far as knowing all of them in every key or anything like that.

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Post by Blainy » Wed Mar 18, 2009 10:42 pm

If you know the rules, then you know when to break them and why. I studied music in school and learnt all about the rules of four-part harmony, intervals, etc, etc. Interesting stuff, but no substitute for talent.

I don't think Hendrix was too bothered by that....the "Hendrix chord" contains both the major and minor third. Should sound dreadful, but doesn't. All in all theory's useful enough, but not a pre-requisite for good playing.

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Post by Drdos » Wed Mar 18, 2009 11:36 pm

<blockquote id="quote"><font size="2" face="Verdana" id="quote">quote:<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"><i>Originally posted by Blainy</i>
<br />If you know the rules, then you know when to break them and why. I studied music in school and learnt all about the rules of four-part harmony, intervals, etc, etc. Interesting stuff, but no substitute for talent.

I don't think Hendrix was too bothered by that....the "Hendrix chord" contains both the major and minor third. Should sound dreadful, but doesn't. All in all theory's useful enough, but not a pre-requisite for good playing.
<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"></font id="quote"></blockquote id="quote">OK so the Hendrix Chord has a Maj/Min 3rd in it which in and by itself would be a Major chord built that way... Just curious what other intervals are in it? I've never heard of the Hendrix chord..Any minor 2nd's.. Thanks... Ha just looked it up OK so the "Hendrix chord" haha is just a V7#9 say your playing in Cmaj key that would be a G7 with an A# an octave up from the root note. Not that unusual and just a Jazz #9 chord... Anyways knowing the theory behind the said chord you can play with different voicing s of that chord in different position...:D
Vince

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Post by Deacon Blues » Thu Mar 19, 2009 12:42 am

coltrane said you can spend your whole life learning theory just to forget it all. i know people who are true theory masters, but who can't write orginial, moving songs to save their life. music theory is fascinating and it can definitely help make you a more technically talented musician, but it won't make you have ears and the desire to express yourself through the guitar
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Post by adamanteus » Thu Mar 19, 2009 12:46 am

i concentrate on SOUNDS. i could care less what note it is, progression, etc. obviously i know my notes and such but, really it's all about sound to me not whether or not something is "correct". if something i write or play moves me that's all that matters. that's not to say theory is a bad thing, just really not for me. everyone's different.
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Post by Wicked_Tone » Thu Mar 19, 2009 1:25 am

I play by ear and have done so for about 26 years. As far as playing lead, I usually solo around the chord progression in the rhythm of the song. I play around with playing a solo near or above the 12th fret, if the chords played are from the 1st to 3rd frets. I have been playing long enough that I just go for it when it comes to soloing, as I go by feel for the song. A true musician that understands music theory would probably wince if they saw my approach, as it is unorthodox. ;)
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