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Discussion in 'Sidewinders Bar & Grille' started by Stratafied, Apr 7, 2021 at 7:01 PM.
Kinda yes but no not really. He doesn’t seem to be in the “you don’t need theory” camp but he also says it depends.
I’ll just say in general, yes to theory. Like leaning a new language the more you know the more you can say.
There've been some incredible players who didn't know theory from the proverbial hole in the wall. But it doesn't hurt to know theory.
I heard people say this then the same musicians talking modes and actually making sense instead of describing an out of key mode that is only technically the same notes so never know really.
Theory isn't that hard. It's worth learning. It definitely isn't a requirement for playing the rock and roll. But it can be really useful.
One of the biggest things to remember when learning theory, however, is that it describes. It does not make rules. If something sounds the way you want it to sound, you succeeded, no matter what theory says. Theory tells you what is likely to sound a particular way to ears brought up in a particular culture. Rigid theory only precisely describes the context of 18th century classical music. So use it as a tool, but don't follow it as a manual or rule book.
I just wonder how difficult it is to learn.
Everyone says it’s easy. I must have brain damage because I get so confused.
IMNTBCHO Not to become a good "guitar player". To be a musician? Yeah. I think it's important enough to spend the rest of my remaining years mastering it and putting it to use.
Then again, I made it as a pretty decent guitar player for 50 years without learning it, so YMMV
Wooten says that theory is a tool; when you need the tool, use it. Which is shorthand for what the guy is saying in the op.
I generally agree. I need theory myself because I'm a generalist and can't stand memorizing how to play songs on a fret-by-fret basis. I need to know the why behind it, why a song works. I like jamming, not memorizing or playing to a rigid formula. I like to know what I'm doing when noodling. I like playing the same song a little different -- and yet the same -- every time. I'm annoyed by people who say "you're playing it wrong" because you played the right notes on the "wrong" strings.
But if you're one of those "cover" or "strummer" players the guy's talking about, theory is a time saver but not much else. If you're good a memorizing like that and/or find theory tedious, then you'll get by without it just fine.
Having studied classical piano for ten years, I learned theory. It has helped me with guitar every step of the way. I'm not saying I couldn't be playing if I never studied piano, but it's definitely been easier with the knowledge.
Yes there have been some incredible players who did not know theory. But they are more of the exception (savant like natural ability just needing to be channeled) than the rule. I'm betting most of them wished they did know theory at some point.
But totally agree it will only make you a more informed player, not a more talented player. It informs your playing, lets you know what notes are available. But you still have to select those notes yourself and make what you choose melodic.
You often find a lot of things written without theory, are only not realized to be following theory just without knowing it.
Maybe...I say that to myself all the time. But not every language is a difficult to learn as Mandarin or Navaho.
I'm not the sharpest knife in the lamp, but nothing about theory makes any sense to me. There was a great post the other day...the guy typed for eons, or cut and pasted...but, it might as well have been hieroglyphics to me.
I know I’d be the same way.
This. Music theory is math-like. I REALLY suck at math.
Music theory is like math, the basics are easy: learn to count, add, subtract, divide, multiply, and you're good for life, you don't need higher math. For basic music theory you only need to count from 1 to 7 and add up to 13 (and even that's optional).
That was Axeman's post on triads. I saw that post a couple months ago and most of it I couldn't follow. When I re-read it, I grokked exactly what he was getting at and could follow it all.
And yet some guys can just play and know what sounds right as they do it. Or figure that out and stick with it. I play notes that are out of scale when they sound right. Because I tried it practicing and it worked so I remember that. But I don't know any better so I just do it. I sometimes get people saying "I love the way you ... blah, blah, blah... something, something about theory". I have no idea what they're talking about. I just play what sounds right. Smile and nod.
I think the "you're playing it wrong" crowd is way too obsessed with copying exactly what someone else did in pursuit of some mythical perfection. Sometimes the pros that wrote it play it differently at different times. I remember listening to Slash on an interview one time. He had a guitar and was talking about playing his signature tune "Sweet Child of Mine". He said "I think I played it like this". He riffed it. "Or this". He riffed it slightly differently. He didn't seem to think it mattered.
I look at it like this:
Say you're a specialist in home renovations, a plumber or electrician. It also helps to have a good idea of the entire home-building process, in the completion of your own set, specialized task. Having passing familiarity with carpentry, framing, insulation, drywall, foundations, etc, just gives you a heads up, on the entire build.
Same with music theory, it's not absolutely needed, but it's very helpful.
Agree with what?
I'm too lazy to sit through 22 minutes of video by someone who has some cartoon character fronting it.
From the gist of the posts I get it's the weekly "is theory necessary" thread.
To which I respond...again...
Depends. How musically literate do you wish to be?
Not a trick question.
If one wishes to be literate then yes, it is necessary. If one doesn't...no.