Daniel james live on twitch now with an important topic!

Discussion in 'SAMPLE Talk' started by MarcelM, Jun 8, 2019.

  1. WindcryMusic

    WindcryMusic Always learning

    Oct 19, 2015
    I concur. Personally, I learned my first basics of music theory in high school ... but from a band director who was so ingrained in “you must follow all of the rules by rote” rather than actually teaching students to listen that it really turned me off to any thought of continuing. It was only later on, when I worked in various touring bands with at least a couple of musicians who’d learned some music theory (and in a less clinical fashion), that I began to really get interested in theory, and ever since then it’s been a process of self-directed learning for me.
  2. Robert_G

    Robert_G It really is just an expensive hobby for me

    Feb 6, 2019
    Id rather have 20 comments telling me what i did wrong then not learn anything
    mikefrommontreal and Henu like this.
  3. SoNowWhat?

    SoNowWhat? realised I can type here

    Jul 26, 2016
    Well I have electricity, ear-wax and booze. I reckon I've got a shot.

    Also which joker has the user name Sackbutt Power on the stream? :laugh: I love it.
    mikeh-375 likes this.
  4. Consona

    Consona Senior Member

    Aug 5, 2011
    This is something different...
    You don't care you don't compose classical style music even though you like it. X But when I compose classical style music, I'm aware there's someone like Williams, and I act accordingly.

    Of course when you compose rock, new age or whatever, you don't need to be nervous the result is not Williams-like. On the other hand, If you can compose like Williams, and you do rock, eletronic music or whatever, your compositions will be way better no doubt. The knowledge of development, structure, chords, etc., is transferable.

    Ultimately, it's everybody's choice. When I was playing metal with my friends in my teenage years, I was making songs that were like the music I was listening to. Now after I discovering the music of all those old-school composers, I know how extremely limited that metal songwriting was, and I know knowing what they knew would made me better at any music style.
    It's everybody's choice whether they are content with their skill level, while knowing there's more, or not.
  5. robgb

    robgb I was young once

    Apr 6, 2016
    All of this said, there are few composers in the world, schooled or not in theory, who could come up with a chord progression and melody as hauntingly beautiful as Blackbird, which was written by a guy with zero formal education in theory who couldn't read a note of music.
    Mike Fox and marclawsonmusic like this.
  6. erica-grace

    erica-grace Senior Member

    Sep 7, 2015

    robgb likes this.
  7. InLight-Tone

    InLight-Tone Senior Member

    Dec 31, 2013
    “Any tone can succeed any other tone, any tone can sound simultaneously with any other tone or tones, and any group of tones can be followed by any other group of tones, just as any
    degree of tension or nuance can occur in any medium under any kind of stress or duration. Successful projection will depend upon the contextual and formal conditions that prevail, and upon the skill and soul of the composer.” Persichetti
  8. miket

    miket Team Dany

    May 17, 2016
    New York
    That was one of the books I learned from. What an opening line!
    InLight-Tone likes this.
  9. dpasdernick

    dpasdernick Senior Member

    Jan 18, 2010
    My drum teacher/septic tank repairman said "If you can't tell you story with a Roland Sound Canvas and 3 chords then get the fuc k out of the business".

    I got the fuc k out of the business.
  10. Brian Nowak

    Brian Nowak Active Member

    Jan 9, 2018
    On the subject of music theory, I have only one real input:

    As with anything on the internet, a lot of people are totally full of shit and have not even the slightest idea what the hell they're talking about, but will go on and on for some time as though they are experts on the matter.

    The end.
  11. Van

    Van New Member

    Nov 24, 2018
    My comment doesn’t necessarily answer the original I question but I know this:

    The greats study the greats.
  12. purple

    purple New Member

    May 4, 2019
    Learning more about music theory is the quickest if not the only way to reliably become a better composer. Yes, you can just write stuff that "sounds good", and it probably will! But you simply will not reach your full potential as a composer by just trial and error at a piano without any direction. If nothing else, it is apparent that someone doesn't know music theory when their pieces or cues have no sense of structure or macro planning. There is no special sauce or eureka moment where you'll suddenly be able to write like Williams or Steiner or Korngold etc. It's practice and dedication, just like practicing an instrument, or becoming a surgeon, or mastering a martial art. Nobody is born a legend. If you want to be one, you have to study and practice like one.

    I say this as someone who thought I just had a good enough ear to write great stuff. To be honest, if I had just started composing without any theory knowledge, I'd probably get away with it, especially these days. I played in a lot of musical things in and out of school in high school and did arrangements and small composition, and then went for a music degree and learned very quickly just how big of a difference proper music theory can teach you about the composing process. For the first two years of undergrad I and all the other music students had to take 2 years of theory/history. Literally every day, the things our professors taught us completely changed some aspect of my composing process, whether it was opening my eyes to new ways of harmonization, to new pieces, composers, and genres to listen to and study, to something as simple as an instrumentation choice. I cannot stress enough how happy I am I took those classes, and I can't say I'd be a composer doing the great things I am these days were it not for the stuff I learned in those two years.

    Knowing more about music theory changes the way you experience music. It makes it much much easier to find out why a particular song, whether it's a movement from a bruckner symphony, or a billie eilish tune, works the way it does, and that's something every composer should be able to do in order to hone their craft. It also makes it a lot faster and easier to try and decipher what a client wants when they say "more epic" or "more sad" or give you a temp track and tell you they want the same "feel".

    TL;DR: You are not going to become the next John Williams, Korngold, Rosza, etc. By following your ears alone. Nobody is that good. Take music theory classes, read a book, study some scores, do some counterpoint excercises. Listen actively to music. Instead of just thinking "that song makes me feel sad :(", figure out why. How can you capture the energy that song was able to transfer to you? How can I implement that energy into my own sound and identity?
  13. I like music

    I like music Senior Member

    Oct 26, 2015
    Curious to know what general content is covered in theory classes (e.g. for those of us who want to find their own resources to do this, for money reasons). To me, when I hear 'music theory' I'm often not sure what people are describing. I'm guessing it covers a lot of aspects, but are there things you should learn before you learn other things?

    Can one dive into counterpoint or is there something else they need to have nailed down first? etc etc
  14. pmcrockett

    pmcrockett Senior Member

    Nov 3, 2014
    Saint Louis
    The progression of theory study that they had me follow as an undergrad was basics first -- scales, keys, relationships among chords in a key, Roman numeral analysis -- then counterpoint and part writing, then large-scale form, then 20th century and jazz theory.
  15. I like music

    I like music Senior Member

    Oct 26, 2015
    Thank you! This is already very helpful :)
  16. LudovicVDP

    LudovicVDP New Member

    Mar 30, 2019
    I've been doing music since the day I was born. I know (almost) no music theory and it hasn't blocked me from doing some nice things. Yet, the frustration is real. There's not a single day that passes without regretting not to know more. I feel like there's a lot of things I can do but there's nothing I can really do well (at least well enough to my taste).
  17. purple

    purple New Member

    May 4, 2019
    In order to start working on counterpoint, I'd imagine as long as you have a basic understanding (you know intervals and how to notate music, basically), you should be able to at least do the basics.
  18. halfwalk

    halfwalk Member

    May 13, 2017
    Who decides upon who the "greats" are? Popular consensus? Kanye West ans Taylor Swift are some of "the greats" then.
  19. Denkii

    Denkii Member

    Mar 15, 2019
    While I think I understand where your are coming from when you talk about the necessity of theoretical knowledge when it comes to composers, I have to disagree with your last statement from experience.

    Yes there are full time musicians who do this and really don't know what they are doing. All they know is it sounds good. Also there are a lot of them who produce their stuff on their own, including programming arrangements for demos before something becomes a final product.

    Is it really the composer who needs to have the knowledge or is it rather a social and work environmental expectation that they have to live up to?

    I'm not saying theory doesn't serve a purpose. I just believe it's more on the prestige side than we are willing to admit.
    Alex Niedt likes this.
  20. Van

    Van New Member

    Nov 24, 2018
    When I made that comment I had in mind, for example, that Brahms studied Beethoven, who studied Mozart, who studied Haydn and they all studied Fux. Pop singers didn’t come to mind but I supposed they too, “study the greats.”

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