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Music Theory - is there ever a point where you have everything in your composition under control?

ism

Senior Member
Here's how parallel 5th should be taught:


(Notwithstanding the bit in the final chapter where he says that students should be taught why to avoid parallel 5th until after they've had the avoidance of parallel 5th beaten into them by rote)
 

robgb

I was young once
Then what the fuck are you arguing with then? The OP asks about whether learning theory is worth it. Answer = yes.
No. The answer is it depends on the individual. I've said that from my first post. The hostility is no more necessary than the sarcasm.
 

VinRice

... i am a robot ...
No. The answer is it depends on the individual. I've said that from my first post. The hostility is no more necessary than the sarcasm.
That's a bullshit passive-aggressive non-answer. EVERYTHING depends on the individual. What's necessary in my posts is my decision. Are you trying to pressure me into conforming to your behavioural norms? Or perhaps trying to signal an implied moral superiority?
 

robgb

I was young once
That's a bullshit passive-aggressive non-answer. EVERYTHING depends on the individual. What's necessary in my posts is my decision. Are you trying to pressure me into conforming to your behavioural norms? Or perhaps trying to signal an implied moral superiority?
Yawn.
 

halfwalk

Member
That's a bullshit passive-aggressive non-answer. EVERYTHING depends on the individual. What's necessary in my posts is my decision. Are you trying to pressure me into conforming to your behavioural norms? Or perhaps trying to signal an implied moral superiority?
No you're right. Nobody should learn anything. That's clearly the way forward
You are attacking a viewpoint which is contrary to your own, by intentionally reducing it to an extreme caricature of its actual intent rather than actually engaging in meaningful dialog regarding why you might see things differently.

I hope you recognize the irony of your accusation of signaling implied moral superiority.
 

mikeh-375

old school
If you learn theory, you are taught how it's SUPPOSED to be done, and you feel bound by those rules. If you don't learn theory you may simply do what comes from instinct, with nothing to bind you. Someone who is used to the freedom of instinct might suddenly find their creativity hampered when learn that they're "doing it wrong." Others might feel this helps them. Again, it's up to the individual.
Rob with the greatest respect, some of this post above is flat out wrong and is typical of the misunderstandings and assumptions often made by some.
 

robgb

I was young once
Rob with the greatest respect, some of this post above is flat out wrong and is typical of the misunderstandings and assumptions often made by some.
I can only speak from my own experience and the experience of friends, some of whom embrace formal learning and others who don't. And I'm not strictly speaking about music theory, but all creative endeavors. The same applies to writing, for example, which is my particular profession.

I hope you recognize the irony of your accusation of signaling implied moral superiority.
Probably a waste of time engaging. I've put him on ignore.
 

VinRice

... i am a robot ...
You are attacking a viewpoint which is contrary to your own, by intentionally reducing it to an extreme caricature of its actual intent rather than actually engaging in meaningful dialog regarding why you might see things differently.

I hope you recognize the irony of your accusation of signaling implied moral superiority.
You are making the mistake of taking me seriously. I suspect irony is a concept you struggle with.
 

VinRice

... i am a robot ...
I can only speak from my own experience and the experience of friends, some of whom embrace formal learning and others who don't. And I'm not strictly speaking about music theory, but all creative endeavors. The same applies to writing, for example, which is my particular profession.


Probably a waste of time engaging. I've put him on ignore.
I rest my case.
 

halfwalk

Member
Rob with the greatest respect, some of this post above is flat out wrong and is typical of the misunderstandings and assumptions often made by some.
I think it's not a matter of how it's "supposed to be done," but rather the creation of a framework that determines whether or not something is "musical."

If it cannot be explained by music theory, then it must not be music, right? It depends on what the individual considers to be musical, rather than what people have traditionally agreed upon. Some people hear songs in the wind, where others just hear noise.

It's about consciousness and the perception of vibrations, arbitrarily, as "music" and how music theory can (not saying it does, but it can) instill a sense of "tunnel vision" regarding what music is and isn't.
 

Farkle

Senior Member
So this is a question for all the composers here that did learn music theory for a long time (5+ years), including ear training and all that good stuff;

Are your compositions still a try-and-fail sometimes or can you make faster decisions due to it (well i bet you can, but was that speed-up worth the hours/years of practice?)? Like knowing exactly if you're gonna use this voicing after the other voicing?

When i think of me after learning and practicing music theory for a couple years my goal would be to gain more control and not having to try and fail all the time. Like sitting down, listening to a piece of mozart and be able to sit down and instantly remake it in my daw without trying around like "hmm, did he use a 7th or normal chord there?".. am i hunting for something there which can be achieved?

Have a good day
I recommend reading this book, and then doing each of the chapter's drills, repeatedly (spend like 1-2 weeks on each one).

Ron Gorow - Hearing and Writing Music
 

VinRice

... i am a robot ...
All fun and games aside, there are two arguments here that seem to have become conflated. 'Formal' education is a whole topic unto itself that actually has nothing to do with the OP's question which was about learning. Will you become a better musician, songwriter, composer by learning theory? Unequivocally, absolutely, yes.
 

Parsifal666

I don't even own a DAW, I'm just a troll.
And I was always getting in trouble for parallel bleeding 5ths. Even when they sounded good. Even when it was a two part counterpoint where the melodies both needed those notes and were perfectly strong enough to maintain their independence in the face of the evil of parallel 5ths.

It's one of my great adult pleasure to be able to play parallel 5ths any time I want.

In fact, here's some now:


I love this demo, and if I had written it, I might have been tempted to title it "ode parallel 5ths".
Nice! And when it comes to parallel fifths, thank God for Tony Iommi!
 

ism

Senior Member
I really can't understand how people would think otherwise, its absolutely mind boggling

What I think is the root conflation (and why these threads predictably degenerate in more Luvvies vs Boffins acimony) is the way that being badly taught theory can not only *not* help you become a better composer but can even do you damage as a composer (if you internalize badly conceived theory) vs the indisputable value of theory itself.

A trivial (if slightly dramatized) example: I do actually believe theory of parallel 5ths is extremely valuable - when the underlying musical reasons and their contexts are understood. But internalizing the rule by rote is only useful you want to be a hack churning out derivative chorales of undigested Bach.
 

VinRice

... i am a robot ...
What I think is the root conflation (and why these threads predictably degenerate in more Luvvies vs Boffins acimony) is the way that being badly taught theory can not only *not* help you become a better composer but can even do you damage as a composer (if you internalize badly conceived theory) vs the indisputable value of theory itself.
Perfect.
 

Parsifal666

I don't even own a DAW, I'm just a troll.
Ooh. What's this on my desktop? It's a video of War Pigs from 1971! Quick blast to reset my brain after watching Eurovision (26 songs all with the same 4 chords)
OH yeah! Can't imagine that song without THAT solo. Iconic.
 
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