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Does Music Theory Kill Creativity?

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samulis
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Response to Does Music Theory Kill Creativity? Apr. 20th, 2013 @ 10:54 AM Reply

At 4/20/13 10:45 AM, frootza wrote: Look at Dave Brubeck, one of the most influential jazz musicians of our time. Never learned to read music.

He experimented with odd time signature and tonalities, and he was probable able to think outside the box because for him, there was no box to begin with.

Brubeck must have learned to read and write music... he must have learned theory to some degree, as he studied with many brilliant composers when he was younger as well. He also definitely had to learn orchestration and theory because he wrote a variety of works for choir and orchestra in addition to jazz. It is completely impossible to write for orchestra without knowing orchestration- or else it's like putting random dots on a page and crossing your fingers ranges, phrases, and everything else works out- this was especially impossible back when he wrote many of these works, in the 70s to 90s because music composition software or anything that could check ranges and all is only just now becoming powerful enough to do that. Unless he sketched ideas and sent it to an orchestrator, which is not a usual approach for casual composition, he most definitely studied quite a bit.


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MetalRenard
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Response to Does Music Theory Kill Creativity? Apr. 20th, 2013 @ 11:31 AM Reply

Samulis, you're making a lot of assumptions there mate. :)
You're assuming I am unable to recognise patterns intuitively rather than mathematically. I compose intuitively, I always have and my best stuff is music I make no effort to compose, that just happens without thinking at all (and anyone who listens agrees every time it happens).
I am able to force myself to compose a piece of music even if I'm not inspired. That's called being a professional.
I am capable, without knowing the explicit rules of theory, of composing for a very specific idea or feeling.
My ear can tell me when something is wrong, I hear an odd vibration in the sound and I know it's not "in key".
I strive to be different all the time, giving myself new challenges and trying new things.

Give us guys more credit! We didn't take the same classical path as you but that doesn't make our work any less valid, any less artistic or any less pure.


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Troisnyx
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Response to Does Music Theory Kill Creativity? Apr. 20th, 2013 @ 11:40 AM Reply

At 4/20/13 11:31 AM, MetalRenard wrote: Samulis, you're making a lot of assumptions there mate. :)
You're assuming I am unable to recognise patterns intuitively rather than mathematically. I compose intuitively, I always have and my best stuff is music I make no effort to compose, that just happens without thinking at all (and anyone who listens agrees every time it happens).
I am able to force myself to compose a piece of music even if I'm not inspired. That's called being a professional.
I am capable, without knowing the explicit rules of theory, of composing for a very specific idea or feeling.
My ear can tell me when something is wrong, I hear an odd vibration in the sound and I know it's not "in key".
I strive to be different all the time, giving myself new challenges and trying new things.

Give us guys more credit! We didn't take the same classical path as you but that doesn't make our work any less valid, any less artistic or any less pure.

And so do people who learn with a theoretical learning curve. We give credit to those who picked up instruments and music all by themselves, I've even heard some of them and I know of the skill they have -- I grew up knowing some people like you, but just because you didn't learn theory doesn't mean that we who learned theory are confined to a box and have to get out of it. That's another assumption that kills creativity.

Some genres will require theory in order to understand them and the spirit behind them much better (I sometimes base my stuff on chants, three- or four-part polyphony starting from before the Baroque area), but after that, you have a paintbrush on a proverbial canvas that has five lines and four spaces.


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camoshark
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Response to Does Music Theory Kill Creativity? Apr. 20th, 2013 @ 11:55 AM Reply

At 4/20/13 10:45 AM, frootza wrote:
At 4/20/13 10:33 AM, MetalRenard wrote:
At 4/20/13 08:03 AM, lasse wrote: I don't really fall for the 'finding your own way' argument
Your loss. I'm having a great time. Haha
Metal is on point here.

Look at Dave Brubeck, one of the most influential jazz musicians of our time. Never learned to read music.

He experimented with odd time signature and tonalities, and he was probable able to think outside the box because for him, there was no box to begin with.

Wait, what?

How profoundly deep from the depths of your ass did you pull that out of?

It's the exact opposite, Brubeck is probably one of the jazz composers who theorized the most the whole concept of jazz theory and, in fact, pushed an emerging genre - Third-Stream - that is based around the combination of Jazz AND Classical theory to the foreground of the jazz scene.

In any case, I see a lot of people trying to defend self discovery. While the idea is honorable, I would tend to respectfully disagree with those allegations, as it is very much fruitless. I was under the impression that if you truly love the art that you do and are of the experimental kind, you'd want to push the boundaries of said theory, or at the very least, know the extent of it.

The whole idea of learning theory is to find techniques that you would have never found on your own. I would truly never have thought of substituting the V chord in a minor ii-V-I for it's altered counterpart to produce a V7(#9b13) chord, nor use the supertonic of the minor parallel (iimin7(b5) - I) as a dominant in a progression.

Now I'm REALLY tired about this goddamned argument, so if anyone could provide me with an actual argument in favor of NOT learning theory, we could actually start a genuine debate. Because right now, all I've seen is people who haven't learned that are talking about theory as if they knew what they were talking about.

P.S. before anyone shoots this argument, Vangelis (the guy who did Chariots of Fire) DID start-off knowing nothing about theory. But you know what? When he realized that not knowing that was holding him back, he just pulled out his theory books and learned the goddamned thing.

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Response to Does Music Theory Kill Creativity? Apr. 20th, 2013 @ 12:14 PM Reply

At 4/20/13 11:40 AM, TroisNyxEtienne wrote: And so do people who learn with a theoretical learning curve. We give credit to those who picked up instruments and music all by themselves, I've even heard some of them and I know of the skill they have -- I grew up knowing some people like you, but just because you didn't learn theory doesn't mean that we who learned theory are confined to a box and have to get out of it. That's another assumption that kills creativity.

Some genres will require theory in order to understand them and the spirit behind them much better (I sometimes base my stuff on chants, three- or four-part polyphony starting from before the Baroque area), but after that, you have a paintbrush on a proverbial canvas that has five lines and four spaces.

Absolutely! I never said otherwise. You guys deserve respect for your path too. I just hate people looking at me as if I'm an idiot because I didn't sit down with a book and study theory.

At the end of the day, it's very simple. Don't judge someone until you hear what they can do, no matter what they studied (or didn't study). This is music guys, it's an art, and arts are all about expression. Everyone should be completely free to do it how they like.


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Response to Does Music Theory Kill Creativity? Apr. 20th, 2013 @ 12:26 PM Reply

OP is just trolling. Actually it's the opposite. Music theory fuels creativity.

I want to feed teh troll, but can't afford for another ban...
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Response to Does Music Theory Kill Creativity? Apr. 20th, 2013 @ 12:29 PM Reply

At 4/20/13 12:26 PM, Elitistinen wrote: OP is just trolling. Actually it's the opposite. Music theory fuels creativity.
I want to feed teh troll, but can't afford for another ban...

'Twill be known soon enough if he is indeed trolling...


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Response to Does Music Theory Kill Creativity? Apr. 20th, 2013 @ 12:43 PM Reply

At 4/20/13 12:26 PM, Elitistinen wrote: OP is just trolling. Actually it's the opposite. Music theory fuels creativity.
I want to feed teh troll, but can't afford for another ban...

Music theory can fuel creativity, imo- not a hard fact or anything :p


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Response to Does Music Theory Kill Creativity? Apr. 20th, 2013 @ 01:53 PM Reply

At 4/20/13 11:55 AM, camoshark wrote:
At 4/20/13 10:45 AM, frootza wrote:
At 4/20/13 10:33 AM, MetalRenard wrote:
At 4/20/13 08:03 AM, lasse wrote:
How profoundly deep from the depths of your ass did you pull that out of?
The whole idea of learning theory is to find techniques that you would have never found on your own. I would truly never have thought of substituting the V chord in a minor ii-V-I for it's altered counterpart to produce a V7(#9b13) chord, nor use the supertonic of the minor parallel (iimin7(b5) - I) as a dominant in a progression.

So deep Camo, it hurt when I was pulling it out!

He never learned to read music for a certain portion of his career. He "faked it". This is a fact.

I'm perturbed that you "disapprove" of self discovery in favor of book knowledge. Even though he developed Third Steam, it doesn't mean that he did so by reading any music. In his later life, I'm sure he got into it. But the Take Five era wasn't tainted by theoretical knowledge.

My argument deals with working on your ear. You can go on about learning theory all that you want, but if your ear sucks, then your music is going to suck too (you have some cool jazz tunes, don't get me wrong. Etude was pretty great!)

You can substitute the 5 in a minor 2, 5, 1 for a five seven without having studied an ounce of theory because you have a great ear.

I can read, I can write, and I've studied theory. But I've always been the guy who knows how to improvise and figure songs out by ear (after a first listen if not during my first listen) so I never got into it until I was a senior in high school.

Your initial argument dealt with something along the lines of painting more vivid imagery with your music. But who is to say that studying theory is the only way to do this? It most definitely isn't.

Theory is cool but don't worry if you don't study it if you've had a knack for music since birth yay!


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Response to Does Music Theory Kill Creativity? Apr. 20th, 2013 @ 02:20 PM Reply

I say, How can one break the rules if he doesn't learned them?

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Response to Does Music Theory Kill Creativity? Apr. 20th, 2013 @ 02:44 PM Reply

No lack of Imagination, Originality and Creativity kills Creativity.


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Response to Does Music Theory Kill Creativity? Apr. 20th, 2013 @ 03:00 PM Reply

At 4/20/13 01:53 PM, frootza wrote:
So deep Camo, it hurt when I was pulling it out!

He never learned to read music for a certain portion of his career. He "faked it". This is a fact.

I dislike facts that supported by thin air. I've checked through multiple bios (including his own autobiography, and I haven't seen even the slightest reference to such a statement. I mean, he comes from a musician family, was trained on the piano since the age of 5, studied polyrhythms and polytonality with Darius Milhaud and majored in music at Mills College, so I really don't where your allegations are coming from.

I'm perturbed that you "disapprove" of self discovery in favor of book knowledge. Even though he developed Third Steam, it doesn't mean that he did so by reading any music. In his later life, I'm sure he got into it. But the Take Five era wasn't tainted by theoretical knowledge.

I never stated that I disapprove of self-discovery, I simply find it futile. I mean, I'm not in any way stating that formal education is the only way to success (I'd be the biggest offender in that regard), but whenever I find something awesome that I don't know of, I avidly search through theory books to try and theorize it so I can functionally integrate it into my music, which often times leads me to discover a whole new facet to theory I didn't know of.

In my mind, if you can't explain what you're doing, you don't really what you're doing.

My argument deals with working on your ear. You can go on about learning theory all that you want, but if your ear sucks, then your music is going to suck too (you have some cool jazz tunes, don't get me wrong. Etude was pretty great!)

Absolutely, glad we're on the same page there, although I'd also argue that the biggest factor would be imaginativity and creativity. It's one thing to know how to make it, but if you don't know WHAT to make, or make it meaningful, you're not any more advanced than you were prior to knowing it.

Your initial argument dealt with something along the lines of painting more vivid imagery with your music. But who is to say that studying theory is the only way to do this? It most definitely isn't.

To innovate in your field of work, you need to know it's extents, I thought we had previously established that. You can try and replicate people who HAVE actually learned their theory, but you can't hope to bring something new to the table.

Theory is cool but don't worry if you don't study it if you've had a knack for music since birth yay!

As a closing, I'd just like to say that I'm in no way condemning people who don't pursue musical knowledge, people have different reasons for making music, be it to express their feelings or to try and send a message, and to them, I say: Let not musical theory be a barrier to what you want to say, if you want to say it, just say it. But if you strive to be taken seriously, your language level is probably the most useful tool you can have at your disposal.

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Response to Does Music Theory Kill Creativity? Apr. 20th, 2013 @ 03:12 PM Reply

At 4/19/13 10:13 PM, Acrylia wrote:
Well here's the thing: most people who do music theory in order to be able to write music come out with the mindset that you can only use the progressions and patterns that are common, and have to follow the rules that it has. Most of the people I've seen anyway.

Haha, music doesn't kill creativity. Music theory classes kill creativity

Tell your teacher that the reason it seems that music kills creativity, is because all of the stupid rules (no direct octaves/fifths/crossovers/common order of chords/etc) hold a person back from expressing themselves to the fullest extent.

Back in the day, a lot of churches excommunicated musicians for not using the III-VI-II-V-I common order of chords. That demeans the hell out of innovative expression

Music doesn't kill creativity, popular music theory rules do

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Response to Does Music Theory Kill Creativity? Apr. 20th, 2013 @ 03:56 PM Reply

I can tell you that Music Theory will never kill creativity. It's just a great tool to help you compose music along the way without depending on your feelings and thoughts alone. It can help push creativity when you're having writer's block, allow you to analyze your own personal composing patterns thus helping you learn more about the way you work and better convey that method to people as well as what patterns appeals to you.

If you're planning to write professionally, it definitely help to learn some theory because you're not going to always be into what you're working on and sometime won't be able to go on creativity alone. We're not even talking about any complex theory here. Just knowing some of the basic can help push your work to new heights.

I don't know a whole lot myself about the more complex side of things, but I do know how to use chords and read music at a basic level. Once I got my scales down pat on my saxophone, I had the ability to improvise to chord changes by ear while others who had a ton more music theory under their belt couldn't. Now because of that improvising skill, I can compose music faster and better than I used to.

I believe that it's all about the composer's way of thinking. Some can do it more formally while others (like me) can do it by ear and what we get out of our heads. That kind of creativity doesn't come easy for everyone, so we should respect it. However we should respect the theory too because it connects us musicians as a method. As you already know music preference is different for everyone and music theory, even at it's most basic level, can help us to explore and see through the perspective of others regardless of if we share it or not.

So it doesn't kill creativity. In fact, it can help us to understand the creativity in ourselves and others. Don't be afraid to learn.

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Response to Does Music Theory Kill Creativity? Apr. 20th, 2013 @ 04:04 PM Reply

StaticBlu is right on the nose!


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Response to Does Music Theory Kill Creativity? Apr. 20th, 2013 @ 04:19 PM Reply

At 4/20/13 03:12 PM, OHD wrote:
At 4/19/13 10:13 PM, Acrylia wrote:
Well here's the thing: most people who do music theory in order to be able to write music come out with the mindset that you can only use the progressions and patterns that are common, and have to follow the rules that it has. Most of the people I've seen anyway.
Haha, music doesn't kill creativity. Music theory classes kill creativity

Tell your teacher that the reason it seems that music kills creativity, is because all of the stupid rules (no direct octaves/fifths/crossovers/common order of chords/etc) hold a person back from expressing themselves to the fullest extent.

Back in the day, a lot of churches excommunicated musicians for not using the III-VI-II-V-I common order of chords. That demeans the hell out of innovative expression

Music doesn't kill creativity, popular music theory rules do

I like where this kat is headed.... to be recognized and paid well for being a musician, most of the time you will see popular music being the reason. Let's face it, the people want familiar music, they yearn for stability; however, if you learn from that to make a name for yourself, you aren't necessarily creating something new. Therefore, popular music can be viewed as the enemy of creativity. I don't know if any of your are familiar with a professional musicians best friend: The Tennessee Numbering System. It is a system that allows you to quickly communicate popular chord structure on the fly. For instance to say 1, 4, 5, you are asking the band to play the 1st chord the 4th chord, and the 5th chord in the key signature. Interestingly this "cookie cutter" style of creation is used in popular music everyday, and is the foundation for an industry to make successful song after successful song. In this aspect, I think music theory fails to help artists create. I think business is really the culprit; it forces redundancy and stagnation of chord progression. Much like the church this gentlemen mentioned above. I suppose nothing beats the ideal of learning music for your own personal expression. That is truly where it exists to me, whether you use music theory to write your composition or not. This means that most of the best work done by an artist will not be heard.... EXCEPT ON NEWGROUNDS.COM BITCHES!!! YEAH!!... *ahem* anyways... I do whatever the hell I feel like doing, and I put it here on NG, cuz...I love this place for that very reason. It is independent, and doesn't bow down to the cash cow.

So yeah, I don't think Music Theory is the culprit necessarilyy that kills creative music in popular music, but it does play a hand in business ruining art.

Nice.

~J

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Response to Does Music Theory Kill Creativity? Apr. 20th, 2013 @ 04:47 PM Reply

At 4/20/13 04:19 PM, jaysummers759885 wrote:
At 4/20/13 03:12 PM, OHD wrote:
So yeah, I don't think Music Theory is the culprit necessarilyy that kills creative music in popular music, but it does play a hand in business ruining art.

Nice.

~J

That's another good point.

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Response to Does Music Theory Kill Creativity? Apr. 20th, 2013 @ 07:31 PM Reply

At 4/20/13 07:52 AM, MetalRenard wrote:
At 4/20/13 04:43 AM, The-iMortal wrote: Inspiration combined with information is unstoppable. I am far from a music theory expert, but anybody who believes they should not study music theory at all is either a moron or lazy imo.
That's kind of insulting to people like myself who choose to not study theory because they like to discover things in their own way. I like the journey and experimentation of trying everything for myself rather than reading about it in a book.

Apologies if I insulted anyone, but I still stand by what I said (maybe in not so bombastic terms lol). I don't know about you guys, but whenever a chance to learn most anything music-related arises, such as a free course on Coursera, or a really good article etc, I always take it.

By doing this, I've learned that the knowledge you can gain on music can become invaluable tools. Never have I regretted doing the boring work to learn, but I have regretted not doing it earlier!

Unless you're some prodigy, artistic flares can only get you so far. And even then, most prodigies had to learn the boring stuff too!

Learn EVERYTHING you can from those more experienced in you. It may be tedious and boring, and you might feel like you're being held back. But once it comes together, you will notice a huge improvement in the way you go about writing and producing.

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Response to Does Music Theory Kill Creativity? Apr. 20th, 2013 @ 07:33 PM Reply

At 4/20/13 07:31 PM, The-iMortal wrote: Learn EVERYTHING you can from those more experienced THAN you

*fixed

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Response to Does Music Theory Kill Creativity? Apr. 20th, 2013 @ 07:48 PM Reply

Look Like I have to join this...

At 4/20/13 07:31 PM, The-iMortal wrote:
At 4/20/13 07:52 AM, MetalRenard wrote:
At 4/20/13 04:43 AM, The-iMortal wrote: Inspiration combined with information is unstoppable. I am far from a music theory expert, but anybody who believes they should not study music theory at all is either a moron or lazy imo.
That's kind of insulting to people like myself who choose to not study theory because they like to discover things in their own way. I like the journey and experimentation of trying everything for myself rather than reading about it in a book.
Apologies if I insulted anyone, but I still stand by what I said (maybe in not so bombastic terms lol). I don't know about you guys, but whenever a chance to learn most anything music-related arises, such as a free course on Coursera, or a really good article etc, I always take it.

By doing this, I've learned that the knowledge you can gain on music can become invaluable tools. Never have I regretted doing the boring work to learn, but I have regretted not doing it earlier!

I saw A LOT musicians who go far beyond success in music, which most of them have little or no music theory training. Do they look unsuccessful? Also, you have music training right? How far are you going into success? Good to brag about if you know you have more creativity than those who are more successful than you.

Unless you're some prodigy, artistic flares can only get you so far. And even then, most prodigies had to learn the boring stuff too!

Music theory only helps to guide you through certain part in music composition. The rest of journey has to do with your skill. Look it as this way: music theory is a boat, it helps you float, but you need to row it in order to move on. Many people have little or no music theory training but still able to write amazing songs.

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Response to Does Music Theory Kill Creativity? Apr. 20th, 2013 @ 08:00 PM Reply

At 4/20/13 07:48 PM, Elitistinen wrote: I saw A LOT musicians who go far beyond success in music, which most of them have little or no music theory training. Do they look unsuccessful? Also, you have music training right? How far are you going into success? Good to brag about if you know you have more creativity than those who are more successful than you.

Actually, I haven't had much music theory training at all! Most of my learning has been on sound design, mixing and just recently songwriting, mainly lyrics and melody (I did a free 6-week course on this, and the amount I learned was incredible). Seeing this thread has reminded me that I should learn some more theory soon.

Music theory only helps to guide you through certain part in music composition. The rest of journey has to do with your skill. Look it as this way: music theory is a boat, it helps you float, but you need to row it in order to move on. Many people have little or no music theory training but still able to write amazing songs.

I won't disagree here. Some of my favourite tunes are written by those who have little skill in theory! But again, I still stand by it that learning music theory WILL help and to not learn it because you think it may stifle your creativity is the wrong decision...

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Response to Does Music Theory Kill Creativity? Apr. 20th, 2013 @ 09:28 PM Reply

I don't really have time to read all the posts on this thread thus far so apologies if I'm repeating something.

If you ask me, having to learn music theory can feel like it's dumbing down the creative aspects, it's like learning maths or science, it depends on how it's taught really.

That said, fresh theory is one of the most valuable things a musician can attain, especially as a composer, and most everyone should learn basic grounding really, depending on what type of music they want to produce.

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Response to Does Music Theory Kill Creativity? Apr. 20th, 2013 @ 09:46 PM Reply

Music theory is like math.....

You have work through all the equations to find a proper product


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Response to Does Music Theory Kill Creativity? Apr. 21st, 2013 @ 01:14 AM Reply

Every musician is different. Some musicians can do amazing things with it, some can't.

For example, Miles Davis obviosly did good things with his theory knowledge.

But Hendrix knew no theory and managed to play and construct some of the prettiest chords i've ever heard.

Point being, everyone is different, so how people use music theory depends on the person.;

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Response to Does Music Theory Kill Creativity? Apr. 21st, 2013 @ 01:29 AM Reply

Well, reading through all this, I think I'll throw my two cents in;

Music Theory doesn't kill creativity, it gives you a giant dictionary of everything that's possible in the music world. Alot about music theory is Analysis and Trial/Error- having knowledge of music theory doesn't hurt at all, but it works better if you started writing music before you started learning theory.

Now, why would I say that? Even though I've been taught specific snippets of theory here and there by my directors(Twelve Tone Matrixes anyone?) I've never taken a day of formal training in my life. Everything that I learned is either by myself or under the supervision of great people here(Trois, Camo, Samulis, Waffles, etc.) and honestly I wouldn't have it any other way. Even though I was trained formally in Music Preformance, I had to learn Composition on my own- something that was daunting when I first started. I had a few breaks here and there when I had writer's block, but most of what I did was trial and error. Once I started learning more about structure, chords, and progression, I started to apply them to the ideas I already was working on, giving myself not a box to contain myself, but a book to reference back to when needed.

Nowadays, years into my endeavor in composition I can no longer say I don't know theory, since I know a good bit of it and I finally have a chance to take the class next semester, but fact of the matter is that Music Theory doesn't kill creativity IN MOST CASES; it helps the mind think of things to move into whenever you're faced with a unresolveable chord, it helps the mind realize that they're writing a False Cadence, not a French one. it helps the mind write jazz ballads with a bit of some (F#m7b5->B7#5->Emin7) and then going from there.

Music Theory is not a box, it's a book.


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"making a piece of music is kinda like raising a kid (only a lot easier, lol)" - Skye [Winter] 11:28 PM <- Skype? hell yeah.

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MetalRenard
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Response to Does Music Theory Kill Creativity? Apr. 21st, 2013 @ 07:01 AM Reply

At 4/21/13 01:29 AM, NimblekidX wrote: Music Theory is not a box, it's a book.

That's a really nice way of putting it. :)
To be fair, I think it's impossible to NOT pick up some theory as you go along. For example, I know classical notation, I know how to read chords (and tablature helped a lot there), but I also know what dissonance is and how to create it in a piece. I think everyone eventually picks up theory in their own way as part of the process of becoming a composer, but that at first everything you do has no name. In time you learn the names and it takes on another meaning, a 2nd meaning that doesn't always replace the first, but that can deepen or change your own understanding of something.

Not having learnt something for yourself before hand takes away that magical feeling of deep understanding. I can read up on theory and learn a lot sure, but will I LEARN? That's the point I'm trying to make. :)


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DylnMatrix
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Response to Does Music Theory Kill Creativity? Apr. 21st, 2013 @ 07:22 AM Reply

To me and most of the people here, no. To some, yes, it does. But the only reason it does kill their creativity is because they treat theory as a box, essentially suffocating their creativity in the long run. But as soon as they open that box and let in fresh air, like the imagination, then creativity can start to breathe again. I have a friend who kept his self-taught theory knowledge as a box, but he's now starting to realize that opening the box and bending the rules can benefit you greatly after watching how I approached one of his projects.

There are also people, like MetalRenard, who don't need a lick of theory to understand to be creative. They simply let the natural musicians in them to take over and create great music. And I feel like these people need to be recognized and respected as well. I mean, why is it that I feel like not knowing theory is treated with such hostility in the music world sometimes? Sure theory can help with understanding of why things work and what works with what, but I honestly don't feel like you need it if you've already got a gift for music and aren't curious about how theory fits into it all.

Speaking of a musical gift, not to toot my own horn here, but I kind of want to talk about myself. Now I was born into a musical family, everybody (mainly on my mom's side) having been in music one way or another. So growing up, I was able to pick up some theory from listening to my mom play the flute and watching the notes on her sheet music, reading one of my grandmother's piano lesson books and plucking out songs. All throughout school, I was in Choir, so my ear for music just kept getting fed as my knowledge grew, even more so by voice lessons. But until I got FL Studio, with it's great piano roll to doodle on and some great tutorials on Youtube, my creativity was nonexistent and I don't think I would have ever been able to make my own original music, let alone make trance. Now when I write, I don't need to think about theory or really even put it to use intentionally, my mind and ear have grown so used to the way music works, certain keys, which I can pluck out no problem and create a song in that key, and I was just well, born with it. Sorry if I seem braggy, but there are some people, like me, who don't know advanced music theory but understand it, and are intuitive and talented enough to be able to write music without formal training. We may not know what we're doing half the time, but what we do know is that we're creating music, and it's something a lot of us love, so don't stifle our creativity when you find out a good musician doesn't know theory.

Wow, didn't mean for that to turn into storytime/rant. Whoops, sorry.

TL;DR
It depends on how you treat theory, honestly. You don't need it but sometimes you do. Every musician's different and you need to find out what works for you. Need theory? Great. Don't need it? Good for you.
As long as you create good music, you earn my respect.
:Two cents

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Response to Does Music Theory Kill Creativity? Apr. 21st, 2013 @ 07:48 AM Reply

At 4/21/13 07:22 AM, DylnMatrix wrote: As long as you create good music, you earn my respect.

This. Great conclusion to the whole discussion. Good man.


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Response to Does Music Theory Kill Creativity? Apr. 21st, 2013 @ 12:59 PM Reply

At 4/19/13 10:07 PM, Acrylia wrote: This is a debate my music theory class is having, and you guys should chat it up too.

So the question is, do you think that music theory as a whole helps or hinders creativity?

It actually helped me quite a bit, and I was surprised. I was already writing my own tunes before I learned theory on college, so I didn't NEED music theory, since our basic progressions and playing styles we hear in modern music evolved from older practices of theory, I guess I knew what I needed to know to get the job done. But understanding the older way they did things like your basic counterpoint, and some of the more rigid practices helped me develop and understanding of why the did these things. Also, when I learned it, it was like adding yet another tool in my arsenal. I had to learn the rules, so I could learn how to write in their style they were using in that period. It helps to know the rules, because you then learn how to break them to your advantage when you want to use what you've learned in the class to apply to your own personal music later.

Think of it another way: every time you listen to a new form of music, you are ultimately influenced by it somehow, and it's how each person develops their writing style. We're a product of our environment, and I feel like the more we expose ourselves to, the greater understanding we'll have for music, and the more versatile we'll be.

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Response to Does Music Theory Kill Creativity? Apr. 21st, 2013 @ 11:04 PM Reply

Just thought I'd add my 2 cents.

At 4/19/13 10:07 PM, Acrylia wrote: Does Music Theory Kill Creativity?

No.

Cheers!


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