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Theory: What is Crap and what is not Crap?

Jason Parker (2612)

Guitar Theory Forum · 11/12/2006 3:10 PM
What theory is useful and what is not? As I posted briefly in a recent thread, I find studying many things to be useless. And it frustrates the heck out of me.

What's the point when you learn something seemingly useless and it opens doors to more seemingly useless theory, and even more seemingly useless theory?

So, in the end, is there such a thing as non-useful theory? ...Or am I wating my time trying to study all of it?
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Re: Theory: What is Crap and what is not Crap?

11/12/2006 3:46 PM

Adriano Parmiggianno (6926) wrote:

IMO if you learn this short list:

1: Major Scale
2: Minor Scale
3: How to build chords and intervals

The rest will be easy.

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Re: Theory: What is Crap and what is not Crap?

11/12/2006 6:41 PM

Andrew Kinsella (3220) wrote:

It helps me if I direct my theory towards problems that I am trying to overcome- like possible note choices when playing over a specific chord progression - especially if there is some modulation involved.

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Re: Theory: What is Crap and what is not Crap?

11/12/2006 6:47 PM

Obee Obier (4521) wrote:

It depends of what do you want from your playing.
If you want to be creative and building your own music, theory is a useful tool. But, if you just want to twang some tabs it won't be a need.

good luck
obee

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Re: Theory: What is Crap and what is not Crap?

11/12/2006 7:32 PM

Matt Wood (2844) wrote:

In my eyes any extra understanding and knowledege is usefull .
I cant think of one area of music theory that i would call crap but you dont have to do anything you dont want to .

what area's do you find useless ?



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Re: Theory: What is Crap and what is not Crap?

11/18/2006 12:02 PM

Jason Parker (2612) wrote:

Well, I don't see the point in memorizing intervals in modes when you can just memorize the forms, for instance...




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Re: Theory: What is Crap and what is not Crap?

7/13/2007 2:17 PM

Inactive Member wrote:

But then you can not consciously play a certain interval over a certain chord - like if you want to play the maj7 of a maj7 chord ... or a certain chord extension (the 9th for example).

If you don't want or need to do that - then learning the forms is enough (but do you even have to learn the modes then, when you can see every mode just as a certain major scale?).

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Re: Theory: What is Crap and what is not Crap?

11/12/2006 10:52 PM

David Mackie (11072) wrote:

I think Andrew K. has a great perspective on it, but I have a differing perspective and some caveats.

After much study in my late teens and early twenties, I came to a conclusion that my musical brain (the part we usually refer to as ear) just doesn't want to process things the way they are layed out in theory texts. I haven't tried to form my own academic theories, I truly don't process music on a theoretical basis. If I really feel I need to do that if I hit a trouble spot, I can recall enough to be able to find what I think I need, but I find myself needing to do that almost not at all. I find I can come up with solutions that satisfy my ear much more efficiently simply playing around with possibilities and gesturing on the instrument. By gesturing, I mean simply moving my hands in predertimined ways which are unfamiliar and may produce unintended sounds that I find intriguing. (or not)

It's not actually an efficient process, but I found that solutions I worked out through theoretical study usually seemed stale to my ear, and rarely, if ever, satisfied.

One big trap in my approach (and I often fall into it for varying periods of time) is that you can crawl too much into yourself and all your music sounds the same and somewhat annoying to people outside your own creative space. Then you dismiss your critics saying "They just don't get me." That's a musical dead end. I have a fairly restless ear however, and so far I've managed to get myself out of those nasty ruts. The big problem is recognizing them.

I guess my main point is this; you may not like theory, you may not even need it, but if you're going to reject learning it, you have taken on a big responsibility in finding your own methods of keeping your music fresh and vital. If all you want to do is bash out punk songs the rest of your life, go for it; but don't expect anyone to still care about your music twenty years from now, when you're still bashing out the same songs because you can't come up with any new ones.

It doesn't work for me personally, but for most people I think more knowlege is better. I actually often wish I could process music that way, and will occasionally go back to the books for awhile before reality hits and I realise I am who I am and I've made some pretty good music as myself. I can live with that.

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Re: Theory: What is Crap and what is not Crap?

11/13/2006 6:00 AM

Jon Riley (9697) wrote:

Theory is useful when:
(a) it makes music easier to understand and play;
(b) it is interesting in its own right, as intellectual stuff.

Otherwise, you're right, it's useless crap. :-)

(ALL music theory is designed for (a) of course - if you're not getting it, it's because you're missing the connections to what you play.)



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Re: Theory: What is Crap and what is not Crap?

11/18/2006 12:09 PM

Jason Parker (2612) wrote:

Aha! B, my boy... B. That's what I think, but was just checking. I feel much better now...

However, A... I would be completely lost on the fly or creating songs and solos without some theory.

At 22, the most important things I've discovered is to know and understand scales and keys, also to know your fretboard.




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Re: Theory: What is Crap and what is not Crap?

11/18/2006 1:24 PM

Jon Riley (9697) wrote:

"At 22, the most important things I've discovered is to know and understand scales and keys, also to know your fretboard."

Amen to that. At 57, may I say I think you've got it sorted!
(Well, I guess you could include understanding CHORDS in that...;-).)


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