Is music theory important?
Hypothetically, if I wanted to be the next big spunky rockstar, would studying music be important? Even if I had a heartfelt passion for playing bass or guitar or whatever, is it really important to know how many beats a quaver goes for? To me, theory isn't what music is about. Music is about playing something that sounds good (to me atleast) and feeling a connection to your instrument or words beyond logic or reason.
What do you think?
What makes you think they have to mutually exclusive? Only people who have had no theory training say that.
Obviously there are people who know no music theory and they manage to be good players, but they are few and far between, and they had to work a lot harder at learning music and how it works. The vast majority of people who don't learn music theory end up not being able to make sense out of music beyond a handful of chords and a riff or two, and they stick their instrument under the bed until their future spouse makes them sell it.
Learning never hurts
Is music theory important?
You'll find that learning even a tiny bit of theory will help your playing and allow you to progress.
I don't know a very large amount of theory, but I can tell you, what I've learned has done nothing but benefit me.
For example if your playing a song in a specific key you'll be able to know what notes not to go to on your fret board as they just wouldn't work with the song.
Scales also unlock new ideas IMHO starting out you should only learn two chromatic and pentatonic then play a bunch of songs, try to listen and copy as much music as you can and don't be afraid to improvise.
Once you start getting good like in a year or so you are going to get really hungry for new ideas, then I'd start learning morescales and more theory. That will take you to the next level.
It also helps you recognse when your stagnating. If you find yourself doing the same chord progression example e to g to d to a or am, to c to g. Or a to d, to e you'll be able to tell that your playing the same song effectively but varying the rythm. Your ideas have therefore stagnated and you need to now learn more to get more ideas.
Having even a basic understanding of theory can help with all of this.
Recently I've started branching out into new keys, I used to compose everything in a minor.
Listening to alot of different music also helps with creativity
That said starting out don't waste time learning and practicing a bunch of scales its boring and completely useless if you don't know how to apply them.
Its like some one telling you to go read a book on how to drive a manual transmission vehicle without you actually driving one.
The information is effectively meaning less. Learn how to play songs by picking up your bass and trying to play songs you like listening to. Then learn only one or 2 scales chromatic and pentatonic.out can do ALOT with just those two. Later learn arpeggios, and diatonic scales, then you can go into more advanced and exotic scales
If you make it past a year start playing guitar as well, that will take you to the next level of playing bass. Especially when you start learning what the more popular chords sound like. Learning guitar really helped me improve as a bass player and made me a more complete all around musician.
Be inner scales lets you identify where notes are on the fret board, guitar is all about chords, you'll learn what notes in the scale make up chords. That will allow you to figure out easier what notes are safe to land on while the gutarist or keyboard player is playing that chord. Certain chords harmonize better with some than others. That knowledge will help you learn how to drive a song by queing chord changes with your bass.
I agree with the above. Not knowing music theory isn't bad, but it's not hard to learn (just really a LOT to learn) and every little bit will help you, especially when writing music.
You don't need to know how to read to understand/speak English or any other languages but you're limited to what you hear and you miss out on a lot of information.
You learn a lot of stuff just from reading right ? It is the same with music ... there is a lot of stuff that can't be taught if you can't have it written in front of you.
Also ... you really want to pursue the cliché that Rock music are dumb and know nothing and don't want to know it ?
Not much for posting here really, but do a lot of reading. Here's my two cents worth...
As a newer bass player myself, I played originally with a guitarist that refused to learn chord progressions, or anything dealing with theory. As another poster stated, we eventually fell into the three chord run around on every song he would "write".
I took the time to study my instrument and the theory of music to make me a better player. The three chord shuffle was and is still quite boring. By knowing what notes follow in scales, where they are on the fret board, and how they relate to the sound as a whole has vastly improved my abilities.
There is never harm in educating yourself for any reason.
just my $.02, but I think music theory is more important for the bass player than the rest of the band. We're the ones holding the rest of those doofuses together. We need to know what we're doing. We don't all need to read at a high level or be able to deconstruct classical music, but at least basic music theory - yeah, I think it comes with the job description.
I believe this has been discussed before...
Ive NEVER heard one person say "man I suck now that I learned some theory...what a waste of time." I have however heard a lot of players say they are glad they learned some theory.
You can hunt around for notes that fit, or have knowledge of notes that fit. I'm not a great bass player but theory has helped me become a better one.
Lots of great advice to this point. I started playing bass 30 years ago when I was about 14. Back then I knew how to read music but I was more in to playing songs so I didn't bother with theory. I picked up playing again about 5 years ago and, I don't know if it was my old age or ??, but I decided I wanted to learn a little theory and really understand not just how I play the songs but how to understand why each line worked within the song. I am by no means a deep theory guy but just the little bit I have picked up from books and teachers has really opened a lot of new doors as far as my playing. I really enjoy the art and science aspect of playing now. I think it's great advice to start with some basic scales chromatic and pen. and some arpeggios and get comfortable with them. Jam with them and write your own lines based on them. Then expand out from there. Good luck! Also-- TB is a Fantastic resource for insights into practical application of theory.
It is not just about yourself. If you are going to write tunes and start projects with people playing in them, you will have to learn some theory sooner or later. Typically what turns off good musicians the quickest is the inability of a 'composer' to give clear instructions. You don't want to miss out on the opportunity to use someone good because of that.
Everything in life may teach us something, and give us inspiration to create something new: a movie, a sunny day (a cloudy one too), a friend, even a scale or an arpeggio.
Ok, I'm a theory teacher, so my opinion must be carefully taken, but:
- learning is not so difficult. you just have to find the way (and/or the teacher) that's right for you
- once you've learned, you can do what you want with those things: you may stop, otr maybe you've become curious enough to start again a new level, in any case, you know more than before, and this may only help you.
An exemple: my good friend L., who incidentally is the guitar player in my own quartet, studied many years with a well-known teacher, and he learned any possible scale/chord/inversion/thing about harmony and improvisation. Well, he decided to throw it all away and play just like he feels: he's a very unique player (and underrated, I think) but still he has a deep knowledge of theory that makes him able to face effortlessly almost any situation.
If you just want to be the "next big spunky rockstar", maybe you don't need it, but it may be useful to enrich yourself and your "spunky rock";-).
If you want to be something more, well, YOU NEED IT.
I don't even have 2 cents to add. But being a drummer and bassist, theory has helped tremendously. I regret not paying more attention in high school where it was free. Bottom line like most (not all) in life ...." It's better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it". Sticks. Williams said that.
You can avoid it for some time and get away with it if you are practicing and playing alot but you will get to a plataeu because you spent time developing one side of the coin and not the other. Sooner or later you will be wanting to play more challenging material and that when the theory comes in handy.
"I wish I knew less about music theory." - No Musician Ever.
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