ANSWERS: 30
  • Of course, it helps us understand why things sound good together or why they don't. It helps understand how music is put together and what makes things sound likes hymns or rock or country. . .etc.
  • It is if you intend on becoming a serious musician.
  • Learning music theory is fundamental in enhancing your musical skills. Anyone who tells you otherwise is either a fool or one of those rare prodigies who has a perfect ear. Like any science, knowing absolutely everything about it doesn't mean that you'll become a genius, but having a firm grasp on the basic concepts will get you far in your endeavors.
  • I agree with whoever said if you intend on being a serious musician. I have several friends who have taken AP music theory at my highschool. Its a very popular class and it was one of my friend's favorite classes last year.
  • Yes, it is. But like anything which is conceptual, you can get "lost" in the theory and lose touch with the MUSIC, so there is a sort of "danger" there. Plenty of great music has been produced by people who knew nothing of music theory. Plenty of mediocre music has been produced by those who know lots of theory. But overall, having an understanding of theory is helpful as long as you don't get so preoccupied with THINKING about music that you stop EXPRESSING yourself musically. These really are different modes.
  • Yes it is very useful...but it is also considered a form of torture for many music majors.
  • Yes...To make a living at playing music you need to have a high level of proficiency. Having a degree in music may get you the opportunity to audition, but its actually how well you play that will get you the gig. You have to understand key signatures, time signatures, be able to transpose on the fly. There is also arranging, ear training, (you don't have to have perfect pitch) and your song writing will get better and more creative. If you write good songs without knowing any theory, you'll write great songs with a better understanding of it.
  • Yes. Everytime you write parallel fifths, Bach kills a kitten.
  • I imagine it has some merit to those interested but doesn't necessarily make one a better musician.
  • If you intend to be a true musician, not just a 'performer' then music theory is essential. You should know as much about your craft as humanly possible to be a well rounded and educated musician. This includes music history as well.
  • Well its really good to know I guess. I'm really smart, but at the same time I'm really lazy, I've been playing guitar for 5 years, never learned any theory, and I can play the guitar real good. I can't improvise very good because of the music theory... and when musicians talk to me they dont think i can play the guitar because I dont know the theory i look like the biggest noob.
  • Sure, but beware. The painter Barnett Newman rightfully said "Aesthetics is to the artist as ornithology is to the birds." It all depends on the right measure, and on diplomacy. Theory should never overshadow the art, but used discreetly, it can be enormously helpful.
  • Yes it is, you have to have grade 5 theory to do grade 5 piano(at least in Britain anyway)
  • haha. I've wondered myself so many times. I think yes, it is...but I don't think every little detail is necessary. The basics like rhythm, note values, key signature, musical signs/terms, etc. are definitely essential to playing, but small details...like knowing that this is an augmented chord isn't really going to help you in life unless you plan to write music. ;)
  • it is... theoretically. i took theory and now i know how to read music alot better... now i can just get ringtones, turn them into sheet music for free and learn them. i am still not reading fast enough though. it is practice that matters. also theory is much more valueable if it is taught in conjunction with ear training.
  • grade 5 music theory looks good on the CV as i think its the equivalent to a GCSE
  • If you are goint to major in music at a university, you have to pass the music theory classes. I've known some very talented, smart musicians who had to change their major because they couldn't pass theory. Therefore, I believe it is worth much.
  • Yes. It allows you to play with a much wider range of musicians, it provides a way of extending musical ideas that arise as a result of pure inspiration/ intuition. It allows you to push your improvisation into areas you might not have been to before. It allows you to understand why certain things sound the way they do, and to extend the principle into other situations. It allows you to communicate in a group context with a lingua franca so that you can save huge amounts of time fumbling in the dark without any shared terms. It aids listening skills because it shows you how to break down music into it's constituent parts so that you can hear it better. Theory comes in two forms - one form is telling you 'what to do and when' - this is useful for playing in agreed styles (but isn't necessarily a good vehicle for self-expression). The other form is telling you 'what is there' - this type of theory is basically giving you terms to articulate what music is made of (eg. harmony, texture, melody, pitch, timbre, modes, intervals, scales, chords, tension, release, dissonance, etc). Thus it's not inherently holding you back from expressing yourself. It takes a certain discipline, patience and courage to venture into using 'both sides of the brain' when learning theory, a bit like you wouldn't go to the gym and just exercise your arms would you? If the musician decides to learn theory but doesn't remember to play creatively, then it's the fault of the musician, not the fault of the theory. In other words, the lameness is human, not a result of theory, which basically describes nature. Lots of musicians are afraid of theory because it's a hard shock for the ego to feel small in the face of endless possibilities and no easy answers. In grappling with theory, lots of musicians end up gutterballing into playing predictable set 'theoretically correct' patterns without any intuitive flair, but that doesn't mean this was inevitable, it just means that no attention has been paid to originality and creativity in tandem with theory. Especially after punk rock in the UK, many musicians are deliberately stunting their own musical development as an ethos, which is quite sad, because once they've grown out of being full of angst, they might find they have quite a boring relationship with their instruments. This kind of attitude isn't so prevalent in the US and that might be why generally US musicians are of a much higher standard. Have a listen to A Love Supreme, Mozart's Requiem, Sergeant Pepper, A Kind of Blue, and decide. In any case, if you can find any music that is completely devoid of theory on any level I'd be quite surprised.
  • yes it is, but it is useless if u dont incorporate what u learn into how u play
  • Only if you want to learn about music. If you're not interested in music, then forget it. Problem solved.
  • You sound like a composer....
  • Good question. Depends on how much you want to know about music. (from a composer/professor of music)
  • If you're going to be a musician, yes. If not, it would be a matter of interest.
  • I agree with Stableboy. Music theory is definitely worth SOMETHING. However, I have seen too many students and too many peers focus way too much energy on learning the "theory" of things and not enough time on sifting out what information has a practical application. I am always reminding my students that music must sound good FIRST and LAST - if a vital part is "incorrect", then theory must go out the window to accommodate the PRACTICE of music. I do music transcriptions by ear and live with a library of theory books....I've read them ALL, trust me...and I still believe that most theory books appeal to people who find "learning" more comfortable than "doing"...and who can blame them? Music IS hard work! If I had one wish, it would be to see young musicians focus on performing, playing, and honing their ability to expressively connect with their medium. Unless you plan on becoming a musicologist or a university professor (i.e. frustrated musician), you don't need any theory above being a proficient music reader and being able to write down what you hear. Thanks for the question, I always love weighing in on this topic.
  • Loch Ness monster says "it's worth about three fiddy"
  • absolutely. music is a series of sounds strung together to form a song (or noise if it sucks). patterns are inevitably formed in music. understanding those patterns is of vital importance to the creation of good music. whether or not a musician has formally studied music theory, s/he incorporates elements of music theory in their songs ~ even if on an intuitive level. we humans resonate to interesting frequency patterns... music theorists analyze the components within the music, including the harmony, contrapuntal textures, melody, form, structure & architecture of the composition. but ive found many pure music theorists arent the best players ~ they are brilliant at distilling the "mathematics" within the music, but are not as good at conveying the depth of emotion within the music ~ they play somewhat mechanically. and they often dont make the leap of faith into composition. composing and performing are so much more than analyzation of music ~ theyre different animals really. good songwriters generally have a working knowledge of music theory, or as i said earlier ~ it comes naturally to them as they have an excellent ear (e.g. perfect pitch). but most musicians arent going to whip up killer freeform fusion jazz songs off the getgo. in composition, i think it helps to know basic chord progressions at bare minimum. one must know the letters of the alphabet before one can learn to speak the language... and the more one hears, understands, and processes ~ the better music one can channel. i have personally found music theory to be very helpful in learning & performing other people's music and composing my own.
  • Yeah ... it allows you a deeper knowledge and insight into music ... not much fun though, especially when you're trying to do grade 8 :-s eeek!
  • Where would we be without music and dance? ... How many are united by music and dance? ... It is the only tool that can bring all races and religions of people together under a single roof without negative thought ... Look at many forms of musicical groups, it is one area where we can see all races and religions working together to create song and dance ... Most definately ... the knowledge in theory is important. Peace.
  • Usually when you learn to play an instrument (properly, not just teaching yourself), you learn music theory along with playing skills, so you don't have to study music theory as a separate subject unless you want to do more with music, such as composition, arranging, transcription or teaching. However, if you have no objectons, I would recommend a music theory course to anyone who is interested. You can usually find one or more at your local college. You will learn all the "nuts & bolts" or music, all the "how" and "why" of how music works, and you might end up becoming more confident overall and appriciate music in more and different ways.
  • All knowledge is worth something no matter how trivial.

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