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So, here's the thing. Music theory is completely unnecessary to play or compose music. In fact, so does sheet music. Their only purpose is to communicate about music, and honestly, it was for a limited subset of music. ie: it was developed for Western European music.
Yes, it can apply to other genres as well, and it works, but it also has limitations that doesn't serve other genres and so forth.
I know I brought this up in other conversations, but the only thing that *really* matters in making music: If it sounds good, it is good. And also, that can be subjective.
But, I really appreciate this, you have given me something so I can prove my brother wrong tonight, and I intend to savor this evening.
I maintain that anyone can improvise, and the white keys prove it. Although, most people improvise every day. If you have a conversation with someone, you are improvising. The only limitation musically is the vocabulary, but that whole white note thing will be sweet to show him.
I have actually used that technique a few times recording MIDI tracks. Not often though, but I'll go there when goofing around to try to build ideas I wouldn't normally thing of. Kind of like going in to Drop D on a guitar to just find riffs.
Let the music come out without having to worry about technique.
And this reminds me, I have an EDM track I did a few years back that is just begging to have one of my synth lines changed to being violin.
One of my kids at some point was toying with a electronic piano and this was before my fiddle escapades started.. but in short i did with them exactly what was going on here. I had guitar and probably strummed some C, F and G chords or Am. and had them just play whatever on the white keys only.
no materpiece but it was a good time and we sorta jammed without either of us knowing much at all about music.
weve all heard so much music over time and know what sounds good. Dont have to be a scholar to know it when we hear it and sometimes how to just begin is all thats needed.
simple ideas but maybe all thats needed.
I think the best way to approach music theory is to remember that it's descriptive, not prescriptive. It's a framework for understanding what has been found to work, and understanding what people expect to hear. That's all.
"To study music, we must learn the rules. To create music, we must break them."
-- Nadia Boulanger
The reason composers study music theory is that knowing the rules allows you to be more deliberate about breaking them. Of course the "rules" just describe what we expect to hear and why we expect to hear it, so we all have some ingrained idea of what they are, whether or not we're able to describe them.
good points as always Andrew. I wasnt suggesting no theory btw. just saw it and it reminded me of the time I spoke of and thought if someone didnt know about using just white keys it may spark something.
also for ones farther along. coming up with original stuff may be easier to find that way. once a melody or chord progression found..transpose into something else they like.