August 23, 2011
Music theory is a hot topic with people both in and out of the academe. On one hand, some traditional theorists are reluctant to embrace concepts such as popular chord symbols and progressions. On the other hand, some self-taught musicians are reluctant to consider the benefits of traditional concepts such as music form. I'd say most of you are in the other hand. But music theory is very helpful. Some of you may even have some music theory but don't know how to use it practically.
Now theory shouldn't come first in the composing process, but it should be available to guide intuition as needed. After all intuition, without intellect, is like a ship without a navigator. So that means knowledge of theoretical concepts can help guide the instinctive intuitive process of creating music.
But how? Well there are always classes, and private lessons. A musician should always keep learning. There are many things out there to teach yourself. Like instructional books that even include cds, as well as theory work books that help you use it practically. There are a few things that can help you narrow down what will be most useful, such as chords, chord groups, altered chords, vertical structures, phrase structure, melodic contour and melody unifying elements. The internet is your best friend so be resourceful. The more knowledge you have the better equipped you will be.