Do rockers need to learn music theory?

One should not disregard the importance of learning music theory. Why? Because music theory is one of the essential tools needed to be learned in order to fully understand how music works. I know it's quite boring if you don't know its importance. But take it this way... Learning music theory is like learning the A,B,C's and the 1,2,3's of music. When I first opened a music theory book, I thought I was going to learn how to write music and how to harmonize a melody. Well, it's partly true since you'll be dealing with a lot of music lingo.

Music theory is just an introduction to a very broad world of music. It doesn't teach you how to harmonize a melody or what chord goes best after another chord etc... etc... But it does teach you how chords are formed and where do scales come from and a few dozen other things. You might be asking if you really needed to learn music theory to be a rock star.. My answer is Yes and No..

YES because before you can learn the subjects Music Harmony (art of harmonizing a melody using chords) and Counterpoint (art of interweaving melodies), you need to have a solid foundation in music theory.

And NO because some rock stars are just full of crap. So it really depends on what direction you are willing to take. If you are thinking about writing some good music of your own some day, then you should start learning some music theory. But if you are just one of those who would like to play some of the latest licks without actually asking how did the artist came up with that, you don't really need music theory. You just needed a guitar tab downloaded from the internet and go on with your thing.

I know a very helpful site for those who wanted to learn music theory. Go to Each topic here is presented in flash animations with sounds. It also has some exercises so that in a few days or few weeks time, you'll have a solid foundation in music theory depending on how much time you put into it.


Anonymous May 13, 2009 at 3:06 AM  

With the question "Do rockers need to learn music theory", the answer should be a definite YES if you want to be serious about it.

There is (or there should be) a dialectical relationship between theory and practice not just in music but in all fields (science, social science, sports, etc.) for that matter. Theory guides practice while practice proves theory. The latter even contributes to the development of theory. (Though practice may also debunk a theory).

Practice lang naman talaga ang magpapatunay sa applicability o kawastuhan ng theory diba? Pero if puro practice lang at walang theory, kulang din. :-D

Unity of theory and practice dapat.


Jake Old May 20, 2009 at 10:25 PM  

Great blog! And I agree, theory is a must for any serious musician, regardless of genre. Not only does it open up doors to possibilities that would otherwise never be seen, if you know enough theory and can even sight read well enough it will open up more opportunities for employment in any field. Also, it allows you to actually communicate your ideas to bass players, drummers or well any other musician. Too many players I have seen take the easy way out by saying something like "Well Hendrix didn't use theory, so why should I?" Which is the most ignorant question anyone can ask. Hendrix knew theory very well, he just knew it in his head and not everyone will be able to do that sort of thing. And I hate when people say "I like to play with feeling, not technicality," because clearly you can use both. Anyone who thinks that Eric Johnson doesn't play with feeling isn't listening to the same thing I am. Ok, I'm done ranting lol. Anyway this is a great blog, keep up the great work!

Klepteria June 10, 2009 at 8:56 AM  

I think the answer must be YES, but I think timing is really important.

I mean, there are occasions when the most famous musicians among the most forgotten that music is an art, it is important to have theoretical knowledge but equally important is the motivation that brings you to create a musical piece that lets you connect with people, with those who are not musicians, and yet we enjoy or identify with that song.

That's why I think for a rock star, it is better to start landing the idea that lives in their mind, to make it a hit. Now with the status of rock star, if they want to transcend, must expand their knowledge and skills to grow as a musician.



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