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  #81  
Old 06-21-2013, 03:05 AM
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Default Re: music theory: a necessity for drummers

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Originally Posted by TColumbia37 View Post
I guess I never considered teaching to be a good career in music, as I never want to teach music. I just don't have the patience for it. Then, I agree in the sense that, if you ever want to teach music, that having a good knowledge of theory is a must.

I still stand by my ideals in that, in performing and writing music, theory is not necessary.

I'll just chalk up debating about music theory right next to debating about religion and politics on my list of things you should never do on the internet.
Even if you don't know you are using music theory, you are using music theory.
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  #82  
Old 06-21-2013, 03:14 AM
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Default Re: music theory: a necessity for drummers

I don't think it is "necessary". I would say things like drum heads, sticks, etc... would be considered necessary.
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  #83  
Old 06-21-2013, 03:48 AM
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Default Re: music theory: a necessity for drummers

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Originally Posted by topgun2021 View Post
Even if you don't know you are using music theory, you are using music theory.
If you're saying that you MAY be using theory, without knowing it, then I agree.
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  #84  
Old 06-21-2013, 04:01 AM
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Default Re: music theory: a necessity for drummers

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Originally Posted by TColumbia37 View Post
If you're saying that you MAY be using theory, without knowing it, then I agree.
I don't count throwing down note/chord sequences without thought (IE looking at notes and deciding to hit them without thought as to how they fit) as music theory use.
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  #85  
Old 06-21-2013, 05:28 AM
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Default Re: music theory: a necessity for drummers

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Originally Posted by topgun2021 View Post
I don't count throwing down note/chord sequences without thought (IE looking at notes and deciding to hit them without thought as to how they fit) as music theory use.
What I mean is, if you know what chord you're playing, and you have figured out that a G, followed by an A and a D will work, whether or not you have been formally taught any theory, you are, in fact, using at least some theory.

On the other hand, if you don't know what chord is what, and you just stack notes that seem to sound good together, to your ears, I wouldn't count that as utilizing theory, whether you've just written a masterpiece for the ages, or some horrendous sounding noise.
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  #86  
Old 06-21-2013, 07:02 AM
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Default Re: music theory: a necessity for drummers

I have a theory question - has anyone here done theory work in composition and do you have any gems of compositional wisdom to share with us? :)
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  #87  
Old 06-21-2013, 11:16 AM
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Default Re: music theory: a necessity for drummers

I would only say you are using music theory if you are playing from a theoretical perspective. That is why it is Music 'Theory'.

I once played with a talented bass player who played entirely by feel. He showed the guitarist this awesome new chord sequence he came up with, and the guitarist informed him it was the circle of 4ths. "Mind, blown," he had said. The experience convinced him he should actually pay attention to theory.

However, he did not arrive at the circle of 4ths through theory. He arrived at it through feeling. He figured it out, and thought it sounded and felt good. Thus, IMHO, he wasn't using theory to play.

Theory reflects reality, but these two things are not the same thing. You'll notice this especially when you encounter things in theory that don't work so well, such as "meter".
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  #88  
Old 06-21-2013, 11:17 AM
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Default Re: music theory: a necessity for drummers

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Originally Posted by Anon La Ply View Post
I have a theory question - has anyone here done theory work in composition and do you have any gems of compositional wisdom to share with us? :)
Ironically, I have, then forgot most of it and went into Noise...
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  #89  
Old 06-21-2013, 11:29 AM
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Default Re: music theory: a necessity for drummers

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Ironically, I have, then forgot most of it and went into Noise...
So you don't use the ideas from composition theory in your noiseworks? Totally different animals, eh?
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  #90  
Old 06-21-2013, 11:35 AM
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Default Re: music theory: a necessity for drummers

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So you don't use the ideas from composition theory in your noiseworks? Totally different animals, eh?
I know the theory so that I can reject it. That was always part of the point.
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  #91  
Old 06-21-2013, 12:10 PM
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Default Re: music theory: a necessity for drummers

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This is another version of the "you need to be able to read" and "technique vs. feel" threads from about two weeks ago.
And this thread started in February 2007. Unfortunately, The Big Book of Drumming dictates that we're only allowed to discuss 7 topics:

1) Chops vs. Feel
2) Ported vs. Unported
3) Muffled vs. Unmuffled
4) Theory vs. Divine Inspiration
5) Ringo rocks vs. Ringo sucks
6) Mapex Saturn vs. Everything
7) Meg White

Repeat. It's The Law.
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  #92  
Old 06-21-2013, 01:04 PM
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Default Re: music theory: a necessity for drummers

As for this theory doesn't breed creativity thought. I played with two jazz sax proteges (and my university jazz instructor) who were extremely creative in their solos. They knew every type of altered scale and how a note relates to that and the name for that specific note within a specific scale. Basically theory gave them what the note was called and their ears told them if they liked the note when they played it.
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  #93  
Old 06-21-2013, 05:04 PM
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Default Re: music theory: a necessity for drummers

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I would only say you are using music theory if you are playing from a theoretical perspective. That is why it is Music 'Theory'.

I once played with a talented bass player who played entirely by feel. He showed the guitarist this awesome new chord sequence he came up with, and the guitarist informed him it was the circle of 4ths. "Mind, blown," he had said. The experience convinced him he should actually pay attention to theory.

However, he did not arrive at the circle of 4ths through theory. He arrived at it through feeling. He figured it out, and thought it sounded and felt good. Thus, IMHO, he wasn't using theory to play.

Theory reflects reality, but these two things are not the same thing. You'll notice this especially when you encounter things in theory that don't work so well, such as "meter".
That is a common scenario I think. I know more than a few people who don't know anything at all about theory that can play some really cool stuff. They just don't always know what they are hitting (sometimes even which notes). At some point I think a LOT of us were that way. I know I always wanted to learn theory in high school, cause I could hear people talk about it, say 'lets jam in Bmin', and i'd be like..."wtf is that?!", and I thought they always sounded pretty good on guitar, but it never clicked in my head how it worked...then one day something in my brain was like "OHHHH that makes sense!" and everything sort of fell into place. I was really overthinking it lol. If it sounds good 99% of the time I'm pretty sure there is a "theory" of why it sounds good. Theory just helps you to develop easier pathways to getting the sound your looking for quicker/easier (once you become comfortable with it of course), as you have a good idea what type of chord gives what sound, and what scales go good over it etc. Just cause one doesn't know theory, doesn't mean they can't create good music.
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  #94  
Old 06-21-2013, 05:49 PM
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Default Re: music theory: a necessity for drummers

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Originally Posted by Bad Tempered Clavier View Post
And this thread started in February 2007. Unfortunately, The Big Book of Drumming dictates that we're only allowed to discuss 7 topics:

1) Chops vs. Feel
2) Ported vs. Unported
3) Muffled vs. Unmuffled
4) Theory vs. Divine Inspiration
5) Ringo rocks vs. Ringo sucks
6) Mapex Saturn vs. Everything
7) Meg White

Repeat. It's The Law.
AMEN! Here's the deal.

Theory isn't required to play drums. It isn't required to play in the most killin ensemble or group. It isn't required to be able to sound like anyone on the drums and it isn't required to *make good music as the drummer*. Now if you want to be like Tain Watts or Elvin and write multiple albums which express yourself, or if you want to write a cool melody for your rock band, theory would be helpful in communicating these ideas to your bandmates on a professional level. If you're playing in a trio and the pianist wants you to make the last bar of the B section 5/4 and for you to set up a G dim chord , then getting a lead sheet and being able to know what that means and comfortably execute it is an extremely helpful tool.

Unless a melodic role whether it's writing , helping the group figure something out etc, theory isn't required to play or make music as drummer. You should be able to do just as much with knowing the melody of a tune like the back of your hand as opposed to knowing the notes of an Amin b9 b13/C and how it affects the modal harmony of whatever.

If you want to participate in that and make your band a little more efficient (I think that's the word) then go ahead and learn some theory. But in no way is it a necessity. Rhythmically, you might want to be able to understand structures, rhythms and groupings too
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  #95  
Old 06-21-2013, 08:05 PM
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Default Re: music theory: a necessity for drummers

Benford, I think this is where the issue becomes blurred.

From my experience, a lot of drummers don't seem to realise that they also play a rôle in the melodic and harmonic function of the band. Relating drum parts to particular harmonic shifts is something we should all (hopefully) do but understanding why there might be musical tension is important so that we know what to do with it. If the harmony is changing slowly, we might want to alter our playing slowly - if it's a sudden or even unprepared change, more abrupt rhythmic alterations might be appropriate. These are things we might do 'naturally' with experience but actually understanding the theoretical underpinnings makes it all much easier to communicate.
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  #96  
Old 06-21-2013, 08:06 PM
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Default Re: music theory: a necessity for drummers

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Originally Posted by Anon La Ply View Post
I have a theory question - has anyone here done theory work in composition and do you have any gems of compositional wisdom to share with us? :)
Interesting question, "theory work in composition." I guess you mean applying theory in composition, and the answer is yes, definitely, of course.

Compositional wisdom? How I wish. I always start with the melody, and I stay away from functional harmony.
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  #97  
Old 06-21-2013, 09:07 PM
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Default Re: music theory: a necessity for drummers

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Originally Posted by BacteriumFendYoke View Post
Benford, I think this is where the issue becomes blurred.

From my experience, a lot of drummers don't seem to realise that they also play a rôle in the melodic and harmonic function of the band. Relating drum parts to particular harmonic shifts is something we should all (hopefully) do but understanding why there might be musical tension is important so that we know what to do with it. If the harmony is changing slowly, we might want to alter our playing slowly - if it's a sudden or even unprepared change, more abrupt rhythmic alterations might be appropriate. These are things we might do 'naturally' with experience but actually understanding the theoretical underpinnings makes it all much easier to communicate.
Yeah that's why i brought up the melody being particularly important.. You can base your development while youre playing solely off of the melody and the harmonic occurrences during the melody
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  #98  
Old 06-21-2013, 10:03 PM
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Default Re: music theory: a necessity for drummers

It's Friday, I've had a slight drinkette. I apologise in advance.

One of my backgrounds is in flamenco. Nobody I know in this genre has a particularly explicit knowledge of what they are doing, but the rules are VERY strict. To break them is BAAAD.

If you make a mistake, or misunderstand, you'll be corrected predominantly by demonstration rather than explanation, but the more explanation you need, the more explanation your teachers will find themselves able to provide.

What I'm trying to say, and probably failing, is that it's possible to have a fairly even split between theory and feel.

One can be taught, but both have to be learned.
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  #99  
Old 06-21-2013, 11:47 PM
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Default Re: music theory: a necessity for drummers

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It's Friday, I've had a slight drinkette. I apologise in advance.

One of my backgrounds is in flamenco. Nobody I know in this genre has a particularly explicit knowledge of what they are doing, but the rules are VERY strict. To break them is BAAAD.

If you make a mistake, or misunderstand, you'll be corrected predominantly by demonstration rather than explanation, but the more explanation you need, the more explanation your teachers will find themselves able to provide.

What I'm trying to say, and probably failing, is that it's possible to have a fairly even split between theory and feel.

One can be taught, but both have to be learned.
Absolutely.

What differentiates the 'great' composers from the merely 'good' composers, if we go back in time to Western Common Practise (Classical) is the command of emotion rather than simply fulfilling the remit that the current 'rules' suggest. It's one way that the basic theoretical conventions progress. Composers like Debussy, Messiaen (my favourite), Beethoven, Mahler, Schoenberg, Mozart, Handel, Purcell, Bach, Brahms, etc. all progressed their art form was by taking what was currently in vogue, learning it, integrating it and then applying new ideas where the conventions they used didn't qualify something they specifically wanted to express. The most explicit examples are composers like Schoenberg or Stravinsky deliberately rejecting contemporary convention but in a more subtle sense Beethoven and all of the others that I've cited above did exactly the same.

The fact is that now, music is much more likely to rapidly change and differentiate because there are more people doing it! The training and experience has also changed, as have the reasons and the motivations.

I'm not opposed in the slightest to what is deemed 'naïve' composition - or 'outsider' composition because it can bring things forward that exist outside of standard practise but if you want to make a career in a specific instrument it helps to be able to operate within conventional boundaries.
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  #100  
Old 06-23-2013, 07:52 AM
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Default Re: music theory: a necessity for drummers

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Originally Posted by KCMcC View Post
If by learning theory you suddenly magically become stiff and uncreative, then you probably weren't as creative as you thought in the first place.
I *totally* disagree.

Stiff playing usually results from 'playing from the head up', or "being in your head" or "thinking too much".

When you start thinking about the abstract concepts of notes and how they should relate, it is difficult not to take your attention off your body and how those notes feel. I would even go so far as saying that there is one of the most difficult things in drumming to do consistently.

It doesn't have to be that way, but it nearly always is because it is difficult to teach 'feel'. Well, it isn't hard to teach but it is hard to explain in words.

FYI - I can cite research from both music performance and sports performance about how people lock up from thinking abstractly about what they are supposed to do. It is they "Hey guys, watch THIS!" phenomena.
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  #101  
Old 06-23-2013, 07:58 AM
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Default Re: music theory: a necessity for drummers

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One can be taught, but both have to be learned.
I think they can both be taught. I just think one is abstract and easy to verbalize while the other isn't. In fact, I'd go so far as to say it is really quite simple, in a ruby slippers/Wizard of Oz kind of way.

This is a big reason why I wrote the book in my signature. I think I can prove my point, as much as you can prove anything, anyway. I know it worked for me and its working for my students. All my students groove.
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  #102  
Old 06-23-2013, 08:38 AM
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Default Re: music theory: a necessity for drummers

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Stiff playing usually results from 'playing from the head up', or "being in your head" or "thinking too much".

When you start thinking about the abstract concepts of notes and how they should relate, it is difficult not to take your attention off your body and how those notes feel. I would even go so far as saying that there is one of the most difficult things in drumming to do consistently.

It doesn't have to be that way, but it nearly always is because it is difficult to teach 'feel'. Well, it isn't hard to teach but it is hard to explain in words.
Seems like it is just another plateau to overcome, like speed or endurance. Eventually if you do something long enough, you don't have to think about it anymore. You just get it, or feel it if you will.
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  #103  
Old 06-23-2013, 12:18 PM
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Default Re: music theory: a necessity for drummers

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Unless a melodic role whether it's writing , helping the group figure something out etc, theory isn't required to play or make music as drummer.
Rhythm is an element of theory.
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  #104  
Old 06-24-2013, 07:41 AM
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Default Re: music theory: a necessity for drummers

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Seems like it is just another plateau to overcome, like speed or endurance. Eventually if you do something long enough, you don't have to think about it anymore. You just get it, or feel it if you will.
You could approach it that way, but its SO SLOW. Most quit before they get there, when you can integrate feel from the lowest levels. For example - I don't put a name on major/minor with my younger students - I ask them what they feel like before they even have a name. Then I start calling it the happy/sad along with major/minor.

I have a masters in Ed, and grounding things is direct, personal experience is nearly always the best way to learn. The only way we directly experience things is through our senses.Why do we torture people by making them do it the hard way? ... and worse yet - telling them they suck when they don't 'get it' in abstract terms ... or telling those that tend to think abstractly that they 'don't have talent'. bah. But I'm ranting now.
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  #105  
Old 06-24-2013, 07:43 AM
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Default Re: music theory: a necessity for drummers

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Rhythm is an element of theory.
Albeit a very small one. At least formally. My college text had 1 entry for 'rhythm'. In 400 pages. Aside form how to read notation, there is very, very little on rhythm. (Soon to change, though ;p ....plugging my book)
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  #106  
Old 06-24-2013, 02:50 PM
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Default Re: music theory: a necessity for drummers

Agreed. Though it could be said that drummers ignore the other elements as much as other instrumentalists ignore the importance of tempo and rhythm.

BTW, you've worn me down, I've downloaded a Kindle version of your book.
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  #107  
Old 06-30-2013, 04:47 PM
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Default Re: music theory: a necessity for drummers

This little talk from Tommy Igoe is specifically directed towards this topic. I believe he pretty much answers the question dead on.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature...&v=Pv8oIKCX33I
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  #108  
Old 06-30-2013, 07:21 PM
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Default Re: music theory: a necessity for drummers

Case closed.

/thread
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  #109  
Old 06-30-2013, 09:54 PM
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Default Re: music theory: a necessity for drummers

On many occasions I've been the most "music theory" savvy person in a band. It's nice to be able to suggest different chords while writing a song or understanding progressions enough to make good charts.

I think it's necessary for me.
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  #110  
Old 07-01-2013, 12:40 AM
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Default Re: music theory: a necessity for drummers

Rhythm is a MUST! Reading notation is a must for most, haha. Again, it doesn't hurt knowing more about anything.
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  #111  
Old 07-01-2013, 12:51 AM
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Default Re: music theory: a necessity for drummers

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Originally Posted by Jeff Almeyda View Post
This little talk from Tommy Igoe is specifically directed towards this topic. I believe he pretty much answers the question dead on.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature...&v=Pv8oIKCX33I
Thanks Jeff, nice video. Later Tommy said his father always regretted never learning piano, and added soon afterwards that his father was a great drummer.

Tommy earlier said that without musical theory you are a drummer but not a musician. However, it's clear that the standard of "non musician" drummers varies from novice to "great" ... so all is not lost for those without theory.

Learning theory broadens our conception and understanding. However, some people - some personalities - are better suited to naive art. For instance, Rosseau's paintings would have lost that special charm had he been a more educated artist. Same could be said for early rock n roll, punk, grunge etc.

If an artist has what Kurt Vonngut calls "oodles of charm", I imagine that at times it's better not to question why - to not mess with it. It's one of those intangibles ...
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  #112  
Old 07-02-2013, 11:21 AM
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Originally Posted by Jeff Almeyda View Post
I can't believe some of the posts that I'm reading here.

No one who actually knows any music theory would ever say that it forces you to play "too perfect' or that it gets in the way of imagination and creativity.

Creativity is within you. It is not "damaged" by learning theory. Unless you feel that Mozart would have been even more creative had he not known what the hell he was doing.
I beg to differ. In fact, the common saying around music school was "You have to learn theory in order to forget it"

This implies that for a while theory gets in the way, which it does.

I agree that creativity is not damaged by theory. However, creativity is damaged from overthinking, and that can be caused by theory.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Boomka View Post
Agreed. Though it could be said that drummers ignore the other elements as much as other instrumentalists ignore the importance of tempo and rhythm.

BTW, you've worn me down, I've downloaded a Kindle version of your book.
Thanks! I'd love hear what you think about it :)

Last edited by Bernhard; 07-02-2013 at 11:25 AM. Reason: Edited by Arky: merging consecutive posts
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