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Thread: How much theory do you have?

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    Default How much theory do you have?

    I wonder how many of us are well versed in music theory?

    I struggled through to about Grade 5 theory when I was younger but I'm hardly fluent. When I listen to professional musicians discussing music I always feel I'm missing al lot without guidance and although I can understand much of what they are describing, I don't pick it up on my own until it's explained to me.

    My feeling is that theory certainly adds another layer to understanding why we enjoy certain works and it's fascinating to hear an expert expounding on it but I'm still happy enough with my initial "intuitive" response to music. I have a feeling most listeners appreciate it on that level but I know there are many on this forum much better educated in this than me.

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    Senior Member Enthusiast's Avatar
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    Although I come from a musical family, I have no understanding or knowledge of music theory. I think it helps me to relate to music in some ways.

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    Senior Member Haydn70's Avatar
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    I have my B.M./M.A./Ph.D. all in composition so I have a high level of knowledge of theory.

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    Two semesters and to be honest I have forgotten more than I care to admit.
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    Senior Member Fabulin's Avatar
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    I am not aquainted with conservatory exams or grades, but if you give me a page of orchestral music and tell me to continue it in the same style, I will probably be able to.

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    Senior Member mikeh375's Avatar
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    I was offered further studies at my Alma Mater, but I had already secured work as a composer in my last year and didn't take up the offer. By then I had studied most things theoretical including some more niche things like 16thC counterpoint.
    New website and some new music......www.mikehewer.com

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    I have a good general knowledge but it stops at a certain point. I couldn't perform a serious analysis of a score.

    Let's put it this way: I know enough theory to write a string quartet and make it sound good, but that does NOT mean it would actually be good.
    Last edited by GucciManeIsTheNewWebern; May-12-2021 at 19:18.

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    Only superficial knowledge. I didn't have access to music education at an early age (my small city didn't even have a school of music until some years ago) and at the moment know only the basics of music theory, that I learned by myself using books and the internet. I can read a score, and I understand some technical terms, but I'm far from being fluent in it.

    This said, I believe that knowing theory is key to appreciate good music, and I do my best to try to understand new terms or concepts in music when they appear.
    Last edited by Allerius; May-12-2021 at 19:14.

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    Senior Member Amadea's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Barnaby View Post
    I wonder how many of us are well versed in music theory?
    All I have is a license in solfege taken ages ago. So I am at a basic level. But I am trying to expand my knowledge.

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    Senior Member mbhaub's Avatar
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    I took Harmony I, II, III, IV with the concurrent Ear Training course. Then onto Form & Analysis, Counterpoint, Orchestration I & II. Not bad for a math major, I suppose. Over the 40+ years since, I admit to having forgotten a lot of the theory, but I keep Goldman's book on Western Harmony around just in case!
    "It is surprising how easily one can become used to bad music" - F. Mendelssohn

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    Senior Member Merl's Avatar
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    OT: none

    ..........

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    Senior Member SanAntone's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Barnaby View Post
    I wonder how many of us are well versed in music theory?

    I struggled through to about Grade 5 theory when I was younger but I'm hardly fluent. When I listen to professional musicians discussing music I always feel I'm missing al lot without guidance and although I can understand much of what they are describing, I don't pick it up on my own until it's explained to me.

    My feeling is that theory certainly adds another layer to understanding why we enjoy certain works and it's fascinating to hear an expert expounding on it but I'm still happy enough with my initial "intuitive" response to music. I have a feeling most listeners appreciate it on that level but I know there are many on this forum much better educated in this than me.
    Music theory is a body of knowledge that was developed over centuries to study western classical music. It is only really useful for music which shares the same primary elements as western classical music. But there is a world of music that western music theory cannot describe.

    So while I have an advanced degree in music theory I do not consider that body of knowledge very important for experiencing enjoying, or understanding music. It also puts an abstract system between you and the direct experience of the music itself.

    However, if you are interested there are a number of websites devoted to learning basic music theory - here's one.

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    Senior Member mikeh375's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SanAntone View Post
    .........
    ......... It also puts an abstract system between you and the direct experience of the music itself.

    .
    .....it doesn't for me, does it for you? My experience of music is pretty direct, full on in fact and the 'system' enhances it rather than hamper or obscure it in any way. That goes for all musics.
    Last edited by mikeh375; May-12-2021 at 21:13.
    New website and some new music......www.mikehewer.com

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    Senior Member SanAntone's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikeh375 View Post
    .....it doesn't for me, does it for you? My experience of music is pretty direct, full on in fact and the 'system' enhances it rather than hamper or obscure it in any way. That goes for all musics.
    For someone who is just learning music theory they may be prone to be trying to analyze it instead of listen to it. For more experienced folks whose knowledge of music theory is longstanding and has reached an intuitive level, than I agree with you.
    Last edited by SanAntone; May-12-2021 at 21:29.

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    Music theory provides an excellent framework to students. I did a major in composition. Students can then specialize into non-traditional music based on such.

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