Music Theory and Dubstep - More harm than good?

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Postby GV1 » Fri Feb 04, 2011 8:30 pm

Sharmaji wrote:I've never heard a poet mention that a lack of knowledge about grammar made them a better writer.


Oh my. This is a perfect line to crush this argument. +1 my friend.
"Victorious warriors win first and then go to war, while defeated warriors go to war first and then seek to win." - Sun Tzu
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Postby blazinaidan » Fri Feb 04, 2011 8:39 pm

I mean everything's been covered but yea, it kinda sounds like whatever book your using is a bit wack. Sounds like they're trying to tell you HOW to make use it. That's very different from using theory to help understand your own music. For example, with good knowledge of theory, you can pound out something that's in your head and be totally ignorant of the intervals/chords and whatnot (I have a song that I seriously can't remember the progression of right now... but that's beside the point), and when you get stuck and want to go on with the track, you can use theory to help jumpstart what direction you want to take your next leap in. Theory doesn't mean "always use chords composed of a 1, 3 and a 5... It means, 1-3-5 sounds super pretty, but hey man, for some dark dubstep you should try 1-b5-octave... or something... I hope I'm making sense. I don't think I am. Shit.
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Postby factory presets » Fri Feb 04, 2011 10:39 pm

Some jazz guy wrote:There are no wrong notes. Just better choices


blazinaidan wrote:I mean everything's been covered but yea, it kinda sounds like whatever book your using is a bit wack. Sounds like they're trying to tell you HOW to make use it.

Everybody gotta start somewhere. If you try to learn everything at once you get nowhere. So all music theory is gonna start by getting your ears around the basic major and minor scales and chords. Unless you can hear those, you wont get any real understanding of the extended and altered chords and diminished scales that really will make a difference to your dubstep tracks.
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Postby JemGrover » Sat Feb 05, 2011 1:50 am

GV1 wrote:
Sharmaji wrote:I've never heard a poet mention that a lack of knowledge about grammar made them a better writer.


Oh my. This is a perfect line to crush this argument. +1 my friend.


Conversely, if a poet were to be a poor speller it could potentially throw up some interesting results, I'd say...

But no, this totally applies. Not sure how being competent in a chosen field could have too much of a negative effect, unless it you become anal about every little thing and never get anything done because of it.
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Postby AllNightDayDream » Sat Feb 05, 2011 3:15 am

Of course you don't need to read some theory book to make great music. When you're producing for a while and you tend to write certain kinda lines, write certain rhythms, or move your bass this certain way etc. you are in essence learning theory, even if you don't consciously notice it.

Really though, sweating over learning a shitload of theory to make dubstep is like trying to kill a mosquito with a rocket launcher. When you hear a clear melody line in the genre it's best kept simple. All you need is a handful of scales under your belt, if that.

Examples:
Joker -Digidesign. The bass just walks from G to B, and the entire song including the melody are just simple walks through B natural minor
The Widdler - Dopamine. The whole thing is C natural minor (ooh, there it is again! coincidence?). The chord progression is like I-V-IV (not exactly, if you know the song, the V is played down an octave first). The bass is the same as the chord progression.
Rusko - Jahova. Again, the whole thing in natural minor, this time G. Melody just goes down the scale. Bass octaves on the root note (G)
All simple shit in terms of theory.
so yeah, if you were wondering, a secret weapon in theory is the natural minor. What base note you choose doesn't matter, saying one key is better than another is like saying green m&m's are the best. I use the scale 90% of the time and it's gucci bandana.

Pro Tip: if you want your shit sounding like it came straight outta the arabian desert wielding a scimitar, use this scale (in half and whole steps) half, 3halfs, half, whole, half,3halfs, half. In C: C, Db, E, F, G, Ab, B, C
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Postby madmeesh » Sat Feb 05, 2011 6:00 am

learn how to play the f**king piano :ukking:
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Postby street_astrologist » Sat Feb 05, 2011 6:18 am

The classic saying that comes to mind is "Don't sweat the technique." Applies to all creative endeavours. Past the bare minimum of learning to use tools, you should work on expressing your creative thoughts and the technical side of things will follow naturally with practice, feedback and casual study.

Specifically for dubstep: if you follow the excellent advice in the posts above and focus on a) natural minors b) bassline root notes and c) simple chord progressions, you can pretty much forget about the rest of theory and just jam out until you have a genuine need to identify some musical device which you hear, or recreate something specific.

Beyond the first-level 'scales and chords' stuff, music theory goes very deep into most everything, but most players throughout time have been more players, than scholars, we are no different. You'll learn as you go by chance!

As an example, here's some theory which I happened on recently while checking out Reggaeton style, which is helping me to understand more about the Cuban/Brazilian rhythms that I've heard for ages:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clave_%28rhythm%29
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Postby Atac » Sat Feb 05, 2011 12:16 pm

Music is basically a form of expressive math in my eyes. Its all understanding numbers represented by notes or rhythms. If you understand the theory behind it, producing should come as second nature.

I guess this is only necessary for really symphonic and musical genres, but it can't hurt for dubstep or anything else.
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Postby slothrop » Sat Feb 05, 2011 1:39 pm

I think people get the wrong end of the stick with theory quite a lot. It's always presented as if it's a bunch of rules telling you what you're allowed to do - and you might be able to use thirteenths or chromatic scales or whatever once you've read the advanced textbook but until then you're stuck using major and minor scales and triads.

IT ISN'T.

By and large, none of the 'rules' should be phrased as 'you musn't do this' but as 'doing this in this context will probably have this effect (unless there's some other theoretical consideration that you don't know about yet).' It's very much more like a bunch of suggestions than a set of restrictions.

In other words, if you're thinking about not doing something because theory says it's 'wrong' even though you like the sound of it, then either there's some theory that explains why it sounds good but you just don't know about that bit yet or there's a gap in music theory and someone should come along and add it in. Where theory gets useful is when you think 'I need some chords to go along with this melody that will sound natural, what does theory suggest?'

I think most of jazz - except the really free skronk - is covered by theory these days, btw. Certainly most jazz musicians have a massive knowledge of it.
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Postby djbmc » Sat Feb 05, 2011 1:54 pm

co-sign the above post, plenty of people have shown it's not essential but if you feel like a more in-depth knowledge of music theory would enrich your production process then by all means learn some, no point in limiting yourself.
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Postby GV1 » Sat Feb 05, 2011 8:24 pm

Bottom line is if you know enough on the keyboard to create tracks, invest your time learning how to mix and master which is far more valuable in Dubstep.

Music theory applies more to those that write sheet music. If you think otherwise, good for you. I've already said the only real useful lessons in music theory that would be beneficial to all of us is scales and chords. All of which you can learn in books designed to teach you how to play a piano or keyboard.


Also take note. Anyone who's been through any education (school, university, self study) will know that you won't retain the information you don't use on a regular basis. You can study music theory but unless you can practice what you learn and actually use most of it on a regular basis you will forget. Keep a music theory book on your desktop, that's what I do. Don't waste time learning what you will never use.
"Victorious warriors win first and then go to war, while defeated warriors go to war first and then seek to win." - Sun Tzu
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Postby makemerich » Sun Feb 06, 2011 6:24 am

i never worry about theory , i have been doing this music thing 11 years.
like i know a major scale or can figure it out with the intervals and what not, but its not important. your brain knows what notes to use. trust it.
:h:
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Postby makemerich » Sun Feb 06, 2011 6:34 am

Sharmaji wrote:I've never heard a poet mention that a lack of knowledge about grammar made them a better writer.


He would answer to “Hi!” or to any loud cry,
 Such as “Fry me!” or “Fritter my wig!”
To “What-you-may-call-um!” or “What-was-his-name!”
 But especially “Thing-um-a-jig!”
While, for those who preferred a more forcible word,
 He had different names from these:
His intimate friends called him “Candle-ends,”
 And his enemies “Toasted-cheese.”

-lewis carole , hunting of the snark

a lack of knowledge and free thought are two very different things.
:h:
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Postby tylerblue » Mon Feb 07, 2011 6:13 am

AllNightDayDream wrote:Of course you don't need to read some theory book to make great music. When you're producing for a while and you tend to write certain kinda lines, write certain rhythms, or move your bass this certain way etc. you are in essence learning theory, even if you don't consciously notice it.

Really though, sweating over learning a shitload of theory to make dubstep is like trying to kill a mosquito with a rocket launcher. When you hear a clear melody line in the genre it's best kept simple. All you need is a handful of scales under your belt, if that.

Examples:
Joker -Digidesign. The bass just walks from G to B, and the entire song including the melody are just simple walks through B natural minor
The Widdler - Dopamine. The whole thing is C natural minor (ooh, there it is again! coincidence?). The chord progression is like I-V-IV (not exactly, if you know the song, the V is played down an octave first). The bass is the same as the chord progression.
Rusko - Jahova. Again, the whole thing in natural minor, this time G. Melody just goes down the scale. Bass octaves on the root note (G)
All simple shit in terms of theory.
so yeah, if you were wondering, a secret weapon in theory is the natural minor. What base note you choose doesn't matter, saying one key is better than another is like saying green m&m's are the best. I use the scale 90% of the time and it's gucci bandana.

Pro Tip: if you want your shit sounding like it came straight outta the arabian desert wielding a scimitar, use this scale (in half and whole steps) half, 3halfs, half, whole, half,3halfs, half. In C: C, Db, E, F, G, Ab, B, C



cheers for this, mate. here you have a good balance between "learn-your-damn-trade" and "don't-over-think-your goddamn-trade." study this post, folks. and by that, I don't mean copy joker's digidesign track. just learn your damn trade, but don't overthink it.
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