Music Theory Vs Production Techniques

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123kidd
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Music Theory Vs Production Techniques

Post by 123kidd » Sun Dec 04, 2011 12:28 am

Just had a thought about this. One can be creative musically, but do you guys feel that knowing the technical side of production allows you to be just as creative? An example off the top of my head, pumping effect from sidechaining. Also which would you say is important to learn more of? I know that a balance of both is key but I want to hear peoples thoughts on this.
Also, If this is in the wrong section please feel free to move it.

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jrisreal
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Re: Music Theory Vs Production Techniques

Post by jrisreal » Sun Dec 04, 2011 12:37 am

Music Theory is more important. Listen to a jazz band live in concert. They are not mixed down or processed but they sound great. Then try mixing together the crappiest melody with the most lifeless drums, but do it with proper production technique...I'd rather have the jazz band.
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samurai
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Re: Music Theory Vs Production Techniques

Post by samurai » Sun Dec 04, 2011 12:48 am

one or the other will be more important to certain individuals. there is no definitive correct answer.

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3za
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Re: Music Theory Vs Production Techniques

Post by 3za » Sun Dec 04, 2011 12:56 am

samurai wrote:one or the other will be more important to certain individuals. there is no definitive correct answer.
Well you just killed this thread :D

I was hoping we would have a 10 page pointless argument, with lots of rubbish analogies, trolls, and ALPACAS!!!

Edit:
OP: research into the Beatles, when they started they would have to play covers for drunken sailors for hours, and hours at a time, in strip clubs in hamberg. They had to learn all the popular songs form the last few decades so when a song was requested, they didn't get stabbed by a angry sailor. It turned them into fantastic musicians, and also good song writers because, as they learnt to play the songs they would pull them apart, and pick up some song writing tricks. When it come to the time to write, and record a album they had a lot of strenght in the music side of things, but they didn't just leave it there, they hooked up with one of the best producers around, and embraced current production techniques, and were some of the first people to use flangers ect on records. They used the studio to take what they had, and push it into the next level.

Someone might want to edit that for errors lol.

I think the music comes first the production comes later. Like their is no point on getting hang-up on the sound of your snare if you can't write a good drum beat.
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Re: Music Theory Vs Production Techniques

Post by Artie_Fufkin » Sun Dec 04, 2011 3:13 am

I think with a certain level of production skills, you could make something interesting without knowing a lick of theory. If it sounds good, it is good. I think that's theory enough for a lot of people! I had an idea once to make a song using only one note and make the the variances with the timbre instead.

If you have a lot of theory knowledge but no production skills, you could end up with a really terrible mix. Someone who doesn't know what the heck they're doing with eq/compression could really mess up their otherwise "beautiful" music. Disregarding good jazz musicians and orchestras that have the spectrum organized, you could have a rock band that has muddy lows because the guitar player wants a "powerful" guitar sound (I know a guy like this who ruins his tone. We never really played with a bass player regularly though, so I guess he was compensating). Or just in electronic music. They could try to cram all these harmonies and chords into a song but it won't sound good if the mix is messy.

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-[2]DAY_-
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Re: Music Theory Vs Production Techniques

Post by -[2]DAY_- » Sun Dec 04, 2011 3:19 am

often feels like getting more involved in learning my production techniques has crushed my actual creative abilities but it doens't really. its just a pendulum that swings back and forth, based on what i'm plateauing at and what i'm progressing with, and the great part is the production knowledge doesn't go away when my pendulum swings back to the creative side. thats the thing about technical knowledge, it has consistency. The other stuff ebbs and flows. at least for me

besides that its just about what you want to invest your time into. A lot fo people are forced to make a decision to go all in on production/engineering vs. performing and being engineered/produced.

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Turnipish_Thoughts
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Re: Music Theory Vs Production Techniques

Post by Turnipish_Thoughts » Sun Dec 04, 2011 10:21 pm

I personally think music theory is a lot more important than technicality. As a species we are hard-wired through history and culture to appreciate a finite set of frequency relationships within sound, which is music theory. Production techniques can take you so far, but if you don't use theory your music will be a-tonal and flat at best, even if it sounds good and has some form of coherence, no matter how vague, you are using theory wether you know it or not.

You can make something sound really good using extremely simple tones and sounds if you apply theory (melody/harmony/progression). On the other hand if you have a really interesting sound but apply no theory to it, it gets boring almost instantly.

Its a no brainer.
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subfect
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Re: Music Theory Vs Production Techniques

Post by subfect » Sun Dec 04, 2011 10:30 pm

Artie Fufkin wrote:I think with a certain level of production skills, you could make something interesting without knowing a lick of theory. If it sounds good, it is good. I think that's theory enough for a lot of people! I had an idea once to make a song using only one note and make the the variances with the timbre instead.
Have done this, many times. Thanks to cutoff automation it never sounds like one note (same with automated resonance.

It is possible to be musical, technically.
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drake89
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Re: Music Theory Vs Production Techniques

Post by drake89 » Sun Dec 04, 2011 11:52 pm

uh well theory duh. i was familiar with the technicalities before theory so my music skillz are just now about on par with my production skills. Think of theory as tools and production as knowledge of how to use them. know-how doesn't make tunes: see most genres of EDM. trance, techno, house, dubstep, dnb- most of the tunes out there are shit because kids with fruityloops+massive+youtube don't know a lick of theory.

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Re: Music Theory Vs Production Techniques

Post by kaiori breathe » Mon Dec 05, 2011 12:07 am

Just learn all of both. Problem solved.

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Re: Music Theory Vs Production Techniques

Post by MotionsEdinburgh » Mon Dec 05, 2011 12:08 am

for me, music theory helped me absolutely million in college. i learned piano for like, a year? learning different scales, chords, all that jazz and i was making the best melodies and chord sequences i ever have. since i stopped, ive been finding it hard to write, but somehow, my production "techniques" have skyrocketed, i have no idea how but somehow it happened...

in short, im looking for piano/music theory tutors as we speak...

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Re: Music Theory Vs Production Techniques

Post by MotionsEdinburgh » Mon Dec 05, 2011 12:13 am

drake89 wrote:uh well theory duh. i was familiar with the technicalities before theory so my music skillz are just now about on par with my production skills. Think of theory as tools and production as knowledge of how to use them. know-how doesn't make tunes: see most genres of EDM. trance, techno, house, dubstep, dnb- most of the tunes out there are shit because kids with fruityloops+massive+youtube don't know a lick of theory.
but if it wasnt for people who know fuck all about music, we wouldnt have alot of these genres. i highly doubt someone who knows music theory like the back of their hand invented dubstep or drum and bass... its "kids" with nothing better to do, experimenting.

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Re: Music Theory Vs Production Techniques

Post by Airgonaut » Mon Dec 05, 2011 1:22 am

You need music theory--or at least some basic understanding of what notes sound right in your songs--to make good music. But you also need to have good production techniques so you can get your drum programming to sound right. So it's a balance of both, but I would rely more on the music side. That's what makes people hum your songs.
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subfect
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Re: Music Theory Vs Production Techniques

Post by subfect » Mon Dec 05, 2011 1:45 am

Airgonaut wrote:You need music theory--or at least some basic understanding of what notes sound right in your songs--to make good music. But you also need to have good production techniques so you can get your drum programming to sound right. So it's a balance of both, but I would rely more on the music side. That's what makes people hum your songs.
Not necessarily. I found myself repeating a single tune the other day (Ruckspin & Plana - Anger), just listening to the percussion. One of the best percussive tracks I've ever heard.
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symmetricalsounds
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Re: Music Theory Vs Production Techniques

Post by symmetricalsounds » Mon Dec 05, 2011 12:58 pm

jrisreal wrote:Music Theory is more important. Listen to a jazz band live in concert. They are not mixed down or processed
course it's processed, what you think the live sound engineer is doing. it might only be a touch of eq and/or compression but still processed.

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Re: Music Theory Vs Production Techniques

Post by Refuzed » Mon Dec 05, 2011 1:37 pm

symmetricalsounds wrote:
jrisreal wrote:Music Theory is more important. Listen to a jazz band live in concert. They are not mixed down or processed
course it's processed, what you think the live sound engineer is doing. it might only be a touch of eq and/or compression but still processed.

to OP, when someone says there is no post production in jazz, they're tlaknig half truths. whats meant is there is no pitch correction, distortion etc all these effects, there is still going to be a touch of compression and limiting though.
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-[2]DAY_-
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Re: Music Theory Vs Production Techniques

Post by -[2]DAY_- » Mon Dec 05, 2011 4:10 pm

subfect wrote:
Airgonaut wrote:You need music theory--or at least some basic understanding of what notes sound right in your songs--to make good music. But you also need to have good production techniques so you can get your drum programming to sound right. So it's a balance of both, but I would rely more on the music side. That's what makes people hum your songs.
Not necessarily. I found myself repeating a single tune the other day (Ruckspin & Plana - Anger), just listening to the percussion. One of the best percussive tracks I've ever heard.

guys you do know rhythm is a cornerstone of conventional music theory, right?
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Re: Music Theory Vs Production Techniques

Post by symmetricalsounds » Mon Dec 05, 2011 4:33 pm

Refuzed wrote:
symmetricalsounds wrote:
jrisreal wrote:Music Theory is more important. Listen to a jazz band live in concert. They are not mixed down or processed
course it's processed, what you think the live sound engineer is doing. it might only be a touch of eq and/or compression but still processed.

to OP, when someone says there is no post production in jazz, they're tlaknig half truths. whats meant is there is no pitch correction, distortion etc all these effects, there is still going to be a touch of compression and limiting though.
half-truth? i.e wrong

it may only be processed lightly but it's still processed. think jrisreal is underestimating the power of a live sound engineer, they seriously do make or break a live performance.

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Re: Music Theory Vs Production Techniques

Post by drake89 » Mon Dec 05, 2011 7:03 pm

-[2]DAY_- wrote:
subfect wrote:
Airgonaut wrote:You need music theory--or at least some basic understanding of what notes sound right in your songs--to make good music. But you also need to have good production techniques so you can get your drum programming to sound right. So it's a balance of both, but I would rely more on the music side. That's what makes people hum your songs.
Not necessarily. I found myself repeating a single tune the other day (Ruckspin & Plana - Anger), just listening to the percussion. One of the best percussive tracks I've ever heard.

guys you do know rhythm is a cornerstone of conventional music theory, right?
this. also it's pretty obvious that jazz relys much more on music theory than production techniques. Hence why Medeski, martin, and wood can hole themselves up in a shack in the hawaiian wilderness for a week tripping on god-knows-what, and still record a proper album. off the electric grid at that.

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Re: Music Theory Vs Production Techniques

Post by Comfi » Mon Dec 05, 2011 9:06 pm

Imo, it's much easier to accidentally stumble into a good melody/chord progression than it is to accidentally produce and mix well.
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