Does musical theory is needed in electronic music ?

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fishmonkey
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Re: Does musical theory is needed in electronic music ?

Post by fishmonkey » Thu Jan 30, 2014 5:24 am

Asymmetricalmusic wrote:I think your topic sentence is a perfect example

sure it's a sentence but it's a piss pour example of proper english usage, all the same it still gets its message across. but to my ears your sentence sucks. so go figure
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Re: Does musical theory is needed in electronic music ?

Post by login » Thu Jan 30, 2014 5:41 am

Depends, you wanna produce bland and boring music? Like all the top chartters?

Yes, some musicians were able to break rules and push ir forward, must of them understanded why and how they were breaking rules.

Khazul
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Re: Does musical theory is needed in electronic music ?

Post by Khazul » Thu Jan 30, 2014 8:01 am

'Electronic music' is far too broad for a such a generalization to be made.

If Im throwing together an electro or minimal house or many techo flavour tracks then strict musical progression gets thrown out of the window anyway. Some recent dance tracks have sounded more like the random noises of an arcade game from a melodic perspective. Many techno and ambient tracks make use of sampled style chords, for eg a fixed interval chord single played such that the individual notes are not in a strict scale - either through a simple fixed interval chorder, actually using a sampled chord or through fixed pitch offset oscillators. A lot of electro sounds have a strong 3rd harmonic (ie a +19 semitone pitched osc). In all these cases musical theory has gone out the window in favour of something more tonal and/or rhythmically based rather than melodic.

OTOH, a lot of classic disco house, funky house etc was written with real instruments and real played chords and tends to have strong musical melody and harmony etc, so writing that will need some musical background, even if it only in that the player is able to recognise the difference between in scale and out of scale notes in the scales and harmonies etc and make an actual choice.

In the end how much music theory or music practice is required depends entirely on what you are trying to do, what style(s) you play/program/produce etc. I think however that whatever you try to do, having a solid musical background will open far more doors for you to explorer musical creation than simply having say a DJ and/or producer type background which basically only lets you explorer a production focussed approach to music. My biggest regret in life is not keeping up piano lessons when I was a kid - the teacher was one of those old school fascist who used to beat my hands with a ruler whenever I got something wrong - in the end I just stopped enjoying it for that reason. These days that is my biggest limit because I just cant play well enough to do what I want to do because music to me is far more personally rewarding than production. Production is what do just because I can and have done it commercially (BBC etc) and TBH for me its easy and if I'm honest production is a lazy way of making music for me - its suits the limited time I have available around a job, life etc.

If you young and/or have the time - DO learn music and DO learn to play something really well. You will never regret it.
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doghouse
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Re: Does musical theory is needed in electronic music ?

Post by doghouse » Thu Jan 30, 2014 4:24 pm

Most people misunderstand what music theory actually is.

Academics talk about "standard musical practice"...what did Bach do, what did Mozart do, etc. and have broken that down into formulas for "correct" melody, harmony and rhythm. Still, there are plenty of examples of composers like Bach and Mozart "breaking the rules" here and there. So there really are no rules beyond "does it sound good" yet on the other hand if it does sound good, why it sounds good can easily be explained through theory.

OK, let's look at why you might want to learn basic musical theory (major and minor scales, diatonic harmony, compound rhythms).

--Ever come up with a melody but can't seem to figure out chords or a bass line that work with it?

--Ever come up with a chord progression but can't seem to figure out a melody that works with it?

--Ever come up with a verse but can't seem to compose a chorus that works with it?

--Ever hear some inspiring music but can't figure out why it sounds like it does?

--Ever mash together two samples and wonder why it sounds like total shit?

These are the kind of problems that a basic understanding of theory gives you the tools to solve.

ANGSTICK
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Re: Does musical theory is needed in electronic music ?

Post by ANGSTICK » Thu Jan 30, 2014 5:02 pm

Well thanks for your answers :mrgreen:

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Re: Does musical theory is needed in electronic music ?

Post by Buleriachk » Thu Jan 30, 2014 6:30 pm

http://simple.wikipedia.org/wiki/Modulation_(music)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Modulation_(music)

For an easier explanation see "Music Theory for Flamenco" on my website, which shows several forms of modulation (for Flamenco, but common in all music).

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stringtapper
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Re: Does musical theory is needed in electronic music ?

Post by stringtapper » Thu Jan 30, 2014 7:27 pm

All due respect, but someone with little to no knowledge of music theory shouldn't be starting with modulation. Most universities don't start modulation until the second or third semester of theory.

Start with the fundamentals: keys, scales, diatonic chords in major and minor. Learn to spell triads and seventh chords on any scale degree in any key.

Then move on to inversions of triads and seventh chords. Of all music fundamentals, inversions are one of the key ingredients to creating more organic motion in your harmony. Understanding why and how certain inversions are used in the context of harmonic progressions is key to creating more sophisticated textures. At its core it's all about how a particular chord relates to the note in the bass.

Lots of pop music uses only parallel root position harmony and this what makes it often sound comparatively sterile relative to the works of the classical masters or pop composers who have studied music intensively.
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Re: Does musical theory is needed in electronic music ?

Post by Buleriachk » Thu Jan 30, 2014 7:39 pm

Flamenco Gitanos don't go to universities (and many musicians in many, many other cultures), and they use modulation from day one....

They develop an ear for it through the chord progressions, and in scale melodies only in so far as they follow the chord progressions, rather than vice versa.

That is, they fit the melodies to the chord progressions, rather than fitting chord progressions to the melodies....

Most folk music is this way, since singers (especially when improvising) follow well defined chord progressions (Flamenco, 12 bar Blues, Greek Syrto, etc., etc.) The music that is not tends to be very boring ("little houses, on the hillside, little boxes made of ticky-tacky)....

Depends if you want to write music for an orchestra (build an arrangement around a melody) or sing folk songs around the campfire (accompany melody with chord progressions)....

Flamenco (and Rock) use a lot of power chords (root, 5th) based on basic chord progressions (but modulate - especially Flamenco, Greek, etc. - and all this music can be accompanied with guitar)..

Finally, many classical compositions have their roots in the folk musics of their origins. (e.g. Bach variations built on musical progressions similar to church choir music, which was very familiar to his listeners)

In fact, that's why I wrote my take on it: you wouldn't BELIEVE the crap "trained musicians" wrote when they tried to analyze Flamenco... For those interested (humbly - well, ok, maybe not :) :

http://www.flamencochuck.com/files/Musi ... Theory.pdf

I well remember trying to figure out Flamenco from Walter Piston early on (in the early 70's) ...:)

(And still sometimes write about blues vs. jazz) And what I wrote applies to much of folk music from all over the world, especially when people get together and sing (well, ok, if anyone still does that) ...
stringtapper wrote:All due respect, but someone with little to no knowledge of music theory shouldn't be starting with modulation. Most universities don't start modulation until the second or third semester of theory.

Start with the fundamentals: keys, scales, diatonic chords in major and minor. Learn to spell triads and seventh chords on any scale degree in any key.

Then move on to inversions of triads and seventh chords. Of all music fundamentals, inversions are one of the key ingredients to creating more organic motion in your harmony. Understanding why and how certain inversions are used in the context of harmonic progressions is key to creating more sophisticated textures. At its core it's all about how a particular chord relates to the note in the bass.

Lots of pop music uses only parallel root position harmony and this what makes it often sound comparatively sterile relative to the works of the classical masters or pop composers who have studied music intensively.

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Re: Does musical theory is needed in electronic music ?

Post by stringtapper » Thu Jan 30, 2014 8:10 pm

Buleriachk wrote:Flamenco Gitanos don't go to universities (and many musicians in many, many other cultures), and they use modulation from day one....
But this thread is about electronic music. Not Flamenco guitar. :?
Buleriachk wrote:and they use modulation from day one....
So if I asked you to play me a modulation from B major to C major via an enharmonic respelling of the German Augmented Sixth chord in B major you could do that, right?
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Re: Does musical theory is needed in electronic music ?

Post by beats me » Thu Jan 30, 2014 8:21 pm

stringtapper wrote:
Buleriachk wrote:Flamenco Gitanos don't go to universities (and many musicians in many, many other cultures), and they use modulation from day one....
But this thread is about electronic music. Not Flamenco guitar. :?

On top of that, the OP’s examples
Artists like deadmau5, Feed Me, Madeon, Even Daft punk in their first mixes)
For all I know they all have degrees in music theory, but I doubt it and it’s not what makes their music popular. It’s all production driven.

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Re: Does musical theory is needed in electronic music ?

Post by Buleriachk » Thu Jan 30, 2014 8:24 pm

stringtapper wrote:
Buleriachk wrote:and they use modulation from day one....
But this thread is about electronic music. Not Flamenco guitar. :?
Not if I can help it (it is a spiritual thing :) ....
stringtapper wrote: So if I asked you to play me a modulation from B major to C major via an enharmonic respelling of the German Augmented Sixth chord in B major you could do that, right?

I'm not at all sure you know what you mean..... :)
(But I don't know all that many singers that sing that way.... but it might be a good idea for EDM musicians to try to experiment with (whatever it is) in their bedrooms.)

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Re: Does musical theory is needed in electronic music ?

Post by stringtapper » Thu Jan 30, 2014 8:31 pm

Buleriachk wrote:
stringtapper wrote:So if I asked you to play me a modulation from B major to C major via an enharmonic respelling of the German Augmented Sixth chord in B major you could do that, right?
I'm not at all sure you know what you mean..... :)
I know exactly what I mean, thank you. :wink:

But your quip certainly makes me question whether you know what I mean.

But I'll explain it here just as I do for my undergraduate students.

In B major the German Augmented Sixth chord is spelled (and usually voiced) G-B-D-E#. Its usual resolution is to the Dominant or V chord (spelled F#-A#-C#-E in the key of B major).

If you enharmonically respell the E# in the German +6 as an F then you have the chord G-B-D-F, which can function as the Dominant of C major.

So a common progression using this type of enharmonic modulation might go:

B: I-IV-V-vi-Ger +6
................C: V7---I-IV-V-I
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Re: Does musical theory is needed in electronic music ?

Post by Buleriachk » Thu Jan 30, 2014 8:37 pm

Maybe so, but who cares? (Well ok, not me, and I'm pretty sure I can vouch for the gypsies - and maybe even the EDM people).
stringtapper wrote:
Buleriachk wrote:
stringtapper wrote:So if I asked you to play me a modulation from B major to C major via an enharmonic respelling of the German Augmented Sixth chord in B major you could do that, right?
I'm not at all sure you know what you mean..... :)
I know exactly what I mean. :wink:

But your quip certainly makes me question whether you know what I mean.

But I'll explain it here just as I do for my undergraduate students.

In B major the German Augmented Sixth chord is spelled (and usually voiced) G-B-D-E#. Its usual resolution is to the Dominant or V chord (spelled F#-A#-C#-E in the key of B major).

If you enharmonically respell the E# in the German +6 as an F then you have the chord G-B-D-F, which can function as the Dominant of C major.

So a common progression using this type of enharmonic modulation might go:

B: I-IV-V-vi-Ger +6
................C: V7---I-IV-V-I

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Re: Does musical theory is needed in electronic music ?

Post by stringtapper » Thu Jan 30, 2014 8:46 pm

Buleriachk wrote:Maybe so, but who cares? (Well ok, not me, and I'm pretty sure I can vouch for the gypsies - and maybe even the EDM people).
Uh, these guys to name a few:
Buleriachk wrote:Beethoven, Bach, and Mozart are coming back, and boy are they pissed!
Beethoven in particular was very fond of modulating via enharmonic respelling of the Ger +6.

And here I thought because you were trumpeting their names that you might actually know something about their music!

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Re: Does musical theory is needed in electronic music ?

Post by Buleriachk » Thu Jan 30, 2014 8:55 pm

Like I said, Bach et. al. are probably pissed, but I have no beef with them ....

Hey, I'm a Flamenco, but I know what I hear.....

If I did a modulation from C major to B Major, it would be in the context of
(B Flamenco Phrygian Mode) |Em-> | D-> | B-> | C | or,
alternatively in the progression |C -> B -> | C -> B | (Thie is the "key" for the palo of Granadinas)

Here the B acts as a "question" and the C acts as an "answer" in a repetive progression (Like F and E for E Phrygian).

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