Often considered a requirement for the composition of music, is an understanding of music theory still necessary today?
Armed with an array of gear and technologies, incredible music can be produced without the need to understand sheet music or dissect chord progressions.
Many great music producers have created incredible records without any formal training in theory, with some arguing that music theory actually stifles creativity.
Whether or not you agree, one thing is for sure: the way in which we make music today is different to how we made it yesterday.
The Language Of Music
This has however, throughout history, always been the case.
A common misconception; music theory isn’t designed to be a set of laws that can’t be broken under any circumstances. But how can you break the rules if you don’t know the rules to start with?
If music is a language, theory is its lexicon. As we broaden our vocabulary, not only will our ability to understand music improve, but our capacity to express ourselves in a more free, nuanced, and rich way will improve too.
Whether or not you decide to learn the theory of music is a personal choice. Having studied music theory for many years, I personally feel it offers me a greater understanding of how music is put together, and I wouldn’t be without it.
With that said, I don’t believe a formal training in theory to be absolutely necessary to make great music. Many songwriters and producers that I’ve worked with over the years have no training in music theory whatsoever. And it hasn’t held them back!
If, however, the opportunity to learn some music theory ever presents itself, I’d thoroughly recommend it.
I’d suggest that music theory definitely helps, and certainly doesn’t hurt.