I agree theory will make you make your music much easier, however...

Andrew Fernandes

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However, I feel if I learn it further it takes away from the magic. It is cool just to use your ear and then some other theory head like Rick Beato says your a genius loool and explains what precisely you were doing like what scale etc makes it intriguing that you had no idea what you was doing and it was actually something, a scale, a key change, etc. The method behind the madness. I do deffo agree once you know what your doing, in theory, it makes it easier for you, I just felt like if you don't know it's more honest perhaps more natural less programmed. Do you guys understand what I mean? Btw is Rick Beato still in this forum His videos are so interesting even though I have no idea more than half the time what he's referring to maybe I need to learn theory after all.
 

TreSavedge

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What you’re speaking of is a concept I think of a lot, involved in many things. There’s a magic in the wonder of something. Freshness hearing or seeing something for the first time + unawareness of the system behind something = an almost childlike amazement and idolization. A simple example would be hearing a song or seeing a movie the first time. The emotions behind seeing Jurassic park for the first time in a theater when I was 8 will be forever imbedded into my memory but if you showed me a behind the scenes documentary first, the same level of escapism wouldn‘t be reached. Not knowing the Joker’s backstory is what makes him amazing. Gene Simmons once said he didn’t want to take the makeup off because once you learn Santa is your dad it ruins the magic. The same can be said when you learn the engineering behind something or “figure out a solo”. Perhaps it isn‘t the same magic as “not knowing” but it’s a different kind of appreciation of achievement or proficiency. I think almost everything in life can be thought of in this way. Childlike wonder evolves to further proficiency and with enjoying proficiency we lose the wonder and have to find new ways to drive oneself. Because you are “never there” you just keep going to a new place. If that place isn’t as good as the ‘wonder state’ we might question whether it was worth it, but try to find new ways to drive yourself. Probably why many people who have achieved everything in life would like want to go back to their 20s in their 80s. I suppose there is a trade off in some sense when you go down the theory road. You’re peeling back the onion. You are trading some wonderment for the roadmap. But during practical application, playing on stage or what have you, you will think very little about it. So there is that at least. I wish I could have some better advice but even with theory I still have enough wonderment in the tank to keep going, because music is still too big of a world/escape for me. Hopefully for a while yet.
 

Muz Malek

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From my experience, to put it simply, sometimes it may be just a tad bit easier to explain things (especially if you're into teaching or just wanting to share the inspiration behind certain licks).

I've been self-taught for 11 years and only recently got myself attached to a guitar teacher with 5 decades of experience in playing and teaching, and when I played out all the Synyster stuff to him, and he was able to break down what scale or modes were used here and there (he even put Syn in his list of intelligent guitarists eversince i showed it to him). I've had trouble explaining to people what I play (technique, especially) prior.

I wanted to venture into teaching as well, and being self-taught, it was almost impossible to teach someone else without saying "just play what you like and pick it up by ear" or "okay so it goes like this, then like this, then take this finger and do this" because not everybody has the patience to do so hahaha. So I had to find a way to break down my process of learning and playing, and that is by going back to the basic syllabus, and only then, I was able to explain whatever I've been playing the past 11 years, properly, to other people who were keen to learn what I've been doing.

It's not compulsory, but yes, it's a good knowledge to have, especially when, for example, a set of arpeggios transit to another, makes a lot more sense than just 'random noodling'. Noodling works, but it helps to just make the notes sing a bit better to ensure you're not seen or heard as tone deaf or disrespecting the music vocabulary. Makes you sound a bit more professional and convincing too instead of the "just play it out man" way.

It's a vast world of music out there. It's beautiful.

Cheers! :rock-hand: :rock-hand:
 
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Chris Johnston

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    This is an age old perspective on theory that is really misunderstood (in my opinion) I genuinelly believed it about 8 years ago too, until the opposite transformed my playing 😂

    Apologies in advance for the preaching, but hear me out haha.

    Basically, you really don't need to know a shred of theory to write amazing music and play your instrument - but it seriously helps. Like not even a little bit, a lot! It also completely changes your relationship with music.

    The issue seems to be that people don't see any benefits other than 'knowing' what's going on, which is only a small part of learning theory. The big part, is **hearing** what's going on. You start to experience the sounds you hear as a language and it adds to the experience of even being a listener. More importantly, it makes you a confident and natural speaker of that language, which is really empowering. The opposite of programmed 💪

    When you think about it, music theory is just making an inventory of the sounds you find magical and referencing them. Like a wizard with a spell book.

    For example, you might know the riff to Sweer Child O Mine the second you hear it - and you identify that sound as 'The Sweet Child O Mine Riff' - That's putting a name to a sound too.

    You could also say the riff is a Major riff going: Root, Octave, 5th, 4th, 4th an octave up, 5th, 3rd, 5th etc - the only difference is that you're looking under the hood at 'what' makes the riff so great. Like mining the riff for it's magic, or even figuring out why it makes you feel a certain way - so that you can use the same stuff yourself to create music you like 🤟

    It really comes down to a mindset thing - if you think of the concept as this dry, intimidating thing, that's how it'll be, but if you approach it with an open mind it'll fascinate you 🤟

    I can almost guarantee you'll never be worse off from understanding how music works 😊 (don't let the jargon & the work involved put you off - it's worth it)

    There's my pitch haha, apologies if it was preachy!
     
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    redlipsofdeceit

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    As a beginner in this music world, I don't know much about theory. But every little thing I learned was like mind-blowing and made me feel like I've been blind for all this time. I think knowledge is fascinating, and I would really love to know what's going on behind the music I listen to. And I would also like to use this knowledge to create something myself, someday.
    When I watch videos from guys like Rick Beato and he says some theory thing that I don't know yet and then I learn what it is, it makes me feel very happy and empowered.
    I still have a long journey of learning theory. But can't find the will to really dive into this atm.
     

    Dominik Gräber

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    Even as somebody who doesn't know a lot of theory I think I have to disagree. Cause knowing theory can Speed up the process so much and can get you into actually being creative and writing much faster. And it's not Like you HAVE TO use your knowledge, you can still Just play, with the benefit that you yourself can Analyse why it works afterwards.

    Also if you consider knowing the notes and their Sounds as theory, that freaking helps. I wish I could write something in my head and translate it to guitar just like that
     
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    Ids Schiere

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    I think this idea comes from a misunderstanding how music theory can be used. Knowing music theory doesn't mean that all your chord progressions have to be diatonic. Music theory really is a road map that can help you a lot on things like key changes and easily finding the chord you want to get a certain feel instead of tediously fucking about to find those. Knowing music theory and relying on your ears can perfectly coexist, I consider music theory more of a backbone I can rely on in the case that I'm stuck than a given rule.
     

    Andrew Fernandes

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    Thanks for everyone commenting, just to clarify I know 100% knowing music theory will help a lot and make my understanding much better which in turn makes my music better. TreSavedge's comment is very good it kinda explains what I was feeling. It's more about if I know everything like... O I am now transitioning to this scale which in turn makes me have a change of key. My point is I like not knowing what I am doing and someone else telling me what I did. It is fascinating to me. Kinda like the death of the author. Having someone else explain what your doing or writing, could even be explained for lyrics. This fascinates me. Like if you see a painting may be a very imaginary landscape if you see how it was made it takes away how special it is. If you look at it without that knowledge you become more imaginative in your mind imagining that place, imagining being there, imagining its history of that landscape. Your emotions are more triggered let us say, but if you know 100% what you're doing you deviate from the emotion perhaps. I like this song from the "restless heart" I have been recently listening to call "don't ask the reasons why". If I heard every individual master track stem, perhaps I would hear stuff that I didn't hear in the mix. Or someone explaining to me what they did even though I like this, It just makes me feel we as artists can't be as special and as like the "chosen one" Music theory, how can it have every section be explained and put into a box o this is a minor scale this is a Phrygian scale. maybe the minor and the Phrygian scale mish-mashed together is a new blend of a scale. It seems to me that everything has been done. I prefer to think that more stuff is there to be discovered. So for me knowing every scale etc, I feel I lose the sense of wonder and my imagination. I want music to feel undiscovered to me, there must be more to it that can't have been everything studied. It seems like everything, every note, etc there is a name for that. I want music to feel cloudy in my mind I don't want to know what I am doing because if I know 100% maybe I won't love it as much.
     

    Muz Malek

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    Thanks for everyone commenting, just to clarify I know 100% knowing music theory will help a lot and make my understanding much better which in turn makes my music better. TreSavedge's comment is very good it kinda explains what I was feeling. It's more about if I know everything like... O I am now transitioning to this scale which in turn makes me have a change of key. My point is I like not knowing what I am doing and someone else telling me what I did. It is fascinating to me. Kinda like the death of the author. Having someone else explain what your doing or writing, could even be explained for lyrics. This fascinates me. Like if you see a painting may be a very imaginary landscape if you see how it was made it takes away how special it is. If you look at it without that knowledge you become more imaginative in your mind imagining that place, imagining being there, imagining its history of that landscape. Your emotions are more triggered let us say, but if you know 100% what you're doing you deviate from the emotion perhaps. I like this song from the "restless heart" I have been recently listening to call "don't ask the reasons why". If I heard every individual master track stem, perhaps I would hear stuff that I didn't hear in the mix. Or someone explaining to me what they did even though I like this, It just makes me feel we as artists can't be as special and as like the "chosen one" Music theory, how can it have every section be explained and put into a box o this is a minor scale this is a Phrygian scale. maybe the minor and the Phrygian scale mish-mashed together is a new blend of a scale. It seems to me that everything has been done. I prefer to think that more stuff is there to be discovered. So for me knowing every scale etc, I feel I lose the sense of wonder and my imagination. I want music to feel undiscovered to me, there must be more to it that can't have been everything studied. It seems like everything, every note, etc there is a name for that. I want music to feel cloudy in my mind I don't want to know what I am doing because if I know 100% maybe I won't love it as much.
    That's the beauty of it. Music is so vast, we will never know 100% of it. I can bet you my Dark Night that there's no one musician who has known & heard & can explain every type of music that exists in this world. hahahah

    Just go with the flow, my friend. Don't stress about getting bored because we only have so much time in our current lives. Instead of worrying about knowing too much, worry about not knowing more.

    Cheers!
     
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    Andrew Fernandes

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    That's the beauty of it. Music is so vast, we will never know 100% of it. I can bet you my Dark Night that there's no one musician who has known & heard & can explain every type of music that exists in this world. hahahah

    Just go with the flow, my friend. Don't stress about getting bored because we only have so much time in our current lives. Instead of worrying about knowing too much, worry about not knowing more.

    Cheers!
    Spoken like a philosopher in the last part. "Instead of worrying about knowing too much, worry about not knowing more." Shit! I could use that quote for life in general. I don't even know what to say next. I did however try to find out if every scale has been discovered in music I seemed to have achieved an in-between answer. Like a yes and no. I did find this website.


    It seems to say that there are probably other scales but those scales could fit into other scales that are already discovered maybe even 2 or 3. What was more comforting is that I read on there is that melodies seem to be infinite.
     
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    Dominik Gräber

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    Thanks for everyone commenting, just to clarify I know 100% knowing music theory will help a lot and make my understanding much better which in turn makes my music better. TreSavedge's comment is very good it kinda explains what I was feeling. It's more about if I know everything like... O I am now transitioning to this scale which in turn makes me have a change of key. My point is I like not knowing what I am doing and someone else telling me what I did. It is fascinating to me. Kinda like the death of the author. Having someone else explain what your doing or writing, could even be explained for lyrics. This fascinates me. Like if you see a painting may be a very imaginary landscape if you see how it was made it takes away how special it is. If you look at it without that knowledge you become more imaginative in your mind imagining that place, imagining being there, imagining its history of that landscape. Your emotions are more triggered let us say, but if you know 100% what you're doing you deviate from the emotion perhaps. I like this song from the "restless heart" I have been recently listening to call "don't ask the reasons why". If I heard every individual master track stem, perhaps I would hear stuff that I didn't hear in the mix. Or someone explaining to me what they did even though I like this, It just makes me feel we as artists can't be as special and as like the "chosen one" Music theory, how can it have every section be explained and put into a box o this is a minor scale this is a Phrygian scale. maybe the minor and the Phrygian scale mish-mashed together is a new blend of a scale. It seems to me that everything has been done. I prefer to think that more stuff is there to be discovered. So for me knowing every scale etc, I feel I lose the sense of wonder and my imagination. I want music to feel undiscovered to me, there must be more to it that can't have been everything studied. It seems like everything, every note, etc there is a name for that. I want music to feel cloudy in my mind I don't want to know what I am doing because if I know 100% maybe I won't love it as much.
    I know where you are coming from and can agree on a lot of it. But as somebody who not only tried playing music, but painting, drawing, leathercraft, a bit of mixing and Digital Art, let me tell you, the process usually is not easy. Not even fun all the time. To make something great you have to pay Attention to every Detail and you will know about every tiny mistake and imperfection. It may make you Like your Art less than others do but that's really what it's like to be an Artist.

    Now of course with music theory that can work out quite well, I just believe that knowing theory will help you add all those little Details on your canvas to make something actually great.
    Having said that I recently made a full song and it was very reliefing not to rely on theory on that one😂
     
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    Chris Johnston

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    Thanks for everyone commenting, just to clarify I know 100% knowing music theory will help a lot and make my understanding much better which in turn makes my music better. TreSavedge's comment is very good it kinda explains what I was feeling. It's more about if I know everything like... O I am now transitioning to this scale which in turn makes me have a change of key. My point is I like not knowing what I am doing and someone else telling me what I did. It is fascinating to me. Kinda like the death of the author. Having someone else explain what your doing or writing, could even be explained for lyrics. This fascinates me. Like if you see a painting may be a very imaginary landscape if you see how it was made it takes away how special it is. If you look at it without that knowledge you become more imaginative in your mind imagining that place, imagining being there, imagining its history of that landscape. Your emotions are more triggered let us say, but if you know 100% what you're doing you deviate from the emotion perhaps. I like this song from the "restless heart" I have been recently listening to call "don't ask the reasons why". If I heard every individual master track stem, perhaps I would hear stuff that I didn't hear in the mix. Or someone explaining to me what they did even though I like this, It just makes me feel we as artists can't be as special and as like the "chosen one" Music theory, how can it have every section be explained and put into a box o this is a minor scale this is a Phrygian scale. maybe the minor and the Phrygian scale mish-mashed together is a new blend of a scale. It seems to me that everything has been done. I prefer to think that more stuff is there to be discovered. So for me knowing every scale etc, I feel I lose the sense of wonder and my imagination. I want music to feel undiscovered to me, there must be more to it that can't have been everything studied. It seems like everything, every note, etc there is a name for that. I want music to feel cloudy in my mind I don't want to know what I am doing because if I know 100% maybe I won't love it as much.
    Totally get where you're coming from in this! It seems like you want to try and keep that child-like wonder you get with music, which makes total sense.

    It's all down to preference really. Like you said with wanting to keep music 'cloudy in your mind - That perception is something you can actually switch in and off (even if you know theory) it just comes down to approaching the song like a listener rather than making the choice to analyse it.

    For me, listening to music is just like that. I don't think about a single bit of theory and songs still give me goosebumps, make me cry, give me nostalgia etc - that's never got lost. I can always make the choice to start to analyse what's going on, but it's completely a choice. It's kinda like, when something in a tune hits me I'm like 'Wow! What was that?' And the fun for me is being able to actually find out and play it, like it brings me closer to the sound 😊

    There's really no right or wrong though, it's all just how you want to experience music 🤟
     
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    TreSavedge

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    Thanks for everyone commenting, just to clarify I know 100% knowing music theory will help a lot and make my understanding much better which in turn makes my music better. TreSavedge's comment is very good it kinda explains what I was feeling. It's more about if I know everything like... O I am now transitioning to this scale which in turn makes me have a change of key. My point is I like not knowing what I am doing and someone else telling me what I did. It is fascinating to me. Kinda like the death of the author. Having someone else explain what your doing or writing, could even be explained for lyrics. This fascinates me. Like if you see a painting may be a very imaginary landscape if you see how it was made it takes away how special it is. If you look at it without that knowledge you become more imaginative in your mind imagining that place, imagining being there, imagining its history of that landscape. Your emotions are more triggered let us say, but if you know 100% what you're doing you deviate from the emotion perhaps. I like this song from the "restless heart" I have been recently listening to call "don't ask the reasons why". If I heard every individual master track stem, perhaps I would hear stuff that I didn't hear in the mix. Or someone explaining to me what they did even though I like this, It just makes me feel we as artists can't be as special and as like the "chosen one" Music theory, how can it have every section be explained and put into a box o this is a minor scale this is a Phrygian scale. maybe the minor and the Phrygian scale mish-mashed together is a new blend of a scale. It seems to me that everything has been done. I prefer to think that more stuff is there to be discovered. So for me knowing every scale etc, I feel I lose the sense of wonder and my imagination. I want music to feel undiscovered to me, there must be more to it that can't have been everything studied. It seems like everything, every note, etc there is a name for that. I want music to feel cloudy in my mind I don't want to know what I am doing because if I know 100% maybe I won't love it as much.
    Have you ever read lyrics and not ever been able to listen to the song the same as when you didn't know what the lyrics were? Same idea. More magical when it's just a conglomeration of sounds. And with that said, I highly recommend everyone having a hobby where you never "learn the engineering behind it" so you can always maintain a magestic wonder in regards to it. I'm just too far down the road for music to be that hobby for me. You nailed it with your painting example. I think going to art museums and taking in paintings is a great enjoyer's hobby but I never want to know the "how" or have it be a practicioner's hobby, and I had to stop watching Bob Ross for that reason. I know I will never have a steady hand for painting and I'm not that interested in actually doing it, so it will be my enjoyer's hobby, never a practitioner's hobby. I think it's good to have at least one of those hobbies and even better if it's not something where it's your goal to learn/do it. That will maintain the wonder.

    This is why John Bailey from Baroness said he "never wants to get to the end of the fretboard"

    I figured that's what you meant and to clarify he's not saying he "knows everything" by any means. He's saying the more we discover the engineering behind something, the less we get to enjoy it in the child-wonder type magical way that we enjoy things before we understand them. The more we are forced into enjoying it in an "appreciation of our own proficiency within a system we understand" type of way and some wonderment is lost from this.
     
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    Brian Haner Sr.

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    Ah - the fight between the left and the right brain. Every great musician struggles with this. If theory directs your writing and playing - the tail is wagging the dog. The more theory (and technique) you know - the harder the struggle becomes. In certain genres, (prog, jazz, etc.), theory and technique have a major part in what you write and play. In simpler genres, (like rock, punk, alt, etc), theory takes a backseat.

    When The Beatles wrote a song, they were not thinking about theory. They knew some chords and went about working on melodies and lyrics. When they learned a new chord, they would apply it to a song. They didn't analyze the notes in the chord or whether it was diatonic. They just knew it sounded good to them.
    Blues players are notoriously bad at theory. But NOBODY cared that BB King couldn't tell you what notes were in a C#Ma9 chord, (including BB).

    Theory and technique are a means to an end. They are meant to support you - so you can more easily play what you hear.

    Think of theory as knowing all the words in the dictionary. Think of technique as being a master of syntax and grammar.

    NOW - What are you going to write? What story are you going to tell?
    You wouldn't start looking through the dictionary for ideas, would you? It's just a bunch of words with no perspective or direction.

    Interesting words and proper grammar mean nothing without an interesting thought behind them.
    Furthermore - you don't need a bunch of big complicated words to tell a great story. On the contrary - big words get in the way of a great story. Simple words, an intriguing plot, and deep, rich characters are what drive a great story.

    It's the same in music. Keep it simple, interesting, and heartfelt. The ONLY important thing in music is that it must sound good. To you and the listener.

    In music - ALWAYS BE LED BY YOUR EAR. Theory be damned. You can analyze it AFTER you've written something great. Or have someone else analyze it for you.

    A little theory can open your ears to new sounds (scales, chords, etc.), but too much theory can bog you down and paralyze you. It's nice to know what scale plays over what chord - but if you have a good ear, you're already playing the right notes - you just don't know what they're called.

    I have spent a lifetime in this battle. When I'm writing a simple song or playing some blues, I wish I knew less theory. When I'm sitting in with some jazz cats, I wish I knew more. lol.

    When you get it figured out, please let me know.
    Good luck!
    Cheers!
    pg
     

    Andrew Fernandes

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    Ah - the fight between the left and the right brain. Every great musician struggles with this. If theory directs your writing and playing - the tail is wagging the dog. The more theory (and technique) you know - the harder the struggle becomes. In certain genres, (prog, jazz, etc.), theory and technique have a major part in what you write and play. In simpler genres, (like rock, punk, alt, etc), theory takes a backseat.

    When The Beatles wrote a song, they were not thinking about theory. They knew some chords and went about working on melodies and lyrics. When they learned a new chord, they would apply it to a song. They didn't analyze the notes in the chord or whether it was diatonic. They just knew it sounded good to them.
    Blues players are notoriously bad at theory. But NOBODY cared that BB King couldn't tell you what notes were in a C#Ma9 chord, (including BB).

    Theory and technique are a means to an end. They are meant to support you - so you can more easily play what you hear.

    Think of theory as knowing all the words in the dictionary. Think of technique as being a master of syntax and grammar.

    NOW - What are you going to write? What story are you going to tell?
    You wouldn't start looking through the dictionary for ideas, would you? It's just a bunch of words with no perspective or direction.

    Interesting words and proper grammar mean nothing without an interesting thought behind them.
    Furthermore - you don't need a bunch of big complicated words to tell a great story. On the contrary - big words get in the way of a great story. Simple words, an intriguing plot, and deep, rich characters are what drive a great story.

    It's the same in music. Keep it simple, interesting, and heartfelt. The ONLY important thing in music is that it must sound good. To you and the listener.

    In music - ALWAYS BE LED BY YOUR EAR. Theory be damned. You can analyze it AFTER you've written something great. Or have someone else analyze it for you.

    A little theory can open your ears to new sounds (scales, chords, etc.), but too much theory can bog you down and paralyze you. It's nice to know what scale plays over what chord - but if you have a good ear, you're already playing the right notes - you just don't know what they're called.

    I have spent a lifetime in this battle. When I'm writing a simple song or playing some blues, I wish I knew less theory. When I'm sitting in with some jazz cats, I wish I knew more. lol.

    When you get it figured out, please let me know.
    Good luck!
    Cheers!
    pg
    Thanks for that explanation, it made a lot of sense. I guess I am on the right path. I think what I can do is learn more complex chords. When I was originally referring to the theory I was in my mind thinking of solo lines. For the next song I am trying out more dissonant chords or complex but I have been trying to do it on piano and midi. I have no idea what I am doing but I think I'm getting somewhere which is cool.
     

    Ed Seith

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    I seem to recall an old interview with Syn, and he was being asked about something on Nightmare. The interviewer asked something about why Syn went to an E major chord, when the key of the song demanded E minor, or something like that. Syn just shrugged and said, "No idea, but it sounded better that way."
     
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    Ids Schiere

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    I seem to recall an old interview with Syn, and he was being asked about something on Nightmare. The interviewer asked something about why Syn went to an E major chord, when the key of the song demanded E minor, or something like that. Syn just shrugged and said, "No idea, but it sounded better that way."
    This is probably the most important thing about the whole theory thing, trust your ear. If it sounds good it is good!

    Also, harmony doesn't give a rats ass whether your chords are minor or major they can function as a certain chord either way, that's why non-diatonic chord progressions tend to be cooler than diatonic ones