Do You Need Music Theory
Two years ago I had the chance to work with some amazing musicians and artists. One of them being Sans Rock who came to New York for an event sponsored by Atlantic Records. We immediately starting working on ideas for tracks that we were going to pitch to television and later film. Unfortunately that opportunity didn’t pan out as some things completely out of our control hit the fan and the situation was all over the media.
But the thing I learned the most from working with Sans, and later on some other musicians, was that they all spoke a language that I had to get a basic understanding of which is music theory. Now of course a lot of debate has been going around on whether or not you should learn music theory as a producer. From my experience, its helped me as a lot of the records that artists and music listeners like from me have all stemmed from the knowledge I got from music theory. One of my most talked about tracks this year was with Marti Music with his album Train853 in which I produced the track “Whateva.” In that record I really composed the chords, the fluidity of the arrangement, and even the big moment which is the bridge. The feedback we received was tremendous and I’m very thankful that anyone even listens to anything I’ve produced or worked on.
Now with that said I can honestly say that music theory has helped me but I still, even now, don’t think its necessary when you’re trying to craft a record. I get that being able to play scales help, I get that being able to create counter melodies on anything helps but it still comes down to one thing; hard work and your ear. Most of the producers I love have never mentioned music theory like Alex da Kid or Southside (SIZZLE) but that doesn’t meant its not something they don’t practice. What I will say is to follow your ear. If you feel you need strings in a certain section, add it. If you deem it necessary to put the bridge at the beginning of your song do it. The game has changed and the “rules” no longer apply so please don’t box yourself in by thinking this is something you have to learn. Me, I will continue to do it because I love they way my music soundings with it but I just want to throw in my two cents (that no one even asked for) and say that you don’t.