“Pfft, who needs music theory?” That’s what many music producers tell themselves for years – until they realize its importance and the massive impact learning music theory has on their music.
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Learning music theory has tremendous benefits for your time in the studio. It allows you to make music with a stronger emotional impact, better hooks, and mixes. But there are even more benefits that make learning it super worthwhile.
This article will go through the five great benefits of learning music theory today.
Let’s dive in with the first benefit, stronger emotional impact.
1. Stronger Emotional Impact
Perhaps the greatest benefit of learning music theory right now will be your ability to make a stronger emotional impact with your music. Once you know the foundation of chords, chord progressions, scales, and modes, you can start making music from a deeper emotional standpoint.
By making music in different keys and using different chords for your progressions, you can take the listener on a wild emotional journey, ranging from feelings of happiness to sadness, delight, and pure bliss.
You will learn how to control musical energy better, which is fantastic for electronic dance music. Your arrangements will start sounding better and become way more club-worthy by learning music theory.
2. Better Hooks
Melody is another highly important aspect of music theory. Once you learn it, you will be able to craft sing-along-worthy hooks and melodies that people can’t get out of their heads.
Most importantly, you will know what notes you can use with your chords and chord progressions. Learning music theory will also allow you to start seeing things and make music more purposefully, in a musical sense.
This musical technique can create interesting chord-like layers that further deepen your music's impact. For example, you will start to tune your drums to fit in with the key to your track. And when your snare hits in a certain note, a melodic note can hit simultaneously in a different note related to your scale.
3. More Finished Music
How many times have you gotten stuck when making music? Often, it comes down to a lack of music theory knowledge. And sometimes, it’s trying to make musical sense of sounds that don’t fit in.
You will make music faster and more efficiently with music theory knowledge because you have a great starting point. You will know what key your track is in and what chords to use with this knowledge. Your arrangements will get clearer, and mixing will become much easier, but more on this shortly.
Finishing more music has tremendous advantages for your artist career. The more music you can produce and release, the better chance you can make it as a musician. And, of course, it helps when your music makes musical sense all the way through.
4. Better Mixes
With music theory knowledge, you can make better, more professional mixes. Sounds are frequencies, and when all your sounds are in musical alignment, you will have an easier time mixing it all.
For example, if you don’t know music theory, you might use a kick drum that’s tuned completely out of key. When mixing, you might feel that the kick doesn’t punch through your mix the way you want it to.
By understanding music theory, you will get the ability to make the necessary musical changes that will improve and simplify your mixing.
And – it’s a lot easier mixing music that already sounds great.
5. Easier Collaboration
Let’s say you want to collaborate with a vocalist for your next track. She sends you her vocal stems in A minor and tells you to do whatever you want with them.
Sure, without music theory knowledge, you can always listen and feel what sounds right with the vocals. But with music theory, your collaborations will become a heck of a lot easier.
By knowing the vocals are in A minor, you will know what chords to use and can more quickly come up with fitting and mind-blowing chord progressions. There's less trial and error and more purposeful musical work with the right foundational knowledge.
It will also become easier to remix other artist's music.
It’s true, learning music theory can help your music production in many ways, as you have learned from this article. If you’ve been putting off learning music theory for a long time, now is the best time to start.
Because the thing is, you don’t have to learn everything right away. Taking online courses or reading up on music theory for even a few minutes a day adds up to a lot in a year. And for every new thing you learn, you open up new dimensions to your music creation.
Thanks for reading, and see you in the next article.
About the author
Pelle Sundin is a Swedish music producer and writer, active with his chillout project PLMTRZ. He also produces psytrance. When he's not producing, he surfs, skates, and chugs coffee.