a theory on theory

“Once I begin to inspect, study and analyze the bits and pieces that make up the mechanics of music: the notes, the timbres, the durations, the rhythms, the harmonies, the melodies, the forms – as soon as I try to find out if there are some recurring patterns, or if there are some technical theories that can describe what makes the music sound that way, I’m now in the land of theory and always recognize that these analysis have a different purpose than the simple act of making music.  How I technically think about and describe what’s being played is a different subject from the act of playing.  And it’s only use is to help me more fully understand how to better do what I want to do.  How to play better; perform better; communicate better; be a better musician.”  -Chick Corea

4 thoughts on “a theory on theory

  1. sharolyn

    I bought a book he wrote at his concert. It is 65 pages with big font, so I don’t think you could get it through Amazon or anything. (I saw another jazz musician who had one of these, too. They are copyrighted, but could have been made at Kinkos.) Mike, I was actually going to give it to you after I read it, but then he signed it “To Sharolyn, Hello, Chick Corea”, so I guess it became mine! Of course you may borrow it if interested. Now when I see a picture of him, I think, “Hello.”

    Back to the quote… it was good for me to read because I really enjoy theory itself. It is one of the few things that has always come easily to me. Sometimes I can get lost in it and forget its purpose.

    My mom, living with four musicians, has always been glad she doesn’t know more. It is easier for her to enjoy, worship – whatever the purpose is – than the rest of us who know too much sometimes to get lost in the magic of the music.

  2. JLord

    I think every college theory student needs to read this so they can realize 1. The importance of theory and 2. The fact that theory projects really don’t have a great need to be musical.

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