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Musical Theory


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...in folk music you tend to improvise chord patterns and counter melodies,...

Yep. But I do that with little or no background in "music theory". What I do is experiment to discover things that sound good and things that sound bad, then try to reuse the former and avoid the latter.

But that's what music theory is, of course. The accumulated discoveries of musical experimenters over the centuries. If someone tries something and it doesn't work, they write it in a book: "Don't do that." If someone tries something and people like it, they give it a name (Neapolitan 6th, or whatever) and put it in a book, along with suggestions on how to use it. That way, we're not all reinventing the wheel.


Edited: one word changed for clarity.

Edited by David Barnert
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