Music Theory and Emotion

"How do I find the right balance between using music theory and playing with emotion?"

When studying music theory, I always struggled with this question.
After listening for hours to some of my favourite artists, it dawned on me. Music theory shows you what combination of notes will sound good. The theory shows you what works – it is great for finding the right melodies and harmonies. But theory alone does not make music, it only creates sounds.

In order to create music, we need another aspect beyond theory. Ordinary human emotion.
It is emotion that makes a note sound a certain way. The emotion is what guides the dynamics, rhythm, technique and even tone.

Music composition can be defined as the art of combining sounds to create melodies and harmonies in such a way that they express the artist’s feelings. This is why people enjoy listening to music – it evokes a feeling or emotion. And that is where the power of music seems to be. But is it really?

As a musician, it is not your goal to make the listener feel something. Instead, the artist is focused on authentically expressing an emotion through their instrument or voice. To achieve this, you have to remove yourself from any desired end goals. Here the music theory is merely a guide, showing you where you could take the melodies.

In reality, the artist is a messenger – not concerned with how a message will be received, but focused on writing a message that is meaningful. When that is achieved, sounds turn into music and one will discover the real power of music.

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