DEFINE: Art Versus Science

ART = Art is the field of “creation” and “searching”

SCIENCE = Science is the field of “recreation” and “researching”

The whole point of recreating a scientific experiment is to always get the same result. If you receive a different result, the experiment would be invalid. The old adage: “The exception proves the rule” makes no sense – an exception disproves the rule.

We use science to analyze and understand music written in the past. Music theory can only be written after many years. We create rules to gain an understanding of our musical history.

EXAMPLE: When Bach used a IV chord, he usually followed it with …

Commonly Used:

        • IV ⇨ I (“Plagal Cadence)
        • IV ⇨ V

Sometimes Used:

        • IV ⇨ ii

Seldom Used:

        • IV ⇨ iii
        • IV ⇨ vi

Rarely Used

        • IV ⇨ vii°

I sincerely doubt Bach selected a particular chord because of a mathematical, statistical distribution. He chose a particular chord because he liked it – later educators analyzed his music, determined the above statistical distribution, and created new rules to explain Bach’s choice of chord movements.

Bach’s harmony books helped him understand the music history of his time. The rules of music theory can help you recreate the music of the past, but does not necessarily give you the tools to create “new” music.

The science of music will help you to become a much better musician. Music Theory helps provide a framework for your composing and improvisation. However, at some point you need to ignore some rules and simply use your ears.

If the musical rule (science) is correct – but it sounds bad … Who cares about the rule?


About blakehandler

BLAKE was a Microsoft MVP and award winning programmer with over 20+ years experience providing complete Windows and networking support for small to medium sized businesses. BLAKE is also Jazz Musician and Instructor for residential clients on the Los Angeles West Side.
This entry was posted in Definition, Improvisation, Know Where Know-How, Music. Bookmark the permalink.

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