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While one can think very philosophically about music without ever mentioning the concept of "note", or talk about how music makes one feel without knowing what a diatonic scale is, there is a well established, intellectual body of knowledge that allows one to better understand a large percentage of Western music before 1920. Some of it is facts to memorize, like the intervals of a scale, but we also learn the logical implications of those memorized facts, like that the fifth degree of a major scale has a leading tone to the first degree. One can choose to deliberately not write or listen to music for which these categories matter, but every musicologist and composer should have some competency in these technical details, at the very least so they know what rules they're breaking.

Does any analogue exist in visual arts? I see a connection between drawing and playing an instrument, in that both require a technique that is very physical as well as interpretive imagination, but is there any theory in the visual arts (particularly drawing/painting) that is at all like what is considered "music theory"?

closed as off-topic by David Bowling, user19146, Richard, Dom Aug 7 '18 at 13:12

  • This question does not appear to be about music practice, performance, composition, technique, theory, or history within the scope defined in the help center.
If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it is not about music practice, performance, theory, etc. – David Bowling Aug 3 '18 at 22:46
  • There is loads of theory related to the visual arts; you might be interested in the branch of philosophy known as aesthetics, or in books by Gombrich, Arnheim, Berger, Albers.... But note that the materials of music are more amenable to quantitative analysis than the materials of the visual arts. – David Bowling Aug 3 '18 at 22:49
  • Thanks for the tips! Do you know of any stack exchange site in which this would be appropriate? – lightning Aug 3 '18 at 22:53
  • I am not sure if your question fits on any SE site, and others may disagree with me that it does not fit here. You might have some luck on the SE Philosophy site, but I am not sure that the question is on-topic there; I did see some questions about art there, and EH Gombrich and Rudolf Arnheim were associated with the philosophy and psychology of art. I think for theories of visual art, that might be your best bet. – David Bowling Aug 3 '18 at 23:09
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    @ggcg The only sentence of the OP's post that ends with a question mark is clearly about visual arts, not about music. Otherwise, a question like "is there any analogue to music theory in playing chess?" would also be on -topic here - which doesn't agree with (my concept of) common sense. – user19146 Aug 4 '18 at 0:05

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