What role has theory played in your compositions and how important is it for people to know the theory behind the music in order to appreciate it? David B. Doty



David B. Doty

Like any composer working in just intonation, I find a certain amount of theory necessary. When choosing from among a potentially unlimited variety of pitches and intervals, some kind of roadmap is essential. Of course, the composer’s ear should be the ultimate judge of what pitches are correct in a given musical context, but one must have knowledge of the probable choices.

However, it is possible to have “too much of a good thing.” Tuning theory can become a fascination in its own right—divorced from the practice of music; it becomes a kind of recreational mathematics.