Miles Davis was a legendary American trumpeter, bandleader, and composer who is regarded as one of the most influential musicians of the 20th century. His innovative style and approach to jazz revolutionized the genre and inspired countless musicians to follow in his footsteps.
It is often said that Miles Davis did not study music theory and that he relied solely on his natural talent and intuition to create his music. This myth has persisted for many years, but is it true
In reality, Miles Davis did study music theory, albeit in an informal way. He began playing trumpet at a young age and received formal training at the Juilliard School of Music in New York City. While he did not complete his studies there, he did learn the basics of music theory.
Throughout his career, Miles Davis continued to explore different musical concepts and theories. He studied the work of classical composers such as Maurice Ravel and Paul Hindemith, as well as contemporary jazz musicians like Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie.
The Importance of Intuition:
While Miles Davis did study music theory to some extent, he also believed strongly in the importance of intuition in creating music. In interviews, he often spoke about how he would hear a melody or a rhythm in his head before ever putting it down on paper or playing it on his trumpet.
For Miles Davis, intuition was just as important as technical proficiency when it came to making music. He believed that great music came from a combination of both knowledge and instinct.
Miles Davis’s legacy as a musician is a testament to the power of both formal education and individual creativity. While he did study music theory, he was not bound by its rules and was free to explore new sounds and ideas. His music continues to inspire generations of musicians, and his name remains synonymous with innovation and creativity in jazz.
So, while the myth that Miles Davis did not study music theory may persist, the truth is that he did have some formal training in the subject. However, his greatest gift was his ability to combine that knowledge with his own intuition and creativity to create something truly unique.