I know some of that but most of which comes new to me. I do a lot of writing recently and the chord progressions that you are describing i have been using before i even realized this more of like a pattern learned from other songs or heard to sound right with the ear. Do you think theory is something that can make or break a writer i know i have been writing and it all sounds fairly good to me but i havent ever sat down and thrown out some theory on paper. The music i write is mainly pop punk and i have spoken to a few other people who say that theory is something that is good to learn but not a necessity. Thanks for all the information man i really appreciate it!
Your friends are right about it being good to know but not a nessecity. For example, Hendrix knew zero music theory and he went pretty far. I don't think knowing theory is gonna make or break you as a songwriter. That said, it definately won't hurt. You mentioned you've noticed the 1-4-5 pattern on other songs before, that's great. It means you're making the connection between the idea (theory) and the application (song). There's really no right or wrong way to think about theory, that's why they don't call it Music Fact.
As far as knowing theory helping you write, I guess it really depends on what your writing process is like. Some guys will just tool around the neck trying to find combinations on chords that sound cool. I guess that's what you've been doing from what you've said. That's a totally valid approach, nothing wrong with doing that. But other guys who have a little better understanding of theory may approach it differently. For example they may take a chord progression they know that they like (for ex. a common 2-5-1 jazz progression) and experiment with different keys, starting on a different chord, and even making what's called a "substitution", basically playing another chord in place of one of the original chords. That creates what's called an "implied" chord, meaning the tonality of that chord is heard, but it's not written that way.
If you're trying to take your songwriting to the next level, study about the relationship between chords and their scales. If we go back to my first "lesson" from earlier today, you'll see the C major scale.
C D E F G A B - If we assign numbers to each note you get
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 - C being 1, B being 7, etc.
Earlier we talked about making a chord with notes from the scale. We ended up with
If we applied this concept to every note in the scale you would get
Now if you were to play those notes on a piano as they're written, some will sound better than others. Where this gets tricky is when you try to play the scale with a chord for each scale note. Even though you're playing the C major scale, not all the chords you make are major chords, only the 1, 4, 5 chords are Major. The 2, 3, 6 turn out to be Minor chords. The 7 is what's called "diminished". So if we think about each scale tone as a chord and write out the tonality (whether it's major or minor) for each chord, we get this:
1- C Major
2- D minor
3- E minor
4- F Major
5- G Major
6- A minor
7- B diminished
So if we're in C Major and the progression is a 2-5-1 progression, our chords are:
2- D minor
5- G Major
1- C Major
This concept also works for every scale there is. Some will sound better than others though. Major. minor, harmonic minor, pentatonic, dorian, etc. You can apply this idea to every scale.
This relationship between the scale and the chord is really what songwriting is all about, at least from the harmony side. Melody is a whole other story outside the scope of this post. When you're inside the "chordal structure" (my own term) of the key of C Major, certain chords sound like they "want" to be followed (or preceded by) other chords. For ex, in the 2-5-1 above, this is a common progression b/c the 2 chord sounds like it "wants" to go to the 5 chord. SO if I was writing a song in C, and I have a D minor chord somewhere in the song, it's more than likely that it will be followed by the 5 chord, G Major. It just sounds like it "wants" to go to the 5 chord. There have been many different ideas and debates through the years about which chord "wants" to go to where. That idea of certain chords "wanting" to go to another specific chord is traditionally called "tension and resolution". Meaning, given a certain key, some notes will sound more "tense" than others. "resolution" means that beautiful relaxed sound you get when you hear a pleasing interval (like a major 3rd). It just sounds like it goes together.
Again, I wrote a thesis though I didn't mean to. LOL. Getting the concept of scale tones and their associated chords will take you far.