The Basics of Music Theory

Music is more than just a fun way to pass the time or fill in your day with some serenity. Music theory is the study of music, and it can be learned by anyone interested in expanding their knowledge base.




Music theory has been around since the ancient Babylonian period. Babylonian music theory was pretty complicated, but it became more simple after a few centuries of change and evolution. Later on, it was further refined by the Greeks and Romans. At this point in history, things got more serious. The Romans became the first to document the science of music theory officially.


Nowadays, people study everything from guitar to opera using musical notation software, taught in various schools worldwide. Music theory is no longer reserved for just a handful of people.


Basic Terms


It is important to understand some basic terms to understand the basics of music theory better. Here are a few of the most common terms:

  • Fingerboard: This is the part of the guitar used to play notes. It has frets (small bars) in an organized fashion across it so that you can easily play the different notes on your guitar.
  • Chord: A chord is two or more musical notes played together at once. They usually have three or more notes as well.
  • Scale: A scale is a group of musical notes that an instrument or a person can play or sing.
  • Scale Degree: This is the number given to each note on a scale. For example, if you have a C major scale, it would have the numbers 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6.
  • Note: Notes make up each piece of music. Notes are either on staff or written with symbols. Notes give pieces of music the pitch and duration.
  • Interval: An interval is a distance between two notes. In music theory, there are different intervals depending on how many notes are played together.
  • Interval Quality: The quality of an interval is determined by which note comes first to the other one. The only exception to this rule is when two octaves are played together. In this case, you use numbers (1 and 2) instead of naming the quality of the interval on accidentals.
  • Accidental: An accidental note was added to a musical staff to make it more accurate. Accidentals are not considered part of the key signature.
  • Key: A key is an agreed-upon scale that musicians will use when playing in a group or solo. For example, if you and another person are playing together but one of you is playing in C major while the other one is playing in G major, they will not sound perfect because they each think they know how to play the notes. If you agree on G major, it makes it easier for everyone involved; therefore, making the music sound better.


This information is essential because it helps you understand some of the most fundamental concepts used to create music. There is a lot more to learn if you get in touch with companies such as that focus primarily on teaching music.

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