What is Music Theory?
Have you ever wondered why the music you listen to feels the way it does? Music theory can sound complex, but it's really just a way to understand how music works. Our goal is to help make everything super easy for you to understand, so you can start using music theory to create, appreciate, and connect with music more deeply.
Music theory is a collection of "rules" and concepts that musicians use to create and analyze music. I put rules in quotation marks because It is important to know that music theory is not a set of rules that you have to follow. It's simply a way to explain how music works. You can use it to understand how songs are made, or you can use it to make your own music, and there are actually many different ways to analyze and understand any piece of music.
Just like how learning a language helps you communicate better, understanding music theory can help you create, appreciate, and connect with music more deeply, even though you can actually do all those things without knowing anything about it - which is one of the things that makes music so amazing.
I see music theory as one of the most beautiful things in the world, it's the language of music, and it's a language that we all speak.
(Almost) all of the music we hear is made up of only 12 notes, spanning different octaves and instruments. These notes are the building blocks of music, and they are the foundation of music theory.
An interval is the distance between two notes, It's one of the most important things to understand in music. Intervals are measured in half steps/semi tones, which is the smallest distance between two notes on a piano. Different intervals create different feelings and emotions, using the natural feel of the interval and the context it is played in. For example, let's compare a major third and a minor third.
A major third looks and sounds like this:
And a minor third looks and sounds like this:
Scales are simply "formulas" of intervals - for picking different groups of notes from our 12 notes. Different scales are used to create different moods and atmospheres in music. There are hundreds of scales, but the most common ones are the major and minor scales.
The Minor Scale
Rhythm in music theory is the pattern of sounds and silences that creates a sense of movement and flow. It's the driving force that moves the music forward. Music can't exist without rhythm - even if you don't know anything about notes or scales, you can still feel the rhythm of a song and dance to it.
A chord is simply multiple notes played together. Chords add depth and harmony to music. They are foundational to most songs and can evoke a wide range of emotions and atmospheres.
Understanding music theory opens up a new dimension in enjoying music. It allows you to appreciate the craftsmanship behind a piece of music, from the simplest pop song to complex classical compositions. Plus, if you're a musician or aspiring to be one, music theory is an invaluable tool to help you compose, improvise, and communicate with other musicians.
Music theory might sound technical, but it's really just about understanding the language of music. With a bit of study, you'll start seeing music in a new light, discovering patterns, structures, and the magic that makes music such a universal and powerful form of expression.
In the next article we go deeper and start looking into how music works, and how we can use music theory to create and analyze music.