Introduction To Music Theory

Welcome! I am a Graduate from the Atlanta Institute of Music, & In this lesson we will start with a series of terms, questions and answers dealing with the basic concepts of guitar and music theory.

Ultimate Guitar
Before you can jump into the vast and detailed concepts of music theory you need to start by having a solid understanding of the basics. Terms To Remember -one musical tone is a *NOTE -two notes played harmonically; or the distance between two notes played melodically is a *INTERVAL -Three or more notes played harmonically is called a *CHORD -a *TRIAD: is a chord of 3 notes consisting of a Root, 3rd, and 5th interval above it -*HALF STEP: the movement of a note or chord ascending or descending in Pitch to the next Semitone or (fret) -*WHOLE STEP: the movement of a note or chord ascending or descending in pitch 2 Semitones or (2 frets) -an *ACCIDENTAL is a note from outside of the key center that has been sharped or flattened. -(#) *SHARP: Raises the pitch of note or chord one semitone in pitch -(b) *FLAT: Lowers the note or chord one semitone in pitch so we will start by simply asking our selves a series of questions. Q. What are the three basic components of music? A. Melody, Harmony & Rhythm Q. What is the difference between noise and musical tone? A. Noise has irregular vibrations; Musical tone has regular vibrations Q. What system of tuning does western harmony use? A. Equal Temperament. -Principal: Divide the octave into 12 equal semitones (Half Steps) usually a Logarithmic measurement is used where the octave = 1,200cents and each semitone = 100cents. -No interval other than the octave is acoustically pure or correct. -The deviation of the 5ths (2cents) is too small to be perceived -The deviation of the 3rd from 400 to 386 (14cents larger) is considerably greater. -The modern ear has become completely accustomed to this error & the advantages of this outweigh the disadvantages Q. What note is used for the industry standard tuning? A. A=440hertz: unit of frequency equal to one cycle per second. 1st fret A=440 hz 12th fret A=880 hz Q. Name the notes of the musical alphabet. A. A B C D E F G Q. How do we get the musical alphabet to become 12 equal semitones? A. The chromatic musical alphabet uses the accidentals to divide the octave into 12 semitones. -Enharmonics: are two notes or chords that sound the same but have different names. ex: A#/Bb , C#/Db , D#/Eb , F#/Gb , G#/Ab Q. if F# and Gb are enharmonics, when do we call the note F# or Gb? A. the key signature determines how you refer to a note. Q. What is a key signature? A. The sharps or flats at the beginning of a staff indicates the key of a composition. -A given key signature indicates 1 of 2 things: A Major Key, or it's reflective minor key. Q. How many key signatures are there? A. To your EAR there are only 12. corresponding to the 12 semitones of the octave. -because of enharmonics there are actually 15. Q. why have the ability to perform a composition is all 12 keys? A. 3 reasons: Vocal Range, Timbre & Orchestration (Detailed knowledge of the playing mechanism of each instrument, it's range, tone quality, loudness and limitation) Q. what is the staff? A. A series of 5 horizontal lines on & between which musical notes are written indicating there pitch & duration. Q. What is a clef sign? A. A sign at the beginning of the staff in order to indicate the pitch of the notes. -There are 3 such signs which respectively represent the tunes G, C & F. *The G Clef: is used for guitar, upper staff of piano, and all high instruments (Violin, Flute, etc.) *The F Clef: is used for bass guitar, the lower staff of piano, & for all low instruments (Cello, Bass, etc.) *The C Clef: - The alto clef is used for viola & instruments of similar range - The tenor clef is used for high range of the cello, bassoon, trombone, etc. *we write extra lines beneath the original five lines of a staff for extra notes on guitar. *we we write extra lines above the original five lines of a staff for extra notes on bass. Q. How are key signatures derived? A. by following the Major Scale Formula. * W-W-H-W-W-W-H * W=Whole Step, H=Half Step * whatever note or notes altered by using accidentals on order to make the scale conform to the major scale formula becomes the key signature noted on the staff. Q. How are they organized? A. The circle of 5th (the singular arrangement of 12 keys in an interval of ascending 5ths) it presents the keys in their natural orders *clockwise: adds one sharp to the signature *counter clockwise: adds one flat to the signature - Circle of fifths

5 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Dude i absolutely love every thing you posted. Unfortunately I dont under stand it. (im a newby). But wow. Its very insightful.
    Good information. Your format is a little too advanced for the beginner. If I didn't have a good grasp of theory already, I don't think I would have been able to follow it. Well written for the intermediate or advanced player.
    Quite a formal lesson....I found the stuff relating to sheet music very useful....and everything was actually correct! 10 Buddy....