Basic Music Theory


Music Theory

Want to learn some basic music theory? Watch the video above. In addition, here is a checklist of some things that should JUST BE LEARNED! understanding-basic-music-theory

Learning basic music theory is an absolute must if you intend on communicating with other musicians. Whether you are writing a song together, playing a live gig, or just jamming at the crib with some friends over a few cold ones, you gotta know the lingo…. you know, you gotta talk the talk if you wanna walk the walk!

The best part is, this ain’t rocket science! You ain’t gotta learn Mandarin! The following list outlines some of the essentials of music theory that you will need to know if you want to take this thing anywhere. It’s worth it! I have worked in a recording studio for the majority of my adult life and I couldn’t stress enough the importance of at least learning basic music theory.

The Musical Alphabet:
The musical alphabet is a lot like our English alphabet (assuming you read english). It is a similar system of letters that were assigned to represent a sound in music that we call a note. This is pretty easy to learn, and everything else will follow this standard so it’s a great place to start! Standard guitar tuning is EADGBE. When I took lessons many moons ago, my instructor taught me a phrase I will never forget. Every Apple Does Grow Big Eventually. Now these days I’m a little more sick and twisted and would find joy in teaching a very inappropriate version of this… but I will pass on that for now.

Not talking about a triple beam here pot head, I’m talking about musical Scales! What are they? They are just a linear arrangement of notes…. that is it. If a sequence of notes are actual pitches, then scales are those pitches in a certain order. (ex. E A D G B E) Scales and/or elements of scales have been used in just about every song you have ever heard, they are a huge piece of basic music theory, so get your basic mind-set in order and learn this stuff.

music theory for guitarIntervals:
Like any other interval, it’s a spacing thing. In this instance, it’s the distance (or spacing) from one note to another. Whether it’s A to B, or D to F, every interval has it’s own name. This knowledge will really become useful when figuring out harmonies, and you are going to want to figure out the harmonies.

Chords are a combination of notes taken from a scale and combined into one sound. (For instance “A + C# + A = AMaj”.) Learning guitar chords are an integral part of song structure, they provide organization, and help to shape a musical sequence into a legit song. They are responsible for giving a song “that sound”. Even if you are wanting to play lead, wanting to run solo leads like an animal….. you are still going to need to know this. Solos are built out of scales, chords, and the individual notes that make them up.

Key Signatures:
Key sig’s tell us the tone or the “key” of the song. It also tells you which notes the song will be using, as there are certain notes to be played within any given key. The more you get busy with your scale work, the more familiar you’re gonna get with the range and the scale of particular keys. Unless you’re a jackass and wanna stick to the same progressions, and the same sound, and never test the musical boundaries that exist. I doubt that’s you though, cause if you are still reading this then you are probably a little more serious than the last guy.

Ok, so this was some more beginner stuff, hopefully the video helped, and hopefully I touched on the basics of Music Theory enough for you to get a real general idea of how this all works. For advanced training you can google the shit out of Music Theory and find more information then you could ever retain (at least that’s my experience).

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