Music is essentially the language with which human beings express their emotions. It uses the fundamentals of sound, melody, rhythm and harmony to create compositions that have the ability to soothe the mind and give wings to the soul. This is why it comes as no surprise that more and more people have increasingly begun to learn the art of making music.
However, creating music is not always an easy job. You don’t just need to have an innate knack for shaping musical forms, but you are also required to harbour the potential of understanding the very basics of music theory.
Consisting of various music alphabets, music keys, key intervals, sound chords, voice pitches, and note scales, music theory is primarily a study of the chief building blocks that constitute the entire body of music. It helps you create, analyze, and perform music better while enabling you to boost your levels of creativity and innovation.
So, if you are willing to gain more knowledge about music theory, here are a few details regarding music theory for beginners which will easily equip you to make a decent career in the music industry –
The Music Alphabet
The first lesson that music theory for beginners tends to focus on is – music alphabet. Just like the 26 alphabets of the English language, the language of music too has 7 major alphabets. These are – A, B, C, D, E, F and G. After G, each alphabet begins to repeat itself, but in a higher octave/pitch. This way, the cyclical repetition of the alphabets continues from the lowest to the highest octave. Always remember that each one of these music alphabets represents a key note, which can be used to create musical pieces and compositions.
The 12 Keys And Signatures
Apart from the 7 music alphabets, there are 12 main music keys and signatures. These are denoted by associating notes with sharps (#) and flats (♭)-
- Sharps – signify a slightly high pitch. For example, B# is a higher pitch than B, but it is not high enough to take you to C.
- Flats – indicate a slightly lower pitch. For example, C♭ is lower than C, but, it is not low enough to take you to B.
This understanding about sharps, flats and their associated keys, i.e. – A, A#/B♭, B, C, C#/D♭, D, D#/E♭, E, F, F#/G♭, G, G#/A♭ – is referred to as ‘key signatures’. Getting to know about these, forms the core of music theory for beginners.
The Music Interval
To put it simply, a music interval in music theory is the distance that separates one note from another. Each part of this distance is assigned a specific name. For instance, the interval between C & E is known as a ‘third’. Similarly, the interval between E & G is called a ‘Fifth’. This descriptive naming continues until you reach the interval between G & B, i.e. ‘Seventh’. From here, the cycle begins again, albeit in a higher octave.
Apart from these, basic music theory also teaches you about melodies and harmonies. A melody entails playing two subsequent notes one after another while a harmony includes playing both the notes at the same time.
The Music Scale
In the music theory for beginners, a music scale is recognized as a collection of notes which operate within a specific octave. In general parlance, these scales are divided into two principal types –
- Major– A major scale is essentially a scale through which happier and brighter sounds are played. On every key, it has the same structure and the same intonation. For example, an A major scale looks something like this – B, C#, D, E, F#, G#, A
- Minor – A minor scale, on the other hand, is a scale through which darker and sadder sounds are played. Here too, the structure and intonation remain the same. For example, an A minor scale looks something like this- B, C, D, E, F, G, A
Music theory teaches you to learn the music scale structures so that you can easily play them on any key signature of your choice.
The Chord Structure
The chord structure, in basic music theory, includes two or more notes wh