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Introduction to Music Theory

Music TheoryMusic theory is basically an analysis of various musical elements. Some of these elements include: texture, melody, rhythm, harmony and structure. Let’s give you a brief description of each of these elements as they pertain to music theory.

Musical texture is the sound of a piece as a whole. Textures are often described as thick or thin, based on the number of musical parts and how they are being combined. Textures vary with different styles of writing. Terms such as polyphony, homophony and monophony and he’s a phony are often used. Never mind that last phony categorization. Nobody visiting pianolessons101 is a phony. We don’t allow name calling here, just hard working musicians!

A melody in music theory is created by stringing a bunch of pitches together. These pitches are usually derived from the various documented Western scales. Written melody translates these pitches into musical notation.

Harmony is a combination of two or more pitches played at the same time. Chords of various types, including major and minor triads and all of the seventh chords are all part of the harmonic vocabulary.

Structure is simply the form which a piece of music is molded into. Some classical terms that are constantly used in this regard are sonata-allegro, rondo, theme and variations and fugue. Other non-classical forms include twelve bar blues and verse-chorus form.

Finally, rhythm is the timing of sounds within a musical composition. These sounds can either be pitched or non-pitched sounds. An example of a pitched instrument would be the timpani while a non-pitched percussive instrument would be a triangle. Here is a list of other non-pitched sounds that you can try on your own: a slap in the face (only try this on yourself as some people may take offense), a swift kick of a door (preferably wood) and a scraping of tree bark with your fingernails (wear gloves please).


Notes on a Staff
Learn a bit about music notation

Note Values with Numbers

Use numbers to help you with music notation

What are Beats and Note Value Anyway?

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