Music Theory for Beginners: 5 Tips on Learning the Basics

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Approximately 54 percent of U.S. households have at least one family member who plays a musical instrument.

Are you looking to join this group? Do you want to learn to play an instrument?

If so, the first step you ought to take (after choosing an instrument, of course) is learning the basics of music theory.

Not sure where to begin when it comes to tackling this subject?

Read on to learn five simple tips on music theory for beginners.

1. The Musical Alphabet

When you first learned to read, you started by learning the alphabet, right?

The same is true if you want to learn to read and play music. You have to start with the alphabet.

The musical alphabet is even easier than the regular alphabet. It consists of just seven letters: A, B, C, D, E, F, and G.

Once you learn these notes (each of which has its own unique pitch), you’ll be well on your way to learning to play any song.

2. Sharps and Flats

The musical alphabet has seven letters but 12 notes.

There are five extra notes beyond the seven letters of the musical alphabet that fall in between them. These are sharp and flat notes.

Flat notes are one half-step lower in pitch than their corresponding natural notes. Sharp notes are one half-step higher in pitch.

On a piano, the sharp and flat notes are played on the black keys and the natural notes are played on the white keys.

3. Scales

Once you understand all the notes of the musical alphabet, you can put them together to create scales. Scales are collections of notes played in order of pitch.

There are many different types of scales that you can play. Major scales are some of the most popular, though. They’re created by arranging specific patterns of whole and half-steps.

4. Key Signatures

Key signatures let you know whether the notes in a particular scale are flat or sharp. They help you identify the key of a song as well. There are 12 key signatures, and each one is derived from one of the twelve musical notes.

5. Chords

When you play three or more notes at the same time on an online piano keyboard, a guitar, or any other instrument, that’s known as a chord. Chords give songs different moods and feelings.

There are tons of different types of chords you can play, but triads are some of the most common.

As the name suggests, triads are comprised of three notes. Triads fall into four categories: major, minor, diminished, and augmented. Major and minor triads are used most often.

Move Beyond Music Theory for Beginners

Learning an instrument is a long process, and it requires a lot of practice and studying.

That being said, these tips on music theory for beginners ought to be more than enough to help you begin your journey toward becoming a musician.

Do you want to learn more about music theory? Are you ready to go beyond the basics? If so, check out some of the other music-related articles on our site today.

Head to the Music section today for more information and advice.