Many people learn to play music by ear and others learn to play through an engagement with its theoretical underpinnings. On this course you will learn the essential skills required for understanding notated music and the theoretical basis of all western music - whether classical, pop, blues, metal or a myriad of other styles. You will learn how to read and write music and also be provided with the groundwork for further exploration into more complicated notation and theoretical analysis. The course is focused on learning by doing so register today to get started.
8,737 Successful Graduates
8 Interactive Lessons
8 hours +
What is music theory and why is it important? What is tonality? This first lesson explores the reasons why we use music theory and notation. Reading notation is the most effective way to understand what is happening in a piece of music but it can also be used to share musical ideas with others and to gain a deeper appreciation of more complex composition.
Notation and Beginning Scales
Lesson two introduces the concept of scale degrees and how they can be used to understand the scalar relationship of pitch. This concept will then be used to start exploring scales, beginning with the diatonic major scale - the basis of all western music from classical to jazz, hip hop to heavy metal.
Intervals and Ear Training
All musical scales are created with intervals - the construction of minor and major scales depends on the sequence of intervals used and the relationship between them. You will learn the difference between major and minor scales, how to recognise the intervallic organisation of pitch and how this organisation is used in different pieces of music.
Chords and Chord Changes
Every major scale can be used to create different chords - this lesson will teach you how to find the relative chords associated with every major scale and what the relationship between them means. Music occurs in time and this lesson will introduce you to the movement of chords horizontally along the staff. As music moves, it’s harmonic foundation changes - we will look at these harmonic changes and how they occur in different musical examples.
The Structure of Music
Here we will look at broader structures of music - the development from verse to chorus, the chord changes that are used to create these structures and other kinds of developments in different styles of music will be explored. These structures will be examined and you will learn how to analyse different songs in order to determine the kind of chord changes that are occurring.
All the theoretical and practical skills gained throughout the course will be combined during this lesson. This will enable you to write a basic melody and chord progression that changes from major to minor or develops according to structural changes explored earlier in the course. Concepts used for the analysis and composition of more complex music will also be discussed along with practical examples of this analysis and how it can be used in your own work.
Keys and the Minor Scale
Up to this point almost all of the musical notation examples have been in ‘C’ - what does it mean to change key or to write music in another key? This lesson will explain keys and key signatures, how to understand them and how to read them. Lesson 7 also explores minor chords and minor scales in more depth. Major scales and chords tend to sound bright and happy, whereas minor scales and chords tend to be considered serious or melancholic. This lesson explores these differences.
In the last lesson we will explore more complex musical examples and how theoretical analysis is used to understand their harmonic structures and overall forms. We will also look at different forms and structures used through the global practice of music beyond the confines of the western world.
I am now half way through introduction to music theory and am really enjoying it. Its not easy for me but i am learning lots and its fun.
Loved the Music theory course. Finally understand the theory of music.
Taking music course challenging but great really enjoying it thanks
I am learning music.My tutor is Donal Fullam.