Advertisement

Creative Session: All About Music Theory

11 Posts

Understanding music theory gives you the intellectual tools you need for creating music. It expands your musical vocabulary, helps you understand the "why" of putting notes, chords and rhythms together, and gives you a solid foundation to build on. Just do it!

Posts in this series
  • Music & Audio
    Resources
    The Basic Functions of HarmonyThumb
    “All you need is three chords and the truth.” At it’s core, all music can be considered an interplay of tension and release. The degree of tension can come from dissonance vs. consonance, orchestration, dynamics, or a hundred other musical elements. The key to using tension and release is balance. With too much tension and no release the tension can become unbearable and the music unlistenable. On the reverse side, if the music is too neutral with little to no amount of tension it can be dull and lifeless.Read More…
  • Music & Audio
    General
    Secondary Dominants and How to Use ThemThumb
    In the previous harmony tutorial, The Basic Functions of Harmony, we introduced the idea that harmony is about a balance between tension and release. If you haven't yet read that tutorial I suggest you do before moving on to this one. For this tutorial we're going to explore the idea of Secondary Dominants and how they can be used to create tension and release in more harmonically complex and interesting ways. We'll discuss what they are, some of the different ways they can be used, and then show some examples from real music.Read More…
  • Music & Audio
    Composition
    An Introduction to CadencesThumb
    The cadence is a critical element in any harmonic progression. Cadences will often come to you naturally without you being aware of them, but understanding how and why you are using them (and how you can avoid using them) will give you more sophisticated control over the dramatic shape and direction of your music.Read More…
  • Music & Audio
    Music Theory
    Music Theory: Intervals, and How to Derive ThemThumb
    Joel Falconer wrote a great article on how to use your ear to detect intervals with song associations. In this article we'll look at how you come up with those intervals in the first place.Read More…
  • Music & Audio
    Music Theory
    Quick Tip: The Overtone SeriesThumb
    The overtone series is the basis of tonal music. The order of pitches in the series has established the progression of Western Music over the last 300 years. Among its uses are a blueprint for effective chord voicings and an understanding of chord tones and tensions.Read More…
  • Music & Audio
    Music Theory
    Quick Tip: Use the Overtone Series for Effective Chord VoicingsThumb
    In a previous tutorial I briefly explained the Overtone Series. In that tutorial I mentioned that the series could be used as a guide for effective chord voicing. In this tutorial I'll explain what that means.Read More…
  • Music & Audio
    Music Theory
    Using Pedal PointsThumb
    The pedal point is a common compositional device with a range of useful purposes. In this tutorial we'll learn what a pedal point is and how it can be used for a variety of functions. Read More…
  • Music & Audio
    Music Theory
    Electric Guitar Chord InversionsThumb
    Playing the same old chords on every song can get pretty tiring and can leave a music career stale in a heartbeat. Read More…
  • Music & Audio
    Music Theory
    Quick Tip: How to Recognize FrequenciesThumb
    We've done a few articles on ear training in the music theory sense, such as Bootcamp for Your Ear, where you learn to recognize musical intervals, like the minor 2nd or major 7th for instance. But what about frequency information? Read More…
  • Music & Audio
    Music Theory
    Introduction to the Major Scale - BasixPreview
    The major scale forms the basis of the vast majority of Western music. In this Basix tutorial we learn how to build a major scale from half steps and whole steps.Read More…
  • Music & Audio
    Music Theory
    The Harmonized Major Scale - Part 1Cover image
    The Harmonized Major scale enables us to identify all the chords within a given key.Read More…