A Brief Overview of Basic Music Theory
Brief explanations of five (5) topics essential for understanding basic music theory.
From my experience in teaching, the overview of these five (5) topics tend to be extremely helpful for learners who have done music before but have stopped practicing for an extended period of time.
The following is a written explanation of the following topics:
THE FIVE TOPICS:
1) Musical Notation
2) The 12 Notes of Music - The Musical Alphabet
3) The Staff
4) The Clef
5) Names of Notes
(1) MUSICAL NOTATION
Musical Notation is the LANGUAGE of music.
English uses letters and Music uses notes
You can read music just as well as you can read English!
(2) THE 12 NOTES OF MUSIC
Did you know that there are only 12 notes in Western Music
Those notes are
A A# B C C# D D# E F F# G G#
The note A# is said as: 'A Sharp'
Everyone note has a sharp except for B and E
- There is no B#
- There is no E#
The distance between one note and the next is called a SEMITONE
The distance from A to A# is ONE (1) SEMITONE
The distance from A# to B is ONE (1) SEMITONE
The distance from B to C is ONE (1) SEMITONE
The distance from C to D is TWO(2) SEMITONES
The distance from A to B is TWO (2) SEMITONES
(3) THE STAFF
The staff is what notes are written on. Without a staff, we can not write notes properly.
The staff is made up of 5 lines and 4 spaces in which notes are placed into (a line or a space)
(4) THE CLEF
A Clef is what helps give notes their names. There are many different types of clefs and every instrument needs a specific clef. Let's focus on two popular clefs; the TREBLE clef and the BASS Clef.
Without clefs, we will not be able to name the notes on the staff.
The Guitar uses the TREBLE CLEF.
(5) NAMES OF NOTES ON THE STAFF
Once we have a STAFF with a CLEF on it, we can start naming notes out.
Let's start with the TREBLE CLEF on the STAFF first,
The SPACES on this staff are
The SPACES spell FACE
A popular acronym for learning the lines are
Every Good Boy Deserves Fun - E G B D F
The Simplest method is counting your notes up or down the musical alphabet.
NOTICE: The sharps or flat weren't counted, just the whole notes: A B C D E F G