The Foundation of Music Theory That Every Musician Should Know


Music theory involves everything that makes it come to life. This includes texture, timbre, dynamics, silence, pitch, harmony, form, and rhythm. Only 5% of the population worldwide doesn’t like to listen to music. This means the larger population enjoys music. Hence you need a reason to create good music. To be an excellent composer or musician, you need to understand the evolution of music.

You should understand the tones, notes, and music notations and learn how musicians play instruments or create and compose music. Understanding music theory assists you in perfecting your art.

The following article covers everything on music theory, ear training for beginners  to elevate your music skills and help you create memorable music.

The meaning of music theory

Music theory encompasses every element that helps us understand music. It’s an extensive and complex subject that contains several practices, concepts, and disciplines. It’s what you feel when you hear music, what it does, and how it is constructed. When the ideas surrounding music are put in written form, you can pass them from one generation to the next.

Basic music theory talks of:

  • Harmony elements like rhythm, harmony, and harmony melodies;
  • Compositional elements like tempo form, notes, chords, keys signature, and scale;
  • Musical qualities like pitch, tone, texture timbre;

It’s the understanding of the nature of music.

Why is it important to study music theory?

Music theory basics contain different elements like composition, history, performance composition, and note ear training.  Note ear training is essential when you want to play excellent music. It enables you to distinguish different pitches and tones. You can study music theory online and offline. Pick some music areas in theory that interest you and embark on learning.

Now, let’s look at some benefits of studying music theory.

  • Boosts the music performance

Music performance requires memory.  Music theory enables you to recognize different patterns that are in music. Once you understand music’s form and structure, you can access the harmonic memory, increasing your capacity to remember large sections of music from memory.

All musical disciplines are fundamentally interconnected. Whether playing piano, drums, guitar,  or understanding vocals. A music theory helps better your craft.

  • Boosts the improvisational skills

Music theory helps you learn how to play noted music. Understanding improvisational skills boost your understanding of music. You learn how scales progress, become an expert at predicting chord progressions and have an excellent physical aptitude for the instruments.

Understanding musical forms and knowledge of harmonic substitutions enables you to practice improvisation, leaving you with the power to create cohesive music.

  • Understand music

Music theory isn’t formulaic. Some people don’t find it interesting, like learning other forms of music. However,  it’s a fundamental element in music composition and a great tool in building your musical career.

It stretches the different possibilities of what you can do with music without necessarily tampering with your creativity.

  • Broaden your music knowledge


Music theory is broad, and there is always something new to learn.  You get to understand music out of your comfort zone from different music techniques and unfamiliar pieces with great historical significance. You also expand your musical repertoire. It helps you get a flexible and dynamic approach to music.

  • Play music more accurately

Knowing different music styles enables you to understand what the composer intended to achieve or wanted to be performed while writing. You won’t have to go through the tone while practicing or recording the music performance.

  • It helps you transcribe music

Music theory helps you familiarize yourself with music conventions when composing pieces. A good grasp of fundamentals theory makes it easier to transcribe music. You get easier to find a connection between paper and sound.

You take notes from paper and then transfer them into the real world, and you can easily transform real music into notes. It’s great for anyone who wants to be a singer and songwriter.

Approaches to music theory education: classical vs. contemporary


Music theory lessons take many shapes. Classical and contemporary music lessons differ but also relate in some ways. The contemporary and classical approaches to music theory education are important to keep one interested in music matters.

Classical music lessons

Classical musical lessons are more rigid. It entails reading and playing the music of great historical composers that lead to excellent sight reading skills. More often, it’s like reading a new book. You learn to play and read music note for note. But when it’s the only thing that’s taught, it gets boring and can hold back students who have a lot of talent in music.

Contemporary music lessons

Contemporary music lessons are diverse. They vary in style and methods. The classes take a folk approach. They focus on musicianship, skills, and intuitiveness of a person who learns music. It allows for growth and faster results.

Students get to play challenging music within the first few months of starting their lessons. Nonetheless, these students find it hard to have adequate music reading abilities and also engage in cognitive music skills. Combining contemporary and classical music lessons is excellent for creating an all-round musician passionate about their craft.

Fundamentals of musical theories

Fundamentals of music theory include rhythm, harmony,  form, tonal systems, consonance, dissonance, and melody.

  • Rhythm –  rhythm is the time element in music.  It’s the tempo,  meter, beat, and syncopation.
  • Dynamics –   these are the music aspects relating to the quietness or loudness of the music.
  • Melody – the melody is the horizontal and linear presentation of a pitch, which is the lowness or the highness of a  musical body.  Famous musical compositions have a memorable theme or melody.
  • Texture –  is made up of the number of melodies and how they relate to each other.
  • Harmony –  harmony is the art of combining pitches into chords. Harmony can be described in terms of its harshness, like dissonance and consonance. Other terms related to harmony are tonality, modality,  and atonality.

In conclusion

You can express music in infinite ways. Learning music theory broadens your knowledge of the intricate details of music. It gives you the power to understand music deeply. In the process, you become a better composer, improviser, and also performer. Lastly, you push your boundaries and become a better innovator.