Music Theory
4.7 (467 ratings)
Course Ratings are calculated from individual students’ ratings and a variety of other signals, like age of rating and reliability, to ensure that they reflect course quality fairly and accurately.
2,538 students enrolled

Music Theory

An in-depth and straight forward approach to understanding music.
4.7 (467 ratings)
Course Ratings are calculated from individual students’ ratings and a variety of other signals, like age of rating and reliability, to ensure that they reflect course quality fairly and accurately.
2,538 students enrolled
Created by Jonathan Peters
Last updated 10/2019
English
English [Auto]
Current price: $34.99 Original price: $49.99 Discount: 30% off
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This course includes
  • 3.5 hours on-demand video
  • 79 articles
  • 80 downloadable resources
  • Full lifetime access
  • Access on mobile and TV
  • Certificate of Completion
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What you'll learn
  • The definition of music
  • The elements of music (rhythm & pitch)
  • Division of pitch into melody and harmony
  • Rhythmic notation
  • Understanding relative durations of sound
  • The whole, half, quarter, 8th and 16th notes
  • Why notes are named the way they are
  • Relative durations vs. assigning numerical values
  • The unit of measurement
  • Beat
  • Tempo
  • Meter
  • Distinguishing between rhythm and meter
  • Bar lines and measures
  • Time signatures
  • 2/4, 3/4 and 4/4 meters
  • Determining the meter without a time signature
  • Natural division of rhythms
  • Strong and weak pulses
  • Rests
  • Assigning numerical values to rests
  • The whole rest and meter
  • Dotted notes
  • Numerical values of dotted notes
  • History of dotted notes
  • Dotted rhythms
  • The 3:1 ratio in dotted rhythms
  • The tie
  • Ties vs. dotted notes
  • Advantages and disadvantages of notating with ties vs. dots
  • Re-designation of the unit
  • 3/8 and 6/8 meters
  • New numerical values of notes
  • Understand relative durations with regard to a new unit of measurement
  • Strength of pulses
  • Designating the half note as the unit
  • Notating 2/2 meter or “cut” time
  • Numerical values of note durations in 2/2 meter
  • Comparison of 4/4 meter and 2/2 meter
  • Reasons for 2/2 meter
  • Classifying meters
  • Simple meter and compound meter
  • Duple, triple, and quadruple meter
  • Complex meter
  • Artificial divisions of the beat or beats
  • Artificial division of parts of the beat
  • Common types of tuplets
  • Definition of triplets & duplets
  • Identifying triplets & duplets
  • Ratio of triplets & duplets
  • Numerical value of triplets & duplets
  • Artificial divisions in relation to simple and compound meters
  • Sound waves
  • Frequency
  • Indefinite vs. definite pitch
  • Modern vs. ancient definition of pitch
  • Pitch experiments
  • Introduction to the staff
  • How the mind sees number
  • Ledger lines
  • Clefs
  • Movement on the staff (step, skip, repeat)
  • The musical alphabet
  • Letter names on the staff
  • The grand staff
  • Direction of note stems (and rationale)
  • Introduction to the keyboard
  • Groups of black keys
  • Letter names of keys
  • Correlation of staff to the keyboard
  • Half steps and whole steps
  • Sharps and flats on the keyboard
  • Enharmonic equivalents
  • Enharmonic keyboard notes
  • Reading sharps and flats on the staff
  • Sharps and flats within measures
  • The natural sign
  • The definition of interval
  • Melodic vs. harmonic intervals
  • Identifying intervals on the keyboard
  • Identifying intervals on the staff
  • Ratios and intervals
  • Pythagoras and the monochord
  • Consonance and dissonance
  • Definition and history of the modern scale
  • The major scale
  • Intervals and the major scale
  • Basis of the scale
  • Basis of the whole tone
  • Greek tetrachords
  • Greek semi tone and whole tone
  • Constructing scales on the keyboard
  • Constructing scales on the staff
  • Definition of "key"
  • The key signature
  • The circle of 5ths
  • The order of sharps
  • The order of flats
  • How to determine the key from the sharps/flats
  • How to determine how many and which sharps/flats are in a given key
  • Enharmonic keys
  • Interval number vs. interval quality
  • Major, minor and perfect interval qualities
  • Determining an intervals’ number and quality
  • Connection of interval qualities to the major scale
  • Identifying intervals on the staff
  • Augmented and diminished interval qualities
  • How augmented and diminished intervals are formed
  • The double sharp
  • Why the double sharp is necessary
  • The double flat
  • Why the double flat is necessary
  • The tritone
  • Abbreviations for interval qualities
  • Enharmonic intervals
  • Complementary intervals
  • Which qualities, when inverted, become which qualities
  • Simple intervals
  • Compound intervals
  • Reducing compound intervals
  • How to determine the quality of compound intervals
  • Open and close harmony
  • The difference between intervals and chords
  • Major and minor chords
  • Deriving the ratio of the major and minor 3rds using the monochord
  • The Pythagoras experiment and the major chord
  • Block and broken chords
  • Augmented and diminished chords
  • Music’s move from the horizontal to the vertical
  • Mathematical proportions of the major, minor, augmented and diminished triads
  • Understanding the harmonic mean
  • The harmonic mean and the major chord
  • Understanding the arithmetic mean
  • The arithmetic mean and the minor chord
  • The geometric mean and the augmented and diminished chords
  • Relation of chords to the major scale
  • The number of possible triads constructed from the pitches of the major scale
  • Order and quantity of triad qualities formed from the major scale
  • Roots of chords, scales, and keys
  • Comparison of the major and minor scales
  • Tetrachords in minor scales
  • The natural minor scale
  • Constructing natural minor scales on the keyboard & staff
  • The harmonic minor scale
  • The melodic minor scale
  • Ascending vs. descending melodic minor scale
  • Constructing harmonic minor scales on the keyboard & staff
  • Constructing melodic minor scales on the keyboard & staff
  • Relative keys
  • Determining the relative minor
  • Determining the relative major
  • Determining the key of music with shared key signatures
  • Parallel keys
  • Difference between parallel and relative keys
  • Relation of chords to the natural minor scale
  • Order and quantity of triad qualities formed from the natural minor scale
  • Relation of chords to the harmonic minor scale
  • Order and quantity of triad qualities formed from the harmonic minor scale
  • The major scale degrees
  • Naming the scale degree using Roman numerals
  • Naming triads using Roman numerals
  • Benefit to using degree vs. letter name
  • Primary chords and their importance
  • Relationship between chords
  • Chord inversions
  • Root position, 1st inversion and 2nd inversion
  • Intervals in chord inversions
  • The root rule
  • How to identify chord inversions by name, quality and inversion
  • Voices of a chord
  • Voice leading
  • Inversions and the primary chords
  • Chord progressions
  • Use of inversions to improve transition between chords
  • Introduction to function
  • Function names of the scale degrees
  • Extending the triad
  • Dominant seventh chords
  • Other names and notation of the dominant seventh chord
  • Why the dominant seventh chord is named the way it is
  • Inversion of the dominant seventh chord
  • 3rd inversion
  • Finding the root in a dominant seventh chord
  • How to identify a dominant seventh chord
  • Dominant seventh chords with missing notes
  • Major 7th chords
  • Minor 7th chords
  • Diminished 7th chords
  • Musical punctuation
  • Perfect authentic cadence
  • Imperfect authentic cadence
  • Half cadence
  • Plagal cadence
  • Deceptive cadence
  • Hexatonic scale
  • Whole tone scale
  • Chromatic scale
  • Pentatonic scale
  • Tonal music
  • Tonal centers
  • Polytonal music
  • Atonal music
  • Free atonal
  • Strict atonal
  • Twelve-tone technique
  • Tone rows
  • The ancient Greek modes
  • History of the church modes
  • Modern modes
  • The harmonic series
  • Overtones
  • Fundamental of a pitch
  • Complex vibration of a string
  • What the numbers of the harmonic series express
  • Hearing overtones (and experiment)
  • Timbre
  • Nature’s hierarchy of harmonic sound
  • Objective measurement of consonance and dissonance
  • History of consonance and dissonance
  • Tuning pitches
  • Brief history of tuning systems
  • Pythagorean tuning
  • Just intonation
  • Equal temperament
  • Definition of cents
  • Tuning of the modern piano
  • Benefits and shortcomings of the different tuning systems
  • Apps that demonstrate and compare some of the tuning systems
  • Overview of the four main periods of western art music
Requirements
  • no previous musical knowledge is needed
Description

Why should I learn music theory? Isn't it just "theoretical" knowledge that I won't really use? Nothing could be further from the truth! Music theory also has many practical applications. A musician who has studied music theory has a huge advantage over a musician who has not. Not only will they read music more fluently, their performances will be more musical because they will understand the various elements of music and how all the parts work together. Song writers and composers with a background in music theory will also have a huge advantage over those without such a background. In fact, for those who want to write music, there is nothing more important than having a firm understanding of music theory.


Why You Should Take This Course:

  • you will be learning from a professional musician and award-winning composer

  • the course is in-depth and covers all levels 

  • the material is presented in a straight forward and easy to understand approach

  • the videos and PDFs get right to the point, and do not ramble on for lengthy amounts of time saying very little and leaving you confused

  • you will go beyond just definitions and terms and get the added benefit of learning the "why" behind the subject matter  


Includes:

  • 112 lectures

  • over 350 diagrams

  • over 90 audio examples

  • 369 memory questions

  • 45 on-line quizzes

  • nearly 1,000 quiz questions

  • exercises, experiments and downloadable music apps


Who this course is for:
  • those who want more than just definitions and terms, but also want the "why"
  • beginners to advanced music students
  • musicians who want to improve their reading and musical performance
  • songwriters and composers (a firm grasp of music theory is necessary to excel in your art)
  • any person wanting to learn more about music
Course content
Expand all 164 lectures 05:03:32
+ INTRODUCTION
1 lecture 00:54

A brief overview of how the course is structured.

Preview 00:54
+ RELATIVE DURATIONS OF SOUND
3 lectures 09:13

This lecture covers the following concepts:


  • The elements of music (rhythm & pitch)

  • Division of pitch into melody and harmony

Preview 03:35

This lecture covers the following concepts:

  • Rhythmic notation (parts of a note)

  • Discussion on relative durations of sound

  • Notes - whole, half, quarter, eighth, and sixteenth

  • Why notes are named the way they are

Preview 04:28
Memory Questions (sec.2)
01:10
Lesson 2 Quiz
29 questions
+ ASSIGNING VALUES TO NOTE DURATIONS
3 lectures 08:54

This lecture covers the following concepts:

  • Relative durations vs. assigning numerical values

  • The unit of measurement

  • Beat

Preview 04:52

This lecture covers the following concepts:

  • The relation between beat and tempo

  • Metronome markings

  • Common tempo markings

Beat vs. Tempo
02:56
Memory Questions (sec.3)
01:06
Lesson 3 Quiz
32 questions
+ METER
4 lectures 09:06

This lecture covers the following concepts:

  • The definition of meter

  • Distinguishing between rhythm and meter

  • Bar lines and measures

Preview 02:49

This lecture covers the following concepts:

  • Time signatures

  • 2/4, 3/4 and 4/4 meters

  • Origin of "C" for common time

Time Signatures
01:45

This lecture covers the following concepts:

  • Natural division of rhythms

  • Strong and weak pulses

Occurrence of Strong Beats
03:16
Memory Questions (sec.4)
01:16
Lesson 4 Quiz
26 questions
+ RESTS
2 lectures 02:25

This lecture covers the following concepts:

  • Rests: whole, half, quarter, eighth and sixteenth

  • Assigning numerical values to rests

  • The whole rest and meter

Relative Duration of Silence
01:40
Memory Questions (sec.5)
00:45
Lesson 5 Quiz
13 questions
+ DOTTED NOTES
2 lectures 03:22

This lecture covers the following concepts:

  • Dotted notes

  • Numerical values of dotted notes

  • History of dotted notes

  • The divisiblity by 3 of all dotted notes

Adding on Duration
02:46
Memory Questions (sec.6)
00:36
Lesson 6 Quiz
16 questions
+ THE TIE
3 lectures 03:06

This lecture covers the following concepts:

  • The definition of a tie

  • The playing of tied notes

Adding Notes Together
01:21

This lecture covers the following concepts:

  • Ties vs. dotted notes

  • Advantages and disadvantages of notating with ties vs. dots

Ties vs.Dots
01:28
Memory Questions (sec.7)
00:17
Lesson 7 Quiz
11 questions
+ REDESIGNATING THE UNIT
3 lectures 04:49

This lecture covers the following concepts:

  • Re-designation of the unit

  • 3/8 and 6/8 meters

  • New numerical values of notes

  • Understanding relative durations with regard to a new unit of measurement

3/8 and 6/8 Meters
02:42

This lecture covers the following concepts:

  • The location of the strongest pulses in 3/8 & 6/8 meters

Strongest Pulses
00:51
Memory Questions (sec.8)
01:16
Lesson 8 Quiz
12 questions
+ CUT TIME
2 lectures 03:32

This lecture covers the following concepts:

  • Designating the half note as the unit

  • Notating 2/2 meter or “cut” time

  • Numerical values of note durations in 2/2 meter

  • Comparison of 4/4 meter and 2/2 meter

  • Reasons for 2/2 meter

The Half Note As Unit
02:57
Memory Questions (sec.9)
00:35
Lesson 9 Quiz
14 questions
+ CLASSIFYING METERS
4 lectures 07:14

This lecture covers the following concepts:


  • Defining simple meter

  • Simple duple

  • Simple triple

  • Simple quadruple

Simple Meter
02:03

This lecture covers the following concepts:


  • Defining compound meter

  • compound duple

  • compound triple

  • compound quadruple

  • pulse vs. beat

Compound Meter
03:46

This lecture covers the following concepts:


  • Defining complex meter

  • Some common complex meters

  • Problems with complex meters

Complex Meter
00:52
Memory Questions (sec.10)
00:32
Lesson 10 Quiz
21 questions