Click here to start at the very beginning!
Click on any feature in the following piece of music to get an explanation of it:
Introduction and background information
- This is an attempt to structure information about the theory
of music into a set of web pages
- I started work on this in 1996, and am still hoping to work on it (when I have time!) in 2005.
- There are currently 45 pages and 92 pictures on this website
- If you find any factual errors, have
any comments, or any other feedback, please
- Because work is on-going, there may be omissions or items left unfinished.
- There are still a number of subjects I have not covered at all.
- I am aware of gaps in some subjects.
- If you are a complete beginner, you could either start by
- clicking here and following any path you like
- or you could go through the index below, clicking on every link.
- If this is the first time you have visited here, please read my Copyright and Disclaimer page.
- The aim of the content and structure of these pages is to make each page short, concise and readable on one specific subject.
- I have tried to make good use of hypertext links to create pages which can be browsed to the level necessary for the reader
- If you need further information on any subject or don't understand a phrase, just click on it.
- I have also used bullet points wherever possible to structure the information given.
- I have tried to keep pages clean, with no unnecessary graphics or formatting (except perhaps the background!).
An index to Basic Music Theory pages
- Frequently Asked Questions:
- General musical topics that don't fit under headings below
- Frequency or pitch
- Rhythm and time
- Music usually has a number of regular beats in each bar or measure, and the length and number of each is given by the time signature.
- The length of a note is given by its shape plus appendages such as its stem, and one (or more than one) tail or beam.
- Two or more notes of the same pitch sound like one extended note if there is a tie between them.
- There are rules for how beams and ties are notated governing the groupings.
- Silences are also important in music and are specified by a rest which has a certain length.
- Both notes and rests can be made longer by the addition of a dot, which is then called a dotted note or dotted rest.
- Another type of dot, a staccato, makes a note shorter than it looks.
- The speed of a piece of music can be specified by a metronome marking and/or a speed indication, often in Italian.
- A slur is used to show the music phrases or where to breath, how to fit in words, or how to use a violin bow.
- Syncopation is a form of rhythm where the beat is offset, giving a jazzy feel.
Links to other Music Theory pages
Copyright and disclaimer
Content and structure of these pages
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