What is the theory of music?
- The theory of music, sometimes called the "rudiments" (and, I'm told,
"solfege" in the USA) traditionally
concentrates on the study of the elements of the notation of music,
in other words, how it is written down.
However, it also includes underlying concepts of music such as
structure, organisation, history and, to some extent, physics.
- These underlying concepts are included for a number of reasons:
- Some of the concepts of the notation of music are difficult
to understand without knowledge of the underlying concepts;
for example, the use of
key signatures and
far easier to understand when the concepts of
scale are fully understood.
- Since music and its notation has grown and evolved over many
years (and this process is still going on), an understanding
of the underlying principles is helpful in understanding the
reasons for things, rather than just being told "this is the
way it is done".
- To understand properly the way notation is used in different
circumstances, it may be necessary to understand some of its
- An understanding of any of the physics of music is certainly
not necessary, but I find it interesting - you may not!
- The theory of music therefore includes the following:
- The basic elements of standard music notation such as
bars (or measures), etc.
- Basic underlying concepts such as
- More advanced elements such as dynamics, phrasing (notated with slurs) etc.
- Advanced material such as the history of notation, form, physics of scales,
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