<< Chapter < Page Chapter >> Page >


Anything you do (or want to do) as a musician or listener can be connected to music theory, because music theory is the practice of talking about musical sounds, including the terms used to discuss them and the concepts used to classify, analyze, or explain the music.

    What counts as "music theory" understanding?

  • Understanding the meanings of musical terms - This includes basic terms that you may already be using. For example, even if you can already play major scales, the question "what exactly is a major scale, anyway?" is a good theory question.
  • Connecting a term to the musical sound(s) that it refers to - For example, learning to recognize a series of sounds as a major scale is an exercise both in ear-training and in music theory.
  • Understanding the rules for notating the music - For example, major scales can be notated using either a key signature or sharp or flat signs in front of individual notes. Some scales may even feature double-sharps or double-flats, and it is the rules of music theory that call for and explain this unusual notation.
  • Analyzing notated or heard music - For example, if you can see (or hear) that a piece in a minor key is suddenly using the notes of a major scale, you have gained a music-theory-based insight into how the composer created the sound of that piece.
  • Recognizing patterns and understanding why rules-of-thumb work - For example, when you practice scales, you can memorize "rules of thumb" such as the order that flats are "added" in key signatures, but recognizing the pattern and understanding the reason why they are added in that order is even more useful.

You may not be able to find sources that simply tell you what music theory you will need to know and how to learn it, but there should be clues in many places that strongly suggest useful answers. For example, if as a beginning clarinet student, you are given a list of major scales to practice, then you can assume that understanding major scales would be useful. If you like to listen to gamelan music but whenever you try to read about it, you run across certain words that you do not understand, then it is reasonable to suspect that understanding those words might be very useful to you.

Remember, your goal for this inquiry is not to actually learn the theory (yet), it is simply to figure out what would be useful to learn and how you might learn it. In your investigation, try to find answers, or clues about answers, from at least 5 different sources. You can check different sources that are of the same type (for example, talk to two different musicians, look at two method books, and read one informational publication); but I recommend that you try to find different types of sources. (For example, do not simply look at five different method books.)

    Types of sources of information:

  • Talk to a musician - Do you know someone who can do what you would like to be able to do and would not mind discussing it with you? Musicians may be able to give you a direct answer to your inquiry question; or you may get many clues and ideas from the way they talk about what they do.
  • Talk to a music teacher - One of the main things that distinguishes a professional music teacher from a good musician is that the music teacher makes a living explaining how to make music, using the terms, concepts, and notations that are correct for that music tradition. If you work with or know a music teacher, this may be your best source for a direct answer to your inquiry question. A music teacher who is unfamiliar with the musical practice or tradition that interests you may still be able to suggest useful resources or ways to approach the problem.
  • Informational publications - For example, books and online articles that describe an instrument or a music tradition may use terms and concepts that are unfamiliar to you.
  • Written music - For example, simply looking, carefully and thoughtfully, at notated music that you are expected to perform (or that does what you would like your compositions to do) may inspire music-theory questions that are very relevant to your goals.
  • Method books - Books that are designed to help you learn and practice a particular musical activity (such as playing an instrument, singing, or improvising) may feature explanations of useful terms and concepts. Even if they focus entirely on the activity, the types of activities introduced (such as learning to read a notation or practicing scales) give you clues as to what music-theory concepts would be useful. Because musical understanding is so closely connected to musical activity, such books will also be a particularly good source for practical activities that will help you learn and understand the theory.
  • Biographies, interviews, and reviews of musicians who can do what you would like to do may include unfamiliar terms and concepts. They also may include clues as to how the musician learned to understand and use the theory.

Questions & Answers

Is there any normative that regulates the use of silver nanoparticles?
Damian Reply
what king of growth are you checking .?
What fields keep nano created devices from performing or assimulating ? Magnetic fields ? Are do they assimilate ?
Stoney Reply
why we need to study biomolecules, molecular biology in nanotechnology?
Adin Reply
yes I'm doing my masters in nanotechnology, we are being studying all these domains as well..
what school?
biomolecules are e building blocks of every organics and inorganic materials.
anyone know any internet site where one can find nanotechnology papers?
Damian Reply
sciencedirect big data base
Introduction about quantum dots in nanotechnology
Praveena Reply
what does nano mean?
Anassong Reply
nano basically means 10^(-9). nanometer is a unit to measure length.
do you think it's worthwhile in the long term to study the effects and possibilities of nanotechnology on viral treatment?
Damian Reply
absolutely yes
how to know photocatalytic properties of tio2 nanoparticles...what to do now
Akash Reply
it is a goid question and i want to know the answer as well
characteristics of micro business
for teaching engĺish at school how nano technology help us
Do somebody tell me a best nano engineering book for beginners?
s. Reply
there is no specific books for beginners but there is book called principle of nanotechnology
what is fullerene does it is used to make bukky balls
Devang Reply
are you nano engineer ?
fullerene is a bucky ball aka Carbon 60 molecule. It was name by the architect Fuller. He design the geodesic dome. it resembles a soccer ball.
what is the actual application of fullerenes nowadays?
That is a great question Damian. best way to answer that question is to Google it. there are hundreds of applications for buck minister fullerenes, from medical to aerospace. you can also find plenty of research papers that will give you great detail on the potential applications of fullerenes.
what is the Synthesis, properties,and applications of carbon nano chemistry
Abhijith Reply
Mostly, they use nano carbon for electronics and for materials to be strengthened.
is Bucky paper clear?
carbon nanotubes has various application in fuel cells membrane, current research on cancer drug,and in electronics MEMS and NEMS etc
so some one know about replacing silicon atom with phosphorous in semiconductors device?
s. Reply
Yeah, it is a pain to say the least. You basically have to heat the substarte up to around 1000 degrees celcius then pass phosphene gas over top of it, which is explosive and toxic by the way, under very low pressure.
Do you know which machine is used to that process?
how to fabricate graphene ink ?
for screen printed electrodes ?
What is lattice structure?
s. Reply
of graphene you mean?
or in general
in general
Graphene has a hexagonal structure
On having this app for quite a bit time, Haven't realised there's a chat room in it.
what is biological synthesis of nanoparticles
Sanket Reply
how did you get the value of 2000N.What calculations are needed to arrive at it
Smarajit Reply
Privacy Information Security Software Version 1.1a
Got questions? Join the online conversation and get instant answers!
Jobilize.com Reply

Get the best Algebra and trigonometry course in your pocket!

Source:  OpenStax, Music inquiry. OpenStax CNX. Mar 18, 2013 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col11455/1.4
Google Play and the Google Play logo are trademarks of Google Inc.

Notification Switch

Would you like to follow the 'Music inquiry' conversation and receive update notifications?