Feb 21 2021

4 Things That Everyone Should Know About Music Theory



If you are looking to learn more about music or get into music, you should definitely look into music theory. The theory isn’t the most exciting thing when it comes to music, but it lays the foundation towards understanding and creating your own. Music theory is like the rules in which dictate how music can be created. If you don’t understand the rules, you can’t go about creating the best possible thing. Here are some things that everyone should know about music theory.

The Major Scales

The first thing you need to know when it comes to music is the major scale. Almost all music is founded upon a major scale. Most people know this scale as do, re, mi, fah, so, lah, ti, and do. Knowing these scale degrees and how they fit into music is important when it comes to creating your own. If you want to test your knowledge on scales you should check out some printable PDF worksheets. When it comes to major scales, there is not just one for you to learn, there are in fact 12 unique major scales. The sooner you can learn all of them and how they are used in music, the better a writer you will be.

What Key Are You In

Remember when we said that there are 12 unique major scales? For most music, you are only ever going to be using one major scale for the song. This means that you are going to have access to seven notes that you can use in any fashion. If you are listening to a song, how can you go about finding the key? The easiest way to do this is to find the tonal center of the song or the tonic. The tonic is the note that the song will always resolve too. If you find it always coming back to one note, that is more than likely the key.

What about determining a key for you to write in? When it comes to finding a key to write in, this all comes down to the instruments that you are playing with and the singer as well. The most restrictive instrument is generally vocals. People are only able to sing within certain ranges, and therefore your key should always be in an area where their voice comfortably sits. If there are no vocals in your song, find the most restricted instrument and base the key around that. This is important when it comes to composing music.


While a melody or song might be full of different notes, for the most part, there are only going to be a few chords used throughout the song. Understanding how these chords are made and how they impact the song is another important thing you need to know about theory. This once again relates back to the major scale, as every major scale has chords that work well within it. Take the time to learn how to build these chords from the notes within the scale, and also learn how they function. The tonic chord for example, just like the tonic note is the center of the song. A dominant chord is generally an unstable chord that will lead right back to the tonic. The more you work with these chords and understand their functions, the better a composer you will be.

You Can Break Music Theory Rules

When it comes to making music, music theory isn’t a set of rules that has to be followed at every point in the journey. In fact, if every song followed every rule, music would be quite boring. With music, however, you have to know the rules before you can go about breaking them. Breaking rules without knowing them will result in dissonant noises that are unpleasant to the ears. Learning where you can bend the rules and break them will result in interesting passages that will surprise your listener and draw them in. How often you break the rules within your song also is important. If you constantly go about breaking music theory rules, your song will struggle to be grounded in anything. Finding the right moments will make those parts of your music that much better.


These are all important things that everyone should know about music theory. Once again, it can be a boring thing to learn about, but once you learn the rules, you will find your knowledge of music increases exponentially. You will now begin to think outside the box and apply techniques that you never thought you could. If you plan on getting into songwriting, you definitely have to learn about music theory.

Tags: Music theory