An introduction to music theory
An introduction to music theory

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An introduction to music theory

1.1 Working through the course

If you are starting this course completely from scratch with no knowledge of music theory, tackle each section one by one, and spend as long as you need working on each. Be prepared to undertake a little study each day or alternate day – ‘a little often’ is a good guideline. This will prove much more beneficial than studying large chunks at a time.

In addition, make sure that you understand each of the topics you have studied before you attempt the following one. Learning about staff notation and other facets of music theory is a cumulative process. Spend a reasonable amount of time on each topic so that you can master it before going on to the next.

Although this course contains interactive activities that test your knowledge, it is suggested that you reinforce your knowledge with the use of ear-training activities (often called ‘trainers’), where musical sounds are linked to visual symbols. Once you feel you have understood a topic, you could try using a trainer to reinforce your knowledge through practice. Their use will create ‘oases’ in the learning process where ‘doing’ will help facilitate ‘understanding’, and will also provide feedback as to how you are getting on.

There are several sites on the internet that provide trainers. These include activities such as interactive drills that focus on specific areas of staff notation ranging from a straightforward naming of notes to recognising complex rhythms and chords. A list of ear trainers is provided at the end of this course in Section 10.

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