Music Theory Explained – What Is The Point Of Music Theory?

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Why learning music theory is important and why we need it plus a few random facts every musician should know.

✅ The best self-study music theory book loved by all my readers and students.

Music Theory Explained

Music theory embodies abstract principles that are based on general ideas and theories. 

This includes the sounds that it consists of such as:

  • Pitch
  • Duration
  • Timbre
  • Acoustics
  • Tuning
  • Temperaments
  • Intervals
  • Scales
  • Consonance
  • Dissonance
  • Modes
  • Melody
  • Harmony
  • Counterpoint
  • Rhythm
  • Meter 
  • Form
  • Analysis

In a very general sense, music theory refers to philosophical thoughtful thinking and contemplation rather than the practice of music. However, all of this foundational study leads to better musicianship overall when practiced deliberately.

In today’s world, it also refers to teaching the rudiments of music and learning the fundamentals.

Music theory is really a much broader and more encompassing area that includes:

  • Ear training
  • Solfege
  • Harmony
  • Counterpoint
  • General musicianship
  • Sight-singing
  • Sight-reading 

We can either physically see these theories at work on paper (or in sheet music) or hear them with a finely tuned ear.

What is the Point of Music Theory?

There are hundreds of highly respected music theorists throughout history that have contributed so much to our understanding of music. 

While we are grateful for their dedication to the art, what we love most is a newfound appreciation of on a much deeper level of what we are truly hearing.

Nothing is more exciting than uncovering a composer’s ingenious techniques with pioneering ideas paving the way to new and exciting creations.

Is Music Theory Important?

If you enjoy discovering what makes the music you are hearing so different and amazing, then learning about all the foundational principles that went into creating it will be exciting for you.

Songwriters and composers spend a lifetime decoding the genius of music masters in order to become one themselves.

Is Music Theory Worth Learning?

What I enjoy most about learning music theory is getting excited every time I discover something new. 

I also love being able to pick up any piece of music and be able to sight-read it easily. 

This allows me to learn more pieces faster and enjoy a huge volume of music that I would otherwise miss out on if I did not understand the basic rudiments of reading music.

Is Music Theory Important for Guitarists?

Learning the fundamentals of music is highly beneficial for everyone regardless of what instrument you play (including singing too). 

Just imagine yourself being able to pick up any piece of music and be able to play it immediately without having to study it for weeks, months, or years first.

A whole new world opens up for you without any limitations.

Should I Learn Music Theory for Guitar?

Guitarists are sometimes the brunt of jokes about not being able to read music. Why not surprise everyone and be the person who can play anything that is put in front of you?

Learning music theory will open up more doors of opportunity for you. It helps you to read more music easier and learn it much faster.

3 Random Music Theory Facts

Here are a few fun music theory facts just to show you how much fun it can be to learn!

Things everyone should know about music theory:

  1. Most rules in music are flexible but the closer music notation is to following common guidelines, the more successfully it will be performed by others.
  2. Music theory rules help make music easier to read, interpret, and enjoy by more people.
  3. Some things in music theory are very clear while others remain a gray area. This is not to be confusing but to show that sometimes a wise decision depends on other varying situational factors such as context and style.

The Hardest Music Theory Concept

Much of music theory is actually really easy to learn! It is big words in multiple languages that can sometimes be intimidating.

All of it has a very simple meaning with each concept built upon the previous.

With all of that being said, I think the hardest music theory concept I have learned is the Neapolitan chord or Phrygian II (in Schenkerian analysis). I remember that being very tough to understand when I was first learning.

How about you? What is the hardest music theory concept you have learned? Share it in the comments below!

The Point of Music Theory Explained

What is the point of music theory? To enjoy everything we love about music at a much deeper level which opens us up to explore even more music!


Recommended Music Theory Books

✅ The best self-study music theory book loved by all my readers and students.

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