Music Theory

  • Since he once struggled to grasp music theory himself, guest-blogger Lode Habex knows exactly how to help out beginners. In this article, Lode breaks down the circle of fifths and explains why it’s one of the most practical tools that musicians can use to match scales, find notes, create chord progressions, and more.

  • In previous blogs on chord theory, we covered all the most common chords so, to make the series complete, this edition will dive into a few more special, out-there chords, including minor-majors (mΔ), augmented sevenths (+7) and diminished triads with major sevenths (oΔ). These chords are often used as transitions, so they’re definitely worth knowing about, even if they are extremely rare.

  • Digital sheet music. YouTube lessons. Guitar tab sites. Today, it’s easier than ever to learn to play a new song you’ve just discovered. This is incredibly convenient of course, especially for beginner musicians. But it also has a downside. Having access to all those great resources has made it easier than ever to neglect an important skill: figuring out music by ear. StringKick founder Just Rijna explains how learning music by ear will help you to grow as a musician.

  • In this blog, we’re going to focus on two scales that provide an endless supply of transition tools. These magic scales are the octatonic and altered scales, and while you won’t come across them in much popular music, these scales are compulsory reading for any jazz, blues, or progressive pop and rock musicians looking for a fresh approach.

  • In this blog, you’ll get a full explainer on how to transpose musical score. Transposing basically means shifting the notes of a piece of music up or down by a semitone or more so it can be played in a different pitch. Of course, there’s plenty of software you can use to transpose sheet music, but you learn way more when you do it yourself. And, since you can pull it off in three steps, why wouldn’t you? Is it easy? Well, not at first, but if you take your time and follow these instructions, then you’ll definitely be able to do it. We’ll take a look at transposing with software; with nothing more than pen and paper; and even transposing on the spot while you’re playing. We’ll also look at how to pitch-shift audio files.

  • Do you get irked whenever you hear a successful producer proclaim: “and I didn’t even know any music theory”? Say they’re telling the truth (usually, it’s far from the truth), so what? Not everyone is going to be a natural, and just think, how good would those same producers be if they had bothered to learn music theory. Right here, right now, Guestblogger Daddynervs tells us why every producer, even humble beat producers, should arm themselves with some good old fashioned music theory – and what music theory actually is.

  • If you’ve already devoured our blog about Rhythm, Tempo & Measure and feel ready to dive in a little deeper, here’s everything you need to know about time signatures, bar lines and repeat signs. Whether you’re here to learn to read music or just want to get a better feel for timing, you’ll find useful information here.

  • The internet is already stacked with the ready-made chord arrangements of countless songs, but what if you can’t find the song you’re looking for? No problem. There are also apps that you can download and use to pick out the right chords for you. But… regularly figuring out the chords of a song is actually a far better idea. Why? Because it’s a great opportunity to train your ear. In this blog, we explain how it’s done and how to use lead sheets.

  • In our blog explaining how chords work, we already touched on the diminished, augmented, and seventh chords. Here, we dive a little deeper into the inner workings of these chords and their function, covering everything from a normal seventh chord (the dominant seventh), to minor sevenths and major sevenths, and the difference between a diminished and half-diminished chord. We’ll also explain terms like ‘diatonic’, ‘modal’, and ‘enharmonic’, setting you up with a bank of knowledge to help you get writing.

  • In our blog covering chord theory, we looked at how chords are built, and here, we’ll see what happens when you place one chord after another to build a chord progression and why some combinations work better than others. We’ll talk about intervals, how to build tension, what leading notes do, resolutions and sus-chords. There will be a bit of studying involved, but in the end, it’ll only speed up your writing process.

  • In this blog, we dive deeper into how harmony works by looking at the chords commonly used in jazz and pop: the ninths, elevenths, and thirteenths, and all of their variations. Each of these magic chords can be built by simply stacking more thirds onto a seventh.

  • Ionic, dorian, phrygian, lydian, mixolydian, aeolian, and locrian: otherwise known as the church modes. These influential scales originated in the church music of the middle ages and are still used today in classical music, pop, jazz, rock, and even metal. So, if you want to try something new or take in a little musical history, it’s worth learning a few church modes. In this blog, you’ll get an idea of how these modal scales work, an impression of the kind of sound they can produce and learn to play them in any key.

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