Frequently Asked Questions about the Theoretical Side of Music
It is now widely accepted that, in order to be a good musician, you also have to understand music theory. However, before you decide to find online music theory classes, you may have a number of questions you would like to have answered. Let’s take a look at some FAQs in this field.
Q. What Is Music Theory?
Simply put, you need to see music as a language. Music theory is its vocabulary and its grammar. It is about learning how to write and read music and why. Music is a form of communication and you can only communicate properly if you understand the language. As such, there is usually a strong focus on sheet music, which is the way of writing this language down.
Q. Why Do I Need to Know about Music Theory?
You could listen to the correct pronunciation for the sentence “amo ascoltare musica” over and over again, eventually repeating it until it sounds just right. No matter how close you get to the real thing, however, you will never know that it is a sentence in Italian (which means you know in which country to use it), or that it means “I love to play music”. Not unless you learn Italian itself, that is. This is how you need to see music theory: as the language of music.
Q. Is Music Theory Something Only Musicians Need to Know?
Absolutely not! Music theory can help you in many other areas of life as well. In fact, children who learn about music theory at a young age tend to perform better in school. Similarly, those who have learned about music theory are more likely to have a good career, and to have a happy and fulfilling life. A music degree, which will include music theory, is a liberal arts degree. Completing any liberal arts degree means you have important transferable skills that can serve you in a variety of different careers.
Q. Is Reading Music the Same as Tablature?
Tablature and reading music is not one of the same thing. Rather, tablature is specific to guitar players, showing them which chords and notes have to be played and when, and where on the neck of the guitar they should place their fingers. You will only be able to play a song by following tablature if you know the song itself. You cannot deduce rhythm, speed, intonation, or anything else by reading tablature. It is a very important tool, however, as it makes it a lot easier for people to follow a song and play along to it.
Q. How Should I Learn Music Theory?
The best way, by far, to learn about music theory is to complete formal training. Music degrees are now offered by a number of excellent schools across the country and they are the best place to go to. As an added benefit, many of their courses are now offered online, which is a lot more convenient than going to a physical school.