Music theory is a word that many inexperienced music fans and beginning music students hear bandied about that they may not fully understand. Having at least a cursory knowledge of music theory and how it works is an essential tool for anyone that is trying to become a world class musician. There is more to music than the just the physical act of playing an instrument.
What is Music Theory?
Music theory is a discipline that deals with the study of music and how it works. It relies on past evidence like musical pieces and harmonic developments and progress over the years to predict how something will sound and help inform musicians on what will sound good and what will sound bad.
There is an entire academic discipline that is dedicated to the study of music theory. During music theory studies students study the notes, rhythms. and harmony that past composers have used to create the sounds that they were going for. It is, of course, not an exact science because of the fact that music is so subjective. There is a science to music, though. Certain sound waves and frequencies are going to behave in a certain way together no matter what. Music theory is similar to economic theory in that it is based on math and the past actions of others but there is no way to accurately predict the outcome of every single action that a person takes in music or in economics.
All college music majors take music theory for at least a couple of years on their way to getting a music degree. Some of them take it all 4 years in conjunction with music history. Many other people think that this kind of information is only available to college students that have the right textbooks and access to music theory professors. This is not true.
Music theory studies can benefit every musician from the world class cellist studying at Julliard to a person just learning how to play “Three Blind Mice” on the piano. A college classroom is also not the only place that you can receive this kind of musical education. Music theory instructions can come from a private teacher as well. Music theory lessons can be a great way to introduce a beginning musician to the ins and outs of harmony and melody. It can also work as a great tutoring supplement for someone that is studying the topic in college.