Music Theory

Don’t be the “musician” who can’t read or write music or improvise on the fly. Learn the lingo and theory behind the “what and the why” of music by studying the articles below. Don’t worry, we’ve boiled it down to the essentials. Apply this info and the trade secrets in our other columns and your music will hit that next level of amazing.

19 Songwriting Tips for Getting Started, Breaking Writer's Block, & More

Updated: Music Theory
tips for songwriting

Without some kind of methodology, it's easy to get completely overwhelmed when you sit down to start writing a song. That's where a list of songwriting tips comes in handy. It's all about getting the gears in your head turning. "What key should I play in? What about the chord progressions? Should I have those before or after I come up with the melody? And […]

High-Level Song Arrangement Tips: From 'Meh' to Masterpiece

Updated: Music Theory
song arrangement tips

So you've written a great song. Now what? Most songs call for more than simply the original skeleton of voice and piano or guitar. But just how do you arrange when you're starting with these bare bones? What do you add to the orchestration and where do you add this to the song? Here we'll offer some tips to help you create a quality song […]

Musical Modes Explained: The Music Theory Behind Them

Updated: Music Theory
modes explained

It's easy to run into musical modes and think, "What the heck is going on? Why does all of this need to be so convoluted and complicated?" It does seem that way at first until you work with modes enough to spot the pattern. Then not only does it click into place but you can even work your way through it in your head! The […]

The Circle of Fifths Explained

Updated: Music Theory
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Typical discussion about the Circle of Fifths is largely for beginners and intermediate music theorists, and the tricky part is there's no way to avoid using other technical jargon that a beginner may not know when explaining it. We're going to keep it as simple as possible with explanations of any new terms. So get ready for a wild ride made easy as we work […]

Basic Song Structure Essentials

Updated: Music Theory
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The deeper into the adventure of song writing you delve, the more you'll begin to notice patterns, especially relating to song structure. Differing genres and decades will display their various influences and preferences, but at the end of the day the basic song structure essentials never change. One or two of the fundamentals may disappear in exchange for others here and there, but you'll typically […]

Why Learn Music Theory? The 4 Core Reasons to Study

Updated: Music Theory
the circle of fifths

The more time you spend in the music industry, the more you'll realize how few "musicians" even know the rudimentary fundamentals of music theory. You'll also pick up on the pattern of excuses, ranging from a load of crap about their free spirit being constrained to not wanting to sound like a jazz cello player when they just want to play roots reggae. All of […]