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Welcome to The Music Theory Academy - helping you Learn How To Read Sheet Music. The Academy is a TOTALLY FREE resource for musicians who want to take their musicianship to the next level by learning about music theory.

Whether you are just starting out as a musician, studying for a music theory examination or simply want to become a better musician then the music theory academy is the place for you.

Have a look at the different Music Theory Video Lessons I've posted.

If you are a complete beginner you should start with the Beginner Music Theory Lesson



Modulation describes the process where a piece of music changes from one key to another key. When you start writing a piece of music one of the first things you do is choose a key to compose in. This choice of key determines the scale you use, how many sharps and flats there are and […]

Arpeggio sheet music example


Arpeggios are an amazing musical technique which you will come across all the time in lots of different styles. The music theory term arpeggio (or broken chord) simply describes when the notes of a chord are played one after the other rather than at the same time. This is as opposed to a block chord […]

Music Theory Sharps and Flats

Sharps and Flats

Reading Sharps and flats If you’ve looked at the lesson on Getting Started then you will now know how to read sheet music for the white notes (otherwise known as the naturals) on a piano/keyboard. However, we need to also know when to play the black notes. The black notes are known as sharps and […]

Bass Clef

Bass Clef

Bass Clef Made Easy Why do we need a Bass Clef? The Bass Clef always poses problems for people trying to learn how to read music. I often get asked what the point of the Bass Clef is because its existence just seems to make life harder for no good reason!! Well, the reason we […]

Key Signatures

Key Signatures

Key Signatures Music is often described as the universal language. However, there are variations within this language. Key signatures tell us what dialect/variation of this universal language we are speaking at any one time. In order to understand key signatures when learning how to read sheet music we need to learn about scales and keys. […]



The choice of tempo (speed) of a piece of music has a crucial bearing on its feel and the genre it sits in. There are some styles of music which have specific tempos – e.g. romantic ballads tend to have a fairly slow tempo, whilst disco music tends to have a fast tempo. When you’re […]

Inversions Root Position

Chord Inversions

Chord inversions add a richness to a chord progression and are a great tool for composers to use. I am going to show how easy chord inversions are to understand and give you a few examples of when you should try to use them in your songs/pieces. Understanding Chord Inversions Chord inversions are really easy […]

Chord Progressions Title Sheet Music

Chord Progressions

The term chord progression simply refers to the order in which chords are played in a song/piece of music. Play a few different songs/pieces and you will see that there are various different ways in which composers order chords. However, the good news is that there are a few simple guidelines which will help you […]

Seventh Chords Introduction

Seventh Chords

Seventh chords are the most common extension of the basic 3-note triad you come across. A seventh chord is built by adding an extra note to a triad which is an interval of a 7th above the root note. e.g. If you build a triad on C you will use the notes (C-E-G). If you […]

Secondary Chords Roman Numerals

Secondary Chords

In the last lesson we looked at the primary chords. These are the most common chords you will come across and are a great starting point for composing music. Now we are going to have a look at the next most common chords you will come across and use – the secondary chords. How to […]

Primary Chords Roman Numerals

Primary Chords

The primary chords are the 3 most commonly used chords in music. Lots of songs and many pieces of music that you will hear will be built around them because they work well together. If you are starting to try to compose your own music then an understanding of the primary chords is going to […]

Introduction to Chords Image

Introduction to Chords

An understanding of chords is vital for any musician – understand chords and you are well on the way to being able to compose and perform some great music. If music was a cake then melody would be the icing and chords would be the sponge – the melody is the first thing you are […]

Music theory triad


Chords and Triads Triads are made up of 3 notes played on top of each other. You will often hear people describe triads as chords. They consist of a bottom note (root), a middle note (3rd) and a top note (5th) How to make a triad Triads are easy to create – all you need […]

Canon Music Form Diagram

Canon Music

Canon A canon is a piece of music where a melody is played and then imitated (one or more times) after a short delay. It is a contrapuntal technique as the melodic lines move independently from each other, but are linked harmonically. As you can see from the diagram above the first melody is called […]

Rondo Form Diagram

Rondo Form

Rondo Form Rondo Form is a natural extension of the 2 forms we have looked at already – Binary Form and Ternary Form. If Binary Form is A-B and Ternary Form is A-B-A then Rondo Form is A-B-A-C-A-D-A. The main section or theme (known as “A”) alternates with contrasting themes (you will hear these called […]

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