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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

Music Theory Lessons

  • The Circle Of Fifths
    The circle of fifths is a brilliant musical tool, but can be confusing when you first look at it. It is a fantastic tool for understanding and working out key signatures in all the major and minor
  • Modulation
    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
  • Arpeggios
    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
  • pitch
    How to read music – Getting Started In this beginner lesson we’re going to look at some of the basics of sheet music. The only background knowledge you need when learning how to read
  • 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
  • Bass Clef
    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
  • 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
  • Tempo
    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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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.
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • Triads
    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
  • 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
  • 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
  • Ternary Form
    Ternary Form A musical structure where the piece is divided into 3 distinct sections. The 1st and last sections are exactly the same as each other and so the form can be written A – B – A
  • Binary Form
    Binary Form Binary Form describes the structure of a piece of music which is divided into 2 different sections. The 2 sections are usually labelled A and B. The key concept to grasp is that there is
  • Cadences
    Cadences A cadence is a chord progression of at least 2 chords that ends a phrase or section of a piece of music. The easiest way to understand cadences in music is to think of the punctuation you
  • Theme and Variations
    Theme and Variations Theme and variations is a very common musical structure you will come across, especially in classical music. The structure is built upon a musical idea called the theme which is
  • Pedal Point
    Pedal Point A pedal point is a sustained note during which the harmony above it changes in some way so that the overall sound becomes dissonant. As with a lot of music theory it is easier to see it
  • Relative Major and Relative Minor Scales
    Relative keys have the same key signature (number of sharps or flats). For every note in the chromatic scale there is a relative major scale and a relative minor scale. It is a really good tool when
  • Rubato
    Rubato The definition of rubato is a flexibility/freedom in the performance of a rhythm. Basically, rubato is when a performer doesn’t stick to the strict rhythms written by the composer, but
  • Pulse
    Pulse Pulse or beat is a crucial element of music. The presence (or absence) of a pulse in a musical composition will have a direct impact upon its success. You will find it easy to understand the