Music Theory Questions

If you have general music theory questions or you are stuck on a concept from my Essential Music Theory books you can ask them here. Please be sure to use the search box in the right column first though, as your question may have already been answered!

Remember: The only silly question is the one you don't ask!

If you have time, also have a look through the other questions. You never know, you may be able to pay it forward and answer somebody else's question as well as ask your own!

Ask Your Music Theory Questions Here

Are you having difficulty with a concept in one of my Essentials of Music Theory series of books? Ask your question here! But before you do, check at the bottom of the page. Your question may already have been answered!

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Other Music Theory Questions

Click below to see questions from other visitors to this page. Yours may already have been answered!

Dotted note values 
What is the dotted note value of a semibreve?

Definitions for 7th Chords 
What are the definitions for E7 F7 G7 Bb7... etc.?

What is an ostinato bass?

How many Sharps are on key of A major

Perfect intervals 
In your Perfect Intervals section it says: If an interval is a unison ...... it is called a perfect interval both notes in a perfect interval are in …

Tremolo Notation & Equivalent Applied To Drum Rolls  
I wish to have a thorough understanding of reading measured tremolo notation i.e. the one, two, & three slash marks applied to eighths, quarters, half …

I can't seem to learn to read music? 
Hi, The question I have is I have never been able to learn how to read music, I have tried many times, I've tried to learn how to play piano, clarinet …

3 notes played that has the value of a fourth 
Hello. How is it called the structure where three notes are played that have the duration of a fourth ? Thank you !

Half-Double Smile mark between measures  
In my sheet music I have a smile mark located at the end of a measure that looks like a dot, a slash, and then a half-slash. Located at the beginning of …

Perfect intervals 
Why are the 4th,5th and 8th considered perfect?

Seeking feedback on my completed phrases - page 54 - 'Essential Music Theory' 
Hi Simon I'm working my way through 'Essential Music Theory' and it's been very good. I've just done the exercise on page 54 where you complete the …

what is c major iv chord

-3 notation over an eight rest on beat 4 
What is the meaning of "-4" when written over an eighth rest on the last beat of a 4/4 measure in swing. IE Dotted half note, eight rest and eight note; …

How do we determine the key signature for flats with 2 or more flats?

Stave Notes 
I know what a stave looks like but I cant figure out where all the notes go. I have been looking every where but they don't explain it enough for my understanding. …

Key transition (Modulation) 
How can I transition from 2 flats to 4 flats?

Note values 
How many quavers are there in a minim?

Grand Staff Guitar 
I am learning guitar { see a grand staff with 3 staffs connected witch one is for guitar or piano.

What is another name for the musical sounds represented by notes?

Heads at the top 
How do you write a dotted note with the head on top?

Double dotted half note value 
What value do I give to a half note followed by two dots?

Writing Multi-Timbral Phrases 
For a multi timbrel instrument, such as piano, how do you write notes that are played out of sync with notes that are held? I am trying to score a fairly …

Youtube videos  
I am fascinated with your website but, since I am a visual learner, what Youtube videos do you recommend for learning to read and practice music the same …

Correlation between reading music and theory 
In my book that teaches me how to read music doesn't say anything about music theory. Are these 2 separate entities?

Click here to write your own.

Having trouble understanding the timing ? 
I have trouble understanding how long to play a key on the keyboard, by reading the notes . Note that I have just started playing keyboard , but know …

Sixteenth notes in 3 quarter notes 
How many sixteenth notes would be needed to have the same duration as 3 quarter notes? Represent this as a fraction

Treble clef & stave 
what does the treble clef written at the beginning of a stave tell us about the notes written on that stave?

Key Signatures 
Hi Firstly, thank you for your awesome website! I'm just concerned about the quizzes for the Key Signatures. The first questions on both tests seem …

Beginning reading music notes 
Can someone recommend a good music note study book for someone who is interested in learning to read music and has no experience in reading music notes. …

Five lines and four spaces 
Why does the music staff have five lines and four spaces ?

Name of the 2 F s on treble staff 
There are two f notes on the treble staff. Are they both referred to by the same name of treble F ?

Crochets ans minims 
How many crotches are in a minim?

I want to know how to improvise, that is how to solo.

semi - demi quavers values  
if the timing is 7/8 how's it possible that there's only 4 notes in a bar ?

Chord Inversions In Music 
In a 3 item set (n = 3) there are 6 permutations (given by the formula n(n - 1). Why does music only talk about 3 inversions of a triad (a 3 note set)? …

Compound time 
What is the correct beat to use in a 6/8 time?

What can you use to remember ACEG on the F clef?

Equal Temperament 
What exactly is equal temperament and how does it work with music...? I don't know how to play an instrument, trying to learn theory by yourself is kinda …

Crochets five to a bar 
5/4 to count?

Music Theory For Dancers 
This is probably an abstract question to ask on a musician website and I'm sorry for the inconvenience, but how important is music theory to a dancer? …

If B flat is the next to last flat in the key signature, the major key name would be what???

What is the value of a dotted quarter note 
What is the value of a dotted quarter note?

How do you find "do" 
How do you find "do" in the key signature with three flats?

Name for single repeated note Not rated yet
Is there a music theory term to describe when a melody revolves around one key repeated note? For example, in a piece I am playing, the melody is: F C …

Tempo markings in music  Not rated yet
In my music,there is a symbol that says and eighth note is equal to an eighth note. What exactly does this mean? Just to clarify, it happens at 3/8 time …

The Grands Staff Not rated yet
i still don't understand about the Grand Staff.

Chords for jazz improvisation Not rated yet
For an improvisation solo in jazz, I see the chords listed (Ex: F#M7bs) and I don't understand it. I don't know the exact chords that are in that scale. …

Demisemiquaver and Hemidemisemiquaver note values Not rated yet
What's their value?

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A Clear Path To Learning Music Theory

essential music theory book learn to read music

For more help check out my new theory book Essential Music Theory: Learn To Read And Appreciate Music Vol. 1 available for iPad and Mac OS.

  • A simple step-by-step course that takes you from complete beginner to grade 2 music theory
  • Multi-faceted learning - audio, video, mind maps, clear musical examples 
  • Built in quizzes to check your understanding

Click here for more information.

Or get it on the iBooks Store!