Learning music theory


Asentrix Studios
Jun 25, 2008
United States
So July is coming up and I promised myself that I would learn music theory so I can begin producing for my friend. Thing is....I don't know where to start, but I know I want to spend nearly all my time learning. Suggest whatever you can.....books, websites, android apps, programs, videos.....anything!!!! If it matters I have a 25 keys midi piano.....I asked a guy on youtube (who makes good music) what I need to do to get started with composing and the first thing he said is to learn music theory.


Editorial Team
Nov 21, 2005
United Kingdom
Although I in no way want to claim any level of musical talent beyond being able to mechanically do a lot of things "July is coming up and I promised myself that I would learn music theory so I can begin producing for my friend" reads so much like those threads asking "how do I learn to program in [some short length of time]?" is it not funny.

I am of three minds here and I absolutely agree music theory should come before the rest with the possible exception of 1) which is very short anyway. Also as with all things like this it is very much a peek behind the curtain experience and if you do learn it you will spend as long as you know it instinctively pulling things apart which I find goes one of two ways- the good way in that you can listen to anything and get something from it or you can find fault in anything which is a position I urge you not to head towards.

1) Very basic producing amounts to getting the tracks if recorded individually, aligning them however you wish and changing volume/mixing accordingly.
Nothing much to say there other than learn how to use audacity, watch Bob Katz - Loudness: War & Peace and Loudness Wars - Thomas Lund (those two videos will be the first peek behind the curtain thing). I do suggest a bit more technical knowledge on the computer/recording front but you can skirt by if you can follow along with those.

2) Classical music has influenced pretty much every present (and I hate the term) genre so get the top 30 or so classical music pieces (there are probably closer to 200 noted pieces but the top 30 will cover most of the really big ones) and listen to them ten times each, http://www.kickassclassical.com/classical-music-popular-famous-best-top-100-list.html seems as good as anywhere as a jumping off point. Possibly repeat for jazz and/or blues as well for although they too draw a bit from classical they are different enough and both had and continue to have massive influence over modern music. You probably know most of them already by sound alone even if you would have no clue about the name as the pieces are used everywhere and as they are about the only things to be in the public domain these days that will only get more pronounced. Many will do this later and pull apart a track as they learn about a part of music composition that demonstrates it and I suggest that as well but knowing things beforehand I find to be very useful.

So far you have probably learned very little other than the names of some classic music tracks and the person that composed them and certainly very little of actual music theory.
3) Youtube has some fantastic videos. I would try to recommend some but I do not have any really nice general education videos ( http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLAF420A60177EED04&feature=plcp is a bit religion focused for my liking but good information can be pulled from anywhere if you know how to do it) like I might for some other intellectual pursuit and a lot of what I do watch these days is not very structured towards learning a whole field if it is even part of a series at all and I would rather not send you down that path of trying to piece together something resembling an education on a subject. However I strongly recommend that if you do find a good series to watch and something they try to teach is a bit hazy find another video (it can be an individual one here) on the subject and watch than and then another if that does not work until it either sinks in or you find one that works for you. In real life this would probably be turning to someone else in a class (by the time you have to learn proper music theory you will usually be in a school with a few others that have a measure of training in various things and are there to get a more complete understanding.

Hopefully you can get something done.


Well-Known Member
May 10, 2011
The best thing you can do is to find a teacher and start lessons, because in the process you'll have questions only a teacher can answer. You can learn advanced music theory in a year if you 're dettermined.

Unless you want to make blikblok-electronic-noise-club-shit, so download a mixing program and a free sampler and there you have it. But there are already enough stupid people ruining music...
  • Like
Reactions: 1 person
General chit-chat
Help Users
    Psionic Roshambo @ Psionic Roshambo: Lol