music theory


For those who cringe at the thought of music theory, I would like to share my experience and give a tip.

First — you gradually learn music theory as you continue to play and write music. You don’t have to go to school and take a course, you don’t have to read a bunch of dry and boring books. It just happens as you continue to do what you love to do — make music.

For example, if you play guitar you will soon learn that songs are in keys. And each key has certain chords within it and other chords that aren’t included. And after that you learn that if you know some chords are major and some are minor, you can fit them in to spice up a song. Pretty soon, you will be interested in learning more types of chords to improve your music — like 7th chords, sus4 and even diminished chords.

Now the tip — to learn where all these chords fit in and how to know when to use them, I recommend learning the cycle/circle of 4th/5ths. The reason this has two names will be apparent when you learn them. The best tool to use the circle (so you can look them up and not have to memorize them) is a simple graphic you will find many places on the internet. If you don’t like the one I show you here, just search for the term (circle of fifths) and take your pick.

Circle of Fifths

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Jump on the Music Theory train and learn about how to construct a major scale and build chords from it.

There is a long, detailed lesson over at Ultimate-Guitar.Com — if you aren’t afraid to tackle a little work.

Believe me, your lack of knowledge can limit how much you develop as a musician, songwriter and performer.


TAGS: music theory, scales, chords,

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Although I’ve played the guitar for more than 40 years now, I’m always trying to learn new things to make it fresh and exciting.

I only stumbled upon the CAGED system about a year ago — although I may have heard of it in passing.

It fit in with some other things I was doing and I had enough music theory to make sense of it.

There are a lot of good resources on the ‘net for CAGED, so if you want to follow up, just use your favorite search engine.

Here’s the 2nd part of the intro I started yesterday.

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