Learning music theory is a way to have a deeper understanding of music. Other than just listening to a song, with music theory, you learn to understand why a song was written in major key instead or minor or why the composer switched from staccato to legato or why the human ear is drawn to patterns in music.
There are many concepts to music theory, but the basics are reading notes, intervals, scales, rhythm, chords, pitch, dynamics, and style. Let me give you a brief description.
- Notes are the black dots on the sheet music that tell you what tone (note) to play on your instrument or which tone (note) to sing.
- Intervals are the distance between these notes, which leads to melodic or harmonic intervals, meaning you can play them together or separately.
- Scales are notes played one right after the other, and also help you understand key signature.
- Rhythm is how fast or how slow a song will be.
- Chords which are also known as triads are 3 notes played together that are complementary to each other.
- Pitch or tone is the range you are playing in; for example, some instruments, like a flute will be higher pitched than a drum.
- Dynamics, is how you play the note, by how long you hold it down.
- Style can be simply jazz, country or classical to name a few.
This is only a very small part of music theory with brief explanations, but it is an example of what makes music, music and why.
Music Theory is a necessity if you are ever going to be able to write down the music in your head. Although you may have never played an instrument, by studying music theory, you will learn to understand what all those little dots and squiggly lines on a piece of sheet music are all about.
Basically, in itself, music is a language that can only be fully appreciate when you understand what it is saying. Even if you are able to write down the notes of a song, it cannot be fully interpreted the way you intended by someone else, if you do not understand theory. Just like you cannot thoroughly understand the full meaning of what someone is telling you in another language, even with an interpreter, or just like you cannot thoroughly understand what the author intended in his book, by watching the movie version of it. Something is lost in the translation.
Without music theory you only have noise, with music theory you can create a work of art.