Music Theory

 
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Our online music theory lessons are designed to give you a broad education of how and why music works. We guide you step by step through music theory concepts from beginner to advanced including melody, harmony, pitch, notation, chords and a whole lot more. Learning music theory will allow you to better communicate with other musicians and will unlock the secrets to creating your own music. more...

Be sure to check our rhythmic counting lessons and the music theory courses that combine both the general music theory tutorials with the rhythmic counting lessons to provide you with a more structured approach to learning, removing the guesswork of what to study next.
 
 
Episode 01 - Treble Clef
Treble Clef
 

Learn the basics of music theory starting with the treble clef. Alfie Magliano explains what the lines and spaces of are, how to find the notes on the staff, and how this corresponds to the piano keyboard.

 
 
00:12:45
Beginner
 
Episode 02 - Bass Clef
Bass Clef
 

Learn the basics of music theory continuing with the bass clef. Alfie Magliano explains what the bass clef is, what the acronyms for the lines and spaces are, and how this correlates to the piano keyboard.

 
 
00:10:00
Beginner
 
Episode 03 - The Grand Staff
Combining Treble & Bass Clefs
 

Learn the basics of music theory continuing with the grand staff. Alfie Magliano explains what the grand staff is and explains the role of the brace and ledger lines. 

 
 
00:16:23
Beginner
 
Episode 04 - Dynamics
Terminology of Dynamics
 

Alfie Magliano discusses how to indicate whether you are playing from pianissimo to fortissimo and how to read instructions that tell you how to play a piece of music over time.

 
 
00:11:09
Beginner
 
Episode 05 - Tempo
Terminology of Tempo Markings
 

Alfie Magliano explains the 6 different tempo markings from grave (extremely slow) to presto (very fast) and the instructions that tell you whether to slow down or speed up. 

 
 
00:11:33
Beginner
 
Episode 06 - Articulation
Accents, Stoccato, Tenuto and More
 

Learn the fundamentals of music theory continuing with the terminology and symbols of articulation markings. Alfie Magliano discusses the 6 different articulation markings.

 
 
00:11:03
Beginner
 
Episode 07 - Accidentals
Flats, Sharps, and Naturals
 

Learn the fundamentals of music theory continuing with what accidentals are and how they work. Alfie Magliano discusses the three different types including flats, sharps, and naturals. 

 
 
00:10:31
Beginner
 
Episode 08 - Whole Steps, Half Steps, and Enharmonics
Recognizing Stepwise Note Movement
 

Learn the fundamentals of music theory continuing with whole steps, half steps, and enharmonics. Alfie Magliano explains what each of these are and demonstrates them on the piano keyboard.

 
 
00:08:21
Beginner
 
Episode 09 - The Major Scale Part 1
Tetrachords
 

Learn the fundamentals of music theory continuing with tetrachords and major scales. Alfie Magliano explains what a tetrachord is and the pattern it makes.

 
 
00:12:57
Beginner
 
Episode 10 - The Major Scale Part 2
Finding More Major Scales
 

Learn the fundamentals of music theory continuing with additional major scales as Alfie Magliano focuses on sharp and flat major scales. 

 
 
00:13:07
Beginner
 
Episode 11 - Key Signatures
Placing Sharps & Flats at the Beginning of the System
 

Alfie Magliano demonstrates why and how to place the sharps and flats at the beginning of the clef to indicate the key signature. 

 
 
00:13:45
Beginner
 
Episode 12 - The Chromatic Scale and Intervals Part 1
Chromatic Scale
 

Alfie Magliano explains what a chromatic scale is and demonstrates both the ascending with sharps and the descending with flats on the musical staff and the piano keyboard. 

 
 
00:16:34
Beginner
 
Episode 13 - Intervals Part 2
Perfect, Major, and Minor Intervals
 

Alfie Magliano explains more types of intervals, defining and demonstrating perfect and major intervals on the musical staff and the piano keyboard. 

 
 
00:13:58
Beginner
 
Episode 14 - Intervals Part 3
Augmented Intervals
 

Alfie Magliano explores augmented intervals, explaining how to create one and introducing new musical notation with the double sharp.

 
 
00:12:20
Beginner
 
Episode 15 - Intervals Part 4
Diminished Intervals
 

Alfie Magliano completes the series on intervals with diminished intervals, explaining how to create one and introducing new musical notation with the double flat.

 
 
00:11:06
Beginner
 
Episode 16 - Solfege
Singing the Scale Degrees
 

Learn the concept of solfege, a system of reading notes by assigning different, pleasant sounding syllables to the each note in the major scale regardless of the key. Do re mi fa sol la ti do... 

 
 
00:10:49
Beginner
 
Episode 17 - Triads
Three Note Chords
 

Alfie Magliano begins by explaining what a chord is and then shows how the triad is a specific type of chord with a  root, or first degree of the scale, a third and a fifth played together in unison. 

 
 
00:10:58
Beginner
 
Episode 18 - Scale Degree Names
Identifying Notes of the Scale
 

Alfie Magliano examines a more technical way to refer to the names of the scale degrees. He introduces you to the tonic, dominant, and subdominant degree names and more.

 
 
00:12:35
Beginner
 
Episode 19 - Dominant Seventh Chords
Four Note Dominant Chords
 

Alfie Magliano explains what is a dominant seventh chord, a special four note chord, how to form it, and what it looks like on the musical staff.

 
 
00:12:53
Beginner
 
Episode 20 - Chord Inversions Part 1
Reorganizing Chord Tones
 

Alfie Magliano discusses first inversions which is simply a reorganization of a triad chord moving the first degree to an octave higher allowing us to play these chords in a different way.

 
 
00:10:54
Beginner
 
Episode 21 - Chord Inversions Part 2
Examining Second Chord Inversions
 

In Part 2, Alfie Magliano demonstrates how to create a second inversion which is another reorganization of a triad chord to an octave higher.

 
 
00:09:37
Beginner
 
Episode 22 - Chord inversions Part 3
Dominant Seventh Chord Inversions
 

Alfie Magliano teaches you about dominant 7th chord inversions and demonstrates how to find the first, second, and third inversion of these four note chords.

 
 
00:10:34
Beginner
 
Episode 23 - Chord Notation
Using Symbols to Identify Chords
 

Alfie Magliano explains and demonstrates how to use symbols to identify chords you play without seeing them on the musical staff.

 
 
00:12:37
Intermediate
 
Episode 24 - Major Scale Progressions
Using I, IV, V, and V7 Chords in a Major Key
 

Alfie Magliano builds on previous lessons as he demonstrates inverting chords to minimize the distance from one chord to another to ensure smoother transitions among the chords.

 
 
00:08:42
Intermediate
 
Episode 25 - The Minor Scale Part 1
Relative minor scales
 

Alfie Magliano explains how to find the relative minor scales to the 15 unique major key signatures by utilizing the sixth degree of that scale.

 
 
00:09:35
Intermediate
 
Episode 26 - The Minor Scale Part 2
Harmonic & Melodic Minor Scales
 

Alfie Magliano continues exploring minor scales including the harmonic minor scale and the melodic minor scale. 

 
 
00:13:43
Intermediate
 
Episode 27 - Minor Triads
Exploring Minor Chords
 

Alfie Magliano demonstrates how a minor triad is built, the same as a major triad, but with the order switched. This small change from major to minor creates a very different emotion.

 
 
00:12:52
Intermediate
 
Episode 28 - Augmented & Diminished Triads
Further Studies in 3 Note Chords
 

Alfie Magliano continues your studies on triads with the addition of augmented and diminished triads explaining the formula to create these types of triads.

 
 
00:11:47
Intermediate
 
Episode 29 - The Major Modes
Ionian, Lydian, and Mixolydian Scales
 

Alfie Magliano examines modes, which are scales based upon eight notes. In this lesson, Alfie focuses on the modes related to major scales including Ionian, Lydian, and Mixolydian.

 
 
00:13:22
Intermediate
 
Episode 30 - The Minor Modes
Dorian, Phrygian, Aeolian, and Locrian Scales
 

Alfie Magliano examines the modes related to minor scales including Dorian, Phrygian, Aeolian, & Locrian. 

 
 
00:14:52
Intermediate
 
Episode 31 - Harmonizing a Melody
Adding Chords to a Melody in a Major Key
 

Alfie Magliano takes a melody, single notes played over time, and creates a chord accompaniment for it. 

 
 
00:11:09
Intermediate
 
Episode 32 - Broken and Arpeggiated Chords
Playing Chords Over Time
 

Alfie Magliano discusses how to play chords beyond block chords, all notes played at once, including broken chords and arpeggiated chords.

 
 
00:10:49
Intermediate
 
Episode 33 - Passing Tones & Neighboring Tones
Identifying Non-Chord Tones in a Melody
 

Alfie Magliano continues to discuss writing melodies and creating harmonies by introducing passing tones and neighboring tones. Alfie defines these tones and provides examples of both.

 
 
00:10:24
Advanced
 
Episode 34 - Composing a Melody Part 1
Writing a Melody Over Chords in a Major Key
 

Alfie Magliano demonstrates how to compose a melody against a backdrop of chords in a major key and how to identify the time signature, chords, and type of chords before adding passing and neighboring tones.

 
 
00:06:36
Advanced
 
Episode 35 - Composing a Melody Part 2
Writing a Melody and Chords in a Minor Key
 

Alfie Magliano combines harmonizing and composing a melody in a minor key into one lesson.

 
 
00:13:30
Advanced
 
Episode 36 - The Blues
Exploring The Blues Form & The Blues Scale
 

Alfie Magliano introduces the blues or, more specifically, the 12 bar blues chord progression. And demonstrates this progression and the blues scale on the musical staff and on the piano. 

 
 
00:08:21
Advanced
 
Episode 37 - Additional Scale Types
Pentatonic, Wholetone, & Arabic Scales
 

Alfie Magliano recaps all of the scales learned up to this point and introduces 3 new ones. He explains the properties and demonstrates them on the musical staff and the piano keyboard.

 
 
00:11:01
Advanced
 
Episode 38 - Alternate Chord Notation
Chord Notation Shorthands
 

Alfie Magliano examines various types of chord notation, not as formal, but very useful. He shows you several variations for writing chords and more.

 
 
00:08:05
Advanced
 
Episode 39 - Motive and Phrase
Words & Sentences of Music
 

Alfie Magliano defines motive as a short musical idea that repeats often throughout a song and he demonstrates several examples from classical and pop music.

 
 
00:13:49
Advanced
 
Episode 40 - Musical Forms Part 1
Binary, Ternary, Rondo, and Theme & Variation
 

Alfie Magliano explores several types of musical forms including binary, ternary, rondo, theme and variation, and developmental forms.

 
 
00:10:03
Intermediate
 
Episode 41 - Musical Forms Part 2
Pop Song Structure
 

Alfie Magliano explores pop music forms including the predominant pop song structure, also known as radio format, and discusses various modifications.

 
 
00:13:44
Intermediate
 
Rhythmic Counting - The Beat
What is "The Beat?"
 

In this music theory lesson focused on rhythmic counting, Matt Teitelman (Kanye West), introduces the concept of "The Beat" which is essential to the way that rhythm is understood in music.

 
 
00:02:08
Beginner
 
Rhythmic Counting 01 - Quarter, Half and Whole Notes
Quarter, Half and Whole Notes
 

In this music theory lesson, Matt Teitelman discusses quarter, half and whole notes and how to utilize these to find the beat and how to recognize, count, and write them. 

 
 
00:06:58
Beginner
 
Rhythmic Counting 02 - Subdivisions
8th, 16th and 32nd Note Subdivisions
 

In this music theory lesson, Matt Teitelman (Kanye West). introduces the eighth note, sixteenth note, and thirty-second note, which are all subdivisions of the beat.

 
 
00:09:26
Beginner
 
Rhythmic Counting 03 - Rests
Rests
 

Gain a deeper understanding of musical rests in all forms. Matt Teitelman (Kanye West) focuses on teaching you when not to play, but to still keep counting with a rest, or a pause in the music.

 
 
00:08:20
Beginner
 
Rhythmic Counting 04 - Dotted Rhythms
Understanding Dotted Rhythms
 

Gain a deeper understanding of rhythm in modern music with the introduction to dotted rhythms as Matt Teitelman explains what a dotted note does and describes what it looks like.

 
 
00:11:57
Beginner
 
Rhythmic Counting 05 - Common Rhythms Part 1
Common Half, Quarter and Dotted Quarter Rhythms
 

 Matt Teitelman introduces common rhythms using half notes, dotted half notes, and quarter notes and demonstrates them by counting the beat and clapping the rhythm. 

 
 
00:15:54
Beginner
 
Rhythmic Counting 06 - Common Rhythms 2
Common Quarter, Dotted Quarter, and Eighth Note Rhythms
 

Matt Teitelman introduces common rhythms using using quarter notes, dotted quarter notes, and eighth notes and demonstrates them by counting the beat and clapping the rhythm. 

 
 
00:15:39
Beginner
 
Rhythmic Counting 07 - Common Rhythms 3
Common 8th, Dotted 8th and 16th Note Rhythms
 

Matt Teitelman introduces common rhythms using eighth notes, dotted eighth notes, and sixteenth notes and demonstrates them by counting the beat and clapping the rhythm. 

 
 
00:14:41
Beginner
 
Rhythmic Counting 08 - Tempo
Understanding How Tempo Works
 

Matt Teitelman explains how to understand the speed of music through the concept of tempo, the rate at which a piece of music is played independently of rhythm. 

 
 
00:09:05
Beginner
 
Rhythmic Counting 09 - Rhythm Test 1
Test #1: Whole Notes Through 16th Notes
 

Test your knowledge of whole notes through sixteenth notes with this exercise designed to determine your understanding of the elements of rhythm.

 
 
00:12:53
Beginner
 
Rhythmic Counting 10 - Ties
Understanding Tied Notes
 

Matt Teitelman (Kanye West) focuses on when, how, and why to use musical ties in music notation and shows you examples.

 
 
00:06:10
Intermediate
 
Rhythmic Counting 11 - Syncopation
Playing Off the Beat
 

Matt Teitelman talks about syncopation, or playing off the beat, and explains how some beats are stronger and others weaker and how playing on the off beat adds a sense of tension and release.

 
 
00:08:09
Intermediate
 
Rhythmic Counting 12 - Triplets
Dividing Notes Into Groups of Three
 

Matt Teitelman (Kanye West) discusses how to divide notes into groups of three using triplets, how to create a triplet and how to count them.

 
 
00:14:46
Intermediate
 
Rhythmic Counting 13 - Eighth Note Triplets
Counting 8th Note Triplets
 

Matt Teitelman (Kanye West) explores ways to manipulate the triplets to make interesting rhythms with the introduction to common eighth note triplet rhythms.

 
 
00:12:24
Intermediate
 
Rhythmic Counting 14 - Sixteenth Note Triplets
Counting 16th Note Triplets
 

Matt Teitelman (Kanye West) explores ways to manipulate the triplets to make interesting rhythms with the introduction to common sixteenth note triplet rhythms. 

 
 
00:17:06
Intermediate
 
Rhythmic Counting 15 - Swing
Understanding "Swing" in Rhythm
 

Matt Teitelman introduces swing rhythms across all music genres. Swing rhythms are based on eighth note triplets and Matt demonstrates various ways to play, count and write these.

 
 
00:10:12
Intermediate
 
Rhythmic Counting 16 - Triplet Test
Test #2: Triplets
 

Test your knowledge of triplet rhythms and rhythmic concepts. 

 
 
00:11:35
Intermediate
 
Rhythmic Counting 17 - Basics of Time Signatures
Understanding How Time Signatures Work
 

Matt Teitelman (Kanye West) explains the basic rules of time signatures and explores many of the note combinations possible. 

 
 
00:06:15
Beginner
 
Rhythmic Counting 18 - 3|4 Time Signature
Understanding the 3/4 Time Signature
 

Matt Teitelman discusses the 3/4 time signature, otherwise known as waltz time, and demonstrates this time signature with several musical examples. 

 
 
00:03:59
Beginner
 
Rhythmic Counting 19 - 2|4 & 2|2 Time Signatures
Understanding 2/2 and 2/4 Time Signatures
 

Matt Teitelman explores the 2/2, or cut time, and the 2/4 time signatures often used in marching music, as well as, samba or salsa music.

 
 
00:07:15
Beginner
 
Rhythmic Counting 20 - 6|8 & 12|8 Time Signatures
Understanding 6/8 and 12/8 Time Signatures
 

Matt Teitelman (Kanye West) examines the 6/8 and 12/8 time signatures and explains the reasons for using an eighth note pulse versus a quarter note pulse.

 
 
00:10:01
Intermediate
 
Rhythmic Counting 21 - 5|4 & 7|4 Time Signatures
Understanding 5/4 and 7/4 Time Signatures
 

Matt Teitelman explores the 5/4 and 7/4 time signatures and gives you examples where these odd time signatures are used. 

 
 
00:05:58
Intermediate
 
Rhythmic Counting 22 - Alternating Time Signatures
Working With Alternating Time Signatures
 

Matt Teitelman (Kanye West) explains alternating time signatures, also known as changing or shifting time signatures, and examines examples of these within a single piece of music.

 
 
00:05:32
Intermediate
 
Rhythmic Counting 23 - Clave
Understanding the Clave Concept and Pattern
 

Matt Teitelman delves into the rhythm known as clave, named for the instrument that it is played on (the claves), discussing it as an opportunity to explore beats of different length. 

 
 
00:05:09
Advanced
 
Rhythmic Counting 24 - Polyrhythms
Understanding How Polyrhythms Work
 

Matt Teitelman (Kanye West) explores the concept of polyrhythms, providing musical examples of these counter rhythms and gives mnemonic devices to remember them.

 
 
00:07:20
Advanced
 
 
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