The first step toward building theoretical mastery in music is learning your method round the ground floor — understanding the basic parts of music, the theoretical structures that we have a tendency to work with in music theory, and the way those structures work along in some basic ways in which. This, however, is just enough to urge you to know what music is created of, and not in any sense however music works. Understanding music is additional — infinitely additional — than understanding the separate parts that create it up. Music could be a moving, living, pulsing body, and a bit like our bodies its systems square measure irreducible to any set of straightforward parts. the tip game is over understanding — it’s mastery — which comes from having the ability to control musical structures, golf shot them to figure and creating them work for you in no matter method you’d like. That, however, could be a great distance off for many people that square measure learning music theory for the primary time. A basic introduction is required 1st, that additional or less contains 2 parts:
- A summation of the foundational parts of music theory, its basic structures (covered up to the current point);
- Some way to place those structures along so as to realize a bigger understanding of what’s happening within the actual, material act of music-making
That second task is what this section is about: material possession you in on a number of the secrets of musical systems; showing you the way musical parts and structures be together; and obtaining you prepared for successive step, that could be a broader perspective — a additional advanced voice communication concerning the way to manipulate theoretical structures in your own taking part in and writing. the purpose of this section isn’t to urge you the entire method there, solely to urge you acquiring the correct direction. thereto finish, we are going to discuss, first, a broad distinction between improvisation and composition (with an eye fixed toward puzzling over however improvisers and composers
use music theory), second, a general taxonomy of music theory (or a minimum of of harmony because it is known theoretically), and third, a collection of musical concepts and structures that square measure indispensable in your journey toward theoretical mastery.
What is a Composition?
We active musicians hold granted such a lot of theoretical objects, and none maybe quite this one — composition. we have a tendency to assume that we all know what it suggests that to compose one thing, which what we predict of as composition is what everybody else thinks of as composition. we predict there’s a straightforward answer to the question “What could be a composer?” which we all know simply however composers build use of music theory. It’s price starting with one thing easy. what’s composition? What will it mean to be a composer? initially look, it’s like it’s simply a matter of willful creation: to compose is to make by design. And so, composing music (being a composer) is simply a matter of being somebody United Nations agency by design creates sound. That, however, doesn’t extremely cowl it. First, there’s non-compositional music (such as improvisation), that is additionally, presumptively created by design. And second, there’s sound that’s created by design — like honking a motor horn — that we’d ne’er decision music. therefore there has got to be 2 things other to what we’ve got already said: one. that composers write things that square measure meant to be continual, a lot of or less specifically as they’re written; and a pair of. that compositions square measure quite mere sound. the primary of those things is straightforward enough — compositions square measure repeatable — and a minimum of initially blush this can be what separates composers from improvisers. however the second factor — that composed music is quite mere sound — could be a very little a lot of subtle. And here is wherever music theory enters. Music, it is said, isn’t merely sound, but organized sound. And whereas this definition is in some cases too easy to be true, it serves here as a general guide. after we say the organization of sound in an exceedingly musical sense, what we have a tendency to square measure talking regarding is theoretical structures — most basically, harmony, melody, and rhythm. These square measure the items that musicians manufacture, and don’t seem to be merely sounds. we have a tendency to produce organizations and structural
arrangements of sounds that square measure consonant or dissonant, that follow some melodic order (however complex) which occur in time (most usually of an everyday pulse). therefore this can be what composers do — by design produce repeatable musical structures. and people structures are often mentioned, analyzed, and even generated by music theory.