Music Theory At COTA

Music Theory At COTA

What is Music Theory?

Music theory is the study of the practices and possibilities of music. The Oxford Companion to Music describes three interrelated uses of the term “music theory”.


Music theory, like language, enables us to understand the structure and meaning behind a musical composition. Secondly, music theory allows us to speak with other musicians in a common language. It serves as a short-hand for referring to important points in the music.

Frequently Asked Questions

What means music theory?

Music theory is the term for ideas that help us understand music. It explains what music does, and what’s going on when we hear it. Music theory puts the ideas and practices of music into a written form, where they can be studied and passed on to others.

Is music theory hard?

First of all, despite what everybody says, music theory is not “hard”. It is certainly “complex” i.e. there are many things that you need to understand, but each single one of these things is easy, and you do not need to understand the whole thing before you can use it. You can learn it one piece at a time.

Why is it called music theory?

The fact of music is what you hear when you play various notes. The theory is the set of rules that explains how the pieces fit together, and allows you to make predictions about how things will sound before you play them.

Do all musicians know music theory?

While it is true that some professional musicians forge successful careers without being able to read a note of score, they will usually still have a good working knowledge of music theory, and how it practically applies to their instrument.

Can I learn music theory on my own?

The good news is that you don’t need an expensive teacher or classical conservatory to learn it. You can pick up the important parts of music theory by learning on your own and applying the concepts to your everyday music practice.

Why should we know music theory?

You can communicate and exchange more easily. Music is a language and it’s important to know how to use it and to develop a richer vocabulary. It will be easier to integrate into a group, to understand what everyone else is playing and be able to play with them.

How fast can you learn music theory?

To understand and apply music theory, it takes around 6-12 months to learn basic rudiments, and then approximately 3-4 years after that to learn intermediate and advanced concepts. Enrolling in a music school, taking an online course, or investing in private lessons will help speed up the process.

Why do I struggle with music theory?

Music theory is difficult to grasp because it uses visual methods to describe what we hear. That’s a big problem for music theorists because our brains interpret music hundreds of times faster than it takes to explain it. This is why music is powerful.

Does music theory make you less creative?

Music theory won’t sabotage creativity, so long as you abide by a particular conception of what “theory” actually is. Note that this particular conception (which I ascribe to) differs from what some accept to be good theory.

Is music theory really a theory?

In modern academia, music theory is a subfield of musicology, the wider study of musical cultures and history. Etymologically, music theory, is an act of contemplation of music, from the Greek word θεωρία, meaning a looking at, a viewing; a contemplation, speculation, theory; a sight, a spectacle.

Can music exist without theory?

 Technically yes – if for instance you surround yourself with very competent musicians that can transcribe what you sing, find the chords to that melody, create the sounds that you have in mind, etc… then yes, you can definitely compose without knowing theory.

Who invented music theory?

Timeline 024: Jean Philippe Rameau And The Beginning Of Music Theory. French composer Jean Phillippe Rameau sought to understand music, and specifically harmony, in scientific terms. The 17th Century, also known as the Age of Reason, saw the birth of the scientific method.

Can you learn music theory with books?

If you’re learning an instrument and want to understand what’s going on behind all the notes then a must-have in your library is Alfred’s Essentials of Music Theory.

Can I learn music theory without instruments?

Can you learn music theory without playing an instrument? You can definitely learn music theory while not playing an instrument. Music theory is the study of how to compose and write music. It is about how music works, not necessarily how to play an instrument.

Is music theory the same for all instruments?

Music theory at large is the same for all instruments. Music theory is the study of how music works. It is the study of melody, harmony, and rhythm. However, there are some small differences on how you implement music theory depending on the instrument you play.