Though nothing's better than a good song, playing music is challenging! Learn solid music theory here, with no sheet music!
You know the ABC's. Music theory goes from A-G, and stops:
Instrument fingerings and your own voice produce the Sounds respresented by this musical alphabet. Sound is what music theory structures for rich listening. Together, we'll attempt to improve our sound output.
Additionally, there are steps, or sounds between some of these letters. That means more fingerings (don't worry, we'll go slowly):
"You're a good music student, since you want to know about theory!"
The steps between the ABCDEFG letters are termed half steps. They fall between whole steps, like A to B. So, A to (step) is a half step, as well as (step) to B.
Again, A to B is a whole step, with two half steps between. Why is that important? We must learn about Sharps and Flats to answer. We're talking about Sound, and must label the sound increments.
You're a good music student, since you want to know about theory!
A Sharp is like a nail that points up. It raises a letter a half step. So the sound is going up, as from A (step) B. Now it's called A (sharp) B. Keep going up the musical alphabet:
Don't worry about the steps I skipped, it's for a reason I'll get to later. Just know the sound is going up half steps, called Sharps. The symbol for Sharp in music is '#' (the number, or pound, or hash mark, symbol):
A Flat is the tire that nail punctured. Just like a flat will deflate, and bring you down too, the sound goes down a half step. B (step) A now becomes B (flat) A, as the sound goes down a half step. The musical alphabet downward:
We start on G because we need to reverse the direction of the sound (since our sharp nail gave us a flat). Flat's symbol looks like a lowercase 'b':
Sharp Flat Rule Page (popular)
In the musical Alphabet, some letters have no steps, or in-between notes. Again, the steps between the letters are:
The steps between the notes are now either # Sharp or b Flat. The steps between ABCDEFG with Sharps and Flats:
Notice that there are no steps between B and C, and between E and F? This means when you play a B# (B sharp), you are playing the letter C. And when you play an E# (E sharp), you are playing an F.
Conversely, when you play a Cb(C flat), you are playing the letter B. And when you play an Fb(F flat), you are playing an E. Therefore, both B to C, and E to F have no between steps:
You may remember the BC,EF exception, with the phrase:
Thanks for reading, and if you need help, drop a line at the Guestbook. I'm glad to have intelligent musicians here!
The next page introduces a combination of half and whole steps to make scales.