What Is Music Theory?


Quick Answer

Music theory is a method used to examine the mechanics behind what music is and why people like to listen to it. Music theory breaks down different sounds and attaches them to human behavior, as well as attempts to create explanation for rhythm, harmony and melody.

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Full Answer

Music theory attempts to teach the basic foundations of music which are rhythm, melody and harmony. Rhythm refers to how long musical events, such as beats, can occur for. Melody is defined as the group of notes that is played continuously throughout the song and harmony explains how notes are or can be combined.

Music theory has also allowed many musicians to learn about background sounds. Certain sounds can sway a person's emotions, and theory was able to name the sounds as well as create a universal language all musicians could abide by.

Not only does music theory offer explanations as to why people enjoy music, but it also offers insight on earlier musical traditions. Studying older instruments from civilizations such as Mesopotamia and China shows small details as to what type of music was produced and what aspects of theory was used. This insight also allows musicians to have an understanding of how ancient cultures approached different aspects of music theory and how they passed down such traditions.

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