Music Theory Baby Steps
Semitones and Intervals
Alright, don't let your prior misconceptions about music theory keep you from reading this, because it's really not that hard to understand.
This first lesson is going to be about semitones and intervals...
(If you're already good on that, then check out part II where I cover scale construction)
Okay, if you're still reading this then you didn't run away. That's good. The first step in getting a firm understanding of music theory is to learn about semitones and intervals. What are semitones and intervals you ask? Easy, a semitone just means moving a single step away from the note you are on, and the intervals give it a name so it's easier to keep track of it.
That may not have been super clear, so here is an example:
A - A# - B - C - C# - D - D# - E - F - F# - G - G# - A
|I'm important. Feel free to save and print me out.|
Remember, the interval names are relative to the note you choose as your root note (or unison). So if you use A as your root note, then C would be your Minor 3rd. But if your root note was C, then your Minor 3rd would be D#.
For now just work on getting this in your head. It may not mean much to you yet, but I tried to learn chord construction and scales and stuff before knowing these names, and it was like trying to write a poem before knowing the alphabet.
And once you get comfortable with this you can learn how to construct major and minor chords in the second part of this series here. And if even that's still too easy for you, then check out this part on Chord Construction.
And for you "Theory stifles my creativity" people...quit being lazy. Learn this stuff, I promise it won't stifle your UBER SHREDDORZ SKILLZ.
Anyone have any good arguments against learning theory that are more than "Hendrix didn't know it..." then let me hear em in the comments.