# Why is music theory so confusing?

My teachers says it's easy but he's played for like 15 years and I've played for 1.

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• ?
Lv 7
2 months ago

LOL. Anyways, maybe you need to see a tutor and try your best don't give up

• 2 months ago

Its too much like algebra, which also sucks.

• 2 months ago

Think of music theory as of language.

Every language is difficult if you try to learn all at once.

Start with simple things you need more often, and progress step by step.

• ?
Lv 7
2 months ago

Doesn't matter how long someone has played for.  I've been playing music for over 30 years, and I barely speak the language of music theory.  Written music looks like chicken scratches on a barbed wire fence to me.

I know that Every Good Boy Deserves Fudge, but I forget which direction it goes in.  I know that 4/4 time is 4 beats per measure, which is why the Ramones always yell "one two three four" when they start a song.  And I know where all the notes are on my guitar strings.  That's pretty much all the theory I know, and I've written songs.

• 3 months ago

How long one has played has nothing to do with understanding theory. There are many musicians who has played for years but doesn't know music theory.  Music theory like any other subject depends on the teacher's method of teaching and the student's learning ability.

• 3 months ago

The actual basic principles are quite simple.

The problem is that terminology dates from hundreds of years ago and is complete nonsense, despite people trying to make excuses for it rather than admit that.

Just remember that semitones are equal increments all the way from the lowest note to the highest.

Any pattern of notes that works together at any point along that list of semitones can be moved, keeping the spacing, and it will work at any other point along that list.

eg. Guitar frets along each string are semitone steps.

There are twelve semitones per octave; move 12 steps up or down the list and you double or half the frequency.

It's a mathematical (logarithmic) series, with all semitone steps equal multiples of frequency [12th root of 2].

Keyboard instruments have the full "list" of semitone steps, if you ignore black/white and just consider all the keys in sequence.

The confusing (and to be blunt totally moronic) part is that the people that came up with the notation only named seven out of the twelve semitones in an octave...

That's the white keys on a piano or the lines and spaces on sheet music written in the key of C.

The other five semitones do not have names or places, they are written with the names of the adjacent notes/keys and a symbol to say if the unnamed note is the one higher (sharp) or lower (flat) from that.

If the creator was trying to come up with the craziest and most obfuscated notation possible, they succeeded.

Ignoring the notation side, if you want to transpose a note or chord, you just move it some number of semitones.

You can do that literally on a guitar, by moving the fret or fretting pattern some number of frets higher or lower and you have moved that number of semitones.

The same thing applies with music in MIDI form, the full list of semitones is represented by sequential numbers and adding or subtracting a constant value transposes that number of semitones.

Do it on a keyboard or in score notation and various notes change between white<>black , named or sharp. Chaos!

The "Circle of fifths" diagram is one of the few illustrations teachers use that actually shows all semitones equally spaced, as they are in reality.

Just remember it's only the notation that's weird, it's a bit like learning a foreign language and having to translate everything to that and back again.

It is useful to be able to read a score, but in reality it is not essential, you can play without reading it.

That's why a fair percentage of professional musicians, especially guitarists,  never learn to read music, and why tablature format is so popular for guitar and drums.

Some users on here will say that reading music is essential, to be a good musician - I'd refer them to Stevie Wonder...

• ?
Lv 7
3 months ago