Download Music Theory Handbook PDF

TitleMusic Theory Handbook
Tags Pop Culture Harmony Chord (Music)
File Size597.1 KB
Total Pages21
Document Text Contents
Page 1

Page 2

M u s i c t h e o r y
h a n d b o o k V o L 1

“ Getting Started with Counterpoint” 3 FroM the onLine course counterpoint by beth denisch

“ Understanding Reharmonization” 6 FroM the onLine course reharMonization techniques by steVe rochinski

“ Master the Basics of Rhythm” 10 FroM the onLine course Music theory 101 by pauL schMeLing

“ Learn the Intricacies of the Seventh Chord” 13 FroM the onLine course getting inside harMony 1 by MichaeL rendish

“ Examining the Theory Behind the Blues” 16 FroM the onLine course Music theory 201 by pauL schMeLing

Page 10


What are some other examples of 2, 3, or

4 pulse words? What about a 5 pulse word?

Which syllable has the downbeat?

When beats are grouped together, the

pulse is said to be in meter. Most music has

a regular underlying meter. Each group of

beats is called a measure or bar. In music

notation, meter is indicated by a time sig-

nature. A time signature usually has two

numbers, one above the other. The top

number indicates how many beats are in

each measure. For example:

In this time signature,

there are four beats per measure.

In this time signature,

there are three beats per measure.

In this time signature, there are two

beats per measure.

Rhythm is the aspect of music relating to

time—when musical events happen (notes

and other sounds) in relation to other musi-

cal events.

A regular pulse is fundamental to music

and some pulses or beats are emphasized

more than others. Say the word “alligator.”

Notice that “al” has the strongest empha-

sis. The strongest beat is beat 1 (“al”) and

is called the downbeat. Beat 3 (“ga”) is

also considered a strong beat, although

not as strong as beat 1. Say “alligator” over

and over, keeping the beat regular and on

each syllable. Notice how the beats are

grouped into sets of four. Now, say “croc-

odile” over and over. Here, the beats are

grouped into sets of three. The downbeat

is on the syllable “croc.” Next say “lizard”

over and over. What do you notice? Yes,

“lizard” has 2 beats. The downbeat is on

the syllable “liz”.

by pauL schMeLing
Paul Schmeling is a master pianist, interpreter, improviser, and arranger who has inspired

countless students since he began teaching at Berklee in 1961. He has performed or recorded

with jazz greats such as Clark Terry, Rebecca Parris, George Coleman, Carol Sloane, Frank

Foster, Art Farmer, Herb Pomeroy, Phil Wilson, Dick Johnson and Slide Hampton.

Master the basics oF rhythM
FroM the onLine course Music theory 101

Page 11


• Quarter notes last for a quarter of a
whole note: one beat. Their symbol is a

closed notehead with a stem.

Each note value has a corresponding

rest symbol, which indicates silence for

that value. Let’s look at three types of rests:

whole, half, and quarter rests:

• Whole rests are small, solid rect-
angles that hang down from a staff line.

They represent four beats of silence.

If the whole measure is silent, a whole

rest is also used, regardless of the time


• Half rests are rectangles that lie
on top of a staff line. They last for two


• Quarter rests look like a sideways W
with a thick middle. They last for one beat.

Let’s focus on the 4/4 time signature, or

as it is also called, common time (C). This

is the most common meter in popular and

jazz music.

Bar lines separate measures, and the

music ends with a final bar line—a thin and

thick line.

Notes are the building blocks of music.

They can last for any number of beats—we

will refer to this as the note’s duration or value.

Each note value represents a rhythmic

attack. Let’s look at three common types of

note values: whole, half, and quarter notes:

• Whole notes last for a whole mea-
sure in common time, which is four

beats. The symbol for a whole note is an

open notehead.

• Half notes last for half as long as
whole notes: 2 beats. Their symbol is an

open notehead with a vertical line called

a stem.

Think about setting these words to music: “Yesterday is history; tomorrow a mystery.”

Which syllables should be stressed? What meter would they best fit into? How many

measures would be required?

Page 20


pauL schMeLing’s onLine courses

Music theory 101
Join our community of beginning learners for engaging, hands-on activities that will help you

read, write, and truly hear the elements of music like never before.

Music theory 201: harMony and Function
Through ear training exercises, musical examples, and personalized feedback from your

instructor, you’ll be able to analyze, read, write, and listen more effectively as well as understand

the fundamental knowledge essential to the beginning studies of harmony.

Music theory 301: adVanced MeLody, harMony, rhythM
Establish a toolkit of musical expertise that will prepare you for any musical endeavor or

opportunity. This advanced music theory course provides you with a professional command

of the mechanics of contemporary music.

Page 21

• Music Theory 101

• Music Theory 201: Harmony and

• Music Theory 301: Advanced
Melody, Harmony, Rhythm

• Basic Ear Training 1

• Getting Inside Harmony 1

• Getting Inside Harmony 2

• Harmonic Ear Training

• Counterpoint

• Reharmonization Techniques

certiFicate prograMs

Master certiFicates
(8-12 courses)

• Theory, Harmony, and Ear Training

speciaList certiFicates
(3 courses)

• Music Theory

• Music Theory and Counterpoint

• Theory and Harmony

• Voice Technique and Musicianship

onLine courses

onLine courses in Music theory
study with the renowned FacuLty oF berkLee coLLege
oF Music FroM anywhere in the worLd, with onLine
courses at onLine.berkLee.coM

Similer Documents