Guitar - Music Theory

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Ten Famous Guitar Pioneers

Regardless of style, certain guitarists have made their mark on the world of guitar so that any guitarist who comes along after them has a hard time escaping their legacy. You'll find here, in chronological [more…]

How to Read the Circle of Fifths

Understanding how to read the circle of fifths will help you understand the relation between music's major keys and their relative minor keys. A major key and its relative minor use the same key signature [more…]

How to Read Key Signatures

Key signatures are important when reading music. You must understand how to read key signatures in order to know how to play the notes the way the composer intended. The key signature is a grouping of [more…]

What Is Music Theory?

Understanding music theory means knowing the language of music. The main thing to know about music theory is that it is simply a way to explain the music we hear. Music had existed for thousands of years [more…]

How to Recognize the Beat in Music

Recognizing the beat in a song means finding the pattern and speed of the music. If you know how to recognize the beat, you can control all of the other elements of the music. [more…]

How Musical Notes Are Constructed

You couldn't read or write music without notes. If you think of music as a language, the notes are like letters of the alphabet. If you know how to recognize the notes, you can learn the language. [more…]

Understanding Half Steps and Whole Steps

The distance between any two musical notes is called and interval. In Western musical notation, the smallest interval is the half step, or semitone. A [more…]

How to Read Music Note Values

Reading music notes means understanding the value of each note (that is, how long each note lasts) and how notes fit together in sheet music. To know how to read music notes, you'll need to learn the different [more…]

How to Read the Rests in Music

Knowing when not to play notes during a song is as important as knowing the notes you do play. Understanding how to read rests will help you keep up with the beat and pacing of the music. Sometimes the [more…]

How to Read the Key Signature to Determine What Key to Play

Knowing how to read the key signature to determine what key to play is critical to reading music, but it isn't difficult. Count the number of sharps or flats in the key signature, and then you can use [more…]

Note Names in the U.S. and U.K.

In the world of music, you may encounter different names for the many notes used. The U.S. and U.K. standard terms differ, but the U.S. names — which were originally translated from the German names for [more…]

Extending Notes with Dots and Ties

All notes have a certain value, indicated by the size and shape of the note, that determines how long a pitch should be held by the voice or an instrument. Sometimes, however, you want to add to the value [more…]

Understanding Simple and Compound Time Signatures

Written music always contains a time signature, which looks like a fraction and is found at the beginning of a piece of music. In the time signature, the upper number represents the number of beats per [more…]

Measuring the Distance between Pitches with Intervals

The distance between two musical pitches is called an interval. Intervals are important to music because they build scales and chords. In other words, music gets its richness from intervals. Composers [more…]

How to Read Note Values

The page you are looking for was recently moved. Don't worry, it's still here; it just has a new address: http://www.dummies.com/how-to/content/how-to-read-music-note-values.html [more…]

Guitar Theory: Modes of the Major Scale

As you study guitar theory, you'll hear terms like mode, tonic, and scale. The most common scale in music is the major scale. It includes seven degrees, or pitches, and involves seven steps or intervals [more…]

Getting to Know the Notes on a Guitar Fretboard

Guitar players must know the notes on the fretboard to keep track of the specific scale patterns and chords they play all over the neck. But rather than memorize every single note in every fret on every [more…]

Sample Major Scale Patterns in Guitar Theory

As you explore guitar theory, you'll learn that the major scale is a series of notes played in an ascending and descending fashion. Guitarists use the major scale to play melodies, riffs, solos, and bass [more…]

Guitar Theory: Roman Numerals and the Major Scale Chord Sequence

Guitar theory reveals that the major scale is stacked in thirds to make triads and chords. Each scale degree of the major scale produces a triad and major or minor chord. Starting with the first degree [more…]

Guitar Theory For Dummies Cheat Sheet

Guitar theory is an area of study that explains how you can play, improvise, and compose popular music on the guitar fretboard — and why certain elements of music go together the way they do. Dive into [more…]

Using an Open G Tuning and Playing Guitar Like Keith Richards

Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards has crafted some of the most famous guitar riffs of all time. What's unique about his style is that most of his signature hooks are chord changes, not scale riffs [more…]

Guitar Theory in Bob Dylan's "Like a Rolling Stone"

"Like a Rolling Stone" by Bob Dylan is considered one of the most influential compositions in popular music. Harmonically, it's a great example of using the major scale's sequence of major and minor chords [more…]

10 Steps to the "Hotel California" Guitar Solo

"Hotel California" by the Eagles features one of the best-known extended dual guitar solos of all time, and understanding the music theory behind it will help you master it. The chord sequence isn't a [more…]

Guitar Theory: Looking at Lead Patterns

Guitar players can use several types of scales and patterns to play melodies, riffs, and solos, but some are used far more than others. For example, the plain major scale and Mixolydian mode are very common [more…]

How to Navigate a Guitar Fretboard

Guitar players navigate the fretboard in a few ways. First, they know the location of some key notes. For example, they often know the notes along the 6th and 5th strings well and use them to track chord [more…]

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