Professional preparatory music theory: Basic elements of music theory.

Chapter 1 of the Basic elements of music theory – by Oscar van Dillen ©2014-16


The advanced learning book can be found at Outline of basic music theory.

What started out as 1 page has become too large (and slow in loading) and is now split up:

Pages and chapters:

Chapter 1: Introduction
Chapter 2: Musical notation
Chapter 3: Building blocks of harmony – Scales
Chapter 4: Building blocks of harmony – Intervals
Chapter 5: Building blocks of harmony – Chords
Chapter 6: Keys and key signatures
Chapter 7: Further study


This online learning book offers a beginner’s excerpt from the materials presented in the Outline of basic music theory, preparing the student for the entrance requirements of most professional music education.

Good habits of studying music theory include:

  1. Studying Music Theory takes time: do it daily, and not too much at a time (20-30 min.)
  2. A sure signal of progress is found in observing one’s own mind: the concentration time span will improve with one’s abilities (30-45 min.)
  3. Working at a computer is a good modern help, but it cannot replace hearing and writing without the help of this digital tool: work and train also with a real piano as much as possible, and together with a fellow student or musician preferably as well, and get into the habit of writing by hand as well – a good handwriting is a sure signal of one’s training and abilities.

Studying is like eating: once per week in an extreme quantity at one sitting just never works…


goto chapter 2 ► Musical notation

Oscar van Dillen ©2014-16