Basic Elements of Music Theory

Basic Elements of Music Theory:

There are music elements that form the basic understanding and knowledge of music theory that you have to study in order to determine how music is played or constructed. The students must pay special attention to the learning and mastering the music elements.

These basic elements are the structure and framework for which music is formed. Knowing these elements will allows you to study, play, compose, re harmonize, and work with other musicians in a common language of music theory.

The basic music theory elements and concepts will help you to understand just how music is defined and you will get good knowledge of music. The basic music theory is based on the following:


1. Rhythm

2. Musical notes to be played

3. Key signatures

4. Scale

5. Intervals

6. Cords


Technique Instruction

Playing music is technique or how you approach musical instrument to produce sound quality.Our aim is to provide you basic knowledge on technique that will certainly improve your playing. In most traditional teaching the music elements are taught bit by bit, this practice was very common in the Indian sub continent and still prevails. This approach allows you to slowly be able to grasp the basic music theory elements. However the student never gets the broader view of how all these “dots” or points of the elements relate to each other until you been studying them for a very long time. In our opinion this is merely the waste of time and keeping the students away from grasping the real knowledge of playing music.  Did you ever wonder how the teacher knows what to teach you next. Well, they have the big picture in their mind.  It probably took them a long time too to get there as well.
As you explore the individual elements and components you will start with a big  and brighter picture or overview of the element and then exam each component that makes it up.

You quickly look at a big picture of items, then move in and get relationships of a component related to the element and build on those chucks of information to create a base to launch your music.

Then you will start using the knowledge and putting it together in a way that allows you to quickly assimilate the pieces you are learning about and accelerate your grasp of these various music theory elements.  Your curiosity and passion will play vital role in grasping the knowledge of music theory.

In my case too when I was taught bit by bit in a traditional manner. I learned one note at a  time and where it was located on a keyboard. I had no concept of what the notes were and how they were related to each other, and why was it so important to learn one note at a time and to sing along to master its position for hours and hours.  I always wondered if this note is played alone for hours   what or how the the basic music theory elements even existed. By the lapse of time the secret behind it was uncovered. It was perhaps very important in the opinion of traditional teachers, so that the student may remember that note deep down in his memories for a long time before switching over to other related notes that form melody or tune of the song. You would then go on to another note, then another. Then out of the blue you would be given a sharp. What was a sharp? What did that mean?

My interest in music enabled me to learn about the various scales and why it was essential to grasp the knowledge of playing keyboard on different scales. I also learned to read most of the treble notes on the master staff. What I didn’t get was a good lesson on the whole thing and how basic music theory elements all fit together in harmony to form melody.  I also tried to study on my own with hours of practice on the keyboard.  But it was soon revealed to me that a good teacher and good tools are very very important.

The basic elements

 There are five basic music theory elements that provides the foundation needed to  propel you quickly into more difficult and fun elements of music. Mastering these basics are essential  before  moving on to advance knowledge of music theory.


Understanding and applying time signatures, beat values and dividing beats is an absolute must do. In order to play with other musicians the rhythm keeps you in harmony. Without the knowledge of rhythm you can not even think of playing music with others. Rhythm is mathematical and there is no compromise on beat values. The listeners will never forgive you if you are not playing the musical instrument according to the rhythm. Rhythm has very important and key role in constructing and presenting the oriental, classical and folk tunes.


Knowing notes names, values (rhythm timing), pitch, placement are all key foundations basics that are applied to build on the other elements of music theory. The musician must know what sharps and flats mean, where are they located on the keyboard.


Major, minor, diminished scales form the basis of how much music is composed. Knowing this information leads to the ability to create chords and defines what notes are likely to be played with that chord.  The basic scale is made up of seven notes, actually eight because we always end on the same note name as we start on. and intervals are defined using the major scale.
Here is a C major scale





Major, minor, diminished, augmented are the terms used in music theory. These names are related to the scales. A minor chord is shown below:


Key Signatures

You must have understanding of the mathematics scales and chords as a primary pattern that leads to the key signatures which allows you to apply that pattern while playing different key notes. See the picture below of key signature.