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Music Theory and Ear Training

It is extremely important for every well-rounded musician to have a solid grasp of music theory and ear training.  These skills and knowledge will help you learn your music more quickly, accurately, as well as give you deeper understanding and appreciation of what is happening in the music you hear and perform.  Who knows – if you study hard now, it may even get you out of 8 AM music theory if you decide to go to music school in college!

The following music theory lessons and ear training drills will help reinforce the skills and concepts you have been learning in your group and private lessons since you were young.   Remember: just like any skill, music theory and ear training take practice.  Try to make ear training a part of your regular routine.  And don’t be surprised if some of these drills are actually fun!

Special thanks to Ricci Adams for creating these lessons and drills and making them available under the Creative Commons License.

Music Theory Lessons

Ear Training

The Staff, Clefs, and Ledger Lines
Learn about the staff, treble clef, bass clef, ledger lines, and the grand staff.

Note Duration
Learn about five types of notes and how flags affect note duration.

Measures and Time Signature
Learn about measures and how many notes each can contain.

Rest Duration
Learn about the different types of rest.

Dots and Ties
Learn how dots and ties modify the duration of notes.

Simple and Compound Meter
Learn how basic time signatures are classified.

Odd Meter
Learn about more complex time signatures.

Steps and Accidentals
Learn about half steps, whole steps, and the different types of accidentals.

The Major Scale
Learn how to construct the major scale.

The Minor Scales
Learn how to construct the three different types of minor scales.

Scale Degrees
Learn the special names for each note of a scale.

Key Signatures
Learn about key signatures and the special ordering of accidentals.

Key Signature Calculation
Learn a method for mathematically calculating key signatures.

Generic Intervals
Learn how two notes are measured on the staff.

Specific Intervals
Learn how two notes are specifically measured.

Writing Intervals
Learn how to correctly spell intervals with a three-step process.

Interval Inversion
Learn how to invert intervals.

Introduction to Chords
Learn about the four types of triads.

Triad Inversion
Learn how to invert triads.

Diatonic Triads
Learn how a scale’s notes form special triads.

Roman Numeral Analysis
Learn how diatonic triads are identified.

Voicing Chords
Learn how composers arrange the notes of chords.

Analysis #1
Watch an analysis of O Canada!.

Seventh Chords
Learn about the five types of seventh chords.

Diatonic Seventh Chords
Learn about the diatonic seventh chords of major and minor scales.

Seventh Chord Inversion
Learn how to invert seventh chords.

Composing with Minor Scales
Learn how the natural and harmonic minor scales combine.

Nonharmonic Tones
Learn about the different types of nonharmonic tones.

Phrases and Cadences
Learn about musical phrases and the different types of cadences.

Circle Progressions
Learn about root motion and circular chord progressions.

Common Chord Progressions
Learn how chord progressions tend to follow a common pattern.

Triads in First Inversion
Learn how first inversion triads are commonly used in chord progressions.

Triads in Second Inversion
Learn how second inversion triads are commonly used in chord progressions.

Analysis #2
Watch an analysis of Auld Lang Syne.

Building Neapolitan Chords
Learn how to build a Neapolitan chord.

Using Neapolitan Chords
Learn how a Neapolitan chord in first inversion is commonly used.

Analysis #3
Watch an analysis Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata (measures 48-50).

Note Identification
Identify the displayed note.

Key Signature Identification
Identify the displayed key signature.

Interval Identification
Identify the quality and type of the displayed interval.

Chord Identification
Identify the type of the displayed chord.

Keyboard Identification
Identify the note name of the highlighted piano key.

Interval Ear Training
Listen to the played interval and identify its type.

Scale Ear Training
Listen to the played scale and identify its type.

Chord Ear Training
Listen to the played chord and identify its type.


Chord Calculator
Display the chord for a specified starting note, chord type, and key.

Staff Paper Generator
Create your own custom tailored staff paper to print out.

Matrix Generator
Display the twelve-tone matrix for a specified tone row.

Copyright © 2000-2009, Ricci Adams. Except where otherwise noted, content on this webpage is licensed under a Creative Commons License.