Music theory is the study of how music works. It covers various aspects of music such as melody, harmony, rhythm, and form. In this article, we will discuss some of the basic terms of music theory that every musician should know.

Musical Notes

The first thing that comes to our mind when we think about music is the sound. Musical notes are the building blocks of music.

A musical note is a symbol that represents a sound or pitch. There are seven basic notes in western music – A, B, C, D, E, F, and G. These notes are represented by alphabets from A to G.


Octave refers to the distance between two notes with the same name but different pitches. For example, the A note on a piano keyboard has a frequency of 440 Hz. The next A note on the keyboard has twice the frequency (880 Hz) and is said to be an octave higher than the first A note.


An Interval is the distance between two musical notes. The smallest interval in western music is a half-step or a semitone. Two half-steps form a whole step or a tone.


A chord is a group of three or more musical notes played together. Chords are used to create harmony in music. There are several types of chords such as major chords, minor chords, diminished chords, and augmented chords.


Scales are a sequence of musical notes played in ascending or descending order. Scales form the basis for melodies and harmonies in music. Some common scales include major scale, minor scale, pentatonic scale and blues scale.

Time Signatures

Time signatures indicate how many beats are in each measure and what type of note gets the beat. The most common time signature in western music is 4/4, which means there are four beats in each measure and a quarter note gets one beat.


These are some of the basic terms of music theory that every musician should know. Understanding these terms will help you to read and write music, compose your own music, and communicate with other musicians effectively. Keep practicing and exploring different aspects of music theory to become a better musician.