Music theory is a complex subject that many people find challenging to grasp. It involves understanding the building blocks of music, such as scales, chords, and harmony.

But why is music theory so hard? In this article, we will explore some of the reasons why music theory can be difficult to learn.

The Language Barrier

One of the biggest challenges of learning music theory is the language barrier. Music has its own language, and it uses a unique set of symbols and notations that can be confusing for beginners. For example, notes on a sheet of music are denoted by different shapes and positions on the staff, while chords are represented by a series of letters and numbers.

To make matters worse, some musical terms are in Italian or French, such as allegro (meaning fast) or crescendo (gradually getting louder). Learning these terms can feel like trying to master a new language altogether!

The Abstract Nature of Music

Another reason why music theory is difficult is its abstract nature. Unlike other subjects like math or science, which deal with concrete concepts that can be visualized easily, music deals with intangible ideas like emotions and feelings.

For instance, when you hear a song that makes you feel sad or happy, it’s challenging to put those emotions into words. Similarly, when you’re trying to understand how certain chords work together in a piece of music, it’s tough to visualize how they sound without actually playing them.

The Amount of Information

Music theory encompasses a vast amount of information that can be overwhelming for beginners. It involves learning different scales and modes, chord progressions, rhythm patterns, and much more.

Moreover, it’s essential to understand how all these elements fit together in various genres like jazz or classical music. With so much information to process at once, it’s no wonder that many people find it difficult to keep up.

The Need for Practice

Learning music theory requires a lot of practice. You need to be able to read sheet music, identify different chords by ear, and play various scales and arpeggios on your instrument. It takes time and patience to master these skills.

However, many people don’t have the time or resources to dedicate themselves fully to learning music theory. They may have other commitments like work or school that prevent them from practicing regularly, making it harder for them to retain the information they learn.


In conclusion, music theory is a challenging subject that requires a lot of dedication and hard work to master. The language barrier, abstract nature of music, vast amount of information, and need for regular practice are all factors that contribute to its difficulty.

However, with the right mindset and approach, anyone can learn music theory. By breaking down complex concepts into smaller parts and practicing regularly, you can make significant progress in your understanding of this fascinating subject.