Learn Music Theory to Expand on Your Song Writing Range
This is the Sleepfreaks instructor Itoh.
Through this series, we will be taking a look at music theory.
- My songs always end up sounding the same
- I want to copy a song but I don’t know the chords
- I want to analyze songs from my favorite artists/producers
These problems can be addressed and remedied by learning about music theory.
Even if you can’t read notation, we will look at the notes in a DAW as well,
so don’t feel pressured and enjoy the process of learning.
With the goal of “making your own song” in mind,
we will take the optimal route to teaching you the basics for this process.
Lets dive right in!
Note Names are a Must when Starting to Learn Music Theory
Before learning music theory, you must know the basic note names.
You most likely have seen these letters signifying a chord like in the image shown.
These rules apply within your DAW as well.
While music is fun, this alphabet makes up the foundation of knowledge that you must have to make it.
This is the “do re mi fa so la ti do” sound that you are all familiar with.
Lets try sequencing this “do re mi fa so la ti do” into our DAW as well.
By doing so, we see that the notes are named “C D E F G A B C”.
It may seem a little difficult to remember.
Think of “A” as the base and start from “la ti do re mi fa so la” instead.
It is now in the alphabetical order of A B C D E F G.
Try this out if you think it may be difficult to remember from C.
Sharps and Flats Symbolizing Half-Steps
Between the white keys there are black keys as well.
Here we introduce ＃ (sharp) and b (flat).
- # : Play a half-step higher
- b : Play a half-step lower
This is symbolized by these signs.
What is a half-step? Lets take a look on the piano.
Between “E & F” and “B & C” there are no black keys.
This side-by-side distance between notes is called a half-step.
F is a half-step above E (#), while E is a half-step below F (b).
A half-step higher when #, a half-step lower when ♭.
The black keys are played when a note has a # or b on it.
Two Half-Steps make a Whole-Step
Now, we can take 2 half-steps (half+half) to make a whole-step.
The space between “C & D” is 2 half-steps. This is the same for “G & A” as well.
Did this help your understanding of half-steps and whole-steps?
Double Sharps and Double Flats
When using a daw, your notes will look primarily like the ones above.
However, there exists notation like shown below as well.
Since you’ve already come this far, lets take a quick look at this concept.
- Double Sharp : Take the note raised a half-step by a sharp and move it another half-step up
- Double Flat : Take the note lowered a half-step by a flat and move it another half-step down
A “E Double Sharp” is the “same note as F Sharp”.
A “B Double Flat” is the “same note as A”.
Though these appear far less often than the usual “＃/♭”, it will come in handy to know this
knowledge for information that comes later in our series.
Be sure to keep these important note names in mind when making your own music!