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learning music theory

I don't know the answers to the questions! How do I learn this?

If you have a teacher or professor to teach you what you need to know, that's great. If you're on your own (or if you just want some extra tips), there are still a lot of very good websites that will help you learn what you need to know, for free (see below).

In-progress — more links, better organization, and descriptions of what you will find on each of these websites. I will also be working on a list of good non-free music theory resources online.

Music Theory for Musicians and Normal People - excellent cheatsheets with good coverage of theory concepts starting with the basics.
How to read sheet music - good basic tutorial at
Music theory guide - supports both UK and US names for note types
Intro to reading music - also see other resources at
Standard music notation - reading music, especially for guitarists at - for students starting out in band and orchestra
Music Theory Online - in-depth theory reference - interactive lessons and trainers
Teoría - interactive exercises, references
Musical Mind - Interactive ear training exercises
Music Awareness - interactive training to recognizing harmonies in real-world music by ear
BigEars - interactive ear trainer
Fundamentals of Piano Practice, 2nd Edition - piano lessons and teaching material
Basic Music Theory textbook - free downloadable book
Method Behind the Music - good music reference (including basic theory) with some interactive explanations; ad-supported.
Jazz Guitar Online - music theory lessons and other resources especially for jazz guitarists


Can you list my website here?

We're always on the lookout for more music theory resources online. Close this help window and click on the "contact" link at the bottom of the page. If we think the link you submit would be helpful specifically to music theory students, we will list it here. Thanks!