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Key Elements of Music Theory

You’re an aspiring individual with the long-standing dream of displaying your creativity to the world and pouring your entire heart and soul into music production. How exactly do I delve into the vast field of music-making, you wonder? 


Allow us to explain! 


See, we understand just how daunting the process can seem at first glance — and we are here to explain the nitty-gritty for effortless music-oriented endeavors. 


To put it simply, attaining knowledge regarding the building blocks of music is essential to success. Defined as the study of musical composition methods and concepts, music theory is the gateway to creative expression. By enhancing your understanding of music, the theory opens the door to a profusion of exciting opportunities and allows you to arrange and compose melodies like never before. 


To gain a deeper appreciation for music and simplify the production process significantly, it is necessary to uncover and examine the components that form harmony, melody, and rhythm — and that is exactly what we’re here for. 


SikkSounds only wishes to see you thrive — which is why we’ve created a guide that sheds light on the key aspects of music theory for your benefit. Develop musically like never before today!


Listed below are the core fundamentals:


Serving as the foundation for creating melodies, chords are combinations of two or more notes built off the root. 


For your convenience, information about the different types is listed below:

Triad Chords

The most basic music chords triads consist of three notes: a root note, a third, and a perfect fifth. 


Inherently, triads pave the way for the foundation of more complex chords. 

Seventh Chords

One note above the triad, seventh chords contain the following: a root note, a third, a perfect fifth, and a seventh. The multiple types are mentioned below:


  • Major: a major third and a perfect fifth above the root
  • Minor: a minor third and a perfect fifth above the root
  • Diminished: a minor third and a diminished fifth above the root

Augmented: a major third and an augmented fifth above the root

Chord Extensions

Chord extensions are the notes incorporated into the triad beyond the seventh. Consisting of the 9th, then 11th, and the 13th, these extensions make their way into the next octave and create richer musical sounds as a whole.

Chord Inversions

Essentially variations of the same chord inversions add a plethora of excitement and thrill to chord progressions. To put it simply, the more notes, the more possible inversions! The two core chord inversions are as follows:


First Inversion: an inversion that transposes the root note up one octave and leads to the third of the triad becoming the bass note

Second Inversion: an inversion that yet again transposes the inverted triad and paves the way for a fifth of the triad turning into the bass note

Chord Progressions

Extending significant support to the melody and the rhythm and providing assistance in the department of the foundation of harmonies, chord progressions are a series of orderly major and minor chords.


Counterpoint: referred to the relationship between a set of simultaneously played melody lines. These melodies join hands to form sonically pleasing harmonies. 


Intervals: precise distance between two notes, intervals serve as the building blocks for harmonies and melodies. A half-step interval is one semitone, but a whole step interval is two semitones. Interval number highlights the number of half steps between two particular notes and consists of the following: 1 (unison), 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8 (octave). In terms of interval prefixes, there are inherently five main qualities: augmented (A), diminished (d), major (M), minor (m), and perfect (P).


Key Signatures: symbols that unveil whether a note is sharp or flat. Twelve signatures for each of the notes play an instrumental role in helping musicians identify the key of a track.


Music Alphabet: Serving as the foundation of music-making endeavors, the music alphabet consists of the following letters: A, B, C, D, E, F, and G. Each note has a distinct pitch.


Music Modes: scales that arise from a parent scale. The main difference lies in the root note; modes use the same notes and intervals as the parent scales but with slight variations instead. 


The seven kinds are as follows:


  • Ionian (major scale)
  • Dorian (major scale beginning on the 2nd degree)
  • Phrygian (major scale beginning on the 3rd degree)
  • Lydian (major scale beginning on the 4th degree)
  • Mixolydian (major scale beginning on the 5th degree)
  • Aeolian (natural minor or major scale beginning on the 6th degree)
  • Locrian (major scale beginning on the 7th degree)

By familiarizing yourself with these terminologies and functions, you can attain a stronger, more advanced understanding of music theory

Music Scales

Widely recognized as a series of notes within an octave, musical scales can be defined as the interval relationships among the pitches. Responsible for forming beautiful melodies and harmonies, scales can be further divided into two major categories: major and minor.

Major Scales

Known for producing vibrant and joyful sounds, major scales adhere to the following interval pattern: W-W-H-W-W-W-H (whole-whole-half-whole-whole-whole-half). 


In essence, there are twelve major scales.

Minor Scales

Responsible for creating dark and bleak sounds, minor scales stick to the following pattern: W-H-W-W-H-W-W (whole-half-whole-whole-half-whole-whole). 


There are twelve possible minor scales.  


Octaves: Consisting of twelve semitones, octaves are the next highest or lowest pitch of a note. An octave is an interval between a note and a note twice its frequency.


Roman Numeral Analysis: By indicating the chords in a progression, roman numerals identify and examine the key for each chord. Whereas uppercase Roman numerals symbolize major chords, lowercase numerals serve as a representation of minor chords.


Scale Degrees: Refers to the name assigned to a note regarding its function. In simple words, the name is the function, whereas the number refers to the position. 


The seven scale degrees are listed below:


  • 1st: Tonic
  • 2nd: Supertonic
  • 3rd: Mediant
  • 4th: Subdominant
  • 5th: Dominant
  • 6th: Submediant
  • 7th: Leading Tone


Responsible for highlighting tension in music, scale degrees are a crucial aspect of music theory and production.

Twelve Keys of Music

The twelve keys of music are A, A#/B♭, B, C, C#/D♭, D, D#/E♭, E, F, F#/G♭, G, G#/A♭. 


To elaborate, these notes repeat in octaves. 


The two types of keys are as follows:

Black Keys

Containing A#/B♭, C#/D♭, D#/E♭, F#/G♭, G#/A♭, black keys allow you to play more flat (♭) and/or sharp (#) notes.

White Keys

Consisting of A, B, C, D, E, F, and G, white keys allow you to play more natural notes and place you in either C major or A minor.

Voice Leading

It can be defined as the linear movement between melodic lines in hopes of establishing and solidifying a musical idea. By concentrating on the passage from a certain set of notes to another and reducing vertical and horizontal transitions between notes in chord progressions, voice leading paves the way for good aftereffects.


We hope SikkSounds’ comprehensive music theory guide has given you adequate information surrounding the fundamentals. Learning music theory and music notation can go a long way. Now, you, too, can create tracks that reflect an impressive apprehension of music and communicate sonically like never before. 


Need beautiful sample packs for inspiration during the production process? Get a wide range of samples packs at SikkSounds for stunning sounds and loops to incorporate in tracks of all genres! 


Integrate our samples and all of these newly learned music theory concepts into your workflow today — and create a masterpiece that’ll leave the entire world in awe.


Chase your music-oriented dreams today! We believe in you.

Copyright © 2022 SIKK SOUNDS All rights reserved. Designed and Developed by Design Pros USA

Copyright © 2022 SIKK SOUNDS All rights reserved. Designed and Developed by Design Pros USA

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