Free Websites to Help With Music Theory or Music Rudiments

A guide to some useful websites available online to help musicians, students and teachers with music theory assignments, exam or college preparation.

Musical theory knowledge gives musicians a deeper understanding of the music they are playing. In his article for the Easy Music Theory website entitled "Why You NEED Music Theory", Gary Ewer, B. Mus. says that music theory allows "you to communicate your musical ideas, and to explore music in ways you have never experienced before."

Once music students reach the intermediate level of their musical studies, music theory is a co-requisite to their music examinations. Recognized music conservatory such as the Royal Conservatory of Music/National Conservatory of Music of America, Conservatory Canada, London College of Music or the Canadian National Conservatory of Music offer theory examinations from Preliminary Rudiments to Advanced Harmony and Analysis. Recognizing the importance of music theory, many of the beginner method books currently on the market incorporate music theory at an early stage of a student's musical development.

The following is a compilation of some websites available on the Internet to help with music theory:

Music Theory Tutorials, Trainers and Music History Websites

Two websites that offer numerous tutorials, trainers and information are Ricci Adams' and Music Notes' Music Theory.

Software engineer Ricci Adams developed and launched Ricci Adams' in 2000. The site offers flash presentations under "Lessons", covering various areas of Basic, Intermediate and Advanced Music Rudiments as well as Beginning Music Harmony. Lessons are broken down in the following sections: Staff and Clefs, Note Values, Dots, Ties, Time Signatures, Accidentals, Scales, Key Signatures, Intervals, Diminished Chords, Augmented Chords, major/minor chords, Half Diminished Chords, Seventh Chords and the Circle of Fifths. The covers material in Preliminary Rudiments up to Advanced Music Harmony. It also includes Trainers and manuscript paper. The note reading trainers are good for beginner students.

Music Theory is site offers tutorials on preliminary to advanced rudiments: Note Reading, Pitch, Values, Meter, Intervals & Scales, Key Signatures, Figured Bass, Chords and Symbols and Expression marks. The glossary is helpful to both music students and teachers alike. This site goes one step further than Ricci Adams by including information on musical styles, history, professions, instruments and games.

For visual learners, The Music Theory Minute is extremely useful. It offers free one-minute video tutorials on music theory. This site is ideal for visual learners. It covers the basic core principles as well advanced theory tutorials on Secondary Dominants, Cadences, Suspensions and modulations. Students can even email Dr. Jack a theory question and he will reply.

Free and Subscription Music Theory Resources Online

There are several music websites that offer free and subcription services to music teachers and students. Emusictheory and Teoria are two such sites.

Emusictheory offers 10 theory concepts that students can explore online for free under "Free Resources", including: Note Names, C-Clef Note Names, Piano Keys, Guitar Frets, Violin Fingering, Viola Fingering, Double Bass Fingering, Intervals, Chords and Scales. The creators are working on Key Signatures, chord functions, support for bass and treble clef, just to name a few. Under the "drills" section, students can study key signatures, intervals, scales, chords, chord functions.

Teachers can purchase an account that allows them to register students in Emusictheory, as well as assign, mark and track online theory assignments.

On the web since 1997, Teoria is the 2006 MERLOT Classical Award in music. It offers tutorials on: Reading Music, Intervals, Scales, Chords, Harmonic Functions and Musical Forms. Where this shines is in the interactive exercise section where students can do drills in all areas of music theory, from beginner to advanced, and from classical music theory to jazz music theory. There is also a musical reference section and articles on analysis and theory, analysis by composer, and instruments.

Students and teachers can become a member (there is a cost for teachers) and teachers can assign, mark and track assignments. Purchasing a membership makes all tutorials available.

This list is just a sampling of music theory websites. The websites listed contain a wealth of information to aid in understanding music theory, from preliminary rudiments up to advanced theory subjects such as counterpoint, harmony, history and analysis. These sites are of great benefit to music students studying for a theory examination, applying to a post-secondary music program or recreational music students. They also benefit music teachers by providing supplemental material to use for assignments and music theory lessons.

Originally published on on April 14, 2010. All rights reserved by Rhona-Mae Arca.