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Free Music Theory Online -Parts 18/19

Free music theory online, is part 18 and 19 of a 31 part music theory course on musical notation and basic music theory. Both music theory lesson 18 and 19, will focus on taking what we've learned so far and putting it all together before we move forward.

I have made two videos of simple melodies that include the use of the treble staff, whole notes, half notes, quarter notes and eighth notes along with some rests. We can clearly see what measures (or bars) are and what time signature is (in both cases I use 4/4 time) by these clips.

This online music theory video introduces the basics of melody. In this clip I have written a very basic melodic phrase. It begins and ends on middle C of the piano. Generally melodies begin and end on the root note of the key you are in. We are in the key of C here since we are using all the white notes on the piano.

The root note of a scale is called the TONIC. The word TONIC comes from the words tonality or tonal center in diatonic harmony. We will discuss scales, scale degrees and what this all means, later in the course.


In the next music theory lesson video, I have developed the melody a little by adding some beamed eighth notes. The tune still begins and ends on middle C, which is the TONIC of this key. The meter is 4/4 and the tune lasts for 4 measures.

Free Music Theory Online


Below is the classic children's song Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star. There is some debate as to whether this was written by Mozart or whether it was an existing French Melody that he incorporated into his work.

Either way, notice how the melody begins and ends on the TONIC pitch of C. This is obviously in the key of C.

NOTE: The popular songs ABC and Ba Ba Black Sheep use the same melody.

Let's see what we have learned so far. We are on the treble staff because there is a treble clef (or G clef). It is in 2/4 with 2 beats per measure and the quarter note is getting the beat.

There are 8 measures per line for a total of 24 measures ending with a double bar line signaling the end of the song. There are a total of 36 quarter notes and 6 half notes.

Take a look!

Now let's see what dotted notes are!

Continue to Parts 20 and 21, Dotted Half Note and Family

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