Music theory is the key to understanding how any musical instrument works. Music theory describes how sounds happen in time. In music, we scale sound into individual high and low pitches, and we measure time into individual beats.
We calculate the speed of the beat by counting how many individual beats happen during an amount of time. The result is called tempo, usually given in beats per minute, or BPM. Most song speeds are in the range of human heart beats (60-180 BPM).
We use a system of 12 pitches. A song can be in the key of any one of these 12 pitches. Besides the key-pitch, a song usually uses other pitches that, together, form a scale. Scales usually contain 5-7 pitches and can be Major for a brighter sound or minor for a darker sound.
Understanding the musical centers of the beat and the key allow you to play or sing along with any piece of music. Learn more about music theory and how to apply it to your instrument with “Octave Park™ Elementary,” now available on iBooks®.