JENS MALMGREN I create, that is my hobby.

Brief Explanation of Music Theory

I can play violin by ear, especially Swedish folks music. Somehow I never learned how to read music notation fluently. I have a basic understanding of how music notation works but it I am really bad at it. When you can play violin by ear then you can have a lot of fun playing music with friends at various jam sessions etc.

It occurred to me that playing music is in itself nothing creative. Playing the wrong notes or out-of-tune is not creative enough.

To explore how to compose music I started to search for texts about music theory on the Internet and in books in the library and in the bookshops.

I found all sorts of music theory explanations. Often the texts were confusing to me. In one Dutch book the writer said that all available literature about music theory he knew of was confusing to him so he decided to write his own book. Guess what… It was confusing too! And long. Most often the theory was explained for a specific instrument or completely based on traditional music notation. Music notation is something I am bad at.

On Internet many people are helpful in explaining music theory as well. It appears they also like to create very complex websites. Many times I have been sitting copy and pasting texts from websites about music theory page by page so I could print the content and study the material off line. There is some kind of idea that you can earn money on music theory by cutting the theory in ridiculously small pieces and embed advertisements next to every piece.

Now I made my own brief explanation of music theory and I placed it in a simple PDF document:

/media/Brief Explanation of Music Theory.pdf

You can print it or put it on your ipad, kindle, e-reader, iphone or laptop without any advertisements. You can even give it to a friend.

My document starts with frequencies and takes the reader all the way to the common structure of popular music explaining all the steps on the way. I tried to make the explanation adhere to traditional naming conventions so that if you want to know more you can search for what I am writing about but I did not cover all scales of all cultures on the planet. I did not explain how to count to 7 in Italian. Actually I tried to skip as much of the Italian language as possible. However you will learn how to count to seven with Roman numbers. I skipped formulas for frequencies or frequency tables for that matter. I skipped all chord tables. I skipped music notation. I skipped instructions for banjos, guitars, violins, tubas and all sorts of instruments. I entered no jokes in the text. In my explanation of music theory I don’t claim that you have to play an instrument to make music because that is not true. It is enough that you have a computer to play music.

Now if you read my text and there is something I understood completely wrong then I would like to know that. Then please help me by explaining to me what I misunderstood. For the rest I can give no guarantee that this is 100% correct.

I was born 1967 in Stockholm, Sweden. I grew up in the small village Vågdalen in north Sweden. 1989 I moved to Umeå to study Computer Science at University of Umeå. 1995 I moved to the Netherlands where I live in Almere not far from Amsterdam.

Here on this site I let you see my creations.

I create, that is my hobby.