Music Theory Simplified
Music theory is one of the most common roadblocks for self-taught musicians and producers. However, it’s often not the music theory itself that’s actually difficult, it’s the way it’s being taught. That’s why we designed a cheat sheet that breaks down the difficult concepts of music theory into easy-to-understand modern visualizations that anyone can understand and implement. The Music Theory Cheat Sheet PDF is designed to make music theory easy for you.
Build any chord with the chord building chart
On the top left of the PDF file, you will find a chord-building table. This table shows you how to build any chord displaying the name of the chord, and the corresponding formula to build it. To make it even easier to understand, we have visualized that chord using an exemplary keyboard. Using the chord building chart will allow you to build any chord, from major or minor chord to sus chords, dominant, augmented, and diminished chords.
Learn to read sheet music
Another often concept of music theory that’s perceived as difficult, is the concept of reading sheet music. Regardless of your role in music, it can be very helpful to know how to read sheet music. Whether you’re trying to figure out the notes and chords of your favorite song from a piece of sheet music, or if you just want to broaden your musical knowledge. Knowing how to read from sheet music is never a bad thing! That’s why we included a sight-reading chart that breaks down all the notes on the bass and treble clef for you, while also displaying helpful mnemonics to remember the exact names of each space on the bass/treble cleff.
Learn the musical modes
Musical modes are a type of scale with distinct melodic characteristics. The 7 modes, Ionian, Dorian, Phrygian, Lydian, Mixolydian, Aeolian and Locrian, come from the earliest forms of western music. Using our modes table, you can identify and learn the formulas to these 7 modes and learn to start using them when writing songs.
Make your chords more interesting with the inversion chart
Once you’ve gained knowledge on how to build chords, you can make them sound more interesting using inversions. An inversion, in music, is the rearrangement of the top-to-bottom elements in an interval, a chord, or a melody. The inversion of chords and intervals is utilized for various purposes, for example, to create a melodic bass line or (with certain chords) to modulate to a new key. To invert a chord or an interval is to rearrange its notes so that the original bottom note becomes an upper note. This can make a chord sound more characteristic, or make the chord easier to play within chord progressions.
A simplified version of the circle of fifths
The circle of fifths is one of the most valuable concepts to learn in music theory. However, it is also often a concept that very few people are able to fully grasp. It will help you remember key signatures, familiarize yourself with your instrument and unlock creativity with chords and progressions. To make it easier for you we’ve designed a simplified visualization of the circle of fifths, that shows you exactly how many sharps or flats are in a key and most importantly where these sharps and flats are on the keyboard. The circle of fifths is a way to visualize the twelve musical keys and put them in a convenient order. It’s used in music to help remember the notes that make up each key and group similar keys based on the notes that they share.
Create literally ANY chord progression
When we say a song or piece of music is in a particular key, it usually means that all the chords are derived from one scale type. Learning how to figure out what chords are in a key is a useful skill any musician can learn. If somebody for example says “Hey, let’s jam in the key of E”, what chords could you play that will fit with that key? Using the major and minor key chord tables, you’ll be able to figure out the main chords in any key quickly and effectively. You’ll also see if that chord is the first, second, third or fifth chord out of the key.
Create amazing melodies with the piano scale cheat sheet
Just as learning good grammar is important to speaking properly, scales are important to writing music properly. Scales are the foundation of any song allowing you to write melodies to produce original music. Knowing scales is therefore critically important. We’ve designed a section on the bottom right of the PDF that visualizes the major, natural minor harmonic minor, melodic minor, major pentatonic, minor pentatonic, and blues scales. We’ve also displayed the step sequence to form any of these scales in any key.