Music Basics

The foundation for the understanding of how music works.

Published: 10 Feb 2014 Updated: 03 Aug 2023Visits: 372Code: ML00

INSTRUMENTS: Basics Main: Music Others: Ukulele Music ANY Bass Banjo Mandolin Piano Harmonica
Subjects: Theory • Basics • Music • Principles

Music Basics

This series of lessons lays the foundation for the understanding of how music works – “The Principles of Music”. The lessons include information on understanding intervals, steps, Enharmonic Equivalents, the major scale, key signatures.

What Music Theory?

First the Definition, A set of statements or principles devised to explain a group of facts or phenomena, especially one that has been repeatedly tested or is widely accepted and can be used to make predictions about natural phenomena.

The branch of a science or art consisting of its explanatory statements, accepted principles, and methods of analysis, as opposed to practice.

So it's NOT conjecture, hypothesis, or speculation, it the facts... This IS how music works.

Knowing the Principles & Basics of Music are of immense value to ANY musician, regardless of their chosen instrument.

These fundamental principles serve as the very foundation upon which the art of music is built. Whether you play the piano, guitar, violin, flute, drums, or any other instrument, understanding these principles will undoubtedly enhance your musical journey and elevate your performances to new heights.

First and foremost, a solid grasp of the principles of music theory allows musicians to communicate effectively with one another. It's like having a common language among musicians. When you understand musical notation, rhythm, harmony, and scales, you can easily collaborate with other musicians, play in ensembles, or participate in bands. This shared knowledge fosters a deeper sense of unity and cohesion among artists, resulting in harmonious and breathtaking performances.

Mastering the principles of music theory enables musicians to comprehend the underlying structure of a piece of music. Whether you're playing a classical symphony, a jazz improvisation, or a contemporary pop song, you can analyze the chord progressions, identify key changes, and recognize musical patterns. This level of understanding empowers musicians to interpret pieces with creativity and emotional depth, breathing life into every note they play.

The Principles & Basics of Music are a priceless gift for any musician. They provide a common language for communication, a framework for expression, and a guide for exploration.

Music Theory for Ukulele

Music Theory for Ukulele. Music Theory for Guitar, Music Theory for (insert your favorite instrument here). — STOP!!! — Music Theory is SIMPLY the Principles of Music and NOT for this or that instrument. — The application applies to a specific instrument.

Read That Sentence Again — You are applying theses principles to your favorite instrument and making adjustments and taking advantage of the unique capabilities and limitations of the ukulele. So, come along for one enjoyable ride while you explore your full potential, as a musician who plays the ukulele.

What about Street Theory?Street Theory, also known as practical or informal music theory, refers to the understanding of music that is acquired through hands-on experience, informal learning, and real-life musical interactions rather than formal education. It is the practical knowledge that musicians and artists gain through playing in bands, jamming with others, attending live performances, and engaging in musical collaborations outside traditional academic settings. One, does have to know the local lingo of what terms might be used by. A lot of popular music comes from an oral tradition, without a lot of it being written down or formally taught.

Music Theory ISThe Principles of Music

A great place — to start is the Music Basics Series of Lessons . This series collects the individual lessons available, right here on, related to the Principles of Music.

Here is a curated list of lessons, links, resources, etc regarding Music Theory — The Principles of Music.

There are only seven letters to name the notes and chords used in music. These are the first seven letters of the alphabet:



Memorize the above images, taking advantage of the piano's color-coded nature and notes that mover horizontal (right and left only). They really come in handy — regardless of what instrument you're learning.
The Chromatic Scale: A A♯ B C C♯ D D ♯ E F F♯ G G♯ A A♯ B C`

Here is the Chromatic Scale, with Natural and Sharp Notes, along the C String (string three)) of a ukulele in C Tuning, with C being the open string:


Here is the Chromatic Scale, with Natural and Flat Notes, along the C String (string three) of a ukulele in C Tuning, with C being the open string:


With SHARPS (Ascending, going higher):
A A♯ B C C♯ D D♯ E F F♯ G G♯
With FLATS (Ascending, going higher):
A B♭ B C D♭ D E♭ E F G♭ G A♭

Notice: BC & EF are the Natural Half-Steps/Semitones . They will always be adjacent frets on the same string. They are the smallest interval. Play FE over and and over and you have a big element in the Jaws movie theme. Especially if on a piano using the lower (left) end of the piano.

A Few Principles of Music Lessons to Get Started With

Guest Lessons by Chuck Anderson

Chuck Anderson is one of the most articulate and knowledgeable musicians I've ever had the experience to meet. I studied with Chick for many, many years and absorbed all that he had to offer.

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End of Lesson - Thanks, Hope You Enjoyed It!

Related Lessons, Videos, Lesson Series, Songs, Books & Reference Charts, Resources & Assets, Workshops are below.

Related Lesson Series

Related Lessons Series for Music Basics.

Music Basics

Updated: 01 Jan 2003

Lessons in the General Music series. The principles of how music works.

Reading Standard Music Notation for Ukulele

Updated: 01 Jan 2003

Reading music on ukulele is all about learning what the notes look like and where they are on the instrument for your favorite tuning.

Related Books & Charts

Related Books for Music Basics.


Modular Phonetic Rhythm, The Foundation and Workbook 1

Updated: 08 Dec 2021

Modular Phonetic Rhythm represents a significant advance in the teaching and application of rhythm. Eliminating many inefficient aspects of rhythm education, Modular Phonetic Rhythm streamlines the traditional educational approach, resulting in a reflexive reaction to rhythm.


Harmonic Analysis for Scale Selection and Chord Substitution

Updated: 08 Jun 2024

Harmonic Analysis is the understanding of the functional sequence of chords. It is the process used to analyze the harmonic structure of a progression, song or composition. This analysis is then used to make scale selections for improvisation and chord substitution.

A Selection of Books & Reference Charts that are recommended for creating a solid foundation with your chosen instrument and music in general.


Learning the Ukulele Fingerboard – C Tuning

Finally, learn the names of the notes of the fingerboard.

Six Secrets of Ukulele Fingering

Learn the six fingering principles to navigating the ukulele fingerboard. Fingering is one of the most universal topics.

Harmonic Analysis for Scale Selection and Chord Substitution

Harmonic Analysis is the understanding of the functional sequence of chords. It is the process used to analyze the harmonic structure of a progression, song or composition.

Ukulele – Reading Music Series – Primer

Learn to read single note melodies in the first/open position is a lot easier than you might think.

Daily Practice Material for the Contemporary Ukulele

An organized collection of daily practice and reference material for the contemporary ukulele player for developing the vocabulary and knowledge necessary for single note playing.

Checkout the Books for ALL available books.

Reference Charts

Ukulele Fingerboard Chart for C Tuning, Low or High G - G C E A

Ukulele Fingerboard Chart for C Tuning, Low or High G – G C E A

Ukulele Fingerboard Chart for G Tuning, Low or High A – D G B E

Ukulele Fingerboard Chart for G Tuning, Low or High A – D G B E

Key Signatures — Circle of Fourths and Fifths – ANSI A & A4 sizes

A handy reference chart of all 15 major and relative minor key signatures. US Letter 8.5 x 11 sized (ANSI-A) , A4

Checkout the Books for additional Handy, Dandy Reference Charts.

Related Lesson Files, Resources and Assets

Related Assets for Music Basics.


Key Signatures - Cycle of Fourths and Fifths

Updated: 14 Oct 2019

A handy reference chart of all 15 major and relative minor key signatues. US Letter 8.5 x 11 sized.

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