Fundamentals of Music Theory

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Below are the top discussions from Reddit that mention this online Coursera course from The University of Edinburgh.

This course will introduce students to the theory of music, providing them with the skills needed to read and write Western music notation, as well as to understand, analyse, and listen informedly.

Music Chord Notation Scales

Next cohort starts August 10. Accessible for free. Completion certificates are offered.

Affiliate disclosure: Please use the blue and green buttons to visit Coursera if you plan on enrolling in a course. Commissions Reddsera receives from using these links will keep this site online and ad-free. Reddsera will not receive commissions if you only use course links found in the below Reddit discussions.

Taught by
Dr Michael Edwards

and 5 more instructors

Offered by
The University of Edinburgh

Reddit Posts and Comments

2 posts • 119 mentions • top 77 shown below

r/Guitar • post
455 points • jmbarlow
[OC] Fundamentals of Music Theory, Free Online course from the University of Edinburgh

The 2016 presentation of this online music theory course starts in a couple of weeks. Self-paced, take as much from it as you want. Definitely recommended if you want to add a little bit of theory to your playbook.

r/Guitar • post
327 points • colorfulpilgrim
[NEWS] Free music theory course starts this week

x-post from r/bass

this is definitely worth a sticky

r/Bass • post
133 points • potatoesonlydotcom
Fundamentals of Music Theory, Free Online course from the University of Edinburgh

If your looking to get a start in music theory, check out this free, self paced course! Starts November 6th.

Edit: i'm not affiliated with the course. I'm just giving my fellow bassists a heads up.

r/Bass • post
122 points • samper_
Free music theory fundamentals course on Coursera has started

Thought this might be helpful for people like me who struggle with learning theory.

r/FL_Studio • post
70 points • Wezirn
100% free indepth concise course on the fundamentals of music theory taught by actual music theory professors who work at a university. Videos, quizzes, and a facebook group to ask the professors directly.
r/ableton • post
39 points • jmbarlow
Fundamentals of Music Theory, Free Online course from the University of Edinburgh

The 2016 presentation of this online music theory course starts in a couple of weeks. Self-paced, take as much from it as you want. Definitely recommended if you want to add a little bit of theory to your playbook.

r/gamedev • post
254 points • Panthon13
Looking for tutorial/class - Intro to Music Theory

EDIT: Summary of Suggestions: (Original Post Below)

This is what I took from everyone's extremely helpful suggestions:

When learning how to construct and understand music, learn with your ears. 
Theory will help understand the processes and the structure of music, 
but being able to mold the music based on how it sounds and how it feels is just as important. 
The community seems to agree that both learning some theory and fundamentals without 
forgetting to "feel" the music and learn to "listen" is the best approach to creating music.

When starting from zero, begin with learning:
Major and minor keys:
    -key signatures
    -circle of fifths
    -major vs minor chords

Also, look into mixing and mastering: Equalizer, Compressor, Limiter, and 3D Sound Space to start.

Provided Tutorials and Software Suggestions:

Interactive Learning Music Site: Learn how to create music right in a browser

Raven Spiral's Guide to Music Theory Tutorial: 
0.8.1 - 2012 version


Reaper: DAW for $60

Open Music Theory: Music Theory Course

Georgia Tech's Survey of Music Technology:

Sonar Home Studio DAW:

EarSketch: Program music with Python:

Udemy Game Music Composition Course: Usually on sale for $10

Original Post:

I'm looking for a nice tutorial series or class that can help push me in the right direction to create music for my game. I believe that a tutorial on music theory, at least the fundamentals, would be a good start. I'm considering a class on coursera: "", and begin playing around in a DAW, most likely Reaper.

Does anyone have other suggestions? Tutorials or things to look into? Or even better suggestions than using Reaper for this sort of thing? I have no prior experience with music creation, but I'm confident in my abilities to learn quickly. If it helps, I will be trying to create music in an 8-bit style/chiptune, but with modern elements (heavy bass/electronic/choir).

Thank you for any suggestions!

r/AskReddit • comment
17 points • Rozenvalds

There is an AMAZING free course on Fundamentals of music theory from the University of Edinburgh on Coursera at the moment, can't recommend it enough:

r/musictheory • comment
4 points • athanathios

Yes, this is a great music theory course and it's free!

r/musictheory • post
4 points • thefunk0001
I would really like to share this, these videos helped me a lot.

r/musictheory • comment
3 points • -melo-

r/guitarlessons • comment
3 points • gmatuella

If you guys want to get into Musical Theory, I highly recommend the Coursera one. It’s free and I learned a lot through it - all the instructors are really good and the content should give you the minimal to start going deeper on theory :)

r/Bass • comment
3 points • athanathios

Pretty good theory course above. I was going to suggest Rick Beato, as I've been seeing he has a TON of music theory video. A lot of other stuff mentioned is really good too.

r/Bass • comment
3 points • athanathios

This is a free music theory course and is pretty good, they go into depth about the cirlce of fifths, in addition to what you are hearing.

r/AskReddit • comment
3 points • FormerlyPrettyNeat

Have you checked out coursera? This is what I found with just a quick look:

This Justinguitar guy has been mentioned fondly in this thread, but I'm not really familiar with him. Seems like it's worth a shot.

r/classicalguitar • post
3 points • SpiderHippy
Free course on Music Theory Fundamentals has started - still time to join! (x-post from r/guitar)

r/Guitar • comment
2 points • BoilingCold

Just to add to the links already given here, there is currently a free course being run by the University of Edinburgh via Coursera called "The Fundamentals of Music Theory" -

I probably wouldn't recommend it as your first resource, but once you start feeling like some of the basics from other sites are making sense then you might find this course very useful.

r/FL_Studio • comment
2 points • Soullessgemini

This a free 6 week fundamentals of music theory course starting on October 8th offered by the university of Edinburgh. I might enroll to brush up on the basics.

r/Learnmusic • comment
2 points • BlindPelican

There are some great online resources for this. A site I really like is Coursera (and they have a lot of other interesting courses, too).

Maybe start with this one:

r/Bass • comment
2 points • athanathios

Not sure what style you play. Buy you need to know Key and Chords being used. Bass players typically sound out a chord, which is essentially based on a scale, but one not at a time, sometimes there's just one note being played, sometimes more, somtimes there's a counter melody, but you can get quite far following this.

The chord could be major, minor, diminished, dominant etc, as a bassist you can sound out the root or differing parts of the chord. Each quality of chord could be sounded in a differing way way, but based on the chord and scale structure, is the typical approach. I personally look for the note that the chord is based on and play in the chromatic box until I figure it out. I personally recommend figuring things out by ear or by chords when you can since it's a very valuable way of improving your ear and ability to figure stuff out. I have been doing alot more sight reading and music theory recently there 's this great course offered for free from Coursera:

r/IWantToLearn • comment
5 points • EduGuy33

Music theory:

Piano: (if you have some basic piano skills...)

r/classicalmusic • comment
4 points • Stoicismus

well, every composition is by definition a piece. Using the term piece is quite correct, much more than calling everything "song". So you got that right.

Did Bach create this? The piece yes, the title, no. The original title is in italian I believe, but it is not important. They are better well known in today's music world as "cello suites".

Would people understand what you mean? We, classical listeners, yes. Others, I doubt.

If you want the basics I recommend these 2 free courses

r/AP_MusicTheory • post
1 points • heythereimcherokee
r/Bass • comment
1 points • athanathios

I love Jamming personally, feeding off of other musicians is key. I've played with busy drummers (an old friend is one of those and i was in a couple bands with him), so a drummer who locks in with a bassist is great!

I learned this course to learn how to read key changes. Turns out you have to learn a ton of theory to get there. I've been geeking out on theory for a good couple years now, love it:

r/musictheory • comment
1 points • d1onys1an

This one... it's pretty basic, to start off with:

r/musictheory • comment
1 points • tinklemyivory

r/LearnGuitar • comment
1 points • adfrog

I found Fundamentals of Music Theory pretty educational, but very challenging.

r/FL_Studio • comment
3 points • zivaimc

Edinburgh university have a free course online in music theory that starts in like three days i highly recommend if you haven't done any theory before.

r/musictheory • comment
1 points • rmaddoxiv

r/musictheory • comment
1 points • hr0m

Why not both? On Coursera, edx and similar platforms you can find good lectures on music theory. I am doing this right now:

r/modular • comment
1 points • scragz

> I'm just wondering if studying something like music theory would help me create more musically

Short answer: Yes.
Long answer: Unless you want to be composing completely atonal and experimental music then some rudimentary music theory will definitely help you know how the notes are relating to each other. Even a single monophonic osc will be playing in a key and can arpeggiate chords from that key. You gotta know your tonic, what notes are in the key you are in, what chords are in that key, how they relate to each other (dominant, subdominant, etc.).

This is a good course for starting out, I took it a few years back. Not sure if it's free anymore though....

r/musictheory • comment
1 points • intuitive_guitar

Take the coursera free music theory class,

r/Learnmusic • comment
3 points • BoilingCold - start at the beginning, see how you get on.

Also, the University of Edinburgh, via Coursera was offering a free course in music theory fundamentals. Not sure if it's still free, but I can personally vouch for the course being excellent (and challenging):

If you manage to get some theory under your belt and are comfortable with it and want to carry on then I suggest you start searching YouTube for good video series about specific things you want to learn. E.g. recording. I would also strongly suggest that you consider lessons, especially if singing is what you want to do. Either find a good, local voice coach or look into taking a real life course at a good music college.

r/musictheory • comment
1 points • RandomFuckingUser

> Major and Minor is still the most common overall - and much more common than most people think. > > Especially people on forums who learn about modes and who are suddenly all excited about them - they seem to think they're way more prominent than they are.

Well, I was one of them yesterday but it wasn't entirely my fault. A course on coursera introduced modes even before introducing chords and I got all excited about them, for an hour or so I thought EVERYTHING was modal xD Then I read more about it...

Thanks a lot for a detailed answer. By the way, would you say modal music is more common in movies and video games or is it similar to popular music?

r/piano • comment
1 points • nunesleandro

I did this one a few years ago and it helped a lot.

r/Bass • comment
1 points • Aireroth

For something free to get started with it:

It starts out slow, has some spikes a few weeks in, but if you do research in addition to what is covered there, should be a solid resource.

r/makinghiphop • comment
1 points • thecoocooman

[this online course] ( is solid. it starts on Feb 26th, just choose 'audit' and its totally free. you wont get credit or anything, but you'll learn a lot if you pay attention

r/Bass • comment
1 points • Aireroth

I'll just chime in and recommend

It's a free course, and starts out reasonably paced. You may need to do some additional research at some points, but at least it'll provide you with some sort of a track to follow.

r/Guitar_Theory • comment
1 points • JulianCienfuegos

I'm doing the coursera class on music theory and it's really good! With just the first lesson I feel like a much better guitar player and have all kinds of ideas to play with!

And I don't know where you're from but I'm American and I really like the teachers' British accents in this class.

r/france • comment
1 points • cedlemo

r/Bass • comment
1 points • athanathios

Yes as a matter of fact there is right now and it's free:

This music theory course will teach you to sight read and teach you about music theory. I learned a fair bit before, but this filled in all my gaps and i'm still studying it.

r/musictheory • comment
1 points • tfburns

A coursera course just started up again on this very subject:

The title of the course is Fundamentals of Music Theory.

r/IWantToLearn • comment
1 points • Pifbo

I recommend this free course

r/piano • post
3 points • dopatraman
How do I start applying Music Theory?

I just took Coursera's course on Music Theory fundamentals:


It was a great course, and I learned a lot about how to structure chords, how to convert a major to a minor key, etc. But I don't know how I can apply this to my playing. I want to be able to reason about accompanying a phrase with a major or minor chord. I want to know why a composer chose to use a certain progression over another . (I, IV, V vs I, VI, II, V). And most of all, I want to be able to play music that conforms to musical concepts that have been tried and true for centuries. For example, I recently learned Bach's Solfigietto and am still floored by how the piece progresses through certain keys. What is going on there? How do I analyze the piece and use the concepts in my own music?


Help! I want to be able to use concepts from a book while playing. How do people here do that?

r/WeAreTheMusicMakers • post
1 points • Soullessgemini
Free 6 week music theory Course starting October 8th offered by the university of Edinburgh

r/musictheory • post
1 points • rcpheonix
Beginner's course and exhilarated by a B harmonic minor

I started this Coursera course "Fundamentals of music theory" course by The University of Edinburgh. As a beginner, I must say the first 2 weeks have been beautiful and insightful. To be explained building of music as a build up and the eventual release of tension was exhilarating, especially the way it was demonstrated through how a key minor does not resolve the tension and hence the harmonic scale is brought in to resolve it. I truly could resonate with the resolution of the B Harmonic minor.

r/musictheory • comment
2 points • Rozenvalds

The free course from the University of Edinburgh on Coursera is really good:

r/musictheory • comment
2 points • nunesleandro

I did this course on Coursera a while ago and it was really nice. You can take it for free on the website.

>Fundamentals of Music Theory:
>This course will introduce students to the theory of music, providing them with the skills needed to read and write Western music notation, as well as to understand, analyse, and listen informedly. It will cover material such as pitches and scales, intervals, clefs, rhythm, form, meter, phrases and cadences, and basic harmony.

r/IWantToLearn • comment
1 points • Simontheintrepid22

For music theory, Coursera has quite a good course running at the moment by the University of Edinburgh which has opened my eyes to a few things relevant to piano and guitar. It will try and get you to buy a certificate of completion but you can access the full course for free.

Fundamentals of Music Theory

Coursera also has a beginner's guitar course which so far seems appropriate for the absolute beginner (I'm at the end of Week 2 and the teacher's still only on basic picking). Haven't done them yet but it looks like it will apply some music theory in later weeks.

Guitar for Beginners

Hope that helps.