Can’t get enough music and hungry for more information? Luckily, we have the Internet! Tone Deaf Comics posted this wonderful music theory cheat sheet, which we believed deserved a share. It seems they have taken down the PDF file so we are resharing here for free.

Absorb this information and always seek out new things to learn. What chords make another note a tonic? You can find out from this sheet! This music theory poster has everything from inversions to modes to cycles of fifths to chord pitches and chord structures. While some items in here are more commonly known from basic beginner music classes, such as what a major / minor key is, key signatures, and music signs, there are some more complex topics to discover.

Everything that is essential and (somewhat) logical in music theory is in this PDF download. Use this sheet music cheat sheet and hang it on your wall as a reference to creating your next huge hit! You can even print this out and hang this up as music theory posters near your production work station.

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music theory cheat sheet

Music Theory Cheat Sheet

What is Music Theory?

Music theory is the study of the practices and possibilities of music. While this music theory cheat sheet has various concepts on it, don’t overwhelm yourself with this poster. Music theory can definitely be a complex topic and you won’t learn this in minutes. However, learning it one piece at a time is the best strategy to master music theory. You don’t need to know everything immediately. Don’t be nervous if you can’t grasp it all though. Music theory is not the key to making good music, but it definitely offers an advantage.

Writing music doesn’t always have to be hard. If you have a lot of ideas in your head, music theory may help guide what makes sense and what does not. People who know music well will be able to understand how well stacking chords and notes next to one another will sound. If you start improvise playing your guitar, theory will help your hands go to guitar chords that will sound nice, rather than using an abundance of trial and error. This isn’t to say you need to know it before you can play guitar though. There are many guitar players with little to no knowledge of theory.

Learning chords may help inspire the start of future songs, too. Overall, chord progressions help a lot of songwriters begin their music. At the end of the day though, music existed long before music theory was invented. Many musicians have never taken a music theory class and are more beginner with it. This cheat sheet is just a way to ignite your inspiration.

Some More Help on Music Theory

If you’re still having some trouble comprehending all of the material, Dummies has a ‘What is Music Theory’ article up for music dummies looking to learn more, which you can read here. The piece goes over how to read music, play scales, build chores, etc. After you know these basics, the article continues by going into chords, chord progressions, and chord pattern structure. It helps you build scales and chords with simple or compound intervals. It even goes more into blues music and niche items such as I chord signals, V chords, and common use of chord progressions for blues.

As a warning, it would be much easier to understand if you can already read sheet music. As shares, “Reading musical notes on both the treble and bass clef staves as well as finding notes on the piano and guitar — the two most common instruments on which people teach themselves to play — are crucial to making and studying music.” This for dummies music article will take you through the fundamentals and lessons music professionals use today.

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If you’re looking to learn more about developing your sound and growing your artist project:

The Best Discord Servers for Electronic Music Producers
How to Write a Song Without Instruments: Songwriting 101
Making Sound Packs for Finger Drumming in Ableton Live with Apoth