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Ch 2: AP Music Theory: Fundamentals of Music

About This Chapter

Watch video lessons on the fundamentals of music and learn to read music staffs, understand form, how scales work, and more. These lessons are just a portion of our AP Music Theory course.

Fundamentals of Music - Chapter Summary and Learning Objectives

Before you can begin an in-depth study of any subject, you need to know the basics. In this chapter, our instructors will explain all the music fundamentals you need to know, from reading notes on a staff to recognizing basic musical forms. You'll learn vocabulary that musicians use to talk about how music sounds and listen to some examples to help solidify what you've learned. Each lesson in this chapter focuses on a specific fundamental so you can learn your basics one video at a time. After completing this chapter, you should be able to:

  • Identify notes on a treble, bass, or grand staff
  • Understand pitch, timbre, and dynamic
  • Explain common musical forms
  • Recognize musical notation

VideoObjective
Elements of Sound: Pitch, Dynamic, Timbre, Articulation, and DurationTake a look at a sound wave and identify the parts that make each sound unique.
Musical Timbre of Instruments and Singers: DefinitionUnderstand the tone quality of an instrument or singer's voice.
The Staff and ClefsLearn to recognize a musical staff by the clef notation.
Treble, Bass, and Grand StaffsExplore these three arrangements of staffs.
How to Read Notes on the Treble Clef StaffSee where the notes go on a treble clef staff.
How to Read Notes of the Bass Clef StaffExamine the note layout on a bass clef staff.
Octave Designation and Ledger LinesUnderstand how to recognize the octave of a piece of music and determine notes above and below the staff.
Using the Neutral Clef for RhythmTake a look at the clef used for percussion music.
Notation Symbols: Note Head, Stem, Flag, Bar Line, Measure, Double Bar Line, and Final Bar LineExplore all the markings used to denote music on a staff.
Equivalents: Enharmonic, Intervallic, Chromatic, and FrequencyExamine how the same note can be named or written in different ways.
Sharps and Flats: Reading and Identifying Sharp and Flat Notes in MusicLearn what sharps and flats mean in a scale of music.
Understanding and Building Musical Scales: Definitions and Types of ScalesTake a look at this basic musical structure.
Musical Form: Definitions and AnalysisSee how composers put together music in different ways.
Musical Form: Phrasing, Binary, and Ternary FormsExplore these basic musical forms used in composition.
Classical Music Forms: Symphonic, Sonata, Theme and Variation, and Rondo FormsDiscover these more complex forms commonly used in classical music.

12 Lessons in Chapter 2: AP Music Theory: Fundamentals of Music
Test your knowledge with a 30-question chapter practice test
Sound: Definition, Influences, Pitch & Volume

1. Sound: Definition, Influences, Pitch & Volume

What is a sound? Learn about sounds and what influences how we perceive them, including pitch and volume. Test your understanding of sound features and finish off with a quiz.

Music Notation: History & Theory

2. Music Notation: History & Theory

This lesson will introduce you to the Western music notation system, which is used to write down music in countless different styles. Learn about how the system conveys pitch, rhythm, and other core musical concepts.

Grand Staff in Music: Symbols & Notation

3. Grand Staff in Music: Symbols & Notation

Do you have trouble with treble? You don't have to! This lesson will teach you all about music's Grand Staff and the clefs it uses, as well as explain the use of notes, rests, ledger lines, and time signatures.

How to Read Notes on the Treble Clef Staff

4. How to Read Notes on the Treble Clef Staff

How do musicians interpret notes on the treble clef staff? What types of instruments play notes that are read in the treble clef staff? Who invented the notation system? Find out in this lesson!

How to Read Notes of the Bass Clef Staff

5. How to Read Notes of the Bass Clef Staff

How do musicians interpret notes on the bass clef staff? What types of instruments play notes that are read in the bass clef staff? How is the bass clef staff different from the treble clef staff? Find out in this lesson!

Octave: Definition, Function & Examples

6. Octave: Definition, Function & Examples

This lesson will teach you about the musical interval of an octave, how composers use it, and introduce you to some examples of its use in different types of music.

Lead Sheet: Function, Elements & Notation

7. Lead Sheet: Function, Elements & Notation

Is it necessary to write out every note of the composition? In this lesson, we'll see why this may not always be true and examine one system of notation musicians use to get around it.

Sharps and Flats: Reading and Identifying Sharp and Flat Notes in Music

8. Sharps and Flats: Reading and Identifying Sharp and Flat Notes in Music

What do sharp and flat notes look like? How are they different from regular notes? When and where are sharp and flat notes used? Find out in this lesson!

Musical Form: Definitions and Analysis

9. Musical Form: Definitions and Analysis

What is musical form and why is it important? How can we determine the form of a song just by listening? In this lesson, learn the different parts that make up a musical form.

Musical Form: Phrasing, Binary, and Ternary Forms

10. Musical Form: Phrasing, Binary, and Ternary Forms

Why do composers use form? How do composers use phrases to create tension and release in their music? What is binary form, and how does it compare to ternary form? Find out in this lesson!

Musical Timbre of Instruments and Singers: Definition

11. Musical Timbre of Instruments and Singers: Definition

How can you tell if you are listening to a violin or a flute? How do composers use timbre to express their ideas and keep the listener interested? Find out in this lesson on timbre!

What Instruments Are in a Jazz Band?

12. What Instruments Are in a Jazz Band?

Have you ever wanted to play an instrument like the trumpet or saxophone or wondered what kind of horn is typically used to play jazz? In this lesson, we'll learn about the instruments commonly used in a jazz band.

Chapter Practice Exam
Test your knowledge of this chapter with a 30 question practice chapter exam.
Not Taken
Practice Final Exam
Test your knowledge of the entire course with a 50 question practice final exam.
Not Taken

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