Catapulting into Classical

A headlong leap into music, history, and composing

Music mechanics


There are a lot of folks out there who love music, but do not read music or know about music theory.  And that’s ok.  You can appreciate the beauty of music without this knowledge in the same way you can drive and appreciate the performance of a car without knowing how to replace the alternator, or for that matter, without knowing what (or where) the alternator is (here’s an explanation, in case you were wondering about that).

Still, it can be useful to know how to refill the windshield washer fluid, and how many cylinders your car has.  This kind of basic knowledge is helpful whether you’re test driving an SUV or a symphony.

So if you’re curious, how do you find out?

If you’d like to learn how music notation works and the very basics of music theory, there is a free online course that runs at regular intervals at, Fundamentals of Music Theory, presented by the University of Edinburgh.  The next session will begin 3 August 2015.  If you complete the course, you can even get a nice little certificate to hang on your wall!  If you don’t complete the course…no problem!  Listening to the talks to get the information is fine too.

In a hurry?

Want to go at your own pace?

Like lots of details?

This is just scratching the surface.  If you type “music theory” into the YouTube search box, you get 2.5 million results.  Sorry, I didn’t have time to test drive them all for you.

And, oh yeah, there’s that old standby—books!  Available free at your local library, just a short drive away (Dewey decimal number 780).

So pop the hood and take a look at the engine!

And if you find something that you think is really useful, please leave a comment.

This has been brought to you by the daughter of a man who could fix anything that had an engine and wheels.  Happy Father’s Day, Dad!



6 thoughts on “Music mechanics

  1. Oh, man, I’ve got to stop commenting and let there be other names. But Chris, ending this post with the photo of your dad is brilliant and touching. Well done.

    Cheers, Helen



  2. Hi! May I pass this along to the Choir, Chris? I was going to teach a series on rudiments (which is what these are about, not “theory”), sight-singing and ear-training this summer, but have run out of time. This would be a great way for folks to get their feet wet. Well done!



  3. I am going to be singing in a church choir tomorrow for the first time in 59 years. That’s a starting point. All of this stuff is encouraging, but I think I will have trouble finding those music mechanics. They are not in the yellow pages.


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