Tips & Techniques

Understanding the 12 notes (Practical Music Theory Ep. 1)

Lesson #356

Video lesson

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Editor’s notes

Hey friends! Here’s a long overdue video explaining the 12 notes in music, which will be part of a Practical Music Theory series I’ve long wanted to make. With this video, and this series overall, my aim is to explain the basics of music theory without getting lost in the weeds. And the 12 notes are the natural starting point, as so many other concepts (scales, keys, chords, etc) require a basic understanding of these building blocks.

What I explain in this video:

And of course, I’ve made a one-page print-friendly PDF for you to download and reference outside of my video lesson. It explains a handful of the most important concepts regarding the 12 notes, shows a few different ways to visualize the notes (including the very helpful piano/keyboard note mappings), and also shows a guitar fretboard with all the notes written on it. I’ve also included some must-know terms that I think are important to understand.

If you’ve seen my FretMonster web tool and are wondering how to use it, definitely watch this video – it provides a helpful overview that’ll help when we eventually get to the topic of scales and the notes within any given key (which is going to be my next video in this series, coming in a few weeks).

Thanks all, and enjoy!

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