Guitar TheoryMusic theory is the method of analyzing our musical system & describing relationships between tones. The true outcome of this theoretical system is the naming of everything (tones, relationships, chords, etc.), & relational description (how each thing relates to another).
The accepted music theory of today is but one of many approaches to explain, describe, & name our musical system.
Western music uses a 12 tone system called Equal Temperament (equally spaced half steps). 7 naturals, & 5 sharps/flats. These tones are one half step (h - on guitar, a half step is 1 fret) to the next adjacent tone (Equal Temperament). Just Intonation is another system of tuning based on the pure vibrations of nature (where the harmonics of a given tone are the basis of the tuning - only that key is in 'perfect' tune).
One possible relationship between colors & music tones [sharps & flats utilize stars & some outlines to differentiate them]:
The 12 TonesThe 12 consist of:
- 7 Naturals [white keys on the piano] - A - B - C - D - E - F - G, then back to A
- 5 Sharps (#)/Flats (b) - [black keys on the piano] - A#/Bb - C#/Db - D#/Eb - F#/Gb - G#/Ab
Naturally occurring half steps exist between B/C & E/F (no sharp or flat between). B goes directly to C, and E goes directly to F. [B# is C, Cb is B, E# is F, Fb is E].
A note that is 2 half steps away from a given tone is called a whole step (w or 2; on guitar a whole step is 2 frets). Example: C to D. The whole step should not be confused with the whole note () in musical notation (rhythmic duration).
Guitar Theory DefinitionsA root is a tone that names a key, chord, or scale. It is the starting point for building something. It is the number 1 in our musical system for building anything. It can also be denoted R or 1 (or even 0).
As you can see in the comments below, we are running against music dictionarys in this definition. This is a semantic point, yet important. Our basic point is that if a tone of a scale can be a root of a chord, it can also be a root to a scale. We can build anything from a given root. Scale roots are often called degrees (& have their own names).
The naming of a scale degree as a root doesn't inflict any theoretical damage, rather, it creates one less boundary. You can call it Frank if musicianers you work with also call it Frank. The purpose of theory is to create a language that is capable of communicating musical ideas. The only worthwhile theory for us, is applied theory. In musicianer's applications, root is used as we are defining it. Usage dictates meaning, not musicologists defining boundaries.
In our definition, we think there is more intellectual freedom & the understanding that chords & scales are ultimately the same thing. Please join the conversation.
A key is a tonal center. The key is the central tone that a piece of music finally rests (tonality) in our ear.
Chords are a combination of '3' or more tones played together (harmony). 2 tones work just fine too.
Scales are a series of individual tones played one after another - alphabetically (whether naturals or sharped/flatted tones) ascending & descending.
Arpeggios are chords played one note at a time (ringing or not ringing together). An arpeggio is a 'broken chord.'