There are many questions about music basics, scales, keys, signs, harmony, chords etc. which could be answered by own researches if people had better strategies for searching.

This is because they don't know the terms like "music signs", "symbols", they don't only lack for theory but for music terminology. For this we have many posts like: "what does this letter or figure or that sign above that mean?"

That's why I wonder and ask: what are your best and most successful strategies to research about music information? (apart of asking in music theory and praxis)

  • 1
    I was asking myself something similar in the past, especially because my natural language is Italian (and, since many musical terms are inherited from my language, I usually don't need to know them in other languages) and I often struggle trying to find the correct terms when I need to do some research in English. Jan 13, 2021 at 17:34
  • The first thing I had to learn that in English the relative chords are what we call And there are still a lot of other differences in terminology we have to learn. (But people here are very helpful when we are not correct in formulating in English, especially Tim!) Jan 13, 2021 at 17:44

3 Answers 3


Read a good book.

I started with Learning to Read Music by Peter Nickol.

Then The AB Guide to Music Theory Part 1 and First Steps in Music Theory Grades 1 to 5 by Eric Taylor, both published by the ABRSM. If you're planning to do the ABRSM grades, then the Eric Taylor books match the exams. Otherwise, they aren't very reader-friendly, and can be ignored.


Terminology is the beginning of theory so I'd say these are the same discipline. A good series is,

Master Theory Book by Charles S Peters and Paul V. Yoder Vol. 1 - 6

These are short, easy to read, and well written. Vol 1 - 3 are basic theory and 4 - 6 harmony. The harmony books do not have great exercises. For Harmony I prefer Cheyette and Paulson.

If you are based in England, or elsewhere where their standard is used, then ARBSM might be a good choice but if you are in America that system might screw you up. I made the mistake of buying some ARBSM books for harmony and their definitions for inversions and cadences are different from those in the US system.

  • I'm from Canada, and I recall that my harmony lessons, textbooks, and exercise books (for the Royal Conservatory of Music) made me aware of both cadence systems (both "Perfect Authentic Cadence" and "Perfect"/"Plagal"/"Deceptive").
    – Dekkadeci
    Jan 14, 2021 at 13:21
  • I have not seen that those books but then again I have not gone through them all. Canada i would guess, would follow British standards over us. Just a guess.
    – user50691
    Jan 14, 2021 at 13:44
  • If I want to look up a question about scales or keyboard or music symbols I type in google the word e.g. piano, keyboard, music clef or the song title e.g.Summertime + Gershwin and then I look up Images and scroll all the pictures through. From there I find the link to the source of this picture and a lot of new information.

  • It took a long time until I've found out that you can translate e.g. an English site in Wiki to German or Italian and an Italian Wiki Site to English: There are actually several ways: sometimes there exists an equal Wiki site with exactly the same information, or you can translate on site in another language, or there are quite different Wiki sites with quite different information in the different languages. (On the left of the site scroll down: languages!)

  • Youtube-videos often hide a lot of interesting information if we would know the frame and context of our problem. From certain youtube videos you can capture the text and download and translate it, if it is not possible to translate it in the cc.

  • What we often forget or ignore are the links and bibliography on the bottom of the Wiki sites! There are always good resources, of course the IMSLP links too, but also many other helpful links and titles of books. (History, Theory etc.

Here are some examples of links when looking up a certain term:

Summertime Gershwin

Piano Keyboard Signature

Chord progressions

Scales and modes

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