I've come up with the following as the components of music composition and theory:

  • Counterpoint
  • Harmony (chords and triads)
  • Music forms and development (sonata, rondo etc.)

Please let me know if there is anything you can add to this.

closed as too broad by Todd Wilcox, Tim, MattPutnam, Richard, neilfein Mar 7 '17 at 2:36

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  • 1
    This is also a pretty broad question. As you say, you are just beginning. It seems like you are studying some book or web site, perhaps? If you keep moving forward in your studies, the answers to these basic questions should be part of the book or web site or whatever. If you don't have a book or something that is a basic introduction to music theory, then finding something like that should be your next step. Whatever you find should explain early on what the primary aspects of music are and it should define some important basic terms. – Todd Wilcox Mar 5 '17 at 18:07
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    See this question about how to get started: music.stackexchange.com/questions/19038/… – Todd Wilcox Mar 5 '17 at 18:08

Yes, you're on the right track. If you haven't already, you will also want to get into the principles of accepted Music Notation, the pracrtice of Orchestration, and a view of the History of Classical Music as it covers the evolution of style through the various recognized periods.

In addition to a textbook type of source for information about Music Theory, as Todd Wilcox mentions in his comment to your question, you will probably also benefit from general reading in the subject, such as is found in reviews of recorded music (the British magazine Gramophone is particularly good at this) and books or articles that analyze well-known classical pieces. (Penguin has several good ones.)


Some other points to consider are :

  • Melody: ie a 'good tune' especially for musical theatre/light opera forms and even in more academic styles there is the concept of the 'theme or motif' ie a recognisable tune associated with a particular mood or character. And this is the bedrock of pop music.

  • Orchestration : the ability to allocate specific groups of instruments to particular parts of a score to create an overall mood to the sound.

  • Structure : how a piece of music begins develops and ends be it a three act structure in opera or a intro/verse/chorus in a pop song

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