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For questions about how music works, seeking to identify structures and patterns in music. Used to indicate questions about musical concepts and structures, as opposed to techniques and execution.

Theory refers to the conceptual level of Music: Practice and Theory, where ideas about the structures, functions, patterns, analysis, and inner workings of music are discussed.

When talking about theory, most people will think in terms of the Western European tradition during the common practice era. From this came many concepts and ideas that can be seen in music today, such as the tonic/dominant relationship, Roman Numeral analysis, and keys. This is by far not the only theory that exists. For example, post tonal theory looks beyond the methods used in the common practice era such as taking the ideas of dissonance defined by the common practice era and utilizing it to create unique concepts.

Theory does not concern itself with how to execute a musical passage on an instrument, nor does it address how to troubleshoot a Digital Audio Workstation. Theory exists at the theoretical level of music itself, and generally ignores the external elements better addressed by the practice tag.