Music Theory is a very important part of the foundation of music. Every musician needs to learn it not only to learn music, but to communicate with other musicians. This puts musicians at an equal footing with other musicians.
Music has several notes, chords, scales, intervals, tones, etc. which need to be learnt. There are also time signatures which add greater dimensions to simple compositions.
Think of music theory improving the richness of music composition.
In this digital age, there are several different apps you can use for both iOS and Android to learn music theory.
7 Best Music Theory Apps
1. Perfect Ear
There are 3 main sections of Perfect Ear. These are theory, ear training and rhythm. There are some bonus exercises as well which can help you perfect your skills.
Theory provides you with rudiments of different scales, chords, rhythm, etc. You can cover the basics here pretty quickly. However, you need to put them in practice through the ear training exercises.
Ear training involves being able to practice aural skills through identification, comparison, and intervals singing and sight reading. You can also practice scale and chord identification.
The final section, rhythm; consists of familiarizing oneself with rhythmical figures. These can get more complex depending on practice and how to keep the beat.
- Absolute Pitch Trainer: Which trains you to guess which note is being played without any further assistance
- Sight Reading Practices: So you can familiarize yourself with sheet music
- Singing Trainer: You can practice reproducing notes which are being played
- Guitar Fret-Board Trainer
- Circle of Fifths Exercise: Here you have to guess the key where the sharps of flats are represented
Perfect Ear is available for $2.99 on both iOS and Android.
2. Piano Companion
This app is also available on both iOS and Android. It can help anyone find lessons about music theory. There is a free and premium version; the latter is of course for more serious students. The free version though, is no slouch.
You can pretty much get everything you need regarding the basics of music theory with the free version. It limits certain features including possibility of building and saving chords in a personal dictionary. The personal dictionary is a very useful aspect of the app if you’re a serious musician.
Of course there are chords and scales dictionaries within the app which you can use for reference at any time. You can also search for explanations about circle of fifths and chord pads. These will help you practice your chord progressions.
Finally, the app features a virtual piano which you can play to practice and compose on the run. There is a section dedicated to the free and paid piano courses as well.
3. Complete Ear Trainer
The Complete Ear Trainer is for both Android and iOS. You can get the full version for just $3.99, but you can also get the free version. It’s a great app for developing a full relative or an absolute pitch.
There are also several insights which you can get on music theory to understand ear training exercises. You can use Complete Ear Trainer in 3 different modes.
- Easy Mode
The easy mode contains more than 50 progressive drills which have 12 different chapters.
- Classic Mode
The classic mode in the app has more than 150 drills which are only available in the premium version.
- Arcade Mode
The arcade mode is a challenge mode which has about 21 drills. These are for the advanced music theory learners who have gotten through the previous drills.
There is also an option for you to create more custom training drills to suit your own needs. These can help more serious learners transition to advanced music theory buffs.
There is a chapter before each exercise which presents a sort of welcoming card. There are theoretical explanations which you’ll need undertake the challenge.
4. Music Theory Helper
Music Theory Helper is a very comprehensive app which is available only on Android. It will give you very comprehensive information about intervals, scales, chords, circle of fifths and other music theory concepts.
The downside of this app is that it has very few ear training and reading exercises. This is despite the app’s focus on theory.
5. Functional Ear Trainer
Functional Ear Trainer is available on both iOS and Android. It’s available on both iOS and Android for free. However, it does require in-app purchases which are designed to enhance your aural skills.
The developers of the app tout that you can get perfect aural skills with the apps after 10 minutes of practice a day. The app is very effective because it puts every tone in the context of a musical key. This helps musicians actually imagine and put into practice their theory. This encourages the development of perfect relative pitch.
Chord! Is a great music theory app for learning guitar on both iOS and Android. It’s for musicians at all levels who want to learn about music theory. As far as music theory apps go, it’s one of the most complete music theory apps.
It covers everything from notes, scales, and of course, chords, to harmonies, etc. There is also an added bonus of piano music theory. This gives the user a better understanding of the linear scales.
7. Music Tutor
Music Tutor allows for musicians to improve their ability to read sheet music. It helps improve sight reading skills as well. This gives you an advantage over other musicians to interact with music aside from the auditory skills.
The music theory included in the app helps sharpen the mind to interact with music in any form. You can automatically know where to go and what note to play along a chord or scale with it.
Benefits of Music Theory
With all these apps you can learn music theory to the point that you’re comfortable reading and writing music.
That’s the main benefit of music theory. It helps you learn the language of music and helps you engage with both instruments and compositions.
Here are some of the several benefits you get with music theory:
You Can Master Songs Easily
With greater knowledge of music theory you can better understand how music works. How one note leads into the other and how one chord progresses to the other. This way, you can master different songs by understanding where they are leading and how they will progress.
You Can Improvise Easily
It may seem like magic that pro musicians pull notes out of thin air, but you’ll find it easier with music theory. Music theory allows you to play with different notes, chord progressions, and scales, etc. You can combine these to make your own version of a song.
You Can Write Music More Easily
After you’ve learned music theory, you can learn how to form chords, scales, and chord progressions. This will help you write songs more easily. You can better put into words the music which is playing in your head.
With a greater knowledge of time signatures, the relationships between notes, and everything else, you can make a career in music.
Eduardo Perez is a multi-instrumentalist with over 20 years of experience playing instruments such as piano, guitar, ukulele, and bass. Having arranged songs and produced music in a recording studio, he has a wealth of knowledge to share about analyzing songs, composing, and producing. Currently pursuing a Bachelor of Arts degree in Interdisciplinary Musical Studies at Berklee College School of Music. Featured on Entrepreneur.com. Subscribe to his YouTube channel, or follow him on Instagram.