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Music theory is all about trying to understand how existing music works and how new music could or should be organized. Someone who makes a special study of music theory is a music theorist. The earliest known example of musical notation was dated to around 1,800 B.C, found on a clay tablet in Mesopotamia.
Today people who want to compose will study music theory. In a conservatory program, they might study harmony and counterpoint as well as form; in other programs, they will not spend so much time on the theories of the past. They will be taught “rules”. These rules are not laws, they simply mean: the way that most great composers wrote music in the past. These rules describe what composers of the past did, rather than telling composers of today what to do in fact, music composed today can have completely different rules than the music of the past.
Music theory is important for people who perform music because all these things help people to
understand the music they are playing. Music theory will be taught as part of every music lessons
but for formal theory lessons that lead to exams and qualifications we have several highly skilled
teachers on staff. Most theory exams can now be taken on-line via the AMEB. We can assist with