Resources for Brushing Up on Music Theory

• Dec 17, 2019 - 19:09


So, I had good exposure in my early years in music theory, composition, etc., but I haven't done much with music in many years, and I've found that several musical terms (e.g., tempo names, articulation names and use, etc.) are slipping in my memory. What I need are some good crash-course refresher resources for quick brush up.

I picked up The Technique of Orchestration by Kent Kennan and Donald Grantham for comp refresher. But I'd like some Websites (or what have you) for anything else that's good for all-around music theory reference.

Any suggestions are welcome.



FWIW, things like meaning of tempo markings and articulations aren't really music theory, so I wouldn't start by looking for info on that subject. What you are talking about is more "music notation" than "music theory:. It's like the difference between spelling versus grammar, or either of these versus creative writing. On the other hand, there is certainly a lot of music theory that would be good to brush up when diving into an orchestration textbook like that one, so probably you want both.

For some basics - some notation, but also scales, inversions, triads, etc - see my series of handouts on

These are designed to accompany an online course I'm still in the process of building, but the handouts I just finished today :-)

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Thanks, Marc. Oddly enough, I used the term 'music notation' when I first started the post. Silly me, I should have kept with it—that's really more so of what I'm in need to brush up.

Your handouts are good, and it took very little time, as I scanned them, to refresh some of those basics. Thanks.

Now what about a good resource for refreshing musical terms (e.g., adigio) and things along these lines for composing? I did come across this site,, which is good, but it's more for indivual term lookup; I'd like something more along the lines of a chart or instructional.

Anyway, thanks again! (Oh, and I finished your course today. Going to go through it again, though, and work through all the examples.)

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