Guitar music theory refers to the arrangement of a piece of music and its relation to the guitar itself. Guitar music theory can be confusing because many different opinions are held about what guitar music consists of. People often refer to it as the “analogy of rock and roll.” But really, it is not based on any one thing. All kinds of influences influence it, and can play anything on a guitar.
Guitar music theory is written as tablature, a unique music-notation system for guitar. Tabs like traditional musical staffs usually have six horizontal lines (or staves) and one vertical line, no white space, and are written in “tab” form. Guitarists call this type of notation “tabular”, which is probably why most songs use tabs, even though they might not have been written with staff notation.
The guitar music system is a way to write a song by matching the staff’s clefs (or lines) to the notes they represent. The notes are played by pressing the fret or the pick, while the clef indicates the time signature. The primary and minor modes are popular on the guitar because each mode has a definite note on each clef. Guitarists sometimes write tabs with one hand playing the treble clef and playing the bass clef. Other guitarists play the modes with both hands.
There are three clefs in a guitar music piece. The first clef represents the note, the second the bass clef, and the third the treble clef. The six strings have their own six frets: A G D F A E C. The notes on these six strings correspond to the fretted notes of the staff. If you use the notes from the staff for the fretted notes, you will get a pitch that can match the soundhole.
To change from one clef to another, simply place your finger in the open position above the previous clef. With your other fingers, move them to the open positions of the new clef. For example, to play there on the sixth string, move your fingers to the open positions of the second clef. When you change to the fourth string, move your fingers so that your first finger, now in the open position, is now on the sixth string. This technique is often used in blues guitar music that many guitarists refer to as “touching” or “fretting”.
Musical compositions written for the guitar have lines and tabs written to correspond with the major scale. Every chord, every note, and every clef combination have its name. That name, and its shape, appear on the score when the piece is printed. The tabs are placed side-by-side so that the player can see them easily. In addition, musical compositions written for the guitar have been divided into groups of minutes or parts played in different parts of the song. These parts are called staves or choruses.