Music Theory: Instruments and Rhythm

Learn to identify different rhythms and instruments in a piece of music with this free online music theory course.

Free Course
Being a skilled and versatile musician takes more than just learning how to play an instrument; you also need constant practice. They say that the best way to improve one's musical skills is to listen, listen, and listen. This course will teach you about music theory, instruments, and rhythm in order to help you improve your listening skills, become more familiar with basic musical rules, and bring your musical journey to new heights.
  • Duration

    1-2 Hours
  • Assessment

  • Certification

  • Responsive






View course modules


This free online music theory course will first introduce you to different musical instruments and playing techniques. You will then learn how aspects of classical music can be applied to other genres of music. You will also study the differences between motives and themes, the fundamentals of rhythm, musical notation, and the meaning of different musical notes. You will also learn how to identify meters in musical excerpts including counting measures and musical dictation.

You will then learn how to identify rhythm in different genres of music such as jazz, pop, and classical music, as well as learn the most common types of format in pop music including intro, verse, chorus, and outro. The music theory course will cover rhythm and melody, major and minor chords, tremolo, pizzicato, and vibrato. Finally, you will study tempo and syncopation, polyphony, monophony, and homophony.

Every great musician understands the importance of expanding one's musical knowledge and skills. This course will develop your listening skills and teach you everything you want to know about instruments and rhythm. It is perfect for professional and amateur musicians who are always on the lookout for new things to learn. So, check out the course today, and enhance your music listening skills in just a couple of hours!

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Learning Outcomes

After completing this music theory course, you will:

  • Explain how to listen to music properly.
  • Describe the most common type of form in pop music – verse and chorus.
  • Differentiate between rhythm and melody.
  • Distinguish between major and minor chords.
  • Distinguish between tremolo, pizzicato, and vibrato.
  • Define what tempo in music means.
  • Explain the term syncopation and how it is used in music.
  • Distinguish between polyphony, monophony, and homophony.


All Alison courses are free to enrol, study and complete. To successfully complete this Certificate course and become an Alison Graduate, you need to achieve 80% or higher in each course assessment. Once you have completed this Certificate course, you have the option to acquire official Certification, which is a great way to share your achievement with the world. Your Alison Certification is:

Ideal for sharing with potential employers - include it in your CV, professional social media profiles and job applications
An indication of your commitment to continuously learn, upskill and achieve high results
An incentive for you to continue empowering yourself through lifelong learning

Alison offers 3 types of Certification for completed Certificate courses:

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All Certification is available to purchase through the Alison Shop. For more information on purchasing Alison Certification, please visit our faqs. If you decide not to purchase your Alison Certification, you can still demonstrate your achievement by sharing your Learner Record or Learner Achievement Verification, both of which are accessible from your Dashboard. For more details on our Certification pricing, please visit our Pricing Page.



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