Music theory is something that most people look at as a complicated, massive thing, and it probably is. I’ve never really studied music or delved too deep into the complexities of learning how to read music and finding what notes occur exactly where on the fretboard or keyboard.
Knowing the notes however helps a lot while trying to tune a guitar. Knowing a note isn’t really important to anyone who wants to appreciate music by just listening to it, but I’d still implore you to open yourself to noticing notes; look at them as colours. You need to know colours by name because life is going to throw many a situation where you’ll have to choose or identify colours to make general or life and death decisions. You’re never going to be in such a situation when it comes to music, but I think it’d be nice to identify the sounds you hear around you, not just when you’re listening to music.
Instead of going alphabetically with the basic notes of A, B, C, D, E, F and G, I’ve chosen to start with C, or C major (also written as Cmaj). The first sound I’m going to have you listen to is the almost ubiquitous Apple Mac startup sound, which is probably the most famous C major out there:
Here it is again, being strummed as C chord on an acoustic guitar:
And again, on an electric guitar for a little more sustain:
What you hear above are all chords. What is the difference between a chord and a note? A note is a single sound- one key of a piano, one string of a guitar, whereas a chord is the same sound made by holding down a set of keys or or strings in unison, just like how you could buy green paint, or make it by mixing blue and yellow.
I get my sound samples off The Free Sound Project. They’re a fabulous resource for small sound samples and I’ve used their samples for assorted animation and video projects.