16 lessons. 30 minutes average per lesson.


Ricardo speaks Spanish. Subtitles available in English.

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Ricardo Curto


From his studio in Valencia, Spain, Ricardo teaches us, through his modern vision of music theory, the rhythmic, harmonic and melodic concepts necessary to produce and compose at the highest level in record time, and with no need of prior knowledge, only with the use of a DAW. Through endless practical examples, Ricardo shares all the resources that are truly important in order to produce and compose electronic music, film music, or any genre of modern music today.

ABOUT Ricardo Curto

Ricardo Curto is a composer, producer and pianist whose career combines electronic music production, film scoring, and jazz. A Yamaha artist and a graduate of Berklee College of Music, Ricardo has released four original albums and is the author of the soundtrack of the films “Halcón Ciego,” for which he was nominated by the Hollywood Music in Media Awards, and “ZERØ”, as well as co-author of the music for the Netflix series “The Mess You Leave Behind.” Ricardo is also the author of three of the most demanded acoustic and electronic sound libraries in Splice and Loompasters.


Lesson plan

  • 01 INTRODUCTION Ricardo explains how the use of the DAW makes it possible to accelerate the learning of modern music theory. He then defines the three layers he divides music theory into: rhythm, harmony and melody. Finally, he explains that the artist’s identity or sound can be considered as a fourth layer that results from his/her rhythmic, harmonic and melodic choices in the three previous layers.
  • 02 LAYER 1: RHYTM PART 1 Ricardo begins with the first layer by insisting that rhythm has a fundamental function and exists in all elements in music. He talks about pulse, subdivisions, as well as the difference between binary and ternary. He continues explaining what a rhythmic pattern is and shows numerous examples using the most used one bar long pattern. Finally he talks about different ways of defining patterns with rests, accents, pitches, and combinations of all of them.
  • 03 LAYER 1: RHYTM PART 2 Ricardo discusses the study of rhythmic patterns. He begins by creating a longer multi-bar pattern and explaining the use of patterns that work in faster subdivisions. Additionally, he talks about patterns that cross the bar line and he shows several practical examples where he applies the patterns not only to percussion, but also to bass and chords.
  • 04 LAYER 1: RHYTM PART 3 To generate even more rhythmic interest, Ricardo explains how he uses polyrhythms. Through various examples, he shows us how he makes different meters work at the same time, with different rhythmic patterns of three and four pulses of duration playing simultaneously. Finally, he uses odd meters within the polyrhythm, both five against four, and seven against four.
  • 05 LAYER 1: RHYTM PART 4 Ricardo explains the use of ternary subdivisions and how to create a very different feel from binary ones. He creates a practical example of a ternary groove and then a binary lower subdivision within the ternary. Finally he talks about how to create polyrhythm using a delay effect and ends the example by adding a bass in a ternary subdivision.
  • 06 LAYER 1: RHYTM PART 5 Ricardo explains what swing is and how to use it. In order to do so, he creates various practical examples where he applies swing both at the eighth and sixteenth note level, and compares the effect obtained when using different intensities of the same or when turning it off and on. Finally, he explains what elements can further accentuate the swing in the groove.
  • 07 LAYER 1: RHYTM PART 6 In order to make his music more human and organic, Ricardo explains how he uses the concept of placement. By moving the notes forward and backward relative to the beat, Ricardo creates a practical example with placement in a back beat groove. In addition, he explains how to use placement to reduce the height of the transients of percussive elements that overlap at the same instant of time.
  • 08 LAYER 2: HARMONY PART 1 To begin the second layer, Ricardo sits at the piano and introduces us to the world of harmony. He begins by explaining the fundamentals of the keyboard, detailing a brief history of harmony and its definition. He then defines the intervals, or distances, between the notes, explains the concepts of dissonance and consonance in them, and explains the triad chords and how the major and minor scales are defined.
  • 09 LAYER 2: HARMONY PART 2 Going back to the DAW, Ricardo explains how to create a theory track and he begins by choosing the key, writing its corresponding major scale, and harmonizing it with triad chords. He teaches us a mnemonic for remembering the order of the major and minor chords on the scale, and explains why he choses not to use the diminished chord. Finally, he rearranges the major scale to make it minor and explains the steps to follow in order to create chord progressions that work.
  • 10 LAYER 2: HARMONY PART 3 Ricardo explains how to play with the chord notes to create variety. He first details how to remove the fifth to create two-note chords, and then continues by explaining how to create inversions, how to guide the voices from one chord to the next, and how to double the voices at different octaves. Finally, he presents us with the idea of ​​thinking of chords as sound areas, generating great freedom in the placement of its notes in different textures.
  • 11 LAYER 2: HARMONY PART 4 Starting from the triad chords, Ricardo explains the use of the seventh to create four-note chords and he harmonizes the scale with them. He then explains how to create a template in order to quickly switch to other keys, he creates a chord progression with quarters, and finally applies various techniques to create variety and interest.
  • 12 LAYER 2: HARMONY PART 5 To add even more richness to the chords, Ricardo explains the use of tensions in chords: ninth, eleventh, and thirteenth. Next, he creates a template with the entire harmonized scale, with triads, seventh chords, and tensions, and gives an example of a chord progression with tensions. Finally, he reapplies creative techniques to generate variety and interest in the progressions with tensions.
  • 13 LAYER 2: HARMONY PART 6 Getting into more advanced concepts, Ricardo explains how to create more interesting chord progressions by combining several keys at the same time. To do so, and always accompanied by various practical examples, he explores two concepts in depth: modal exchange, and its use together with chords with tensions; and parallelism, emphasizing on how to move the voices to avoid the sampler sound.
  • 14 LAYER 3: MELODY PART 1 Ricardo begins the third layer by talking about the relationship between melody and harmony, and talks about the factors that determine that a voice is perceived as a melody. Next, on a chord progression, he explains how to obtain the available notes with which to elaborate the melody and performs a practical example. Finally, he shows us how to use notes outside the group of available notes, including notes outside the key, to give more interest to the melodies.
  • 15 LAYER 3: MELODY PART 2 Having explained which notes sound good in each chord, Ricardo explains how to create motifs, what differentiates these from through-composed melodies, and he teaches how to create new motifs from the previous ones using motivic development techniques. Finally, he explains how to use several melodies at the same time, shows a practical example with six simultaneous melodies, and ends by explaining the function of the lowest melody: the bass.
  • 16 NOW CREATE YOUR OWN SOUND Ricardo encourages new producers and songwriters to create their own sound. In order to achieve that, he believes that it's essential to get inspired by artists that we like the most, analyze them, and select elements from each of the layers: rhythm, harmony and melody, to incorporate into our own music. Ricardo explains how by adding our own essence to the analysis of existing music, we can create a unique sound.

Everything that a musician used to learn in four, five or even six years of harmony, rhythm, and melody, nowadays, with a DAW can be learned very easily and very quickly.

Ricardo Curto


Jose Maria Productor musical / Gadolan trance music

"Perfect explanation of keys, scales, chords, harmonies and melodies. A lot of information concentrated in this masterclass from which you can get a lot of benefit."

Vladimir Bolivar Bohorquez Andagoya

"This course is incredible, other music theory courses had always made me feel confused, but Ricardo explains everything very clearly and concisely with his examples."

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