The rudiments of music are the most basic elements that one must know and understand in order to appreciate and perform music in a technically perceptive and proficient manner. It is certainly possible to enjoy music without knowledge of the basics of music, but to understand the technical aspects of the music or to compose and perform music, it is generally necessary to have at least a basic understanding of them. They include some knowledge of music theory, the ability to read music, and several other important components. Learning these rudiments can provide one with the tools to appreciate music at a deeper level and a foundation on which to develop greater knowledge of music.
Basic music theory encompasses many of the most important rudiments of music. Music theory is a body of knowledge that explains how music of different forms is made from the same basic sounds and how that music can be understood through common language and notation. Advanced music theory even delves into the physics and acoustics that leads to the production of music, but such understanding is not necessary for one just learning the basics of music. Basic points of music theory, such as rhythm, pitch, melody, and notation are, however, important for developing a basic appreciation for music.
Depending on one's personal goals in learning music, the rudiments of music may also involve some knowledge of history. To fully appreciate many styles of music, it is necessary to have some understanding of the music movements from which they developed. If one is primarily interested in the technical aspects of music, though, history may not be an essential aspect of learning the music basics. History primarily helps by giving one an understanding of the context in which certain styles of music developed and the musical trends that influenced different artists at points throughout history.
In many cases, learning the basics of musical composition can provide the best overall introduction to the rudiments of music. Learning composition involves learning music notation. One must also learn the scales from which music is composed in order to know how sounds are combined to make music. One must, furthermore, learn the rhythm and tempo considerations that serve to drive the different sounds forward. Understanding all of this allows one to critically interpret music and to understand the many diverse factors that musicians must consider when writing and performing music.