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Scared of Music theory? Faggggedaboudit!

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Rick Fielding 30 Nov 01 - 12:08 PM
Jeri 30 Nov 01 - 12:33 PM
Allan C. 30 Nov 01 - 12:36 PM
Jeri 30 Nov 01 - 01:09 PM
Jim Krause 30 Nov 01 - 01:18 PM
Jeri 30 Nov 01 - 01:25 PM
MMario 30 Nov 01 - 01:26 PM
Gary T 30 Nov 01 - 01:52 PM
Jim Krause 30 Nov 01 - 02:01 PM
Bert 30 Nov 01 - 02:02 PM
Rick Fielding 30 Nov 01 - 02:12 PM
DougR 30 Nov 01 - 02:18 PM
Night Owl 30 Nov 01 - 02:21 PM
JohnInKansas 30 Nov 01 - 02:51 PM
katlaughing 30 Nov 01 - 03:04 PM
JohnInKansas 30 Nov 01 - 03:21 PM
GUEST,Les B. 30 Nov 01 - 04:38 PM
GUEST,Les B. 30 Nov 01 - 04:48 PM
katlaughing 30 Nov 01 - 05:02 PM
Jon W. 30 Nov 01 - 06:04 PM
GUEST,Les B 30 Nov 01 - 06:11 PM
Rick Fielding 30 Nov 01 - 06:15 PM
M.Ted 30 Nov 01 - 06:20 PM
Jon W. 30 Nov 01 - 06:24 PM
JohnInKansas 30 Nov 01 - 06:36 PM
Burke 30 Nov 01 - 06:54 PM
katlaughing 30 Nov 01 - 08:21 PM
M.Ted 30 Nov 01 - 10:03 PM
Rick Fielding 30 Nov 01 - 10:05 PM
Mark Clark 30 Nov 01 - 10:20 PM
Justa Picker 30 Nov 01 - 11:58 PM
M.Ted 01 Dec 01 - 12:08 AM
Justa Picker 01 Dec 01 - 12:12 AM
GUEST,Night Owl 01 Dec 01 - 12:57 AM
winniemih 01 Dec 01 - 12:04 PM
Rick Fielding 01 Dec 01 - 01:33 PM
Gary T 01 Dec 01 - 02:09 PM
Big Mick 01 Dec 01 - 02:11 PM
Night Owl 01 Dec 01 - 03:09 PM
GUEST,Sheila 01 Dec 01 - 04:37 PM
Night Owl 01 Dec 01 - 04:51 PM
Gary T 01 Dec 01 - 05:40 PM
katlaughing 01 Dec 01 - 06:45 PM
Gary T 01 Dec 01 - 07:32 PM
JohnInKansas 01 Dec 01 - 08:36 PM
Mary in Kentucky 01 Dec 01 - 09:09 PM
Rick Fielding 01 Dec 01 - 09:57 PM
Gary T 01 Dec 01 - 10:03 PM
katlaughing 01 Dec 01 - 10:31 PM
Mary in Kentucky 01 Dec 01 - 10:43 PM
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Subject: Scared of Music theory? Faggggedaboudit!
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 30 Nov 01 - 12:08 PM

Yes, I stole "faggggedaboudit" from the movie "Mickey Blue Eyes". (it was on the tube last night)

OK, here's an idea I had. I really don't know if it'll work or if enough folks will be interested to sustain it for more than a day, but here goes:

A LOT of people (I used to be one of them) are scared to learn music theory, simply because they think it's hard, and they have horrid memories of deadly dull piano books, and (sometimes) even deadlier old teachers who never cracked a smile (let alone a joke) foisting it on them when they were kids. Well, it ain't hard. It can be a lot of fun (sort of like doing newspaper puzzles...but with actual results that you can show off)

I thought that maybe some of us could contribute little 'mini-lessons' in ABSOLUTELY SIMPLE UNDERSTANDABLE TERMS. Let's aim them at folks who 'don't know nuthin' about theory, with the aim of helping those folks "know sumthin' about it within a couple of days. We all have different methods and terminology, but let's try to keep it simple (I tend to 'over-explain'...so I'll keep that in mind.

Here's one from me.

The absolutely hardest task you'll have is memorizing where the notes are on your guitar (or banjo, or mandolin etc.) For the moment, just memorize those notes in the simple chart below. Find out where they are in the lowest (near the tuners) part of your instrument. But first:

Memorize the scale. Lets start with an easy one, and to make it even more easy, don't bother with any sharps or flats (they're not hard either), that can be done later.

The key of "C".

C,D,E,F,G,A,B,C.

We don't need to repeat the first C but it serves to 'bracket' the scale.

Here's a good little trick (all the 'studio' musicians know it)

Ascribe a number to each letter, so you've got:

C=1, D=2, E=3, F=4, G=5, A=6, B=7.

(the highest "C" is just the whole thing starting over again, so fagggedaboudit!

These are just "notes". So what's chord? A chord is a collection of notes played at the same time.

Ever hear the term "Three chord country hurtin' song"?

Well, the "three chords" they're referring to, each start with one of those letters (or numbers)

In fact they ALWAYS start with the C, the F, and the G. (or the 1, 4, 5.)

But for the moment let's take a "Two chord" song (Short'nin Bread, Skip to m'Lou, tons of fiddle tunes).

They use only the C and G chords. The 1 and 5.

So what are the REST of the notes in each of those two chords?

Go back to the scale chart. The simplest (and that's what were doin') chord is made up of the "1" the "3" and the "5".

So for the C chord, you must play C, E, and G, together

For the G chord (5) re-write your chart STARTING at G. It'll look like this:

G, A, B, C, D, E, F, G. The numbers will of course be the same 123 etc.

Pick the "1", "3", and "5" again (G, B, D)

There, you've 'constructed' your two chords.

Playing a "two chord song" with a friend or two? Just tell 'em "One five" guys! They'll be impressed (or completely confused.....in which case you can teach them this).

Next time I come back here I'll talk about "one flat" in the key of F.

Anybody got anything else? Maybe some 'timing stuff', or whatever?

Cheers

Rick


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Subject: RE: Scared of Music theory? Faggggedaboudit!
From: Jeri
Date: 30 Nov 01 - 12:33 PM

Rick, you seem mighty double-spacy today!

I often think a little wheel doohicky would be a great invention. An outer wheel with all the notes and half notes, and an inner wheel with markings to point to notes in any scale. You could add another wheel to point to notes in a chord, or anything else.

This is very simple, but it helped me (and hopefully it will work in pre-formatted text):

Major scale:

  C  C# D  D# E  F  F# G  G# A  A# B  C
1_____2_____3__4_____5_____6_____7__1

If you put the above on the outside of a circle, the notes would just repeat.

If you start with D and just move the bar down, (or the inner circle around, if you do it that way) you have a D scale:

  C  C# D  D# E  F  F# G  G# A  A# B  C  C# D
1_____2_____3__4_____5_____6_____7__1

Like I said, it's simple. Understanding intervals is the foundation, and has helped me more than anything else I've ever learned.


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Subject: RE: Scared of Music theory? Faggggedaboudit!
From: Allan C.
Date: 30 Nov 01 - 12:36 PM

Great try, Rick! No kidding. But my eyes started glazing over about halfway through. I think I may have to read this again after awhile and attempt to digest even this little bit in small chunks. I know it is going to sound odd, but I think I actually know all of this stuff. It is just overwhelming to see it all at once. Maybe it is just me. Probably is.

Thanks again for starting this.


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Subject: RE: Scared of Music theory? Faggggedaboudit!
From: Jeri
Date: 30 Nov 01 - 01:09 PM

Playing off (sorry) what Rick said, imagine someone says "the next one's in F - 1, 4 and 5 chords."

Sometimes notes are flat (b) instead of sharp (#). (Somebuddy smarter than me cud eksplain why.) I've changed the little chart thingie to reflect that.
Here are the notes of the F scale:

  F  Gb G  Ab A  Bb B  C  Db D  Eb E  A
1_____2_____3__4_____5_____6_____7__1

Look for 1, 4 and 5, and you'll see you need an F chord, Bb chord, and C chord.

Find an F chord. Look at the above, because its the F scale, and find what notes correspond to 1, 3 & 5.
F, A and C

Find the Bb chord. Slide the thingie down so "1" is on "Bb"

  F  Gb G  Ab A  Bb B  C  Db D  Eb E  F  Gb G  Ab A  Bb
1_____2_____3__4_____5_____6_____7__1
Gotcher Bb, D and F. That's the Bb chord.

C is a no brainer - I can use my fingers for this one: C, E, G.


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Subject: RE: Scared of Music theory? Faggggedaboudit!
From: Jim Krause
Date: 30 Nov 01 - 01:18 PM

OOH, OOH, I like it, I like it!

I can't wait til we get to chord substitution. That's where this really gets fun. Go, Rick, go!
Jim


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Subject: RE: Scared of Music theory? Faggggedaboudit!
From: Jeri
Date: 30 Nov 01 - 01:25 PM

I can't wait until he gets to 7th and 9th chords, diminished chords, and diminished 7th and 9th chords. I'd like more of an understanding of why they don't sound icky. Also, perhaps, why they exist. (But I'll just sit back and wait.)


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Subject: RE: Scared of Music theory? Faggggedaboudit!
From: MMario
Date: 30 Nov 01 - 01:26 PM

You're not actually gonna do chord substitution right out in publicly available text, are you?

WOBH!


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Subject: RE: Scared of Music theory? Faggggedaboudit!
From: Gary T
Date: 30 Nov 01 - 01:52 PM

Good stuff, quite helpful to know, and not too tough to learn.

One suggestion:

When referring to NOTES, use Arabic numerals--thus 1, 3, & 5 are the notes of a major (or tonic) chord.

When referring to CHORDS, use Roman numerals--thus I, IV, & V are the chords in a typical three-chord song.

In my opinion, consistently doing this can avoid a lot of potential confusion.


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Subject: RE: Scared of Music theory? Faggggedaboudit!
From: Jim Krause
Date: 30 Nov 01 - 02:01 PM

Hey Mario, yeah, gonna do chord substitution in public, right in front of God & Everybody. Wanna watch?!?!?!?!?
Jim


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Subject: RE: Scared of Music theory? Faggggedaboudit!
From: Bert
Date: 30 Nov 01 - 02:02 PM

It's not the theory that's the problem it's the bloody practice. Or in my case it's "NOT practicing" that's the problem.


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Subject: RE: Scared of Music theory? Faggggedaboudit!
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 30 Nov 01 - 02:12 PM

Great! OK I'm already gettin' some ideas. This will probably work best as individual lessons from folks. So maybe others can just take what they will from this one and that one etc.

I find sometimes that it's really hard for me to explain on paper what I do face to face. It may be because I NEEDED tricks and shortcuts to actually learn myself...in a sense I needed someone to say "Nah....don't worry about the "whole magilla", here's one little part you CAN understand". Eventually all those 'little parts' added up, and it became great fun rather than a complete drag.

I'll be watching this very carefully for approaches I can steal!

Cheers

Rick

P.S. Jeri, I was double spacing BECAUSE I thought it would make it clearer! See ya learn something every day!


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Subject: RE: Scared of Music theory? Faggggedaboudit!
From: DougR
Date: 30 Nov 01 - 02:18 PM

Super thread, Rick! Thanks for starting it. Music theory was an absolute nightmare for me in college. I'm gonna try the Mudcat method and see how I do.

DougR


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Subject: RE: Scared of Music theory? Faggggedaboudit!
From: Night Owl
Date: 30 Nov 01 - 02:21 PM

I was HOPING this thread was yours Rick......THANK YOU, THANK YOU!!!! I assume there are lots of us out here whose brains shudder at the words "Music Theory" somehow thinking only mathematicians can understand it. Personally, I have to cut through years of "I don't /can't get it" to even open the classroom door. But I've found my seat at my desk here, just have to get my pen out and open my notebook to a page with no other writing on it. Puhleeeeeze go slooooowly......otherwise......my.....brain..........just ........shuts........down.


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Subject: RE: Scared of Music theory? Faggggedaboudit!
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 30 Nov 01 - 02:51 PM

A little exercise, for those who can get to a keyboard. Piano, organ, or whatever.

Put your right hand down with the thumb on C, the first finger two white keys "up" on E, and the middle finger another two up on G.

When you hit all three of those notes together, you've got a C chord. (I in the key of C)

Leave the thumb where it is, and move the other two up one step each - C, F, A

You've got an F chord (IV) in the key of C. (hey look - it's upside down, but what the hey.)

Go back to the C, E, G position.

Now move the thumb and first finger each down one white key, leaving the middle finger where it is - to B, D, G.

You've got a G chord (V in the key of C).

Practice switching back and forth, until you get the feel of it, and you've got the basic "moves" for the I, IV, V chords commonly used in the key of C.

It's good ear training, and a little practice at this can help give you a feel for "linking" your chord movements. An oft-cited rule of "composition" is that when you move from one chord to another, both chords should have at least one note in common. - Note the finger that didn't move, in the exercise.

Also note that C and G, or C and F played in succession sound a little more natural than when you jump directly from F to G of G to F.

Rick will probably get around to explaining that the "seventh" chord has to get invented to make transitions smoother??

John


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Subject: RE: Scared of Music theory? Faggggedaboudit!
From: katlaughing
Date: 30 Nov 01 - 03:04 PM

Great thread, Rick. It has prompted me to go public, come outta the closet and admit, after 40 years, off and on, of playing the piano, violin, playing in orchestras, with a family of musicians, taking private lessons for the first 10 of those years, I still cannot get it in my brain how to tell what key someone is in AND I don't remember any of my teachers telling us how. I know it seems simple and I've been told how by my dad, sister, and brother, and I think you, but it just isn't there. I've even looked online. Anyway, anyone have a dead easy, simple-stupid way to pound it into my brain?

THANKS!

kat


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Subject: RE: Scared of Music theory? Faggggedaboudit!
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 30 Nov 01 - 03:21 PM

Kat

There are several "traditional" explanations, but the one that works is:
Write out all the notes, with appropriate sharps and flats (accidentals).
Change the "key signature" so that as many as possible of the accidentals disappear.

Read the (major) "key" from the key signature.

This isn't a "musically correct" method, and it doesn't take account of "modalities" - even major and minor; but it's a good cut at it in simple minded terms.

John


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Subject: RE: Scared of Music theory? Faggggedaboudit!
From: GUEST,Les B.
Date: 30 Nov 01 - 04:38 PM

I like the idea of using Arabic numbers for Notes, and Roman for Chords.

Can anyone clarify why it's "1-3-5" to build the chord, and "1-4-5" to determine the chords ?? And why the use of threes in a seven (or eight?) based string of numbers ?

I understand this in practice, just not the idea behind it.

Kat, are you trying to figure out the key when playing with someone, or when listening to a record, or reading a piece of music? There are different ways for each.

When playing with: -- 1. ask 2. look at the chords the guitar or other chordal instrument is using (assuming they know what they're doing)

When listening: -- 1. hunt around until you find a note on your instrument that matches - you're in the ball park. Then find the very end note of the piece,(or phrase) usually a tune ends on the "home" note, that is if it's a C, it's in the key of C, etc.

When reading: -- if you read music, the sharps & flats at the beginning will tell you, if not(like me), go to the end note, as above.


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Subject: RE: Scared of Music theory? Faggggedaboudit!
From: GUEST,Les B.
Date: 30 Nov 01 - 04:48 PM

Kat - to add to those ways above of finding the key, there are a couple more: if you're one of those lucky few who have perfect pitch, and have trained your mind to assign a designated key to those pitches, you can tell right off.

Also, in the old-timey and bluegrass areas, there are certain tunes that are traditionally played only in certain keys; like Orange Blossom Special in E & A, and "Foggy Mountain Breakdown" in G. If you know those keys and launch into such a tune only to discover the rest of the crowd is playing it in Eb, then you can assume a pained, distainful expression and say, "That's not the way, Bill (or Earl, or Ralph) did it!" and stomp off !


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Subject: RE: Scared of Music theory? Faggggedaboudit!
From: katlaughing
Date: 30 Nov 01 - 05:02 PM

I don't mean to hijack this thread, but would like to respond to LesB. Sorry, Rick, I know this isn't the way the thread was envisioned.:-)

Les, I read music fine. I know where all of the sharps and flats are. I have an excellent ear and almost perfect pitch (at times). When listening, I can pick up a right note somewhere along the line and join in with harmony, on instrument. Ths year is the first in all my years of music in which I've played mostly by ear and mostly alone, so I am not used to looking for what chords people are playing or anything. With my voice I have no problem; been singing harmony since I was born, just about (4 older siblings plus mom and dad to do so with), and as long as I know the song, somewhat, and it's in my range, I can be spot on.

When playing with others, if I ask, it still means nothing to me as I do not know which keys have what sharps or flats. That's how basic the deficiency is in my *larnin'*.:-) Thanks!

katkeyless


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Subject: RE: Scared of Music theory? Faggggedaboudit!
From: Jon W.
Date: 30 Nov 01 - 06:04 PM

Okay, here's the secret on flats and sharps and key signatures: There are two "circles", the "circle of 4ths" and the "Circle of 5ths". The circle of 4ths is associated with keys that have flats in the key signature. The circle of 5ths is associated with keys that have sharps. Both circles start at C (no flats, no sharps). The 4th of a C scale is an F. F is the key that has 1 flat. The 4th of an F scale is Bb. Bb is the key with 2 flats. The 4th of Bb is Eb. Eb has 3 flats. etc. etc. Now for the sharps - use the circle of 5ths. The fifth of C is G. G has 1 sharp. The fifth of G is D. D has 2 sharps. The fifth of D is A. A has 3 sharps. and so on and so forth. Both circles continue around until you get back to C.

Now, why do some keys have sharps and some flats? Because you want to use all seven letters for note names. Take the key of D: D E F# G A B C#. You could say that it is D E Gb G A B Db. You'd be playing exactly the same notes. But it's not very convenient because two of the notes share the "G" letter in their names, and two share the "D" letter. Simple, huh? And when you have accidentals (sharps or flats that don't occur in the diatonic scale of the key), normally you write them with the symbol that is used in the key signature, be it sharp or flat. There are exceptions to this rule, though.


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Subject: RE: Scared of Music theory? Faggggedaboudit!
From: GUEST,Les B
Date: 30 Nov 01 - 06:11 PM

Kat - if you can do all that, why worry. Your musical sense will probably get you where you need to go.

I really wish I had a better sense of identifying pitch. I play guitar and banjo backup at old-time fiddlers meetings, and quite often some old fiddler will say his next piece is in D, when it's really in G, and then launch into the tune. I often play merrily away for a couple of measures before my ear tells me there's something wrong, and then I spend a few more measures hunting around for the correct key. Others seem to pick up on this more quickly. I've learned to read other, better-eared, chord player's hands for the correct keys.


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Subject: RE: Scared of Music theory? Faggggedaboudit!
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 30 Nov 01 - 06:15 PM

Little tiny pianos!! Yep those things from yamaha and casio that can now be had for virtually nuthin' in any pawn shops. GREAT tools for learning some theory. Mike Cooney turned me on to this many years ago, and they work.

The black keys are the sharps and flats. Makes it easier to memorize 'em.

Hi Les. The 1,3,5. is part of a musical construction.

The 1,4,5. is simply about specific songs. 1,4,5. is like a "practical application" for simple songs in WESTERN culture. 1,4,5 wouldn't have much significance in Indian or Chinese or Arabic music.

Rick


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Subject: RE: Scared of Music theory? Faggggedaboudit!
From: M.Ted
Date: 30 Nov 01 - 06:20 PM

Another good idea shot to hell, old sport. The problem is that everyone piped in with their pet chord/scale/theory thing, including(god knows why) a lesson on playing the piano, and anyone followed what you said in your first post, was totally confused by the time they finished Jeri's post, and it went downhill from there.

There are simple answers to each of these questions, but answering all of them, and tying the answers that come up in a thread together so that they make simple sense is impossible--if you don't believe me, read every thread about modes--

The only possible way out of this problem is if one person talks and everyone else listens, but this is the internet, and that ain't a gonna happen--


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Subject: RE: Scared of Music theory? Faggggedaboudit!
From: Jon W.
Date: 30 Nov 01 - 06:24 PM

Speaking of diatonic scales, what's that? There are two ways to get from a root note up a scale to the same note 1 octave higher. The most common way is the diatonic scale, the familiar do-re-mi-fa-so-la-ti-do (or CDEFGABC). This one consists of what are called steps and half steps. A step is the "distance" between most pairs of notes, say C and D. A half step is the distance between a note and the note's sharp or flat version (C and C#, for instance). The tricky thing about diatonic scales is that most notes are one step apart, but there are two places where the notes are only 1/2 step apart. In major scales, these places are between the 3rd and 4th, and between the 7th and 8th (or octave) notes. In minor scales, the places for half steps are between the 2nd and 3rd notes, and the 5th and 6th notes (I think).

The second way to get from the root to the octave is by going half steps all the way. This is called a chromatic scale, and it has 12 notes, counting the octave: C C# D D# E F G G# A A# B C. That's why the octave is at the twelfth fret of the guitar (or whatever).

Now, I know all this theory, so can't I play worth a tinker's cuss?


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Subject: RE: Scared of Music theory? Faggggedaboudit!
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 30 Nov 01 - 06:36 PM

Special for Kat:

"Fat Boys Eat Apple Dumplings."
One flat is key of F (fat)
Two flats is key of Bb (boys)
Three flats is key of Eb (eat)
Four flats is key of Ab (apple)
Five flats is key of Db (dumplings)

"Go Down And Eat Breakfast."

One sharp is key of G (go)
Two sharps is key of D (down)
Three sharps is key of A (and)
Four sharps is key of E (eat)
Five sharps is key of B (breakfast)

Of course, these are the "major" keys, but that's a start.

John


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Subject: RE: Scared of Music theory? Faggggedaboudit!
From: Burke
Date: 30 Nov 01 - 06:54 PM

Even more basic here.

Everything that people are teaching here is based on the diatonic scale.

The anchor points on the scale at the 2 ends are Octaves (8 notes) A physicist could tell you why, but the important thing is that we tend to hear octaves as the same note. Men & women easily sing parallel octaves apart without thinking about it. It's the ultimate in a 'consonant' sound.

Much of our western music breaks the distances between the 2 ends of the octave into 7 intervals of uneven 'size' or distance. This is what a tin whistle does. A piano & fretted instruments use semi-tones or half steps to break that octave into 12 intervals.

The scale everyone has been using a reference is commonly known as a major scale. With a - to indicate the distance between the notes, the interval distances are:
1--2--3-4--5--6--7-8

There are whole tones between all notes except the 3-4 and 7-8. You can put your finger on the neck of the guitar, begin at any location, skip a fret to play the whole tones & go to the adjacent for the half tones; you've got a major scale (at least until you run out of neck). On a piano those black keys are like the frets. Start at any point, skip over or play the note according to the pattern & you can play a major scale in any key. Again, C is all natural so when you count the keys you see that 3-4 & 7-8 have no black key between them, automatically giving you the half tone.

You can take that some repeating pattern of whole & half tones & end up with scales that are called by differnent modes.

1--2--3-4--5--6--7-1a--2a--3a-4a--5a--6a--7a-1b

A scale that starts on the 2 & goes to 2a is what's usually called a Dorian minor & is very common in folk music. 6-6a is a natural minor. (Harmonic minors are for a more advanced class) Going with no accidentals in a key signature, the natural minor goes A-A, major C-C, Dorian D-D. If you have a tin whistle play a scale that begins & ends with 1 hole uncovered & you've got Dorain. Begin & end with one hole covered, etc. is a natural minor.

I used the numbers above for illustration, but in real usage the scale gets renumbered. When talking scales the key note is usually denoted 1 as one regardless of the mode. Thus a natural minor scale:
1--2-3--4--5-6--7--8
Has the half tones between 2-3 & 5-6.

This is why just looking at the number of accidentals in the key signature does not really tell you the key. One sharp is G major, but it's E minor. Determining which is which is also for a more advanced lesson :-)


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Subject: RE: Scared of Music theory? Faggggedaboudit!
From: katlaughing
Date: 30 Nov 01 - 08:21 PM

Some of you remind me of my brother, who has a masters in theory composition! Thank you all very much, I will study this more, but for now I think I'll stick with LesB's suggestion. I can play and I can sing, so I won't worry about it, just practice, pratice, practice! **BG**

Back to you, Rick!

kat


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Subject: RE: Scared of Music theory? Faggggedaboudit!
From: M.Ted
Date: 30 Nov 01 - 10:03 PM

None of you boscos have gotten into actual music theory--these items are all simply bits of mechanical information, which is why they don't make sense to a lot of people(as in "music theory completely lose me")--and why JonW ends up saying "Now, I know all this theory, so can't I play worth a tinker's cuss?"

"Music Theory" gives you ideas about how harmonies and chords are used, what the scales are for--plans for creating and developing musical ideas(like solos) systems that can be used for creating arrangements, that sort of stuff--it helps to answer the question "Now what do I do?"

You can play from written music, without theory--You can play a melody instrument, and learn to play by rote, note for note,without theory--But if you play improvised music, write music, or have to think up your own chords and or accompaniments for singers or other solo instruments,the theory is there to help you--


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Subject: RE: Scared of Music theory? Faggggedaboudit!
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 30 Nov 01 - 10:05 PM

I hear ya Ted...BUT..it's the only way to do it in this kind of community. I think if someone takes EACH post as a little lesson in itself, much can be learned.

About three years ago I started a "guitar tips" thread, and a kindly Mudcatter PM'd me saying "let's team up,...I'll make charts and stuff on my website and it'll really help people". The trouble was that within a couple of days I realized that his approach was virtually OPPOSITE to mine. Now I don't get passionate about much, but I've worked with soooo many people who considered themselves "unteachable" (and gotten great results) that I'm a real stickler for certain things. Thumb placement on guitar for one thing. Buying the RIGHT instrument for YOU (that alone can cut the learning process by 50%) Certain fingerings that produce certain results in the future, etc. etc.

The Upshoot was that I let him do his own thing and kind of moved to the background rather than start being critical of his information. I think he may have been a bit offended, but I didn't see an option. I won't knowingly support what I think is a wonky approach. BUT...everyone's approach is valid to THEM.

I've learned a couple of things here already.

'Course when we write our books Ted, there'll be no reason for compromise!

Cheers

Rick


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Subject: RE: Scared of Music theory? Faggggedaboudit!
From: Mark Clark
Date: 30 Nov 01 - 10:20 PM

Rick,

This thread is indeed a great idea. I do have a suggestion that might work out though. Clearly, you have developed a very good sense of how big the chunks of theory should be and in what sequence they are best presented. Why don't you prepare a short outline for the entire thread and post the outline. That way the rest of us can make contributions that are within the framework of your experience. It would be really nice if we could construct a theory thread that had a proven logical progression instead of jumping randomly around in a sort of stream-of-collective-consciousness fashion.

      - Mark


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Subject: RE: Scared of Music theory? Faggggedaboudit!
From: Justa Picker
Date: 30 Nov 01 - 11:58 PM

The only music theory you need to know....is that the bass player's spot is right beside the piano player or rhythm guitarist. 8-)


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Subject: RE: Scared of Music theory? Faggggedaboudit!
From: M.Ted
Date: 01 Dec 01 - 12:08 AM

You can't explain everything, because it is too confusing, and if you can't explain everything, you won't understand anything. It's a big problem,


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Subject: RE: Scared of Music theory? Faggggedaboudit!
From: Justa Picker
Date: 01 Dec 01 - 12:12 AM

Okay, here are a few useful tidbits which are helpful to know when one wants to learn to improvise chord substituions in familiar songs or ones you're writing. This also assumes you have a working knowledge of all major and minor chords, and all major and minor 7th chords.

This principle and pattern applies to any key but for the sake of this example we'll say we're playing in the key of C to keep it simple. The dominant seventh - in this case G7th - which would be treated as the turnaround/resolving chord back into C, can be replaced with either: a straight C# or C# seventh; or a Bb7th or 9th; and the root chord, the C chord itself can occasionally be replaced with an E minor or minor seventh - all for the equivalent length of time the G7th chord would have been played.

This type of experimentation lends itself well to improvisation. Before you know it, you discover you've created something entirely different than when you began. It might sound very cool or it might sound completely inappropriate for the song but you don't know till you check it out.

I sometimes amuse myself by taking a real trad tune and throw these types of alternate chord changes into them, just to get a reaction from the listener - and more often than not, it's not a favorable one. But it is fun.


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Subject: RE: Scared of Music theory? Faggggedaboudit!
From: GUEST,Night Owl
Date: 01 Dec 01 - 12:57 AM

Dunno how I thought this thread would progress......but just got home from work......settled in and opened my notebook. I read quickly....(NOT "studiously") through the thread and said "fagggggedaboudit" A large part of my frustration here is that you guys are ALL saying things I want to understand and learn......the whys etc. At first glance I thought I could just pick the posts I understand and ignore the rest. But I can't ignore the rest..cause there's some NEAT stuff from knowledgable people I respect here. I sure do like Mark Clark's suggestion..I think. Ex. If I told you that you have to buckle the crupper before you attach the tugs, you might recognize that the instruction was important, but you'd need a beginner's course to understand what it meant. Rick...I, for one, DO have an inexpensive keyboard thingy and did learn that black is sharps/flats, white is.....ummmmmm "other". Anway..I got a headache ALREADY!!! BUT my lesson for today is....."1,3,5 progressions are the notes within the chord; I,IV,V progressions are the chords used within the song.....(in Utah or thereabouts that is). Yes???????


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Subject: RE: Scared of Music theory? Faggggedaboudit!
From: winniemih
Date: 01 Dec 01 - 12:04 PM

I recently came upon a great publication that "delivers the general theory of music in a new and uniquely down-to-earth manner" and have found it to be a big help -clearly written with lots of diagrams. You can check it out at this website: www.naturalwaymusic.com Tell me what you think if you obtain it. b Winnie


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Subject: RE: Scared of Music theory? Faggggedaboudit!
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 01 Dec 01 - 01:33 PM

AIEEEH CHIHWAWAA!!

Well now I know WHY I (and probably lots more) was scared of music theory!

From my "primer style" of "learn 1-7 and put a note with each number" to pretty complex explanations of all sorts of things.

BUT....the thing is, we're all trying to make it more "alive" than the printed page usually conveys, and that's good. My problem when I was first being taught theory was that it wasn't nearly as interesting as baseball. Many of my friends were cajoled and disciplined into learning it (and you know how far I can be cajoled into ANYTHING!) but my guess is very few of them continued on with it simply because it was FUN. I find it easy to use my approach when it's 'one on one', and all my students (even the ones as distractable as I was) seem to catch on. But remember, every teacher pro or amateur has their OWN approach. Mine has a lot of jokes thrown in with the notes and numbers. I still figure that MOST (not all...I Know, I know!) may be able to get something out of each individual post here.

For any REAL theory neophytes....We'se TRYIN'! Ha Ha!

Rick


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Subject: RE: Scared of Music theory? Faggggedaboudit!
From: Gary T
Date: 01 Dec 01 - 02:09 PM

I'm sure M.Ted is right that technically this isn't necessarily music theory. However, in the general sense of theory vs. practice--book larnin' vs. doin' it--I would call it theory.

Now we all learn to talk without formal education, but instruction in reading and writing helps us expand and cement our understanding and command of language. Likewise, learning some of this music theory can help enrich our playing and singing.

In language, we start by learning the alphabet, then learn how to spell words, then learn the rules for putting words together to make proper sentences, etc. (We also find that sometimes we can make a point more effectively by violating those rules, although it's usually best to avoid this.) In music, we can learn and profit from similar basic knowledge.

Let's start with the alphabet--the chromatic scale. This is something that really should be committed to memory. It's a matter of definition and convention in Western music, and you gotta know it to fully understand the rest.

Our music is made of notes that have certain physical relationships to each other (based essentially on the lengths of vibrating strings). These notes are given names. There are only twelve names, and they are re-used as we continue going up or down the scale, which is theoretically infinite. If we start with A, going up, we have:

A-A#/Bb-B-C-C#/Db-D-D#/Eb-E-F-F#/Gb-G-G#/Ab-A-A#/Bb-B-C-etc.

Note that some notes have two names. For example, A# is the same note as Bb. Which name you use generally depends upon what key you are in (more to follow).

The next thing to learn is the major scale pattern. The distance (interval) from any note in the chromatic scale to an adjacent note (up or down) is called a half step. So, from A to A#(=Bb) is one half step. Likewise, it is a half step from A# to B, and from B to C, etc. The major scale pattern is a counting of half steps as follows:

2-2-1-2-2-2-1.

You start at a chosen note, find successive notes in the major scale by counting half steps according to the pattern, and end on a note with the same name as where you started. This comprises eight notes, and hence is called an octave. (The eight note has a vibration frequency that is twice that of the first note, and they sound very harmonious together, though obviously one is higher pitched than the other.)

We'll begin with an example in the key of C:

Start on C. Go two half steps, land on D. Go two half steps, land on E. Go one half step, land on F. Go two half steps, land on G. Go two half steps, land on A. Go two half steps, land on B. Go one half step, land on C. We now have named the notes of one octave in the key of C: C, D, E, F, G, A, B, C.

Note that in the key of C, none of the notes in the major scale are sharps (#) or flats (b). Note also, that if you play this scale on a piano keyboard, you play only white keys (the black keys are the sharps/flats). This is a convention, the piano keyboard is set up to play the C major scale on only white keys. I find it very helpful to know the notes on a keyboard, it makes a good visual aid to grasping this.

Now let's try it in the key of D. We start on D and count up in the 2-2-1-2-2-2-1 pattern:

D--E--F#/Gb-G--A--B--C#/Db-D

So, do we call the third note F# or Gb? The seventh note C# or Db? The rule, to minimize confusion, is to use each letter name once. Thus we'll call the third one F#, so that we can use "F" and not use "G" twice. Likewise, the seventh note is called C#. So a D major scale is:

D--E--F#-G--A--B--C#-D

Note that there are two sharps in the key of D. This is the only key with two sharps, and its key signature in sheet music will have two sharps.

Let's try the key of F.

F--G--A--Bb--C--D--E-F

We call the fourth note Bb rather than A#, so as to use "B" once and not use "A" twice. This key has one flat, and is the only key with one flat; its key signature has one flat.

To quickly find the notes in any major scale, write out the note names, at first without sharps or flats. For example, the key of A:

A--B--C-D--E--F--G-A

Now add sharps or flats as needed to make the intervals fit the 2-2-1-2-2-2-1 pattern:

A to B, two half steps--okay. B to C, one half step--not okay. Make it a C#, now it's two half steps--okay. C# to D, one half step--okay. D to E, two half steps--okay. E to F, one half step--not okay. Make it an F#, now it's two half steps--okay. F# to G, one half step--not okay. Make it a G#, now it's two half steps--okay. G# to A, one half step--okay. So now we have:

A--B--C#-D--E--F#--G#-A

There are three sharps, which is unique to the key of A.

Let's try the key of Eb:

E--F--G-A--B--C--D-E

Since the chosen key is Eb, we know the first and last ones must be Eb. Two half steps takes us to F. Two half steps takes us to G. One half step takes us to Ab. Two half steps takes us to Bb. Two half steps takes us to C. Two half steps takes us to D. One half step takes us to Eb. Now we've got:

Eb--F--G-Ab--Bb--C--D-Eb

Three flats (we only count Eb once), unique to the key of Eb. Here we're using Ab and Bb over G# and A# to follow the rule of using each letter name once. By writing each letter name out to begin with, then adding either a sharp or flat as and when needed to fit the pattern, you automatically do this.

What if you had wanted to call this the key of D#, which is the same note as Eb? You'd get something like these:

D#--F--G-G#--A#--C--D-D# [No "E", no "B", two "G's", two "D's"--rather confusing]

D#--E#--F##(=G)-G#--A#--B#(=C)--C##(=D)-D# [Uses each letter name once, but double sharps add to confusion]

The standard keys, and the number of sharps or flats in each are:

B--five sharps
E--four sharps
A--three sharps
D--two sharps
G--one sharp
C--no sharps or flats
F--one flat
B--two flats
Eb--three flats
Ab--four flats
Db--five flats

The key of F#/Gb is a bit trickier than the others. If you call it F#:

F#--G#--A#-B--C#--D#--F-F# or F#--G#--A#-B--C#--D#--E#(=F)--F#

You either have to use "F" twice and not use "E" or use E# to indicate F.

If you call it Gb:

Gb--Ab--Bb-B--Db--Eb--F-Gb or Gb--Ab--Bb-Cb(=B)--Db--Eb--F--Gb

You either use "B" twice and not use "C" or use Cb to indicate B.

I would say the second choice in each of the above is more technically correct, as the key signature will have either six sharps (F#) or six flats (Gb).

Okay, that's an introduction to the chromatic scale and the major scales. Next installment we'll look at chords.


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Subject: RE: Scared of Music theory? Faggggedaboudit!
From: Big Mick
Date: 01 Dec 01 - 02:11 PM

And please don't stop trying!! I thought I better chime in on behalf of those doing the reading that you aren't aware of. This thread, my good friend, in invaluable to one who is functionally illiterate with regard to the subject of music theory. I am one of the many who just started learning where to put his fingers in order to make a chord. As often happens when one learns to play this way, is that I found myself wanting to be able to understand the sheet without the record, to not have to ask how to make a diminished, minor, 7th, circumcised and neutered chord. I want to be able to construct it meself.

So keep this thread going.........it is working.

Mick


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Subject: RE: Scared of Music theory? Faggggedaboudit!
From: Night Owl
Date: 01 Dec 01 - 03:09 PM

thank you Gary!! Please keep trying Rick....it just MIGHT work!! I suspect that each of us struggling to learn this stuff may have to individually reorganize these posts according to our learning styles. I think the problem for me may be recognizing which informaton I should put aside for now.....and which ones I need to "study" first. For me, I'm taking Gary's last post, your first post and John In Kansas' post (for kat)as my first "lesson"..feels like it might sink in. And then "harvest" more here for Lesson #2. The great thing about this Rick, is that I can go out for recess ANYTIME I want and don't need to wait for the bell....bg.


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Subject: RE: Scared of Music theory? Faggggedaboudit!
From: GUEST,Sheila
Date: 01 Dec 01 - 04:37 PM

The way I learned the intervals for the major scales was "whole, whole, half, whole, whole, whole, half." This refers to the steps from one tone to the next.


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Subject: RE: Scared of Music theory? Faggggedaboudit!
From: Night Owl
Date: 01 Dec 01 - 04:51 PM

this is gonna sound REALLY dumb Sheila...but when Gary counted it all out in HALF steps....something made sense here...simple nuances I guess.


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Subject: RE: Scared of Music theory? Faggggedaboudit!
From: Gary T
Date: 01 Dec 01 - 05:40 PM

A whole step is two half steps. I find it easier to mentally keep track of one vs. two of the same unit (half step) than to keep track of two different units (whole steps vs. half steps). Both ways are correct, it's just a matter of personal preference.


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Subject: RE: Scared of Music theory? Faggggedaboudit!
From: katlaughing
Date: 01 Dec 01 - 06:45 PM

What Night Owl said. Thanks!


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Subject: RE: Scared of Music theory? Faggggedaboudit!
From: Gary T
Date: 01 Dec 01 - 07:32 PM

Before we move on to chords, a few clarifications.

When I mentioned twelve names for notes in the chromatic scale, I was not thinking of the two possible names for some of the notes. It would have been more accurate to say that if you go from A to A (or C to C, Eb to Eb, etc.) one half step at a time you will cover twelve differently-named notes, then start repeating the note names.

A major scale in any given key, covering an octave, is the familiar (we hope) do-re-mi-fa-sol-la-ti-do.

Now, we'll talk about chords and how they are constructed.

Chords are combinations of three or more different notes. (Occasionally two different notes, properly called an interval, are used as if they were a chord.) The particular type of chord defines which notes of the major scale are used to form it. For examples of the different types of chords, we'll use the key of C. We must start with its major scale, and we'll assign each note an Arabic number for reference, as such:

  C  D  E  F  G  A  B  C  D  E  F  etc.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 etc.

A major chord (also called tonic chord), is comprised of notes 1, 3, & 5. Thus a C major chord (written C) has the notes C, E, & G.

A minor chord has the notes 1, 3b, and 5. Thus a C minor chord (Cm or Cmin) has the notes C, Eb, & G. You'll notice when going from an X major chord to an X minor chord on most instruments that you're changing just one note, lowering it a half step (although you may change more than one string on a guitar, for example, if that note is repeated in the way the chord is fingered).

A seventh chord (also called dominant seventh) is a major chord plus a flatted 7th note of the scale. In C, the 7th note is B, the flatted 7th is Bb. A C seventh chord (C7) has the notes C, E, G, & Bb.

There is a chord called a major seventh chord which uses the 7th note (unflatted). A C major seventh chord (Cmaj7) has the notes C, E, G, & B.

A C minor seventh (Cm7, Cmin7) has C, Eb, G, & Bb. A C minor major seventh (Cmmaj7, Cminmaj7) has C, Eb, G, & B.

A C sixth (C6) is a major chord plus the 6th note: C, E, G, & A. A C minor 6th (Cm6, Cmin6) likewise has C, Eb, G, & A.

A C ninth chord (C9) adds a 9th note (D) to a C7 chord. Its notes are C, E, G, Bb, & D.

A C eleventh (C11) adds an 11th note (F) to a C9: C, E, G, Bb, D, F. A C thirteenth (C13) adds a 13th note to a C11: C, E, G, Bb, D, F, A. On most instruments you run out of fingers or strings to play all of these notes, and certain ones are left out, sometimes the root (note 1--in this case C), sometimes the 5th (G), sometimes others. A C13th chord may not have all seven different notes when you play it, but it will have that 13th note, which gives it its essential character compared to, say, a C7. These higher number notes (9, 11, 13) are typically played at a high pitch--you don't generally see a 9th or 11th as the lowest note of the chord, where it might be called a 2nd or 4th, respectively.

Various other chords also have their definitions of which notes are used. Among these are diminished, augmented, suspended, and flatted 5th chords. I don't have all these chord formulas at my fingertips, but it's not hard to find books that show all these chords (and more!) in each key for a given instrument. These books are like chord dictionaries, and I highly recommend them. They're especially helpful in showing various options in forming a given chord (in other words, there are several ways to make a C minor chord on a guitar).

The same formulas apply to any key. An F major chord has the 1st, 3rd, and 5th notes of an F scale (F, A, & C). A D minor chord has notes 1, 3b, and 5 of a D scale (D, F, & A).

The "textbook ideal" is to have the notes of the chord correspond in pitch to their numbers. In other words, for a C chord you'd like the bass note to be C, with a higher E, and a higher yet G. Sometimes, however, these relative pitchs are rearranged, to form what are called inversions of the chord. Some inversions sound okay, some don't. For example, on a guitar one could play a C chord with the 6th string open (an E note). It sounds lousy. If that string is fretted to form a G, it sounds fine. So in this case the inversion with a G as the bass note is pleasant, the inversion with the E as the bass note is not.

Many instruments will typically sound more than three or four notes, so some notes of the chord are repeated. On a guitar, for example, a typical C chord using five strings has C, E, G, C, & E. Using six strings it has G, C, E, G, C, & E. An F chord can be played with four (F, A, C, F), five (C, F, A, C, F), or six (F, C, F, A, C, F) strings.

Knowing the formula for a given chord can help in understanding what you're doing with your instrument. For example, on a guitar, there are two commonly used variants of A7 which are one finger different from the basic A chord (E, A, E, A, C#, E). In one, the finger on the (3rd) G string is lifted, changing that note from A to G (giving E, A, E, G, C#, E). In another a finger is added to the (1st) E string to make it a G (giving E, A, E, A, C#, G). Each version has all four notes that comprise an A7 chord, and now you know why either one of those strings can be fretted differently from an A chord to make it an A7.

Next, typical chord progressions used in songs.


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Subject: RE: Scared of Music theory? Faggggedaboudit!
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 01 Dec 01 - 08:36 PM

Good going Gary T:

As interjections - not really too important, the "double sharp" ## and "double flat" bb - for which we don't have the character symbols here, are "standard" notation devices, although only appear in what most of us would call "weird keys" like F# or G#, Cb, etc.

An F## is just the same note as a G, but is "theoretically pure" when transposing. Same for Bbb which is the same pitch as an A.

Not something essential - especially for beginners, but nice to be aware they exist.

I've encountered a lot of confusion over the chord notations like C/E - with a lot of people believing this means you can play a C chord or an E chord. This is the customary notation for a C chord with E played as the lowest note - thus a way to specify that a particular "inversion" should be played.

Keep it up guys - we're getting better at this.

John


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Subject: RE: Scared of Music theory? Faggggedaboudit!
From: Mary in Kentucky
Date: 01 Dec 01 - 09:09 PM

kat - to summarize what Gary said: To find the key, look at the key signature. Instead of memorizing his chart:
B--five sharps
E--four sharps
A--three sharps
D--two sharps
G--one sharp
C--no sharps or flats F--one flat
Bb--two flats -- NOTICE THAT I MADE THIS Bb NOT B (Gary made a mistake above)
Eb--three flats
Ab--four flats
Db--five flats

I taught my 8 yr. old piano students -- memorize the ORDER of sharps and flats (F#, C#, G#, D#. etc) or for flats (Bb, Eb, Ab, Db, etc. it spells the word BEAD) OR if you can't memorize them at first, just look at the order they are written in the key signature from left to right. THEN --- if you have sharps, count up a half step from the last sharp to get the key signature. (one sharp, F#, count up one half step to get key of G major) OR if flats, take the next to last flat and that's your key signature (two flats, Bb and Eb, key of Eb). Remember the key signature gives the major key OR the relative minor key. To get the relative minor key, count down 3 half steps from the major key. (Key of C major has the same key signature as key of A minor...key of G major has the same key signature as key of E minor, etc.) The song tells you if it's major or minor. I find this helpful for keyboard/visual thinkers. For non keyboard people, a half step is just the next note (black or white) on the keyboard.

I like what Sheila said about intervals of the major scale...whole, whole, half, whole, whole, whole, half. I would have itty bitty kids start on ANY note of the piano, and play the major scale, first by ear (do, re, mi what sounded right), then analyze the whole, whole, half, etc.

Many traditional songs, have the I, IV, V (or V7) chords AND their relative minor chords. Then throw in a zinger for color. Example: key of C -- C major chord (I), F major chord (IV), and G major chord (V) or G7 major chord (V7) then also the relative minors of those... a minor, d minor, e minor.

From studying Learning Theory I learned that I'm primarily a visual learner who likes Advanced Organizers. That means I don't have to understand everything in order to assimilate pieces as I go along, but if I don't have an overall outline in advance, my mind shuts down and I refuse to take in bits and pieces. (I think that was what M.Ted was referring to) From teaching, however, I learned that EVERYONE is different. My best friend is an aural learner and absolutely drives me insane. I find her instructions extremely frustrating.

Rick, after a hodge-podge of talking here, it's your job to summarize it. ;-)


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Subject: RE: Scared of Music theory? Faggggedaboudit!
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 01 Dec 01 - 09:57 PM

Summarize it MARY? Bloody hell, I gotta learn it foist!

This is great. Don't worry beginners if this seems too complicated. Give it a shot, it's still a lot less "dry" than theory books

Besides...here, we can PM or phone or e-mail and get the 'personal touch' if we really want to.

Rick


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Subject: RE: Scared of Music theory? Faggggedaboudit!
From: Gary T
Date: 01 Dec 01 - 10:03 PM

Thanks for the additions and corrections, John and Mary. I definitely made a typo in putting "B" where a "Bb" should have been in the chart. (By the way, I don't advocate memorizing the chart, but rather the cycle of 5ths, to come later.)

I was away from my resources when I wrote my last post, and I think I got a bit out of my depth. Some corrections:

My chord dictionary doesn't use the term X minor major seventh chord, calling it instead an X minor sharp seventh (Xm#7). Same notes as I mentioned (1, 3b, 5, 7), but you may not ever see the name I used.

The same book is not showing the 3 note in eleventh chords, making them 1, 5, 7b, 9, 11. It does show a minor eleventh chord with the 3b note but no 9: 1, 3b, 5, 7b, 11.

It shows thirteenth chords without the 11 note (1, 3, 5, 7b, 9, 13).

My apologies for the misinformation. My main intent was to show that even chords that appear mysterious and intimidating (how about an X13b9b5?) follow a defined formula, and if you know the formula/definition, you know what notes should be in the chord. I advise getting a chord dictionary or similar reference for those who care to know just what the formulas are for various chords.


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Subject: RE: Scared of Music theory? Faggggedaboudit!
From: katlaughing
Date: 01 Dec 01 - 10:31 PM

Mary, thanks, that's closest to the way it has been explained to me before. I think I can wrap my head around it, will have to go get my keyboard back from my bro to practice on it, though. I know what my main problem has been in thread and that is, I think, that most everyone is coming from a playing guitar and chords perspective, which is just not where I am at. No problem, just an observation. Thanks!

kat


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Subject: RE: Scared of Music theory? Faggggedaboudit!
From: Mary in Kentucky
Date: 01 Dec 01 - 10:43 PM

Gary, I like that explanation of chords.

An addendum to it: Gary said, "A major chord is made up of the 1st, 3rd, and 5th notes of a given major scale." Another way to analyze this is, four half steps between the 1st and middle notes, three half steps between the middle and last notes. (this is true because of the defined intervals of a major scale.) But just let your ear tell you if it's right. Little kids can tell the difference between a major and a minor chord.

I'm waiting for the next installment on typical chord progressions. I like to hear things said in different ways, and I particularly like the explanations from performers who don't really understand the theory, they just know from experience to throw in a certain chord or a certain sharp or flat to get a certain effect. It's probably not as efficient (for me) as understanding and analyzing the explanations, but I'm envious of performers who can do this.


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