PIANO MUSIC THEORY PDF
It also helps to remember, however, that music theory is a bit like grammar. . piano part) may be grouped together by braces or brackets at the beginning of each . may print these exercises as a PDF worksheet5 if you like. Posts about pdf written by Music. Advertisements. Tag: pdf. Minor Scales · List of all Natural Minor Scales · how to build natural minor scales · June 1, If you think music theory is complicated, you need to know this music theory pdf ebook. It have Music Theory PDF – Ebook Guitar notes and piano notes.
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Pitches and Clefs Above—and Below—the Staff The basic staff describes nine basic notes—five on the lines, four in the spaces. Notes higher than the F at the top of the staff are written in the lines and spaces above the staff. For example, the first space above the staff is the first note after F: The first line above the staff is the first note after G: You can keep adding spaces and lines above the staff to describe higher and higher notes, as shown in the following figure.
Notes above the staff. Just as you can add lines and spaces above the staff, you can also add lines and spaces below the staff to describe lower notes. For example, the first space below the staff is the first note before E: The first line below the staff is the first note before D: The following figure shows the first few notes below the standard staff.
By the way, the first line below the staff is middle C.
Notes below the staff. The notes of this staff are determined by the type of clef that appears at the beginning of the staff—and there are several different types of clefs. The treble clef. Definition The lines you add above or below a staff are called ledger lines. The bottom line of the treble clef staff is an E; the top line is an F.
Definition A clef is a graphical symbol, placed at the beginning of a staff or piece of music, that establishes the pitch of a specific line or space on the staff; thus it determines the pitch of all the other notes on the staff. The treble clef, like all clefs, fixes the position of a single pitch—from which you can figure out where all the rest of the notes go. In the case of the treble clef, the pitch it fixes is G, which is the second line on the staff.
If you look closely at the treble clef itself, you see that the big round part of the clef circles around the second line of the staff. For this reason, the treble clef is sometimes called the G clef—and the clef itself looks a little like a capital G. This includes trumpets, flutes, clarinets, and guitars, as well as singers singing the soprano, alto, and tenor parts. The Bass Clef When you need to write music below the treble clef, you can use a different clef, called the bass clef.
The bass clef is positioned just below middle C, and is sometimes called the F clef. The bass clef. Most lower-pitched instruments and voices use the bass clef. This includes trombones, tubas, bass guitars, and singers singing the bass part.
This staff, called the grand staff, links together a treble clef staff and a bass clef staff. Pitches and Clefs The grand staff looks like this: The grand staff. The A at the top of the bass clef extends above that staff to a B and a C. The C is then linked to the treble clef, goes on up to a D, and then the E on the bottom line of the treble clef. The neat thing is that the C—which just happens to be middle C—is halfway between each staff. So when you write a middle C on a grand staff, it might extend down from the treble clef staff or extend up from the bass clef staff, depending on where the surrounding notes are placed.
One of the most common specialty clefs is the alto clef, shown here: The alto clef. The alto clef is used primarily by the viola, which is a slightly bigger version of a violin. The pointer on this clef points at middle C, which is the third line, in the exact middle of the staff. The tenor clef looks a lot like the alto clef, except the pointer points at a different line.
It still points to middle C, but middle C is positioned at a different point on the staff. The tenor clef looks like this, and is sometimes used by bassoons, bass violins, and tenor trombones. The tenor clef.
However, you might run into what is called an octave clef, which looks like a normal treble or bass clef with the number 8 either above or below the clef. Octave clefs. The percussion clef—version one and version two. Instead, you assign different instruments to different parts of the staff.
You can describe a pitch by its vibration frequency, by where it lies numerically compared to other pitches, or by using the Do Re Mi Solfeggio method. The letters repeat as you generate higher pitches. The most used clef is the treble clef; the bass clef is used for lower-pitched instruments and voices. Pitches and Clefs Exercises Exercise Write the name of each note below the note. Exercise Write the name of each note below the note. Exercise Write each note on the staff.
Exercise Draw the indicated clefs on the staff. Tones Exercise Write the following notes above the staff. Exercise Write the following notes below the staff. Exercise Identify the following notes on the piano keyboard. Be Sharp—or Be Flat As you learned in Chapter 1, the lines and spaces on a music staff correspond exactly to the white keys on a piano.
Music Theory For Pianists - PDF Book
But what about those black keys? Where are they on the staff? There actually are 12 possible notes in an octave, with some of them falling between the 7 main pitches. Just count the keys between middle C and next C on the piano—including the black keys, but without counting the second C. Tones Definition An interval is the space between two pitches.
The smallest interval in Western music is a half step; intervals are typically measured in the number of half steps between the two notes. These black keys are called sharps and flats. Sharps and flats are halfway between the pitches represented by the white keys on a piano; a sharp is above a specific key and a flat is below a specific key.
Put another way, a sharp raises the natural note; a flat lowers the note. Take the black key above the middle C key, for example. You can refer to this key as C-sharp, because it raises the pitch of C.
It also can be called D-flat, because it lowers the next white key up, D. And whenever you have two notes that describe the same pitch—like C-sharp and D-flat—the notes are enharmonic. Definition Two notes that sound the same but can be spelled differently are called enharmonic notes. The black keys on a piano keyboard.
Definition Any modification to a natural note is called an accidental. Sharps and flats are accidentals; the natural sign used to return a sharped or flatted note to its natural state is also an accidental. On a music staff, sharps and flats are designated by special characters placed before the affected note.
These characters, called accidentals, look like this: A sharp, a flat, and a natural sign. That third character is called a natural. When you see a natural sign on a piece of music, it means to return the specific note to its natural state, without any sharps or flats. So, for example, if you add a flat to the C note, you lower it to the next note on the keyboard— which happens to be B natural.
This means B natural is the same pitch as C-flat. On the piano keyboard, half steps appear between the white keys B and C and between E and F. In all other cases they appear between a white key and a black key—for example, D to D-sharp, or F-sharp to G.
Chapter 2: Intervals Two half steps equal one whole step. The interval between F and G is a whole step; the interval between B and C-sharp is also a whole step.
When you sharpen a note, you move the pitch up a half step. When you flatten a note, you move the pitch down a half step. Take the note C, for example: When you add a flat to C, you take it down a half step. Because the first key white or black to the left of C is the white key B, this means C-flat equals B.
When you add a sharp to C, you take it up a half step. The first key to the right of C is the black key we call C-sharp. This black key is also the first key to the left of D, which means C-sharp is the same as D-flat. Definition In some musical circles, a half step is called a semitone, and a whole step is called a tone. Note Tip While the half step is the smallest interval in Western music, music from other parts of the world often contains intervals smaller than a half step.
Some Indian music, for example, divides an octave into 22 steps, each about half as large as a Western half step. You can use the step method to describe the intervals between two notes— although once you get more than a few steps away, the counting becomes a tad difficult.
A Matter of Degrees A more accepted way of describing intervals is to go back to the seven main notes of a scale—and revisit the relative numbering method. You can use the numbers of the scale to denote the basic intervals between notes, and thus apply this numbering to any scale. First Things First As you learned in the previous chapter, you can use numbers to describe the seven main notes in any scale. The first note is numbered one, the second note is numbered two, and so on.
This method of numbering actually describes the seven degrees of a musical scale. There also are fancy musical names you can use in place of the numbers, which you might run into in some more formal situations. The following table presents these formal degree names. A whole step is the distance of two frets. Tones Degrees of the Scale Degree Note All this dominant and subdominant stuff will become more important when you learn about chord progressions in Chapter Two identical notes with the same name, played eight degrees apart, form an octave.
Instead of counting half steps and whole steps, you can simply describe an interval by using these relative numbers. Definition The lowest note of an interval, chord, or scale, is called the root. If you count C as number one the first degree , D is number two and the interval between them is called a second. The interval between C and E the first and third degrees is a third; the interval between C and F the first and fourth degrees is a fourth … and so on.
Pretty easy, once you get used to it! The following figure shows the basic intervals, starting with a unison and ending with an octave, with C as the root.
The basic intervals, starting on C. Note Interestingly, when you examine the frequencies of two notes, as discussed in the previous chapter, you find that the second note in an octave is an exact multiple of the first note. For example, the A above middle C has a frequency of Hz; the A an octave above that has a frequency twice that, Hz.
Intervals 21 Major and Minor Intervals When you describe intervals by degree, you still have to deal with those pitches that fall above or below the basic notes—the sharps and flats, or the black keys on a keyboard. When measuring by degrees, you see that the second, third, sixth, and seventh notes can be easily flattened.
When you flatten one of these notes, you create what is called a minor interval. The natural state of these intervals in a major scale is called a major interval. Major and minor intervals, starting on C. These intervals—fourths, fifths, and octaves— exist in one form only, called a perfect interval. The intervals, because of their acoustical properties, are perfect as-is. Note Why is a perfect interval so perfect?
It all has to do with frequencies, and with ratios between frequencies. In a nutshell, perfect intervals sound so closely related because their frequencies are closely related. For example, a perfect octave has a ratio of 2: If the fundamental is Hz, the octave above is twice that frequency, or Hz. Similarly, a perfect fifth has a ratio of 3: Other intervals have more complex ratios, which makes them less perfect.
For example, a perfect third has a ratio of 5: Put into a series, each increasingly complex interval ratio forms what is called a harmonic series, and the intervals in order are called harmonics. Tones Here are the three perfect intervals, with C as the root. Three perfect intervals, starting on C. Augmented and Diminished Intervals Note An augmented fourth and a diminished fifth are enharmonically the same note. You can raise and lower fourths and fifths—however, the result is not called major or minor.
For example, if you use C as the root, F is a perfect fourth away from the root. If you sharpen the F, the resulting note F-sharp is an augmented fourth above the root. Along the same lines, G is a perfect fifth above C. When you flatten the G, the resulting note G-flat is a diminished fifth above the root. Here are the key augmented and diminished intervals, with C as the root.
Augmented and diminished intervals, starting on C. Now, just to confuse things, other types of intervals can also be called diminished and augmented—and these intervals have nothing to do with the perfect intervals. To start, you can also create a diminished interval by lowering a minor interval by another half step.
You can also create an augmented interval by raising a major interval by another half step. For example, F to A is a major third; if you sharpen the A to Asharp , the resulting interval is an augmented third. But you still need to know what they are, just in case!
Above the octave are even more intervals—ninths, tenths, elevenths, and so on. Intervals that span more than an octave are called compound intervals because they combine an octave with a smaller interval to create the larger interval. For example, a ninth is nothing more than an octave and a second; an eleventh is an octave and a fourth … and so on.
The following table describes the first six intervals above the octave. Compound Intervals Interval Combines Ninth Octave plus second Tenth Eleventh Twelfth Thirteenth Octave plus third Octave plus fourth Octave plus fifth Octave plus sixth Fourteenth Octave plus seventh Compound intervals can have all the qualities of smaller intervals, which means a compound interval can be depending on the interval major, minor, perfect, augmented, or diminished. Intervals and Half Steps It might be easier for you to think of all these intervals in terms of half steps.
To that end, the following table shows how many half steps are between these major and minor intervals. Some educators today use what is called the Mod system to teach notes and intervals. In this system, the intervals between the 12 half steps in an octave are numbered, from 0 to If you count the zero, that adds up to 12 intervals.
Tonic, of course, is note 0. The minor second degree is note 1, and the major second degree is note 2.
Music Theory for Dummies PDF – Ebook
Intervals And take special note of those intervals that are enharmonically identical—such as the augmented fourth and the diminished fifth. Two half steps equal one whole step. A flat lowers the value of a note by a half step. For example, the interval between the first and third notes is called a third.
You can create a minor interval by flattening these notes. When you flatten a perfect interval, you create a diminished interval; when you sharpen a perfect interval, you create an augmented interval.
Exercises Exercise Add sharps before each of these notes. Exercise Add flats before each of these notes. Exercise Enter a new note an octave above each of the following notes. Tones Exercise Enter a new note a specified number of half steps from the previous note. Exercise Name each of the following intervals.
Exercise Using the first note as the root, enter a second note to create the specified interval. Exercise Using sharps, flats, and naturals, change the following major intervals to minor.
Exercise Using sharps, flats, and naturals, change the following minor intervals to major. In this chapter we further examine the concept of the musical scale, which no surprise is seven notes all in a row, in alphabetical order. What might be surprising is that there are so many different types of scales. You can have a major scale, a minor scale three different types of minor scales, actually , or any number of different modes within a scale.
In fact, you can create a nice-sounding melody just by picking notes from a single major scale. For example, use the C Major scale the white notes on a piano and pick and choose notes that sound good when played together.
Eight Notes Equal One Scale A scale is, quite simply, eight successive pitches within a one-octave range. All scales start on one note and end on that same note one octave higher.
Tones For example, every C scale starts on C and ends on C; an F scale starts on F and ends on F; and they all have six more notes in between. The eight notes of a scale; C Major, in this instance. The first note of a scale is called the tonic, or first degree, of the scale.
Not surprisingly, the second note is called the second degree, the third note is called the third degree, and so on—until you get to the eighth note, which is the tonic again. The major exception to the eight-note scale rule is the scale that includes all the notes within an octave, including all the sharps and flats.
This type of scale is called a chromatic scale, and when you start with C looks something like this: The C chromatic scale; the top staff shows the scale using sharps, the bottom staff shows the scale using flats.
Now, any given scale has specific relationships between the different degrees of the scale. These different intervals give each type of scale its unique sound. Major chord notation is almost always capitalized, and minor chord notation is almost always lowercase.
The most common scale is called the major scale. Major scales are happy scales; they have pleasant and expected intervals at every turn.
The mirror image of the major scale is the minor scale. Minor scales are sad scales; the intervals between the notes sound a little depressing. Both major and minor scales can start on any note—from A-flat to G-sharp. No matter which note you start with, each scale has its own specific combination of intervals between notes. The following sections go into more detail about both major and minor scales. Major Scales What makes a major scale major are the specific intervals between the notes of the scale.
Every major scale uses the same intervals, as shown in the following table. Chapter 3: If you start your major scale on C the C Major scale , you end up playing all white keys on the piano. C Major is the only major scale that uses only the white keys; all the other scales have black keys in them. To make things easier for you, the following table shows all the notes in the 15 major scales: Remember that word from Chapter 1? It means two notes that are identical, but spelled differently.
Any notes you play outside the scale are called chromatic notes; notes within the scale are said to be diatonic. For example, in the C Major scale, the note C is diatonic; the note C-sharp would be chromatic.
This is partly because the third note of the minor scale is a minor interval, whereas the third note of the major scale is a major interval. That little half step between a minor third and a major third makes all the difference in the world!
Not to confuse you; however, whereas there was a single type of major scale, there actually are three types of minor scales: Natural Minor The easiest minor scale to construct is the natural minor scale. You can think of the natural minor in terms of its corresponding major scale. When you start and end a major scale on the sixth note, instead of the tonic, you get a natural minor scale.
Now move up to the sixth note—or just move down two notes. Now play an eight-note scale, but using the notes in C Major. As you can see, each natural minor scale shares the same tones as a specific major scale. The following table shows you which minor scales match up with which major scales. The A natural minor scale is the only minor scale that uses only the white keys; all the other scales have black keys in them. To make things easier for you, the following table shows all the notes in the 15 natural minor scales.
Tones Harmonic Minor The harmonic minor scale is similar to the natural minor scale, except the seventh note is raised a half step. Some musicians prefer this type of minor scale because the seventh note better leads up to the tonic of the scale. The following table details the intervals between the notes in the harmonic minor scale.
The Intervals of the Harmonic Minor Scale Note The seventh note of any scale is sometimes called the leading note because it leads up to the tonic of the scale. To make things easier for you, the following table shows all the notes in the 15 harmonic minor scales.
It means you raise the base note two half steps. Melodic Minor The only problem with the harmonic minor scale is that the interval between the sixth and seventh notes is three half steps—and you seldom have an interval in a scale wider than two half steps.
So the 35 36 Part 1: Tones melodic minor scale raises both the sixth and seventh notes of the natural minor scale by a half step each, resulting in the following intervals: To make things easier for you, the following table shows all the notes in the 15 melodic minor scales.
They call this the ascending melodic minor scale. Going back down the descending melodic minor scale , they use the notes in the natural minor scale. So the sixth and the seventh degrees are raised on the way up, but not on the way down.
Theorists are split on this issue, however; some use the melodic minor scale both ascending and descending, and others use the two different scales. Tones In the Mode If a scale is a combination of eight successive notes in alphabetical order, of course , do any eight notes make a scale?
Not necessarily. Note Modes date all the way back to the ancient Greeks, and the findings of Pythagoras and Aristotle. The name of each mode was based on the final note of the mode. The number and use of modes were expanded in the era of the medieval church, where they were called church modes and used in the form of plainsong called Gregorian chant.
The last discovered mode, Locrian, is actually a theoretical mode; it was never used in the same context as the other church modes. Chronologically, modes were around long before scales. The major and minor scales we use today came after the introduction of the various modes, and were, in fact, based on the Ionian and Aeolian modes, respectively.
In practice, any mode can start on any note.
There are seven essential modes, each of which can be thought of as starting on a different degree of the major scale. You stay within the relative major scale; you just start on different notes. For example, the Dorian mode starts on the second degree of the major scale. The same holds true for the Phrygian mode, which starts on the third degree of the related major scale—in C Major: When you create a melody based on a specific mode, you get to create a different sound or feel while staying within the notes of a traditional major scale.
You just start and stop in different places. Melodies based around specific modes are called modal melodies. The following table details the half steps between the notes of the Ionian mode. The C Ionian mode—just like the C Major scale.
Dorian The Dorian mode can be thought of as starting on the second note of a major scale. It sounds a little like a natural minor scale, but with a raised sixth.
The intervals between notes in the Dorian mode are as follows. D Dorian mode, relative to the key of C. Tones Phrygian The Phrygian mode can be thought of as starting on the third note of the related major scale. Like the Dorian mode, it sounds like a natural minor scale—but with a lowered second degree. The intervals between notes in the Phrygian mode are as follows.
E Phrygian mode, relative to the key of C. Lydian The Lydian mode can be thought of as starting on the fourth note of a major scale. The intervals between notes in the Lydian mode are as follows. Scales F Lydian mode is relative to the key of C, and consists of the following notes: F Lydian mode, relative to the key of C. Mixolydian The Mixolydian mode can be thought of as starting on the fifth note of the related major scale.
The intervals between notes in the Mixolydian mode are as shown in the following table. The Mixolydian mode in the key of C. Aeolian The Aeolian mode contains the exact same notes as the natural minor scale. It can be thought of as starting on the sixth note of the related major scale. The intervals between notes in the Aeolian mode are as follows. A Aeolian is relative to the key of C, and consists of the following notes: A Aeolian mode, relative to the key of C.
Locrian The Locrian mode can be thought of as starting on the seventh note of the related major scale. Today, however, the Locrian mode is used in some jazz music, and in some new music compositions. The intervals between notes in the Locrian mode are as follows.
Scales B Locrian is relative to the key of C, and consists of the following notes: B Locrian mode, relative to the key of C. And there are three different types of minor scales! Modes are derived from the ancient Greeks and later the medieval church, and can be thought of as starting on different degrees of the related major scale. Exercises Exercise Name the following major scales. Exercise Name the following minor scales.
Tones Exercise Enter the notes for the following major scales. Exercise Enter the notes for the following minor scales. Exercise Name the natural minor scales related to the following major scales, and enter the notes for those scales.
Exercise Enter the notes for the following modes, within the C Major scale. All the notes fall in the lines and spaces of the treble and bass clefs; no sharps or flats are necessary. Now, you could put a flat sign in front of every B-flat in your music. This approach requires the knowledge of musical keys—which just happen to correspond to the musical scales we discussed in the previous chapter. For example, a song based around the C Major scale is in the key of C Major.
A song based around the B-flat Major scale is in the key of B-flat Major. So if a piece is written in A Major, most of the notes in the melody and chords should be within the A Major scale. Tones Using Key Signatures One of the convenient things about assigning a particular key to a piece of music is that it enables you to designate the appropriate sharps and flats up front, without having to repeat them every time they occur in the music.
You designate a key by inserting a key signature at the very start of the music, next to the first clef on the first staff. This key signature indicates the sharps and flats used in that particular key. Then, when you play through the entire piece, you automatically sharpen and flatten the appropriate notes.
The F Major scale, if you recall, has one flatted note: So next to the first clef on the first staff, you put a flat sign on the B line. Now, when you play that song, every time you see a B, you actually play B-flat. The key signature for the key of F—note the flat sign on the B line, indicating the automatic B-flat. The same would apply if you were playing in the key of G, which has one sharp: You put a sharp sign on the top F line on the first staff; then every time you see an F, you play an F-sharp.
Major Keys Just as there are 15 major scales including three enharmonics , there are 15 major keys; each with its own key signature. The following table shows what each key of these key signatures looks like, along with its corresponding scale. It depends on whether the key signature contains sharps or flats. This note determines the key signature.
For example, if a key signature has two flats, you look at the next-to-last flat and determine that the key is B-flat, which it is. If the key signature has three flats, you look at the next-to-last flat, and determine that the key is E-flat. For the key signature with a single flat, the key is F.
If the key signature includes sharps, the method is different. What you want to remember here is that the last sharp in the key signature represents the seventh degree of that particular scale, so that the tonic of the scale is the next note up. In other words, look at the last sharp and the next note up is the key.
Take, for example, the key signature with one sharp. That sharp is on the note Fsharp, so the next note up tells you that the key is G. If the key signature has two sharps, the last one is on the note C-sharp, and the next note up is D—which is your key. And so on for all the other sharp key signatures.
Minor Keys The key signatures used to indicate major keys also can represent natural minor keys. As you remember from Chapter 3, a natural minor scale is based on the same notes as a major scale, but starts on the sixth note of the scale.
This same method applies to keys, so that for example the key of A minor uses the same notes—and the same key signature—as C major. The following table shows the 15 minor keys, with their corresponding key signatures and scales. This method is called the circle of fifths; it works like this. Starting with the key of C, for every perfect fifth you move up, you add a sharp.
So the key of G a perfect fifth up from C has one sharp. The key of D a perfect fifth up from G has two sharps … and so on. The circle of fifths works in the other direction for flats. For every perfect fifth you move down from C, you add a flat. So the key of F a perfect fifth down from C has one flat. The key of B-flat a perfect fifth down from F has two flats … and so on. The following drawing shows how all the major keys relate in the circle of fifths. All the major keys are a fifth apart in the circle of fifths.
The next figure shows the circle of fifths for the 15 minor keys. It works just the same as the major-key circle; move clockwise for the sharp keys, and counterclockwise for the flat keys. The circle of fifths works for minor keys, too. Chapter 4: How, then, do you indicate notes that fall outside that key? First, it should be noted that you can play outside a key. No one will arrest you for it—in fact, certain types of music regularly employ nonscale notes. Note Jazz and blues music often add flatted thirds and sevenths within the designated major key, which give these styles their unique sound.
So when you get to that note, you insert a flat sign before the E to indicate an E-flat. Use accidentals to indicate notes outside the current key signature. The same theory would apply if you want to include a B natural in the same piece, instead of the expected B-flat.
When you change a note with an accidental, that accidental applies until the end of the current measure. So if you flat an E in measure one of an F Major melody, the first E you write in measure two will be assumed to be natural; not flatted.
The one exception to this rule occurs when you tie a note from the end of one measure to the beginning of the next. The accidental carries over—thanks to the tie—to that first note in the second measure, as you can see in the following example. Ties are explained in Chapter 5. Accidentals apply to all notes tied over a measure. Warning An accidental applies only from that point in the measure to the end of the measure. This is a sign placed within parentheses.
This reminds the reader that the note has reverted back to its normal state. A courtesy accidental reminds musicians that a changed note has reverted back to normal. The fourth or fifth modulation is more common in classical music of the seventeenth through the nineteenth centuries. In fact, some short pop songs change keys midway through.
You can modulate to any key, although the most common modulations are up a half step from E Major to F Major, for example , or up a fourth or fifth from E Major to either A Major or B Major, for example. When you want to change keys, you indicate this by inserting a new key signature in the first measure of the new key.
To change keys, insert a new key signature. Tip If you want, you can alert musicians to a key change by placing the appropriate sharps and flats at the very end of the last staff of the old key—as well as with a new key signature in the following measure. You indicate this by using natural signs to cancel out the previous sharps or flats, like this: Major and Minor Keys How to change to the key of C.
Exercises Exercise Label the following major key signatures. Exercise Label the following minor key signatures. Exercise Create the indicated major key signatures. Tones Exercise Create the indicated minor key signatures. Exercise Using the initial key signature as a guide, label each note in the following example. Exercise Determine what key signature you could use to write this melody without accidentals, and enter that key signature at the beginning of the staff. Exercise Following the circle of fifths, add the appropriate number of flats to each successive major key signature, and then label each key signature.
This section shows you how to notate any type of rhythm, from simple whole notes to sixteenth note syncopations. Rhythm is what drives the music forward and gives it its beat.
To learn rhythm, you have to learn about note values. All you need to learn is a little basic math and how to count—up to four. Some very popular songs only have three beats to a measure. And other tunes, especially in the jazz and classical genres, have more than four beats per measure. All the other types of beats—three, five, seven, whatever—will be covered in Chapter 6.
Rhythms Taking the Measure of Things Rhythm is about counting. Listen to your favorite pop song, and feel the beat. In this song, and other songs based around groups of four, each group of four beats is called a measure, a container that holds a specific number of beats.
The beginning and end of a measure are signified by bar lines, like this: A group of measures on a staff; each measure is separated by left and right bar lines. The first beat in a measure is counted as one. The second beat is counted as two. The third beat is counted as three, and the last beat is counted as four.
Whenever you hit four, the next beat is always one. Every time four beats go by—one, two, three, four—another measure is completed.
If you put enough measures together—one, two, three, four; one, two, three, four—you have a song. There are different types of note values, with each note value signifying a specific length of time—as measured by parts of a measure.
To better explain, we have to get into a little math. You see, each note value lasts a specific duration, and each duration reflects a ratio to duration. As you can see from the following figure, each shorter note is precisely half the duration of the previous note.
So if you can divide and multiply by two, this should be fairly easy for you. Chapter 5: Note Values and Basic Notation The most common rhythmic notes—each smaller note is exactly half the previous note.
A whole note looks like a big empty oval, nice and whole. Whole notes, at different places on the staff. When you play a whole note, you play your instrument once at the very beginning of the measure on beat one , and then you hold that tone through the entire measure.
In other words, one whole note should last a whole measure. Remember that I said each shorter note is exactly half the previous note? The next smallest note is called a half note. This means a half note lasts two beats, which is half of 59 60 Part 2: Rhythms the four-beat duration of a whole note.
Put another way, you can put two half notes in a measure, because two half notes equal one whole note. A half note looks like a whole note with a line next to it. The line is called a stem; it can point up or down, depending on the pitch of the note. If the stem points down, it sits to the left of the notehead. If the stem points up, it sits to the right of the notehead.
Two half notes—one with the stem pointing up; the other with the stem pointing down. If the notehead is below the third line of the staff, then the stem should point up from the notehead. The only exception to this guideline is when you have a run of connected notes—notes where all the stems are connected, like a run of eighth or sixteenth notes.
When you play a half note, make sure the tone lasts a full two beats. If a half note is half a whole note, what is half a half note? This means half a half note is a quarter note. Definition A notehead is the big, oval part of a note. The stem is always attached to the notehead. Because a half note lasts two beats, a quarter note—which is half that duration— lasts one beat.
Put another way, you can fit four quarter notes in a measure; one to a beat. When you tap your foot to the beat of most popular songs, your foot is tapping quarter notes.
One, two, three, four—each of those counts is a quarter note. A quarter note looks like a half note with the notehead filled in, as shown here: Two different quarter notes, pointing in both directions. An eighth note looks like a quarter note with a flag on it. If you have two or more eighth notes in a row, the flags can be replaced with horizontal stems at the end of the normal horizontal stems. A variety of different eighth notes.
Sixteenth Notes Okay, you know where this is going. Half an eighth note is do the math! A sixteenth note looks like a quarter note with two flags on it. As with the eighth note, if 2 or more sixteenth notes are next to each other, the flags may or may not be joined together.
A variety of different sixteenth notes. Each successive note is half the value of the previous note and is indicated by an additional flag on the stem.
For example, the thirty-second note is the next-smallest note after the sixteenth note; it has three flags on its stem. After that is the sixty-fourth note, with four flags. Definition A flag is the little doohickey dangling off the stem of eighth notes, sixteenth notes, and all smaller notes.
The flag is always at the end of the stem, so if the stem is pointing up, the flag is above the notehead; if the stem is pointing down, the flag is below the notehead. Just as you describe absolute pitches by using letters A through G , you describe absolute rhythms by using numbers—and you need only to be able to count to four. It starts fairly simple, in that each beat in a measure is counted as either one, two, three, or four. Still not sure about this?
Examine the following figure, which shows how to count various groupings of notes. How to count various types of notes. When you see four quarter notes, you play or sing four tones—one per beat. Each type of note—whole note, half note, and so on—has a corresponding rest of the same duration. So you have a whole rest that lasts a whole measure, a half rest that lasts a half measure, and so on.
Rests are used to indicate the spaces in between the notes and are just as important as the notes you play. When you run into one of these dotted notes, that note should have a longer duration than the normal version of that note—one and a half times longer, to be precise. A regular quarter note is worth a single beat. However you do the math, it comes out the same. So when you see a dotted note, hold that note 50 percent longer than you would do normally, as shown in the following table.
When you see a dot after a rest, that rest should last one and a half times the value of the main rest. Rhythms Tip Another way to think about a dotted note is that it has a duration equal to three of the next-smaller note value. For example, a dotted half note equals 3 quarter notes, a dotted quarter note equals 3 eighth notes, and a dotted eighth note equals 3 sixteenth notes.
A tie is a little rounded connector placed between two notes; it essentially tells you to add the second note to the first note. A tie makes one note out of two.
What do you do if the tied notes are on different pitches? A slur is a way of indicating that two or more notes are to be played in a smoothly connected fashion, rather than as distinctly separate notes.
What happens, then, if you divide by something other than two? The most common division other than two is dividing by three; this is called a triplet. When you see the number three over a group of three notes or three rests—or any combination of three equal notes and rests , you know that those three notes have to fit into a space that would normally hold just two notes. The three notes of a triplet fit in the space of two regular notes. Note Values and Basic Notation Note Triplets are the most common uneven rhythmic division, but not the only one.
You can divide a beat any way you like, which can lead to groups of five or seven or any prime number. A quarter note, for example, is half as long as a half note. Exercises Exercise Name the following notes and rests. Exercise Fill in the balance of these measures with eighth notes. Rhythms Exercise Write the corresponding rests for the following notes.
Exercise Fill in the balance of these measures with eighth-note triplets. Exercise Tie each group of two notes but not the rests!
Exercise Enter four whole notes, followed by four half notes, followed by four quarter notes, followed by four eighth notes, followed by four sixteenth notes. Exercise Draw stems and flags on these notes to make them eighth notes; make sure to point the stems in the correct direction.
The start and end points of a measure are marked by vertical bar lines, and multiple measures combine to create a complete song.
To simplify things, in Chapter 5 we limited our discussion to measures with four beats apiece, with each of those beats equaling a quarter note. That covers a lot of different songs, especially in popular music.
Whatever type of music you listen to—rock-and-roll, soul, jazz, country, hip hop, or even reggae—most of the songs you hear are likely to adhere to this four-beat form.
However, not all music has four beats per measure, and not every beat is equal to a quarter note. To understand all the different numbers and types of beats per measure, you need only to apply a little math—in the form of fractions.
Measuring the Beats Written music uses something called a time signature to signify how many beats are in a measure and what kind of note is used for the basic beat. A time signature looks kind of like a fraction, with one number sitting on top of another number.
The top number indicates how many beats are in a measure; the bottom number indicates the note value of the basic beat. Time signatures show how beats are organized in a particular piece of music. This organization is called meter, and time signatures are sometimes called meter signatures.
Because we have four beats in a measure, the top number in the time signature is a four. Other time signatures follow this same form. Quarter-Note Time Note In most rock and pop music, the second and fourth beats of a measure are accented, typically by the drummer, like this: The most common types of time signatures use a quarter note for the base beat. This time signature is common in marches and other fast music, and is very easy to play.
Less common are quarter-note time signatures with more than four beats per measure. The following table shows some of the more common quarter-note time signatures. Chapter 6: A lot of music—especially classical music—is based on an eighth-note beat.
Also, if you see a quarter note in an eighthnote time signature, that note takes up two beats. When you play in an eighth-note time signature, all your normal note values take up half as much space as they do in a quarter-note time signature. The most common eighth-note time signatures are those divisible by three: The following table details the most common eighth-note time signatures.
Although this might be true and almost always is true when time signatures change in the middle of a song , the speed of the beat what musicians call tempo is independent of the time signature. Learn more about tempo in Chapter 7.
Half Time If you move the other direction from the basic quarter-note time signature, you get into time signatures based on a half-note beat. In a half-note time signature, each half note gets one beat; quarter notes get half a beat, and eighth notes get a quarter of a beat.
Whole notes, on the other hand, get just two beats. The following table presents the most common half-note beats. Changing the Time You always indicate the time signature at the very beginning of a piece of music. If the meter changes in the middle of a song, you insert a new time signature at the point of change.
This new time signature remains in effect through the rest of the song, or until another new time signature is introduced. Changing time signatures in the middle of a song. You can do as many musicians do: Chop up each measure into smaller groupings.
Available proceeds from the sales of our products are contributed to the scholarship funds of the college. Contents CD Track List. Pulse and Meter. Eighth Notes and Rests. Beaming Eighth Notes. Dots and Ties. Rhythmic Notation Guidelines. Eighth-Note and Eighth-Rest Placement.
Other Time Signatures. Pitch Notation. The Treble Clef. The Bass Clef. The Grand Staff. Key Signatures. Enharmonic Equivalents. Half Steps and Whole Steps. The Chromatic Scale.
The Whole-Tone Scale. The Major Scale. Scale Degrees.
Major Scales Using Sharps. Major Scales Using Flats. The Natural Minor Scale. Minor Scale Syllable Names. The Harmonic Minor Scale. The Ascending Melodic Minor Scale.The number and use of modes were expanded in the era of the medieval church, where they were called church modes and used in the form of plainsong called Gregorian chant.
The first two measures of our first melody. Music theory defines the many different ways you can arrange those blocks into songs and compositions. Your school might have music theory classes you can take. What you want to remember here is that the last sharp in the key signature represents the seventh degree of that particular scale, so that the tonic of the scale is the next note up.
Minor Scales. I particularly like 'Spanner Attack'. One slash mark means play two notes in a row; each equal to half the value of the original note. If you hum the pitch we call middle C the white key in the exact center of a piano keyboard, or the third fret on the A string of a guitar , the oscilloscope will measure Hz—that is, the air is cycling back and forth times per second.
It clearly lays out the course content and describes the exam and AP Program in general.
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