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Music Theory for Little Einsteins & Big Dummies
By Caroline J. Weage
AuthorHouseCopyright © 2008 Caroline J. Weage
All right reserved.
IntroductionYou don't know anything about music? Good! We can start there.
The word theory might scare you. It does sound like it would be dull and boring, but if you do play an instrument, you already know some theory. It is the very basic knowledge from learning your notes to actually creating music of your own. That seems like a lot to learn, and it is, but if you follow the rules your path becomes clearer and more enjoyable.
The Staff and the Clefs
Treble and Bass Clefs
Music is written on a staff of five lines and the four spaces between those lines. Piano music is written on two staffs, one for the right hand and one for the left hand. The right hand music uses a treble clef sign [??]G clef. It is called the G clef because the tail end of the sign ends on the second link which is G. The base clef sign is also called the F clef because there are two dots, one on each side of the fourth line which is F. Clef signs tell us which notes appear where on a staff.
There are other clefs we should know even if we never use them. The alto clef, the soprano clef, and the tenor clef. They are called movable clefs, and are designed for instruments whose range doesn't fit in the normal treble or bass clef.
The Alto clef is used by the viola
The tenor clef is used by low-sounding instruments like the tenor trombones, bassoons, cellos, and violas.
The soprano clef is written
There is also an octave clef which tells us to play the notes either up or down an octave.
The percussion or drum clef is written, and deals only with the rhythms in the music and which percussion instrument will read that rhythm,
All the music we hear, sing; or play is based on scales. Without those dreaded scales, there would be no music. If we know our scales, it is easy to find out the key we are playing in, the chords we will need to use and how to form them, and how to find the relative minor.
All major scales are formed using a pattern of WWHWWWH, whole steps and half steps. An easy way to remember is a major scale consists of whole steps except between three and four, and seven and eight.
This pattern works on every major scale, no matter which note you start on.
Relative Minor Scales
Every major scale has a relative minor scale. Just as some of your relatives have the same last name as you, the relative minor has the same key signature (flats and sharps).
A relative minor is formed by counting up six notes of the major scale. Or down three half steps. That is the name of the minor scale.
Excerpted from Music Theory for Little Einsteins & Big Dummies by Caroline J. Weage Copyright © 2008 by Caroline J. Weage. Excerpted by permission.
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