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#1948785 - 08/25/12 12:51 AM Music Theory 101 - Ask your theory questions here!
Bobpickle Offline

Gold Supporter until July 10  2014


Registered: 05/24/12
Posts: 1370
Loc: Cameron Park, California
Wish to learn more music theory? Well then wait no longer!

I thought I'd share a few wonderful (and all completely free) resources for beginner-through-late-intermediate music/jazz theory of which I've benefited from greatly since beginning my journey, hoping that some of you might be able to, too! I feel that despite the large quantity of information on the internet, you rarely find a sufficiently thorough source of quality information on a topic in a concise format, hence this thread. I'll try and organize this post in descending order from Beginner down to more Advanced.

These first lessons are various youtube videos of which I've come across (many thanks to users here!) which I'll list in the linear order of importance, as, with theory, each topic builds to some extent off of the former:

1. Learning to Read Music

Tip: Until you know all the notes in and around the staves by heart, use surrounding notes as a helpful reference. A commonly used reference note (aside from the notes that clefs are built around) is c.
Tip: In time, you will come to be able to easily identify notes within the staff from common use, but because ledger line notes outside of the staff are less commonly used, its easiest to use surrounding ledger line notes with which you are familiar for assistance. The first ledger line below the treble staff is c. Two lines above is also c. This tip also applies to the bass clef, but reversed.
Tip: While typically the only clefs used by pianists are the treble and bass, know that their exist other clefs, as well (ex. soprano, tenor, c, etc.).


2. Music Theory Basics

Tip: When dealing with notes, or keys, inside of the key signature, or scale, they are called diatonic.
Tip: When dealing with notes, or keys, outside of the key signature, or scale, they are called chromatic. See chromatic scale.


3. Key Signatures and The Circle of Fifths

Tip: For quickly identifying a piece's major key key signature with sharps, take the right-most sharp in the key signature, and go up a half-step. That note is the major key key signature of the piece.
Tip: For quickly identifying a piece's major key key signature with flats, locate the second-to-the-right flat in the key signature, and the note that that lays on corresponds to the major key key signature of the piece.
Tip: For quickly identifying a piece's minor key key signature, use the above methods to identify the major key key signature, and from there, simply take that particular key and move it three half steps to the left to find the minor key key signature (or relative minor key).


4. Chord Theory




If you (as a true theory "beginner") work through these topics from start to finish and grasp a decent hold on them, you'll have learned far more than I after several months of a Basic Musicianship class on the subject in college. Though often difficult, this is a topic I really enjoy studying as it actually equates to better playing in countless ways - hopefully this helps you to enjoy and push further with studying, yourself.


This thread idea started from searching the internet earlier this week for help in deciphering/playing from a fakebook; in the process, I came across this invaluable - and again, free! - website which delves into the more advanced music/jazz theory (with tips on improvisation to boot!):

5. Website mentioned ^

(and in case you were curious, the final set of lessons were the best free lessons I could find on working out of a fakebook).


I by no means consider this at all a complete list (heck, I've still a lot to learn, myself) - if you find a free resource which explains a topic in a more easily comprehensible way for beginners, please let me know and I'll make some edits. Also, if I left some crucial relevant topics (or even just good tips!) out, please let me know and I'll make additions. As far as technical and vocabulary lessons go, I won't be addressing them on this thread (though a great, free, online music dictionary I reference often is Virginia Tech's Online Music Dictionary

Lastly, if you have any questions on the above topics, feel free to ask here and I would be happy to help the best I (in addition to several other wonderful members often perusing the forums, of course) can.



I didn't agree with him on [most] topics (or at least his method of approaching contributing to them), but his convictions towards establishing a strong personal work ethic are something I can agree with and therefore, I dedicate this thread to stores (whether he's really not here any longer - not that I think he spent a myriad of time on the ABF - or whatever).



last edit: clarity on "beadgcf" - Key Signatures and The Circle of Fifths. Thanks jotur


Edited by Bobpickle (08/25/12 01:52 AM)

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#1948787 - 08/25/12 01:06 AM Re: Music Theory 101 - Ask questions here! [Re: Bobpickle]
jotur Online   blank
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/16/06
Posts: 5279
Loc: Santa Fe, NM
Great idea, Bobpickle, I'll check out some of those myself.

But do Birds really Eat Alleys? laugh

Cathy
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#1948790 - 08/25/12 01:35 AM Re: Music Theory 101 - Ask questions here! [Re: Bobpickle]
Bobpickle Offline

Gold Supporter until July 10  2014


Registered: 05/24/12
Posts: 1370
Loc: Cameron Park, California
smile thanks, I tried to adjust it

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#1948796 - 08/25/12 02:45 AM Re: Music Theory 101 - Ask questions here! [Re: Bobpickle]
jotur Online   blank
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/16/06
Posts: 5279
Loc: Santa Fe, NM
Oh, I hope you didn't think I was being critical! I just thought Birds Eating Alleys was funny - I knew what you meant. I use the "BEAD-gcf" myself, so that's a good addition.

But I was laughing at the thought of, you know, birds eating alleys laugh

Cathy
_________________________

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#1948813 - 08/25/12 04:37 AM Re: Music Theory 101 - Ask questions here! [Re: Bobpickle]
Bobpickle Offline

Gold Supporter until July 10  2014


Registered: 05/24/12
Posts: 1370
Loc: Cameron Park, California
hah, no, I really appreciate the feedback. I'm hoping I'll get more and more so that I can steadily improve upon this foundation

There seem to be so many beginning and very curious players that pop up here and there on these forums, so hopefully this will help to satiate some players curiosity - and push it further!


Edited by Bobpickle (08/25/12 04:39 AM)

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#1975512 - 10/19/12 04:12 AM Re: Music Theory 101 - Ask questions here! [Re: Bobpickle]
MonkeyMark Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/17/12
Posts: 98
Loc: UK
Justt thought I would say thank you for this thread.

As a bigginer i have found some of the information on here very useful. Even the bits I already knew were interestng to read again as sometimes things from a different perspective can help to clear things up. Exactly what happened here for me.

Thank you. Please keep adding any more great resources you find and i'll send any i find your way too.
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#1975518 - 10/19/12 05:07 AM Re: Music Theory 101 - Ask your theory questions here! [Re: Bobpickle]
cfrederi Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 10/05/12
Posts: 18
Loc: Denmark
Thanks! Looks terrific! I'll have a closer look when I get home from work

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#1976639 - 10/21/12 08:25 AM Re: Music Theory 101 - Ask questions here! [Re: jotur]
Troubledclef Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/12/12
Posts: 28
Loc: North Carolina
The phrase I have used for the circle of fifths/fourths is

Father Charlie goes down and ends battle
and
Battle ends and down goes Charlies' father


Edited by Troubledclef (10/21/12 08:26 AM)

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#1976942 - 10/22/12 12:22 AM Re: Music Theory 101 - Ask questions here! [Re: MonkeyMark]
Bobpickle Offline

Gold Supporter until July 10  2014


Registered: 05/24/12
Posts: 1370
Loc: Cameron Park, California
Originally Posted By: MonkeyMark
Justt thought I would say thank you for this thread.

As a bigginer i have found some of the information on here very useful. Even the bits I already knew were interestng to read again as sometimes things from a different perspective can help to clear things up. Exactly what happened here for me.

Thank you. Please keep adding any more great resources you find and i'll send any i find your way too.


Glad to hear the info. was helpful. I think it helped me in pretty much the same way, solidifying and often more clearly articulating what I sort of already knew.


Originally Posted By: Troubledclef
The phrase I have used for the circle of fifths/fourths is

Father Charlie goes down and ends battle
and
Battle ends and down goes Charlies' father


Nice! I liked those too.


Edited by Bobpickle (10/22/12 12:29 AM)

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#1976951 - 10/22/12 12:53 AM Re: Music Theory 101 - Ask your theory questions here! [Re: Bobpickle]
Bobpickle Offline

Gold Supporter until July 10  2014


Registered: 05/24/12
Posts: 1370
Loc: Cameron Park, California
As my original post is too old to edit, I'll continue adding sources I deem relevant in new posts, starting with what I feel to be a monumental one.

The single best overall source of free (and comprehensive) music theory I was introduced to recently is
http://music-theory.ascensionsounds.com/



To show the incredible breadth of information it offers, I'll simply list and link some page headings, but I highly recommend that if there's but one resource you bookmark in your browser regarding music theory, this be it.




To give you an idea of the extensiveness with which topics are discussed, there are almost 35 (and counting) mere links (several pages within each) on the topic of Harmony.

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#1984872 - 11/10/12 02:58 AM Re: Music Theory 101 - Ask your theory questions here! [Re: Bobpickle]
Bobpickle Offline

Gold Supporter until July 10  2014


Registered: 05/24/12
Posts: 1370
Loc: Cameron Park, California
bump: Somehow, I hadn't come across this resource until yesterday thanks to MaryBee in the AOTW thread.

www.musictheory.net has lessons covering almost the entire first of four semesters of college music theory - and it explains everything quite well


Edited by Bobpickle (11/10/12 02:58 AM)

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#1992112 - 11/28/12 07:25 PM Re: Music Theory 101 - Ask your theory questions here! [Re: Bobpickle]
Mobius1988 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 11/26/12
Posts: 5
Hi I have a question about a piece im learning at the moment in the Trinity Guildhall Grade 2 book (First piece).

There are 2 sets of mordents written into the music which refer to a series of notes at the bottom of the page. But when the mordent comes up am I supposed to substitute the note for the mordent (in this case the note is an F# and the mordent begins with a G) or do I play the note followed by the mordent sequence?

Also, the first mordent is marked (1) and the second is marked (2) but none of the others after this have marks so do I just play these all using the (2) set of notes?

And finally, when the same mordent is present on a different note do I just play the rythym of the mordent starting on that note or am I supposed to replace that note with the notes in the mordent?

E.G on a C there is a mordent for C, D, C so when the mordent appears on a B should i play B, C, B or just use C, D, C again?

I hope that makes sense.

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#1992248 - 11/29/12 02:46 AM Re: Music Theory 101 - Ask your theory questions here! [Re: Mobius1988]
Bobpickle Offline

Gold Supporter until July 10  2014


Registered: 05/24/12
Posts: 1370
Loc: Cameron Park, California
Originally Posted By: Mobius1988
Hi I have a question about a piece im learning at the moment in the Trinity Guildhall Grade 2 book (First piece).

There are 2 sets of mordents written into the music which refer to a series of notes at the bottom of the page. But when the mordent comes up am I supposed to substitute the note for the mordent (in this case the note is an F# and the mordent begins with a G) or do I play the note followed by the mordent sequence?

Also, the first mordent is marked (1) and the second is marked (2) but none of the others after this have marks so do I just play these all using the (2) set of notes?

And finally, when the same mordent is present on a different note do I just play the rythym of the mordent starting on that note or am I supposed to replace that note with the notes in the mordent?

E.G on a C there is a mordent for C, D, C so when the mordent appears on a B should i play B, C, B or just use C, D, C again?

I hope that makes sense.



It didn't make a ton of sense to be honest, haha, but I'll answer what I'm able to. First, mordents don't affect "a series of notes," but just one note as an ornament (only notes with the mordent symbol above them will be affected). As far as rhythm goes, the rhythm of any piece or any notes will be the same overall with or without ornaments - that is to say if certain notes are to be played ornamented, their specific lengths of time that they're played for goes unaffected (whether or not the note has a mordent ornament above it, for example).

See this page: Wikipedia Ornaments



I suspect this is the piece, in question, you're working on if you care to watch this performance for a visual answer (always search for video examples of your pieces on youtube/google if you have performance or interpretation questions and have yet to ask a teacher)


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#1992576 - 11/29/12 08:01 PM Re: Music Theory 101 - Ask your theory questions here! [Re: Bobpickle]
Mobius1988 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 11/26/12
Posts: 5
Hi,

Sorry for the lack of coherence in my explanation. Yes that is the piece I was referring to and I understand about the rythym not changing etc but thanks for pointing that out.

So the first mordent is over an F# and the written notes are G,F#,G,F# which he plays INSTEAD OF the F#. So is it that you are supposed to replace the note itself with whatever is written in the mordent not that you are supposed to play the note followed by the mordent?

For all the other mordents the notes are written as C, D, C but when the mordent is above a Bb he will play Bb, C, Bb, when it is above an F# at the end he plays F#, G, F# etc whereas my teacher thought I might need to use C,D,C where the Bb is and the first mordent G,F#,G,F# for the final one. This is why I am confused.

That probably didnt make any more sense than my first post sorry!

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#1992607 - 11/29/12 10:00 PM Re: Music Theory 101 - Ask your theory questions here! [Re: Bobpickle]
PianoStudent88 Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/16/11
Posts: 2975
Loc: Maine
Mobius1988, I am surprised that your teacher did not have a definitive answer for you.

It sounds like the first "mordent," where G F# G F# is to be played instead of F#, is really a trill. In Baroque practice, a trill begins on the beat and on the note above the written note.

The other mordents you describe are upper mordents, where instead of the note as written, you play the written pitch quickly, the pitch (in key) above quickly, and then the written pitch as long as it takes to fill out the written length of the note. So if an upper mordent is written above C, you play C D C; if it's written above Bb, you play Bb C Bb. (Assuming for example that you are in the key of F.)

Does that help? Can you post a picture of the score?
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#1998630 - 12/12/12 10:32 PM Re: Music Theory 101 - Ask your theory questions here! [Re: Bobpickle]
aTallGuyNH Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/22/12
Posts: 468
I'm starting (just) on Cooke's "Mastering the Scales and Arpeggios" and I'm lost right out of the gate on Lesson I (page 5).

He starts with the scale of C major followed immediately by C minor, which I understand to be the same key signature as Eb, i.e. flatted B, E, and A. However, he has only the E and the A flatted in the scale, not the B.

Looking ahead, apparently this is the "harmonic minor", but he just introduces these without much explanation of why there are different types/forms. Any info on the purpose of these -- i.e. in which musical circumstances would one expect to see normal vs. harmonic vs. melodic?
_________________________
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#1998646 - 12/12/12 10:57 PM Re: Music Theory 101 - Ask questions here! [Re: jotur]
Michael_99 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/28/12
Posts: 935
Loc: Canada Alberta
Thanks, Bob.

scales, blues, jazz, improv even at its lowest levels leaves mean quicky in the dark. I will try to digest the information and post a question when I reach that point of darkness.

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#1998655 - 12/12/12 11:10 PM Re: Music Theory 101 - Ask questions here! [Re: Bobpickle]
jazzwee Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/25/07
Posts: 6990
Loc: So. California
aTallGuyNH,

Be careful with assumptions like "C minor" is in the key signature of "Eb". That is NOT correct. You don't know that. That's why sometimes context is important, particularly with minor chords. Only the Dominant chord and half diminished chord are certain to belong one major scale.

C minor could be in Eb, Bb, or Ab. To prove my point, you will notice that C-Eb-G-Bb exists in all those scales.

Minor chords can exist as the ii, iii, vi degree of the scale. What we call "relative minor of the major" is the vi of the scale which is what your example of Cm in Eb is.

Harmonic minor and melodic minor scales stand by themselves. They are not tied to the major scale. Thus they have their own modes. You will encounter them in lots of music.
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#1998677 - 12/12/12 11:53 PM Re: Music Theory 101 - Ask questions here! [Re: jazzwee]
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11179
Loc: Canada
Originally Posted By: jazzwee
aTallGuyNH,

Be careful with assumptions like "C minor" is in the key signature of "Eb". That is NOT correct. You don't know that. That's why sometimes context is important, particularly with minor chords. Only the Dominant chord and half diminished chord are certain to belong one major scale.

Jazzwee, he's talking about the C minor scale, not chord. smile I had that book 4 years ago. It is very old fashioned. I wouldn't follow the instructions on physical playing. I came close to hurting myself because it uses only the fingers and asks for rather extreme things with the thumb.

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#1998687 - 12/13/12 12:14 AM Re: Music Theory 101 - Ask your theory questions here! [Re: aTallGuyNH]
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11179
Loc: Canada
Originally Posted By: aTallGuyNH
I'm starting (just) on Cooke's "Mastering the Scales and Arpeggios" and I'm lost right out of the gate on Lesson I (page 5).

He starts with the scale of C major followed immediately by C minor, which I understand to be the same key signature as Eb, i.e. flatted B, E, and A. However, he has only the E and the A flatted in the scale, not the B.

Looking ahead, apparently this is the "harmonic minor", but he just introduces these without much explanation of why there are different types/forms. Any info on the purpose of these -- i.e. in which musical circumstances would one expect to see normal vs. harmonic vs. melodic?

You need a larger context, and Jazzwee is also right that there is a lot more to scales.

Cooke is going along a particular angle. Start with major keys: you have one for each number of flats and sharps up to seven of them. C major (no sharps or flats), G major (1 sharp), D major 2 sharps) etc., then F major (1 flat), Bb major (2 flats) etc. You'll find this listed in lots of places. The "circle of fifths" diagrams give you an overview as well.

He is looking at the scale that starts on the first note of each major key, which is our "major scale". So in the key of C major, our major scale goes from C to C. In D major our scale goes from D to D etc.

When you go to the minor key you can also use the key signature and simply start on the 6th note. So in C minor you have the key signature of Eb major (3 flats) and you go from C to C (C is the 6th note of Eb major) and you will get a particular kind of minor scale called the "natural minor". This gives you:
C D Eb F G Ab Bb C

When you have harmony with music, often you want to have a V or V7 chord, and if you used those notes you would get G Bb D F which is a Gm7 rather than G7. It does not give a strong movement. So, going from this "natural minor" they will say "raise the 7th note". In a key signature scenario, you would see a natural sign beside the B to make it Bnat.
C D Eb F G Ab B(nat) C

This is called the "harmonic minor" scale. If you play it, it sounds very angular and "Middle Eastern" because from Ab to B is 3 half steps.

So then they say, raise the 6th note too.
C D Eb F G A(nat) B(nat) C

This is called the "melodic minor" scale, and the old fashioned way of teaching it is that ascending you go this way, and descending you play a natural minor scale.
==========================
That is one way of teaching it and a lot of us going through the RCM or similar programs still learn to play the scales that way.

Once you take harmony theory you learn that notes or raised or lowered according to what is needed in harmony, and when you start examining actual pieces you'll see that composers do all kinds of things. I was taught later to look at minor scales differently. The first 5 notes are stable: C D Eb F G... and the next two notes no. 6 & 7 fluctuate according to need.

This is just the beginning.
==========================
- There are modal scales, used especially in jazz. Going along the system I described, you'd think of the notes going from 2 to 2. So in a key signature of C major: D,E,F,G,A,B,C,D and this is "Dorian". That's not such a practical way of looking at it though. Then there are also pentatonic, blues, and other scales. The octatonic is constructed in such a way that all chords are diminished, while the whole tone gives you chords that are augmented regardless of where you start.

What is somewhat useful in Cooke is his grouping of scales according to black key patterns.

He teaches a playing where you swing your thumb under and aim for great flexibility. Everything is in the hand alone without consideration of the arms and whole body. It's a path to injury, especially if you are self-learning.

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#1998874 - 12/13/12 11:06 AM Re: Music Theory 101 - Ask questions here! [Re: jazzwee]
CG/Teacher Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 12/12/12
Posts: 2
All they are saying is...C minor and E flat major have the same key signature ...

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#1998881 - 12/13/12 11:22 AM Re: Music Theory 101 - Ask questions here! [Re: CG/Teacher]
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11179
Loc: Canada
Originally Posted By: Get it right
All they are saying is...C minor and E flat major have the same key signature ...


The key of C minor and E flat major have the same key signature. The book says that the scale has that key signature without clarifying, and that was the first point of confusion. Apparently the book then went on to present an harmonic minor scale, since he says that the B stayed B natural, and didn't explain that either.

You can have a C minor (natural, harmonic, melodic) scale in music without having the key signature of E flat. If you are coming into music the first time and run into incomplete explanations like the one in the book, it can lead to confusion and misconception. When I downloaded that book I had already done several levels of theory and glossed over that part.

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#1999474 - 12/14/12 03:33 PM Re: Music Theory 101 - Ask questions here! [Re: Bobpickle]
candlelightpiano Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/01/11
Posts: 208
Loc: Winnipeg, Canada
I have a question that I'm not sure is theory and I hope someone can help me out here.

When a flat is placed beside the lower note of an octave, but the upper note is not flatted, do you flat the whole octave or do you only flat the lower note but play the upper note as written? For example, it's an octave F but the lower F is flatted and the upper F is left as is (there's no natural sign beside it). So do you play the octave as F flat (E) or do you play it as F natural on top and E on the bottom?

Thank you!
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#1999482 - 12/14/12 04:12 PM Re: Music Theory 101 - Ask questions here! [Re: Bobpickle]
PianoStudent88 Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/16/11
Posts: 2975
Loc: Maine
The rule is that only the lower note is flatted, and the upper F is played as written. Many notators will write a natural sign explicitly next to the upper F to make this clear and/or to reassure the reader that the flat sign hasn't been accidentally left off the upper F.

Or there may be an error in your score.

What piece is this?
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#1999497 - 12/14/12 04:54 PM Re: Music Theory 101 - Ask your theory questions here! [Re: aTallGuyNH]
blueston Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/28/09
Posts: 271
Loc: MA, USA
Originally Posted By: aTallGuyNH
I'm starting (just) on Cooke's "Mastering the Scales and Arpeggios" and I'm lost right out of the gate on Lesson I (page 5).

He starts with the scale of C major followed immediately by C minor, which I understand to be the same key signature as Eb, i.e. flatted B, E, and A. However, he has only the E and the A flatted in the scale, not the B.

Looking ahead, apparently this is the "harmonic minor", but he just introduces these without much explanation of why there are different types/forms. Any info on the purpose of these -- i.e. in which musical circumstances would one expect to see normal vs. harmonic vs. melodic?


Well, in my experience (Which could be wrong) I believe Harmonic is the most common, especially in classical music. The reason is it has a leading tone (half step) between the last note of the scale and the Tonic. This is a very strong sequence, and also allows the V chord in that key to be a Major chord. In other words, it makes resolution to the tonic much more tense and interesting.

The Harmonic minor is not used as much in modern/pop music because it sounds too strong and classy. Modern pop music uses more natural minor or sometimes minor modes like Dorian, because the leading tone just sounds wierd in pop music.

The melodic minor might be the least common, because it is more intricate and again may have been more popular in classical music to allow a melody to use the leading tone on the way up, but sound more minor like on the way down.

A very interesting exercise I found to do was to play "Greensleeves" in all 3 minor variations and compare. It's amazing. Ask yourself or someone else which one sounds "Correct" , or the most correct and you will find it's hard to say. They all sound right.


Edited by blueston (12/14/12 04:55 PM)

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#1999610 - 12/14/12 10:42 PM Re: Music Theory 101 - Ask questions here! [Re: PianoStudent88]
candlelightpiano Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/01/11
Posts: 208
Loc: Winnipeg, Canada
Thank you for clarifying. It does sound strange to play the top F natural and the bottom E but I guess that's what it is. The name of the piece is "A dream is a wish your heart makes." It's written with Chopin Ballade 4 in mind. Great piece!

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#2014855 - 01/15/13 09:46 AM Re: Music Theory 101 - Ask questions here! [Re: Bobpickle]
Jean-Luc Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/19/12
Posts: 318
Loc: France
Maybe of interests for some, a couple of tutorials on counterpoint and harmony: http://www.youtube.com/user/artofcounterpoint smile
_________________________
- Please, forgive my bad English smile

Jean-Luc

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#2025844 - 02/02/13 11:03 AM Re: Music Theory 101 - Ask questions here! [Re: Bobpickle]
Jean-Luc Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/19/12
Posts: 318
Loc: France
While a little complex to navigate (it's not a step by step tutorial at all), very interesting for people who want to start analyzing music: http://www.tonalityguide.com/index.php
_________________________
- Please, forgive my bad English smile

Jean-Luc

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#2025932 - 02/02/13 02:24 PM Re: Music Theory 101 - Ask questions here! [Re: Bobpickle]
Bobpickle Offline

Gold Supporter until July 10  2014


Registered: 05/24/12
Posts: 1370
Loc: Cameron Park, California
wow there's a lot of descriptive information on constructing and dissecting harmony there; thanks for posting, Jean

This link takes you to the site's Table of Contents for easy navigation: http://www.tonalityguide.com/tableofcontents.php

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#2026223 - 02/03/13 08:25 AM Re: Music Theory 101 - Ask questions here! [Re: Jean-Luc]
aTallGuyNH Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/22/12
Posts: 468
Fantastic resource! The navigation leaves a lot to be desired, but the content is excellent. Thanks for sharing this Jean-Luc!

Is this a typo on this page?: http://www.tonalityguide.com/tkchordlabelling.php

Shouldn't the II over the V at the bottom of the page be a ii? It looks like an A minor chord to me. I would think it would only be a II if the top note was a C# rather than a C. Right?
_________________________
"...when you do practice properly, it seems to take no time at all. Just do it right five times or so, and then stop." -- JimF

Working on: my aversion to practicing in front of my wife

1978 Vose & Sons spinet "Rufus"
1914 Huntington upright "Mabel"

XXIX-XXXII

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#2026280 - 02/03/13 11:37 AM Re: Music Theory 101 - Ask questions here! [Re: Bobpickle]
Jean-Luc Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/19/12
Posts: 318
Loc: France
I think you are right, it is most definitively a minor chord and it should be ii, not II smile
_________________________
- Please, forgive my bad English smile

Jean-Luc

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#2026778 - 02/04/13 09:16 AM Re: Music Theory 101 - Ask questions here! [Re: Jean-Luc]
aTallGuyNH Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/22/12
Posts: 468
I must be learning something then! There's no way I would have picked up on this a couple months ago, and a couple months before that it would have been absolute gibberish.
_________________________
"...when you do practice properly, it seems to take no time at all. Just do it right five times or so, and then stop." -- JimF

Working on: my aversion to practicing in front of my wife

1978 Vose & Sons spinet "Rufus"
1914 Huntington upright "Mabel"

XXIX-XXXII

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#2027587 - 02/05/13 05:40 PM Re: Music Theory 101 - Ask questions here! [Re: Bobpickle]
BeccaBb Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/09/11
Posts: 905
Loc: Thunder Bay, On Canada
Hopefully you guys can help me.

I'm learning chords in a pattern. I learned the c chords and did the pattern like this: RH: ceg, egc, gce, ceg LH: ceg, egc, gce, ceg.

Now I'm to add the E major. So I'm not sure I have this right.

so I would go RH: eg#a, g#ae, aeg#, eg#a

Um is that right?? I'm just inverting the Icord correct? So lost here HELP!
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Becca
Began: 01-12-11


Floundering and Lost
Roland RD300NX

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#2027592 - 02/05/13 05:53 PM Re: Music Theory 101 - Ask questions here! [Re: BeccaBb]
aTallGuyNH Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/22/12
Posts: 468
Originally Posted By: BeccaBb
Hopefully you guys can help me.

I'm learning chords in a pattern. I learned the c chords and did the pattern like this: RH: ceg, egc, gce, ceg LH: ceg, egc, gce, ceg.

Now I'm to add the E major. So I'm not sure I have this right.

so I would go RH: eg#a, g#ae, aeg#, eg#a

Um is that right?? I'm just inverting the Icord correct? So lost here HELP!

eg#b.

The inversions looked fine though.
_________________________
"...when you do practice properly, it seems to take no time at all. Just do it right five times or so, and then stop." -- JimF

Working on: my aversion to practicing in front of my wife

1978 Vose & Sons spinet "Rufus"
1914 Huntington upright "Mabel"

XXIX-XXXII

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#2027595 - 02/05/13 05:56 PM Re: Music Theory 101 - Ask questions here! [Re: Bobpickle]
BeccaBb Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/09/11
Posts: 905
Loc: Thunder Bay, On Canada
LOL yes I meant b. smile

Thanks. It's my first time figuring out inversions on my own.
_________________________
Becca
Began: 01-12-11


Floundering and Lost
Roland RD300NX

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#2027728 - 02/05/13 09:35 PM Re: Music Theory 101 - Ask questions here! [Re: BeccaBb]
aTallGuyNH Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/22/12
Posts: 468
Originally Posted By: BeccaBb
LOL yes I meant b. smile

Thanks. It's my first time figuring out inversions on my own.

I was thinking, "I don't even need to go to the piano to know that would be one ugly sounding chord!" smile
_________________________
"...when you do practice properly, it seems to take no time at all. Just do it right five times or so, and then stop." -- JimF

Working on: my aversion to practicing in front of my wife

1978 Vose & Sons spinet "Rufus"
1914 Huntington upright "Mabel"

XXIX-XXXII

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#2027729 - 02/05/13 09:37 PM Re: Music Theory 101 - Ask questions here! [Re: BeccaBb]
Ragdoll Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/03/12
Posts: 617
Loc: Illinois
That's great Becca, you will find that using inversions can be fun and smooths out somethings by not having to jump all over to play chord progressions. Maybe just moving two fingers instead of your whole hand to a new position. grin
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Never get directions from someone who hasn't been there.


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#2027745 - 02/05/13 10:25 PM Re: Music Theory 101 - Ask your theory questions here! [Re: Bobpickle]
Greener Online   content
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/29/12
Posts: 1072
Loc: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Originally Posted By: aTallGuyNH
Originally Posted By: BeccaBb
LOL yes I meant b. smile

Thanks. It's my first time figuring out inversions on my own.

I was thinking, "I don't even need to go to the piano to know that would be one ugly sounding chord!"


Perhaps better to go to the piano though. By changing the B in the e major to an A instead (ie. E, G#, A) you've got the makings of an Amaj7. Just add a C# and you have the entire Amaj7. Move the notes around or spread them out. But, any way that you can find to play this chord, it is going to sound very hip and nice. Not ugly at all.

Of course, this is entirely off topic of the E major. Just pointing this out though, as sometimes what looks like it may be ugly on paper, is not that way at all.
_________________________
“Inspiration is a guest that does not willingly visit the lazy.”
--Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky

            

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#2029223 - 02/08/13 09:19 AM Re: Music Theory 101 - Ask your theory questions here! [Re: Bobpickle]
aTallGuyNH Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/22/12
Posts: 468
I gotta say, without the C# in there, I'm still standing by my original conclusion smile

With the C#, that is one seriously awkward chord to play, for all inversions. At least under my fingers.
_________________________
"...when you do practice properly, it seems to take no time at all. Just do it right five times or so, and then stop." -- JimF

Working on: my aversion to practicing in front of my wife

1978 Vose & Sons spinet "Rufus"
1914 Huntington upright "Mabel"

XXIX-XXXII

Top
#2029273 - 02/08/13 12:00 PM Re: Music Theory 101 - Ask your theory questions here! [Re: Bobpickle]
BeccaBb Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/09/11
Posts: 905
Loc: Thunder Bay, On Canada
Thanks Ragdoll! That is exactly why my teacher is having me start to do inversions. I was having issues with my chord changes in Greensleeves. It's getting better now. smile

Greener, okay so if I have this right it's E, G#, A, C#?
_________________________
Becca
Began: 01-12-11


Floundering and Lost
Roland RD300NX

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#2029285 - 02/08/13 12:48 PM Re: Music Theory 101 - Ask your theory questions here! [Re: BeccaBb]
Greener Online   content
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/29/12
Posts: 1072
Loc: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Originally Posted By: BeccaBb

Greener, okay so if I have this right it's E, G#, A, C#?

These notes make up an Amaj7 in it's second inversion. If I saw this (Amaj7) in a score I would make sure I have A in my bass.

I may have complicating things. Sorry if I have.

All your inversions of the E major triad, including the notes E,G#,B are correct.

I was trying to point out that when we accidentally included the A, it is not necessarily going to turn it into an ugly chord, just a different chord and sound. We are very close to having an Amaj7, which is nice sounding chord.

A, C#, E, G# = Amaj7

Originally Posted By: aTallGuyNH

With the C#, that is one seriously awkward chord to play, for all inversions. At least under my fingers.


OK try this:
Keep the E major triad, but add a C# in your right hand.

So, RH reading bottom up is E,G#,B,C#

Now put this over an A bass in your LH.

Unless I am loosing my mind (it is quite possible crazy ) this is a nice sound.

It is a Amaj9.

Back to the Amaj7 though (drop the B).

Play LH A Bass, and play E, G#, C# in your right hand. Almost as nice as the Amaj9 but not as full.

Agree though, If you drop the nice notes and just keep the dissonant ones (G#,A) it is not so nice any more.
_________________________
“Inspiration is a guest that does not willingly visit the lazy.”
--Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky

            

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#2032233 - 02/13/13 01:39 AM Re: Music Theory 101 - Ask your theory questions here! [Re: Greener]
aTallGuyNH Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/22/12
Posts: 468
Originally Posted By: Greener
Originally Posted By: aTallGuyNH

With the C#, that is one seriously awkward chord to play, for all inversions. At least under my fingers.


OK try this:

...

Agree though, If you drop the nice notes and just keep the dissonant ones (G#,A) it is not so nice any more.

We're on the same page re: the sounds. When I said "awkward" I meant physically... none of the inversions of Amaj7 work well for my fingers.
_________________________
"...when you do practice properly, it seems to take no time at all. Just do it right five times or so, and then stop." -- JimF

Working on: my aversion to practicing in front of my wife

1978 Vose & Sons spinet "Rufus"
1914 Huntington upright "Mabel"

XXIX-XXXII

Top
#2032315 - 02/13/13 07:47 AM Re: Music Theory 101 - Ask your theory questions here! [Re: aTallGuyNH]
Greener Online   content
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/29/12
Posts: 1072
Loc: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Originally Posted By: aTallGuyNH
When I said "awkward" I meant physically... none of the inversions of Amaj7 work well for my fingers.

One way you could think of it, is that you just need to add the immediate adjacent note below the root (of the major triad) to make the major 7. For example, for a Cmaj7 you could simply play the B and C together with your thumb of your RH. Or the F and E for Fmaj7. The other inversions you will need to work on, and yes, a little more awkward when the root and the major 7 are made up of black and white notes. But, only 4 notes in total required and you have 10 fingers. So shouldn't be so bad.

You will be coming across them.


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#2034992 - 02/17/13 09:14 PM Re: Music Theory 101 - Ask your theory questions here! [Re: Bobpickle]
Bobpickle Offline

Gold Supporter until July 10  2014


Registered: 05/24/12
Posts: 1370
Loc: Cameron Park, California
A free version of the excellent text, A Jazz Improvisation Primer that discusses and explains some great jazz theory and also broaches how to approach beginning improvising in the jazz idiom: http://www.outsideshore.com/music/a-jazz-improvisation-primer/

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#2035337 - 02/18/13 03:33 PM Re: Music Theory 101 - Ask questions here! [Re: Bobpickle]
Bobpickle Offline

Gold Supporter until July 10  2014


Registered: 05/24/12
Posts: 1370
Loc: Cameron Park, California
Just saw this posted elsewhere on the forums. Another excellently cataloged (and very comprehensive) guide on everything from notation to scales to chords to figured bass to even transposition guides, counterpoint, and comprehensive musical history! Probably the single largest cataloged resource on the internet.

http://www.dolmetsch.com/theoryintro.htm

This next page is the best catalog/encyclopedia of scales I've ever seen that lists scale notes, scale intervals, as well as note-to-note intervals. Amazing! And it even helped me clear up a question of nomenclature regarding the different bebop scales.

http://www.dolmetsch.com/pianochords.htm



much thanks to pianoloverus


Edited by Bobpickle (02/18/13 03:41 PM)

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#2172661 - 10/27/13 07:53 AM Re: Music Theory 101 - Ask questions here! [Re: Bobpickle]
Jean-Luc Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/19/12
Posts: 318
Loc: France
I stumbled upon a nice free music theory course from the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics today and maybe it can be useful for some beginners so here is the link to the playlist: http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLCE57776525500562

smile
_________________________
- Please, forgive my bad English smile

Jean-Luc

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#2172722 - 10/27/13 11:06 AM Re: Music Theory 101 - Ask questions here! [Re: Bobpickle]
alexh7686 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 10/26/13
Posts: 13
The course I've been using is a YouTube course by a pianist called Andrew Furmanczyk. I've found it very helpful. Has a course focusing on technique and a separate one focusing solely on theory.

Also has some videos of him playing. Very talented musician and fine teacher IMO. He keeps it light hearted and tries to make it as simple as possible so it is easy for anyone, regardless of musical background to understand.

Link to it is http://www.youtube.com/user/Lypur

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