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#1992146 - 11/28/12 08:58 PM Aha moment
Schroeder II Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/17/12
Posts: 82
Now that I have vented a bit in my previous post I wanted to share something else.
I had one of those pivital moments when our teacher began to go over some of the scales. I was getting a bit daunted by the number of just the major scales so I took a little look to help me keep them straight.
Am I seeing a pattern here? D sharp-2 black keys C and F
D flat-2 white keys C and F

Same with A, G etc. The white keys on the sharp scale become the black keys on the flat scale. And the number of sharps + flats for any given letter always =7. ie for D 2 sharps on the D-sharp plus 5 flats in D-flat=7 etc etc.

Maybe this is old hat for everyone else but it looked cool to me! (Unless I got it wrong of course....)


Edited by Schroeder II (11/28/12 08:58 PM)

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#1992167 - 11/28/12 09:44 PM Re: Aha moment [Re: Schroeder II]
Schroeder II Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/17/12
Posts: 82
Thanks I knew about the scale building sequence for major and minor scales already
It was just the observation of the number of sharps and flats for each key letter always adding to 7.


Edited by Schroeder II (11/28/12 09:45 PM)

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#1992173 - 11/28/12 09:58 PM Re: Aha moment [Re: Schroeder II]
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11169
Loc: Canada
Yes. Somebody pointed it out to me a while back. It helps some people remember key signatures. (There are various ways). What you expressed as:
Quote:
D sharp-2 black keys C and F
D flat-2 white keys C and F

What you didn't articulate:
D: 2 sharps - C and F
Db: 7 flats (only C and F are not flatted)
2 + 7 = 9. Both have a D name.

It's better to talk about what is sharped or flatted in the signature rather than black and white keys because eventually you'll hit Cb which is flatted, but a white key. wink

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#1992174 - 11/28/12 10:02 PM Re: Aha moment [Re: keystring]
Schroeder II Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/17/12
Posts: 82
Crap
Now I can add basic arithmetic to the skills I don't have LOL
Thanks for the explanation too

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#1992180 - 11/28/12 10:08 PM Re: Aha moment [Re: Schroeder II]
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11169
Loc: Canada
And I need glasses. I didn't even notice you had written 7. Anyway, you figured it out and I just parroted something I was told.

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#1992209 - 11/28/12 11:42 PM Re: Aha moment [Re: keystring]
aTallGuyNH Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/22/12
Posts: 468
Originally Posted By: keystring
Yes. Somebody pointed it out to me a while back. It helps some people remember key signatures. (There are various ways). What you expressed as:
Quote:
D sharp-2 black keys C and F
D flat-2 white keys C and F

What you didn't articulate:
D: 2 sharps - C and F
Db: 7 flats (only C and F are not flatted)
2 + 7 = 9. Both have a D name.


??? Db has 5 flats... and Cb has 7 flats.

2 + 7 does equal 9, but the germane equation here is:

2 + 5 = 7

Right?

G = F# (1)
Gb = Gb through Eb (6)

and so on..
_________________________
"...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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#1992245 - 11/29/12 02:23 AM Re: Aha moment [Re: Schroeder II]
Bobpickle Offline

Gold Supporter until July 10  2014


Registered: 05/24/12
Posts: 1370
Loc: Cameron Park, California
When you think of the major scales as just one of 12 points on one big circle that follow a very specific and easy-to-remember pattern, there's little effort or arithmetic necessary. Regardless, congratulations on becoming a little less "un-daunted," so to speak. The amount of scales at first is unnecessarily frightening.

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#1992290 - 11/29/12 07:28 AM Re: Aha moment [Re: aTallGuyNH]
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11169
Loc: Canada
Originally Posted By: aTallGuyNH
Originally Posted By: keystring
Yes. Somebody pointed it out to me a while back. It helps some people remember key signatures. (There are various ways). What you expressed as:
Quote:
D sharp-2 black keys C and F
D flat-2 white keys C and F

What you didn't articulate:
D: 2 sharps - C and F
Db: 7 flats (only C and F are not flatted)
2 + 7 = 9. Both have a D name.


??? Db has 5 flats... and Cb has 7 flats.

2 + 7 does equal 9, but the germane equation here is:

2 + 5 = 7

Right?

G = F# (1)
Gb = Gb through Eb (6)

and so on..

Ok, actually that system never worked for me. I thought I had remembered it correctly. I usually just "see" the signature: BEADG (flats) and instantly see "Db major" and don't think of how many flats there are, or tricks for remembering them. I thought I could have fun playing with it but my mind doesn't work that way. Sorry for the confusion.

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#1992299 - 11/29/12 08:00 AM Re: Aha moment [Re: keystring]
aTallGuyNH Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/22/12
Posts: 468
Originally Posted By: keystring
Ok, actually that system never worked for me. I thought I had remembered it correctly. I usually just "see" the signature: BEADG (flats) and instantly see "Db major" and don't think of how many flats there are, or tricks for remembering them. I thought I could have fun playing with it but my mind doesn't work that way. Sorry for the confusion.

I agree that it's not a very useful trick as a means to identify the key signatures. I was thinking of it more as a way to note that (obviously, but sometimes it takes some thought/experience to put these ideas together) if you are in a given key that if you slide up or down one semitone all the flats/sharps will become naturals and vice versa.

I just figured out though that the exceptions to this rule are when working with the keys around C (B and Db) and F (E and Gb), basically because they "flip". Even though technically when we move from C to B we are flatting all seven notes to make Cb, this is much more efficiently expressed as just B, making the other 5 notes sharp (accounting for all 12 semitones of the scale, 7 + 5).

What exactly is going on between E/F/Gb vs. B/C/Db is not as clear to me -- if I say that when going from F to E we are "flatting all seven notes" it doesn't work out whatsoever, so I must be missing something.

Any insights in that area would be appreciated.

Someone let me know if I'm "hijacking" this thread... I'm happy to take this up in another thread if more appropriate to do so.
_________________________
"...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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#1992326 - 11/29/12 09:15 AM Re: Aha moment [Re: Schroeder II]
Morodiene Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 10747
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
The best way for me to get used to playing in a key is to "see" the pattern of the keys on piano before playing. C major, of course, is the easiest as it's all white keys. The next easiest I think are B, F# and C# (or C-flat, G-flat, and D-flat), which have all the black keys, and you just have to figure out which two white keys you play. If the case of F# and C#, the white keys are always played with the thumbs, and the black keys are played with the 3 longest fingers (2-3-4 for the set of 3 black keys, or 2-3 for the set of 2), making them very ergonomic.

What can help you visualize a scale (and thus get accustomed to a key signature) is to just play all 8 notes of a scale at one time using both hands and hold them down. Then play them with correct fingering one hand at a time. Soon you'll be able to visualize the keys without pressing them down first.
_________________________
private piano/voice teacher - full time
MTNA member
www.valeoconservatory.com
Petrof 9'2 Concert, Yamaha G3, Roland FP-7, Yamaha MOX6, Kawai MP11

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#1992344 - 11/29/12 10:07 AM Re: Aha moment [Re: Schroeder II]
Mark... Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/27/06
Posts: 4372
Loc: Jersey Shore
After you play enough scales the numbers don't matter, you just know...

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#1992352 - 11/29/12 10:40 AM Re: Aha moment [Re: Schroeder II]
PianoStudent88 Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/16/11
Posts: 2975
Loc: Maine
The reason F to E doesn't work as obviously in the "flatting all seven notes method" is because you're changing the name of the flatted tonic note: calling it E instead of Fb.

F major:
F G A Bb C D E

Flat all seven notes:
Fb Gb Ab Bbb Cb Db Eb

Change names of notes to start with E:
E F# G# A B C# D#

Similarly the relation between F and Gb is obscured but if you look at F and F# you can see the relation:

F major:
F G A Bb C D E

Sharp all seven notes for F# major:
F# G# A# B C# D# E#

Here you see the complementary pattern of naturals and flats in F major compared to sharps and naturals in F# major. But if you enharmonically change to Gb major, that pattern is obscured by the note names:
Gb Ab Bb Cb Db Eb F
_________________________
Ebaug(maj7)

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#1992384 - 11/29/12 11:48 AM Re: Aha moment [Re: Schroeder II]
Kbeaumont Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/26/10
Posts: 242
Loc: Virginia, USA
Quote:
After you play enough scales the numbers don't matter, you just know...


Exactly, I hated playing mind numbing scales. But they have a purpose! Start by playing the first 5 notes up and down, first slowly then build up speed until you can do every minor and major key in both hands very fast.


Then mix it up play arpeggio chords patterns in one hand and the scale in the other like this example:

major:
LH: 1-3-5-3-1-3-5 RH:1-2-3-4-5-5-4-3-2-1

minor:

LH: 1-3b-5-3b-1-3b RH:1-2-3b-4-5-4-3b-2-1

Mix it up try alternating major & minor.
Then go through 8 notes scales, then chromatic runs to and from a target note say the tonic.

These will not only make your hands just know where to go, you will develop speed, accuracy and hand independence.

First of all make it fun try and see how many different variations you can do.

Just do that kind of warmup for about 10 minutes a day along with your normal practice regiment and learning to play songs and after a month or so you won't even have to think about which notes to play. Then start trying to improvise and make up stuff using various chords. Pick a key and play various chords and scales in those keys until you find what sounds good to you.
The chords to any key can be found HERE.

Then you can do the same with modal scales in various keys.

It will be very slow going at first but after awhile you develop a keen sense of what notes go with a key and how to move out of simple chord progressions. And what effect different scales and extended chords have.

Just try this 10-15 minutes a day, after a year you will notice a dramatic improvement.
There is a couple of DVD's available at http://www.pianowithwillie.com/ called 'faster fingers' that prescribes these type finger exercises. This is the exact same method I was taught by my teacher and it works!

It is not a secret formula and not meant to replace studying theory. It is for putting that theory into your fingers, arms and wrists muscle memory! Remember to use good technique!
There are sources online for the proper way to play scales and arpeggios.


Edited by Kbeaumont (11/29/12 12:00 PM)
_________________________
A long long time ago, I can still remember
How that music used to make me smile....

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#1993043 - 12/01/12 01:28 AM Re: Aha moment [Re: Schroeder II]
aTallGuyNH Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/22/12
Posts: 468
Thanks for the replies!

I'll need some bench time with these posts before I can give a thoughtful response.
_________________________
"...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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#1993060 - 12/01/12 02:27 AM Re: Aha moment [Re: Schroeder II]
UK Paul UK Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/22/11
Posts: 396
Loc: Berkshire, England
Being etheral after death.... ghosts can fly!

Being flat on the floor with ghosts flying over me helps with the order of flats ;-)
_________________________
http://www.youtube.com/user/PaulGPiano

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#1993084 - 12/01/12 06:04 AM Re: Aha moment [Re: Schroeder II]
Michael_99 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/28/12
Posts: 935
Loc: Canada Alberta
I should preface my remarks by saying I am in a different world because I am dyslexic. I can do what you can

do but I have to do it differently.

Leila Fletcher piano course 1 is an excellent book/course for learning the names of the notes and to read and

learn the notes of the both clefs. So in other words it is like a tpying course for the piano in first position.

At page 30 it says: The Sharps placed on line F, just after the treble clef and after the bass clef, tell you

that the notes F is to be played F sharp throughout the piece. This sharp placed at the beginning of the piece

is called the Key Signature. The Key Signature in Oats and Beans and barley grow is one sharp - F sharp.

You have to love John Thompson's Modern Course for the Piano, "The Grade Book" at page 13 where for the

first time a student for the first time plays an F Sharp in what is known as the Key of G major:

Here is what it says:

We change now to a new key-the Key of G major and consequently to a NEW HAND POSITION. Note the

SHARP (#) in the signature. This means that all F's will be sharped (played on a black key).

And this is the best part: Place your hands in the NEW hand position and pracetice each hand separately

before you play the piece.

Where upon there is a picture of a piano with both little fingers on G specifically on either side of middle C.

It says: During the process in this book, it is advisable to adhere to the above form - the scale divided

between the hands - until scale constuction in all keys has been thoroughly mastered. This obviates the necessity of passing the thumb under and the hand over - a procedure which is comprehensively taken up and illustrated by examples in the second grade book.

It is easy. It is simple. It is a dyslexic's dream. I can simply sit down at the piano and play the scales with or without the lights on, playing the scales up and down the scale and saying the piano keys as I press them as well as listening to the sounds.

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#1993909 - 12/02/12 10:33 PM Re: Aha moment [Re: Schroeder II]
polyphasicpianist Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/21/11
Posts: 1238
Originally Posted By: Schroeder II
Now that I have vented a bit in my previous post I wanted to share something else.
I had one of those pivital moments when our teacher began to go over some of the scales. I was getting a bit daunted by the number of just the major scales so I took a little look to help me keep them straight.
Am I seeing a pattern here? D sharp-2 black keys C and F
D flat-2 white keys C and F

Same with A, G etc. The white keys on the sharp scale become the black keys on the flat scale. And the number of sharps + flats for any given letter always =7. ie for D 2 sharps on the D-sharp plus 5 flats in D-flat=7 etc etc.

Maybe this is old hat for everyone else but it looked cool to me! (Unless I got it wrong of course....)


I prefer to call these moments Eureka moments. I've been told, by a pretty reliable source, that "Eureka" is a Greek word for "the bath is too hot!"

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