Music Theory – Grade 1, Part 3


Bryan Hillebrandt
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Joined: 03/13/09
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Bryan Hillebrandt
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Joined: 03/13/09
Posts: 23
05/14/2009 10:43 pm
Welcome back to Music Theory grade 1, thanks for sticking with it!

Last time in part two, we built on the stave, time signatures and note types of part one by adding key signatures and major scale construction. If you missed it or need a refresher, you can check out part two here.

This time, we'll be looking at scale degrees, intervals and triads.

Intervals

An interval is a way of describing the difference in pitch between two notes. If the two notes are played together, like an A Major 'Power' chord for instance, it is a harmonic interval:



As you can hopefully see, degrees are pretty straightforward. The second degree of the C Major scale is the second note you play when running the through the scale. The seventh degree is the seventh note you play, the fifth is the fifth... you get the picture!

Scale degrees are used to help us orientate ourselves around the scale, and are very important as part of the foundations of western harmony. They are also important as we move on to the next section...

Triads

It may come as no surprise whatsoever for you to learn that a triad is 3 notes played together. The most obvious example of this is a Major chord. C major for instance is simply the notes C, E and G played together. Looking again at the C major scale above, you can see that C, E and G are the root, third and fifth degrees of the C major scale. Any major scale is made by playing the root, third and fifth degrees of the parent scale together. We can also use the intervals to express this by adding that a major scale is made up of the root, major third and perfect fifth.

A minor chord is constructed also from a root, third and fifth of the parent major scale, but the third is flattened by a semi tone, so we have a root, flattened third and fifth in degrees. Alternatively, we have a root, minor third and perfect fifth expressed as intervals.

And that brings part three to a close. In part four, we'll look at some commonly used symbols, musical directions and terms, and have a little quiz to see if you're starting to put all this together.

When you're playing, try to take a moment just to look at what you're doing, and you'll probably start to see it under your fingertips, as well as on these pages.
# 1
ren
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ren
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08/22/2009 3:14 pm
Hi,

The article above was actually written by me. In the music theory syllabuses I have studied and now teach, there really is no natural minor scale. Any minor scale is always either harmonic or melodic.

Now, I'm not saying that there is no natural minor - what I'm trying to say is that whenever there is talk of a minor scale in this context it must either harmonic or melodic.

Check out my music, video, lessons & backing tracks here![br]https://www.renhimself.com

# 2
ChristopherSchlegel
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Joined: 08/09/05
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ChristopherSchlegel
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09/08/2009 1:21 pm
Originally Posted by: renIn the music theory syllabuses I have studied and now teach, there really is no natural minor scale. Any minor scale is always either harmonic or melodic.[/quote]
What syllabus are you using? :confused:
[QUOTE=ren]Now, I'm not saying that there is no natural minor - what I'm trying to say is that whenever there is talk of a minor scale in this context it must either harmonic or melodic.

That is a weird context. LOL I didn't realize it was you, ren.

Having read your other posts, I know you are competent in music theory. So, I'm sure you are aware that the harmonic and melodic minor scales are altered forms of the natural minor scale. So, this syllabus is saying that something altered exists, but the original source from which it was altered doesn't exist.

How does the syllabus you are referring to address this issue?

How does it manage to get from major scale to harmonic minor without the natural minor scale?

In my university piano proficiency exam I had to play all three minor forms. In every music theory class and book I studied all three forms were identified and studied.
Christopher Schlegel
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# 3
ren
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ren
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09/29/2009 1:04 pm
As odd as it may be, the ABRSM (Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music) do not teach the natural minor as such. It is taught in so far as the deviation from it to reach the harmonic and melodic forms, but not covered particularly itself. As I say, I'm not suggesting that the natural minor does not exist, just that for the purposes of this series at this point, any minor key will be harmonic or melodic.

Having been scratching my head to find a reason why this may be, the best I can come up with is that perhaps it helps a student starting out to identify the key a piece of music may be in... major vs relative minor....

Check out my music, video, lessons & backing tracks here![br]https://www.renhimself.com

# 4

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