Notating...

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New Member

Joined: 04/06/00

Posts: 14

This is a question about key signature and notation.

Q1) What is the definition of key?

I like to use the harmonic minor scale, especially for faking spanish guitar and metal.

If I write a song that uses the notes of the E minor harmonic scale exclusively, without falling back into an E natural minor or some other related diatonic scale:

Q2) Can the notes that I am using be said to be "natural" to the E h.m. scale?

Q3) Can the song be said to be written in the key of E h.m. ?

Q4) Can the key signature relfect the fact that the only notes in the song are those belonging to the key of E h.m. ?

Q4) If the signature can't indicate minor harmonic tonality, what are the conventions for marking the key signature and notating accidentals?

Answers should be in MLA format, with a works cited sheet included

#1

This is a question about key signature and notation.

Q1) What is the definition of key?

I like to use the harmonic minor scale, especially for faking spanish guitar and metal.

If I write a song that uses the notes of the E minor harmonic scale exclusively, without falling back into an E natural minor or some other related diatonic scale:

Q2) Can the notes that I am using be said to be "natural" to the E h.m. scale?

Q3) Can the song be said to be written in the key of E h.m. ?

Q4) Can the key signature relfect the fact that the only notes in the song are those belonging to the key of E h.m. ?

Q4) If the signature can't indicate minor harmonic tonality, what are the conventions for marking the key signature and notating accidentals?

Answers should be in MLA format, with a works cited sheet included

Kevin Taylor

Guitar Tricks Instructor

Joined: 03/05/00

Posts: 4722

How do you guys feel about learning theory.
I'm self taught and don't know one note from the next, lockrian modes from dorkrian modes and the best I can do is Major & Minor notes when trying to describe something.
I learned by listening to albums and copying them and totally bypassed all the theory.
I find now that I play what I feel based on listening experience from my past rather than trying to figure out scales and modes etc.
How do you guys feel. Is it better to learn by ear or by spending years learning theory for the simple fact of attaching names and descriptions to certain notes?

Peace & Grooviness
schmange http://www.guitartricks.com

Sa****ay, April 8, 2000
4:18:43 PM

#2

How do you guys feel about learning theory.
I'm self taught and don't know one note from the next, lockrian modes from dorkrian modes and the best I can do is Major & Minor notes when trying to describe something.
I learned by listening to albums and copying them and totally bypassed all the theory.
I find now that I play what I feel based on listening experience from my past rather than trying to figure out scales and modes etc.
How do you guys feel. Is it better to learn by ear or by spending years learning theory for the simple fact of attaching names and descriptions to certain notes?

Peace & Grooviness
schmange http://www.guitartricks.com

Sa****ay, April 8, 2000
4:18:43 PM

New Member

Joined: 04/06/00

Posts: 14

Hmmm... any way of doing something expressess, consciously or unconsciously, a theory of how that thing should be done...

It seems to me that there are a few theories of how music (particularly guitar) can be learned or done, each more or less suitable for a particular person than another, and each with its particular advantages and disadvantages. I also think that the advantages and disadvantages even out in the long run: All roads lead to Rome, etc.

You can Learn songs, you can Learn theory, you can learn by ear, by paper, by instruction, inductively or deductively...

To further complicate things, there are some people naturally gifted with musical ability, and others naturally gifted (or maybe cursed would be more apt) with tenacious curiousity...

The practical use of theory is to provide an agreed upon language that musicians can use to describe what they are doing, how they want a song to go etc. Good communication requires clear definitions.

Reading tablature is a direct application of theory...

Anyway, I would say that SOME theory is both unavoidable AND indispensable. You can't help but learn a little theory in the course of learning to play, no matter how much you may fight it. You might not even realize what you know but just act on that knowledge almost instinctively.

But I don't think that ya gotta become a space cadet to play music, after all, the real test is gonna be how well you can play or how well you can write, not how well you can bull**** Whatever paths gonna get you there with the biggest grin is the one you should take.

Anyway, I really dig theory, scales, modes, chords, names, patterns, history, the ideas behind the words behind the notes. I want to know WHY. WHAT and HOW are good, too.

Learning the modes, not the modes themselves, but how they actually work, what makes them modes, really opened doors for me. That and the Circle of fifths.

I would say that knowledge of those two things is essential for any flavor of improvisational musician.

The better you get, the more you forget... dont think, do... blah blah blah

But anyway... anyone answer the other question? About harmonic minor scale?

------------------
Sharp, Flat, I'm the one with the axe.

#3

Hmmm... any way of doing something expressess, consciously or unconsciously, a theory of how that thing should be done...

It seems to me that there are a few theories of how music (particularly guitar) can be learned or done, each more or less suitable for a particular person than another, and each with its particular advantages and disadvantages. I also think that the advantages and disadvantages even out in the long run: All roads lead to Rome, etc.

You can Learn songs, you can Learn theory, you can learn by ear, by paper, by instruction, inductively or deductively...

To further complicate things, there are some people naturally gifted with musical ability, and others naturally gifted (or maybe cursed would be more apt) with tenacious curiousity...

The practical use of theory is to provide an agreed upon language that musicians can use to describe what they are doing, how they want a song to go etc. Good communication requires clear definitions.

Reading tablature is a direct application of theory...

Anyway, I would say that SOME theory is both unavoidable AND indispensable. You can't help but learn a little theory in the course of learning to play, no matter how much you may fight it. You might not even realize what you know but just act on that knowledge almost instinctively.

But I don't think that ya gotta become a space cadet to play music, after all, the real test is gonna be how well you can play or how well you can write, not how well you can bull**** Whatever paths gonna get you there with the biggest grin is the one you should take.

Anyway, I really dig theory, scales, modes, chords, names, patterns, history, the ideas behind the words behind the notes. I want to know WHY. WHAT and HOW are good, too.

Learning the modes, not the modes themselves, but how they actually work, what makes them modes, really opened doors for me. That and the Circle of fifths.

I would say that knowledge of those two things is essential for any flavor of improvisational musician.

The better you get, the more you forget... dont think, do... blah blah blah

But anyway... anyone answer the other question? About harmonic minor scale?

------------------
Sharp, Flat, I'm the one with the axe.

Administrator

Joined: 10/31/00

Posts: 3320

Q1) What is the definition of key?
My grandfather's music dictionary says:
key: A scale, or series of notes progressing diatonically.

If I write a song that uses the notes of the E minor harmonic scale exclusively, without falling back into an E natural minor or some other related diatonic scale:

Q2) Can the notes that I am using be said to be "natural" to the E h.m. scale?
I guess you could say that.

Q3) Can the song be said to be written in the key of E h.m. ?
Definitely.

Q4) Can the key signature relfect the fact that the only notes in the song are those belonging to the key of E h.m. ?
No. Key signatures (as far as I know) don't reflect harmonic minor.

Q4) If the signature can't indicate minor harmonic tonality, what are the conventions for marking the key signature and notating accidentals?
You probably would use the E minor/Db major key signature, and mark the non-natural tones with a flat symbol.


Hope that helps.

#4

Q1) What is the definition of key?
My grandfather's music dictionary says:
key: A scale, or series of notes progressing diatonically.

If I write a song that uses the notes of the E minor harmonic scale exclusively, without falling back into an E natural minor or some other related diatonic scale:

Q2) Can the notes that I am using be said to be "natural" to the E h.m. scale?
I guess you could say that.

Q3) Can the song be said to be written in the key of E h.m. ?
Definitely.

Q4) Can the key signature relfect the fact that the only notes in the song are those belonging to the key of E h.m. ?
No. Key signatures (as far as I know) don't reflect harmonic minor.

Q4) If the signature can't indicate minor harmonic tonality, what are the conventions for marking the key signature and notating accidentals?
You probably would use the E minor/Db major key signature, and mark the non-natural tones with a flat symbol.


Hope that helps.

New Member

Joined: 04/06/00

Posts: 14

Thanks Jon, your answers sounded pretty reasonable to me, 'preciate it

------------------
Sharp, Flat, I'm the one with the axe.

#5

Thanks Jon, your answers sounded pretty reasonable to me, 'preciate it

------------------
Sharp, Flat, I'm the one with the axe.

New Member

Joined: 04/14/00

Posts: 3

he's almost entirely correct. i may not be the world's best guitarist but i've sure studied theory :-) he's right, there is no key signature for harmonic minor. you would use the key signature for e natural minor (the same as G major) which has only one sharp: f#. since the harmonic minor scale is a natural minor scale with a raised VII, you would simply put a "#" symbol in front of every D that appears in the song to raise it a half step. that would put the piece in harmonic minor

#6

he's almost entirely correct. i may not be the world's best guitarist but i've sure studied theory :-) he's right, there is no key signature for harmonic minor. you would use the key signature for e natural minor (the same as G major) which has only one sharp: f#. since the harmonic minor scale is a natural minor scale with a raised VII, you would simply put a "#" symbol in front of every D that appears in the song to raise it a half step. that would put the piece in harmonic minor