HOSTS- Jeremy Burns, Matthew Scott Phillips
TYPE- Theory 101
DURATION- 41: 41
BUMPER MUSIC- "Mjr. Cool" (Area 47)
ANNOUNCER- Mike Cunliffe
Listen as we dig a little deeper into the major scale. We will also discuss key signatures and how to identify them by using the order of sharps or flats and a few other tricks we picked up along the way. The circle of fifths will make its brief debut as will the concept of diatonic and chromatic steps.
(C moving up to C#)
(C# moving up to D)
(C moving up to D)
GOING FROM B TO C AND E TO F
(two exceptions where there is only a half step between two white keys)
CHROMATIC HALF STEP
A half step in which the letter name stays the same and an accidental is added or subtracted. The below example, C moving up to C#, shows a CHROMATIC HALFSTEP
Measure 1 Measure 2
THE MAJOR SCALE
C MAJOR SCALE PATTERN (keyboard)
C MAJOR SCALE PATTERN (notation)
IDENTIFYING KEY SIGNATURES
Here are 4 helpful methods to help you identify and understand key signatures.
CIRCLE OF FIFTHS METHOD
THE ORDER OF SHARPS
(on the right side of the circle)
-The C major key signature has no sharps or flats.
-Go up a 5th from that point. So, count up from C: (1) C (2) D (3) E (4) F (5) G
-We landed on G.
-Count up the G major scale to the 7th note:
(1) G (2) A (3) B (4) C (5) D (6) E (7) F
-Sharpen the 7th note you land on (F becomes F#)
-So the G major key signature has one sharp (F#).
-Each time you go up a 5th, from your new note, you add one sharp to the 7th scale note from that point.
-This will reveal the next note to sharpen, in the order of sharps, and add one more sharp to the new key signature.
MNEMONIC DEVICES METHOD
THE ORDER OF SHARPS
-F# is always the first sharp in a sharp key signature.
-Each time you go up a 5th, you add another sharp.
-The resulting order of sharps is as follows:
(1) F# (2) C# (3) G# (4) D# (5) A# (6) E# (7) B#
-Think of a sentence where all the words begin, in this order, with the given letter names:
Fat Charlie Goes Down And Eats Breakfast
OBSERVING THE KEY SIGNATURE METHODS
(The figuring used in the following methods is strictly intended for identifying MAJOR key signatures)
IDENTIFYING SHARP MAJOR KEY SIGNATURES
(LAST SHARP METHOD)
-Observe the key signature. This one has 4 sharps.
-Find the last sharp in the sequence, from left to right. In this case its a D# (circled in green).
-That note (D#) is the leading tone (7th scale degree) of the major key signature
given. D# is the leading tone to E. So, we are in the key of E.
THE ONLY EXCEPTION IS THE KEY OF F MAJOR
However, it's easy enough to remember that one flat represents the key of F major.
F major is the ONLY major natural key with a flat in the key signature.
PEN STROKE METHOD
(this method is strictly for identifying MAJOR keys)
-You can relate the first five keys, in the order of sharps, to the number of pen strokes it takes to draw the letters of those keys:
1 stroke 2 strokes 3 strokes 4 strokes 5 strokes
1 sharp 2 sharps 3 sharps 4 sharps 5 sharps
This method falls apart at 6 sharps (F#) and 7 sharps (C#). But thats only 2 key signatures that you have to memorize compared to 7.
SCALE DEGRESS AND THEIR FUNCTIONS
1) TONIC- Scale degree 1 is the root, or the foundation, of the scale. This is the note for which the scale is named. The C note is the tonic of the C scale.
2) SUPER TONIC- Scale degree 2 is the note above the tonic.
3) MEDIANT- Scale degree 3 is the midpoint between the tonic, scale degree 1, and the dominant, scale degree 5. This is the middle, or "third", of a triad.
4) SUB DOMINANT- Scale degree 4 is the note immediately below the dominant.
5) DOMINANT- Scale degree 5 is roughly at the center of the scale. This note is second most important note only to the tonic. It often precedes tonic in a chord progression.
6) SUB MEDIANT- Scale degree 6 is the same distance below the tonic as the mediant, scale degree 3, is above the tonic.
7) SUB TONIC or LEADING TONE- The note below (and that often precedes) the tonic, in a chord progression. It is only considered the LEADING TONE when it is a HALF STEP below the tonic. If it is a WHOLE STEP below the tonic, it is still considered the SUB TONIC but not a LEADING TONE.
-Mnemonic devices can be great aids in learning and memorizing many things in music. The more ridiculous, the more effective!
-Now that you're getting used to thinking of notes as scale degrees, start thinking of them also as their functions (ex. tonic, dominant, super tonic, etc...).
-Heinrich Schenker was one of many theorist who postulated that all tonal music is, at a base level, comprised of movement from the tonic to the dominant and back to the tonic.
-Try not to confuse the SUB DOMINANT with the LEADING TONE. These two terms are not interchangeable.
(Area 47 Music)
Jeremy Burns- bass, guitar
Brian Maloy- drums
MUSIC STUDENT 101