Music theory for dummies
on Sat Sep 05, 2009 1:08 am
... by the biggest dummy..
This is for those of you who feel you know absolutely nothing about music theory. There is already some great stuff in this thread http://www.deanguitars.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=49424,
but I thought I'd try to go though the most basic stuff and then go from there (I'm gonna have to take a couple of peeks in my books
So you might have heard that there are 12 notes in (western) music. They are:
C# or Db
D# or Eb
F# or Gb
G# or Ab
A# or Bb
(and then back to C).
(Notice that there are not sharps and flats between E and F and B and C)
The "interval" in between any two consecutive notes is called one semitone. So for example C - Db is one semitone. Two semitones add up to one "tone".
Alright, I think we're ready to start looking at a scale. Let's start with C major (huge surprise, I know..).
So the C major scale goes like this: C - D - E - F - G - A - B - C
Notice that there are no sharps or flats? Kinda hard to miss. Anyway, that's why the C major scale is such a good example to start out with. (Also note that all of the seven letters were used!)
Let's take a look at the intervals. We have one tone between almost all the notes. The exceptions are E and F and B and C, which are separated by one semitone. With that we can create a sort of formula of how to write any major scale. So with 2 representing a tone and 1 a semitone our formula would look like this: 2 - 2 - 1 - 2 - 2 - 2 - 1
We now have all we need to write any major scale down: We know the intervals between all the 12 notes (right?
), we have our little formula and we know that we must use all the seven letters.
So let's give it a shot to write for example the A major scale.
That means A is gonna be our first letter, followed by B, C, D, E, F, G and then A again.
A, then one tone which takes us to B. The next letter is C, but remember; the interval between B and C is just a semitone and for our major scale we need to have a tone. That means we have to raise our C one semitone to C#. Our next letter is D and the interval according to our formula should be one semitone. How convenient that our C i raised exactly one semitone! Think you can figure out the rest by yourselves?
Here's the complete scale: A - B - C# - D - E - F# - G# - A
Alright, I'm gonna have to a continue this another time, it's 3am over here and I'm getting dumber by the minute.
Any questions? Post 'em up and I'll try to answer them. I'm sure some of our other forum smartasses will help those of you who need it as well.