Tonality

Tonality is a common hierarchical framework in use in western music from approximately 1600 CE or so. For some of western music history, tonality is the best way to describe pitch relationships in music. Starting toward the end of the 19th Century and the beginning of the 20th, tonality became less straightforward, and eventually multiple…

Consonance and Dissonance

Reading through Intervals 1 & 2 earlier made me realize that I left out a very important part of learning intervals: consonance and dissonance. These are loosely defined at the most basic level as “sweet” sounding or “harsh” sounding. I also like to use analogies like blending vs. clashing or restful vs. tense or stable…

Note reading worksheets

Here’s the first two: note reading worksheets note reading worksheets2 These includes practice reading treble and bass clef, and can be used to practice reading melodic intervals between notes, as well as harmonic intervals between the bass and treble staves. Time yourself to see how fast you can do it! Another good way to practice…

Treble Clef

Treble clef is the clef used for higher notes, generally speaking. It looks like this: Treble clef is also sometimes called the “G” clef, because the curly part circles around the G above middle C. Each line and space is it’s own note name. Many people use mnemonics to memorize the lines or the spaces.…

Basic Rhythm reading

Rhythm is mostly counting by various levels of two. Below starts with an example of various lengths of note values you might see: The first two measures (also called bars) in order: whole note, half note, quarter note, eighth note, sixteenth note, thirty-second note. In the second staff below each note is the same value…

Intervals 2

Hearing intervals Many people use familiar tunes to help identify basic intervals. This can work, but be careful because always thinking of “here comes the bride” for a fourth only gets you used to so-do fourth, and not the do-fa (or any other) fourth. Here are some I remember, feel free to find your own…

Intervals 1

An interval is the distance between two notes. Reading Intervals Let’s start with a scale. Scales are made up of steps, meaning each note is next to each other. Steps are either whole or half. Steps are also called seconds. Whole step = major second. Half step = minor second. The G major scale above…

Solfège

Solfège is a system of naming musical notes with syllables to indicate their position in a key. It was first used in about the 10th Century to help educate monks who needed to sing, but couldn’t read. This has evolved into about 3 different ways to use similar syllables today. The syllables are do (doh),…

Bass Clef

The word clef is originally descended from a word for “key,” because it provides the key to what notes you are looking at on a page. We’re starting today with Bass clef, which is the clef used for low notes, generally speaking. It looks like this: Bass clef is also sometimes called the “F” clef,…