Published on February 14, 2014
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Of Chords & Scales...
In the previous lesson “The very first step…”, we took a broad view about what a Triad is, and the notes that form the minor/Major/diminished/Augmented and Suspended Chords.
The Theory of Notes
Playing more than one note at the same time is called: Harmony. So, Chords are the Harmonies of three or more notes. Chords provide the Harmonic Structure or background mood of a piece of Music. As we know now what an interval is (the difference in the pitch between two notes), we can classify them as: Melodic/Harmonic. . An Interval is Melodic when notes are played one after the other. . An Interval is Harmonic, when notes are played one above the other.
We have “Consonant” intervals and “Dissonant” intervals. When two notes merge naturally together to create a pleasant sound, the interval is consonant, but when the interval of two notes emit a buzzy cruel sound, the interval is said to be dissonant. 1. The Perfect “Consonant” intervals are the: Unison (1), Perfect Fifth (5) and the Octave (8). 2. The well-nigh Perfect “Consonant” intervals are the: minor/Major Third (b3/3) and minor/Major Sixth (b6/6) 3. The “Dissonant” intervals are the: minor/Major Second (b2/2) and minor/Major Seventh (b7/7) 4. The mixed interval is the Perfect Fourth (4).
For example; If you play C and Db together, you will hear the dissonant sound that the interval (b2) emits. Try playing C along with E, the two notes go well together. The two notes emit a consonant sound! (it’s the Major Third) The Perfect Fourth (4) that is basically dissonant, is sometimes classified as consonant. ---- By the way, the TRITONE which is an interval of Three Tones (equivalent to the Augmented Fourth, or diminished Fifth) was called: “Diabolus In Musica”. It was restricted because of its dissonant character…
The aspects Unison intervals are two identical notes played together. They are always strongly consonant and difficult to tell apart! (e.g. C with C) minor Second (b2) intervals are strongly dissonant. (e.g. C with Db) Major Second (2) intervals are less dissonant, but still, the notes do not merge at ease. (e.g. C with D) minor Third (b3) intervals are strongly consonant with a melancholy flavor to the sound. They form the basis of minor chords and scales. (e.g. C with Eb) Major Third (3) intervals are strongly consonant too with a stable and pleasing sound. They form the basis of Major chords and scales. (e.g. C with E) Perfect Fourth (4) intervals are gently dissonant, with a stretched feeling as if it would rather return to a Major Third. (e.g. C with F) Tritone (#4 or b5) intervals are dissonant. They add a unique harmonic spice in a chord or in a scale. Perfect Fifth (5) intervals are strongly consonant. They add solidness, but not that much character to the harmony.
minor Sixth (b6) intervals are mildly dissonant, but they are categorized as consonant for the fact that the Major Sixth (6) intervals are consonant. (e.g. C with Ab) Major Sixth (6) are consonant and add a unique character to the harmony. (e.g. C with A) minor Seventh (b7) intervals are mildly dissonant, often found in chords of four notes or more. (e.g. C with Bb) Major Seventh (7) intervals are dissonant, often found in chords of four notes or more. (e.g. C with B) The Octave intervals are strongly consonant, like unison, because notes, an octave apart, sound similar to each other, just higher or lower. (e.g. C with C)
TONES INTERVALS Consonant/Dissonant 0 Unison Strongly Consonant. ½ minor Second Strongly Dissonant 1 Major Second Less Dissonant 1½ minor Third Strongly Consonant 2 Major Third Strongly Consonant 2½ Perfect Fourth Mildly Dissonant / Well-nigh Consonant 3½ Perfect Fifth Strongly Consonant 4 minor Sixth Well-nigh Consonant 4½ Major Sixth Consonant 5 minor Seventh Mildly Dissonant 5½ Major Seventh Dissonant 6 Octave Strongly Consonant
Quick Info The TRITONE interval sits on the half way mark in the Octave (three tones). It has a special property of still being a TRITONE interval when turned “up side down”. It can have the name of an Augmented Fourth, or of a diminished Fifth interval. e.g. The TRITONE of C is “F#” or “Gb”. But it is often named as an Augmented Fourth.
The Usual Scales
This Scale is a five-note scale. (Penta: five, tonic: tones). The usual Pentatonic scale is the Chinese Pentatonic (not the Japanese Pentatonic) and it has the following sequence of intervals: Major Pentatonic scale: tones: e.g. minor Pentatonic scale: tones: e.g. 1 1 2 1 3 1½ 5 1 6 8 1½ C Major Pentatonic: 1 C D E G A C b3 4 5 b7 8 1½ 1 1 1½ 1 C minor Pentatonic: C Eb F G Bb C
So… The Major Pentatonic scale is formed of: a Root note (1), a Major Second (2), a Major Third (3), a Perfect Fifth (5) & a Major Sixth (6). The minor Pentatonic scale is formed of: a Root note (1), a minor Third (b3), a Perfect Fourth (4), a Perfect Fifth (5) & a minor Seventh (b7).
Chroma in Greek means “color”. The Chromatic scale is based on the twelve notes of the occidental music (all colors). Notes of this scale are separated by a half-step. e.g. A Chromatic scale: A - Bb - B - C - C# - D - D# - E - F - F# - G - G# - A
The Diatonic scales are usually the Heptatonic scales (seven-note scales). e.g. the Major/minor Scale. The Major scale has the following sequence of intervals: Intervals: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 tones: 1 1 ½ 1 1 1 ½ e.g. C Major scale: C D E F G A B C The minor scale has the following sequence of intervals: Intervals: 1 2 b3 4 5 b6 b7 8 tones: 1 ½ 1 ½ 1 1 ½ e.g. C minor scale: C D Eb F G Ab Bb C
The Major scale is formed from: a Root note (1), a Major Second (2), a Major Third (3), a Perfect Fourth (4), a Perfect Fifth (5), a Major Sixth (6) and a Major Seventh (7). The minor scale is formed from: a Root note (1), a Major Second (2), a minor Third (b3), a Perfect Fourth (4), a Perfect Fifth (5), a minor Sixth (b6) and a minor Seventh (b7).
P.S. In a Major scale, all the intervals from the Root note to any note are either; Perfect or Major.
Exercise Q: What are the notes of the following scales: 1. 2. 3. 4. A Major Pentatonic scale A minor Pentatonic scale A Major scale A minor scale (answers are on the next page)
Did you notice that: The difference between A Major Pentatonic scale and A Major scale is the 4th note and the 7th note? and the difference between A minor Pentatonic scale and A minor scale is the 2nd note and the 6th note?
Now it’s your turn to do some thinking…
Q: What are the notes of the following Pentatonic scales: C Major Pentatonic C minor Pentatonic D Major Pentatonic D minor Pentatonic E Major Pentatonic E minor Pentatonic F Major Pentatonic F minor Pentatonic G Major Pentatonic G minor Pentatonic A Major Pentatonic A minor Pentatonic B Major Pentatonic B minor Pentatonic ? (answers are on the next two pages)
C Major Pentatonic C D E G A C D Major Pentatonic D E F# A B D E Major Pentatonic E F# G# B C# E F Major Pentatonic F G A C D F G Major Pentatonic G A B D E G A Major Pentatonic A B C# E F# A B Major Pentatonic B C# D# F G B
C minor Pentatonic C Eb F G Bb C D minor Pentatonic D F G A C D E minor Pentatonic E G A B D E F minor Pentatonic F Ab Bb C Eb F G minor Pentatonic G Bb C D F G A minor Pentatonic A C D E G A B minor Pentatonic B D E F# A B
C Major C minor D Major D minor E Major E minor F Major F minor G Major G minor A Major A minor B Major B minor ? (answers are on the next two pages)
C Major C D E F G A B C D Major D E F# G A B C# D E Major E F# G# A B C# D# E F Major F G A Bb C D E F G Major G A B C D E F# G A Major A B C# D E F# G# A B Major B C# D# E F# G# A# B
C minor C D Eb F G Ab Bb C D minor D E F G A B Cb D E minor E F# G A B C D E F minor F G Ab Bb C Db Eb F G minor G A Bb C D Eb F G A minor A B C D E F G A B minor B C D E F# G A B
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