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Thread: Interval identification

  1. #1
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    Interval identification

    Good morning my friends

    I've been trainning intervals identification in the staff and I have one doubt.

    First I have to identify the lower note and identify the interval based on the major scale of that note.
    But what if the staff has, let's say, 3 sharps (A Maj scale) and the lower note is not the tonic? Shall I use the same principle, i.e., identify the interval using the lower note major scale?

    Thanks

  2. #2
    Registered User JonR's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rbarata View Post
    Good morning my friends

    I've been trainning intervals identification in the staff and I have one doubt.

    First I have to identify the lower note and identify the interval based on the major scale of that note.
    No - you only need to identify the lower note, count up the scale from there, and then take account of the key signature when assessing the type of interval (major/minor/perfect etc)
    Quote Originally Posted by rbarata View Post
    But what if the staff has, let's say, 3 sharps (A Maj scale) and the lower note is not the tonic? Shall I use the same principle, i.e., identify the interval using the lower note major scale?
    Thanks
    Let's say you have 2 notes, one on the bottom space (F), one on the 4th line up (D).

    1. count the notes (lines and spaces) from F to D, counting F as "1st". Result: D = 6th. So it's a 6th of some kind. Normally, F-D is a major 6th. (You need to know all the intervals in the C major scale to determine that.)

    2. Look at the key sig to see if either of these notes is affected. The A major key sig tells you F is sharp. So that means the interval - F#-D - is a half-step smaller than a major 6th; so it's a minor 6th.

    The other method is to pretend the lower note is the keynote. That means we are comparing F#-D with the 6th interval in the F# major scale. (We look at the key sig to determine the F is F#, of course.)
    Again we get the same result (naturally), because - referring to the F# major scale - we begin by considering F#-D# - a major 6th - and F#-D is a half-step smaller.

    Personally I prefer the former method - beginning from knowledge of the natural notes ABCDEFG and all their intervals, and adjusting according to key sig in question - but it depends on how you learn about intervals to begin with. If you've learned all your major scales already (and of course know the major scale interval structure), then the 2nd method may be quicker.

    I guess another system would be to know every interval in the major scale (ie between each of the 7 notes and any note above that) and just look at which notes of the scale are being shown. Eg in the above example, you see F#-D, identify them (via key sig) as the 6th and 4th of the A major scale, and then know that the interval between 6th and 4th (or 11th if you prefer) of a major scale is a minor 6th.

    Naturally, the more accustomed you get to the whole major scale/notation system, the more ways you have of confirming the answer, because you can look at it from more angles. Eg, I'd see those notes as the 3rd and root of a D major chord (IV chord in A). That means it's an inverted major 3rd = minor 6th.
    Last edited by JonR; 03-31-2011 at 08:54 AM.

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    So, in the first method we consider the C Major scale (even if there are key sigs in the staff). That way, all the notes that doesn't have accidentals potentially create major or perfect intervals. When a key sig is present, we must take care to make them affect the notes in their lines or spaces. Then we just have to "add" or "remove" from the major/perfect interval, the correspondent half-steps.
    So, basically, the method is all the same for all the situations.

    But this is not so linear because of intervals with the root on B or E. Being B-C and E-F minor 2nd's, it will affect all the other intervals based on these roots. So, this means, like you've said, that all intervals (and I mean all, starting from every note) of the CMaj scale must be well known.

    The second method, obviously, needs you to know very well all the scales. The first method, to me now, is faster, because although I already know the major scales, I still have to think for a little while to remember them. But I reckon this method is more "complete", i.e., requires a greater knowledge.
    Last edited by rbarata; 03-31-2011 at 09:41 AM.

  4. #4
    Registered User JonR's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rbarata View Post
    So, in the first method we consider the C Major scale (even if there are key sigs in the staff). That way, all the notes that doesn't have accidentals potentially create major or perfect intervals. When a key sig is present, we must take care to make them affect the notes in their lines or spaces. Then we just have to "add" or "remove" from the major/perfect interval, the correspondent half-steps.
    So, basically, the method is all the same for all the situations.
    Yes.
    Quote Originally Posted by rbarata View Post
    The second method, obviously, needs you to know very well all the scales. The first method, to me now, is faster, because although I already know the major scales, I still have to think for a little while to remember them. But I reckon this method is more "complete", i.e., requires a greater knowledge.
    I also prefer the first method, but then I take my knowledge for granted .
    Ie, I do know all my major scales, so could work from the 2nd method. But it seems more complicated or artificial to me. In your example, why invoke the F# major scale, when all we have is a key sig with 3 alterations to the natural notes? It seems like there's one unnecessary stage to go through.

    But as I say, I take my knowledge for granted, and beginners with patchier knowledge will obviously prefer to use whichever method builds on what they know, without having to learn something else.

    Personally I believe the C major scale structure is the foundation of everything. And that doesn't just mean knowing all the intervals from C, but all the intervals from every note. And then, of course, how interval terminology works. (Tying it to a major scale is not necessary or helpful IMO. When I say "C major scale" I mean the notes ABCDEFG in any order.)

    This is of course useful in all kinds of ways, not just in identifying intervals in other keys. But (when doing that) all we need to see is which notes the key sig has changed from the natural ABCDEFG nortes. What the key is is superfluous. (3 sharps could be either A major or F# minor, but all that really matters is that it's 3 sharps!)

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    ...why invoke the F# major scale, when all we have is a key sig with 3 alterations to the natural notes? It seems like there's one unnecessary stage to go through.
    I think that way too.

    Personally I believe the C major scale structure is the foundation of everything. And that doesn't just mean knowing all the intervals from C, but all the intervals from every note.
    Right. As far as I understood the basis for the first method is this:

    - All intervals starting on C are Major or Perfect.

    - All intervals starting on E are minor or Perfect.

    - All intervals starting on B are minor or Perfect, except for the 5th degree which is a Aug 4th or a Dim 5th.

    - All intervals starting on F are Major or Perfect, except for the 4th degree which is a Aug 4th or a Dim 5th.

    - All intervals starting on D are Major or Perfect, except for the 3rd and 7th degrees which are minor.

    - All intervals starting on G are Major or Perfect, except for the 7th degree which is minor.

    - All intervals starting on A are Major or Perfect, except for the 3rd, 6th and 7th degrees which are minor.

    This is just the basis. The you have to consider , if there's a key sig, how it will affect each note.

    It will be hard to memorize all this.
    Last edited by rbarata; 03-31-2011 at 10:57 AM.

  6. #6
    bitter old fool Jed's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JonR View Post
    I also prefer the first method, but then I take my knowledge for granted . Ie, I do know all my major scales, so could work from the 2nd method. But it seems more complicated or artificial to me. In your example, why invoke the F# major scale, when all we have is a key sig with 3 alterations to the natural notes? It seems like there's one unnecessary stage to go through.
    One advantage of taking the seemingly more complicated route - is for learning to "think" in various keys. Utlimately there are advantages to being able to "think" from any tonal center. There's no reason for anyone to think of F# as a particularly complicated or rare tonality. Chords built on an F# root are very common. Knowing the F# range of tonalities and being able to think in terms of F# is a valuable skill.

    Far from being "more complicated or artificial" it's actual the most direct and simple approach to determining an interval since it exactly follows the rules for interval naming. Learning to read D natural as the minor 6th of F# is more direct that any alternative.

    Quote Originally Posted by JonR View Post
    But as I say, I take my knowledge for granted, and beginners with patchier knowledge will obviously prefer to use whichever method builds on what they know, without having to learn something else.
    I think over time, we learn to see these things from so many different perspectives that we can't always identify exactly how we do them. Your example of sorting out F# to D by seeing it as an inverted major 3rd (D to F#=3rd) is one example. But then this only works because you already know D major. We could do that same from F to D (a major 6th) and "reduce the interval to a minor 6th" by raising the reference root (F) to F#. Or we might already know the F# major scale and then of course the Major 6th is D#, so D natural has to be the minor 6th.

    Quote Originally Posted by JonR View Post
    Personally I believe the C major scale structure is the foundation of everything. And that doesn't just mean knowing all the intervals from C, but all the intervals from every note. And then, of course, how interval terminology works. (Tying it to a major scale is not necessary or helpful IMO. When I say "C major scale" I mean the notes ABCDEFG in any order.)
    I would say that the C major scale is the model for everything but hardly the foundation of everything (all the theory rules are defined in terms of C major for simplicity but those rules apply to every key. It would be no less accurate to define the "rules" of theory in terms of A major or B major. The rules don't change either way). Ultimately knowing any interval from any root means learning to think from any tonality. My claim is the best way to do this is to internalize all of the major scales and then think from that perspective as often as possible.

    Quote Originally Posted by JonR View Post
    This is of course useful in all kinds of ways, not just in identifying intervals in other keys. But (when doing that) all we need to see is which notes the key sig has changed from the natural ABCDEFG nortes. What the key is is superfluous. (3 sharps could be either A major or F# minor, but all that really matters is that it's 3 sharps!)
    I don't dispute that this is valuable but I do not believe it to be foundational. I disagree that what matters is the key sig. What matters is the tonality, the key signature is a reflection of the tonality - the reverse is not true in all cases. F# minor is a very different animal from A major - even though the key sig might lead some to think of them as the same thing.

    cheers,

    PS This concept that we only need to learn some keys is a genre and instrument specific perspective and flawed logic in my mind. Music doesn't exist in just a few keys. It exists in any key - all keys. Who is to say in which direction someone will move with their music? Why limit our perspectives when the whole pallet of tonalities is available to us? Admittedly I'm a traditionalist when it comes to these things. I've learned and practiced my skills in all keys so that any melodic or harmonic phrase become a simple intervallic sequence - repeatable in any tonality at will.
    Last edited by Jed; 03-31-2011 at 12:03 PM.

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    Since my last post, I've noticed that to use both methods a great amount of memorization is needed. The first method is, in my oppinion, "more direct" while the second one has the advantage of using each scale "de per si". This means that one doing this is always using the scales by memory which is great to avoid forgeting them.

    Just like you've said Jed, I also think that in time all of us start to see these things as the same thing but from different perspectives. And with practice we do that without thinking too much (which makes it difficult to explain the "How's" to a beginner).

    If we want to start identifying intervals in a minimum of time, the first method might be the best. But the second gives you, in a long run, a greater knowledge of the scales.

    Obviously, the most important, is to understand both methods before being able to use them efficiently.

  8. #8
    bitter old fool Jed's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rbarata View Post
    Right. As far as I understood the basis for the first method is this:

    - All intervals starting on C are Major or Perfect.

    - All intervals starting on E are minor or Perfect.

    - All intervals starting on B are minor or Perfect, except for the 5th degree which is a Aug 4th or a Dim 5th.

    - All intervals starting on F are Major or Perfect, except for the 4th degree which is a Aug 4th or a Dim 5th.

    - All intervals starting on D are Major or Perfect, except for the 3rd and 7th degrees which are minor.

    - All intervals starting on G are Major or Perfect, except for the 7th degree which is minor.

    - All intervals starting on A are Major or Perfect, except for the 3rd, 6th and 7th degrees which are minor.

    This is just the basis. The you have to consider , if there's a key sig, how it will affect each note.

    It will be hard to memorize all this.
    You can think that way but it's not correct and it's not accurate in all cases. I could list example after example where this doesn't work but the truth is self-evident and I don't have the time to waste trying to show you how every pet theory falls apart.

    I explained a method that works every time without exception (thinking in terms of the lower note's major scale). You seem to want to find an easier way (or a way to avoid doing the work of learning the major scales). By all means try, but I don't think that you'll be able to find something that others have not been able to find over hundreds of years.

    cheers,

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by rbarata View Post
    I think that way too.

    Right. As far as I understood the basis for the first method is this:

    - All intervals starting on C are Major or Perfect.

    - All intervals starting on E are minor or Perfect.

    - All intervals starting on B are minor or Perfect, except for the 5th degree which is a Aug 4th or a Dim 5th.

    - All intervals starting on F are Major or Perfect, except for the 4th degree which is a Aug 4th or a Dim 5th.

    - All intervals starting on D are Major or Perfect, except for the 3rd and 7th degrees which are minor.

    - All intervals starting on G are Major or Perfect, except for the 7th degree which is minor.

    - All intervals starting on A are Major or Perfect, except for the 3rd, 6th and 7th degrees which are minor.
    Hmmm - that's mostly true, but seems to me a very complicated way of looking at it.
    (Mostly true, except the interval from B-F is only a diminished 5th, not an augmented 4th. And vice versa for F-B of course.
    And even if you stick with that system, it may be simpler to say:
    "All intervals starting on A are Minor or Perfect, except for the 2nd, which is major."


    Here's the way I look at it. (And I recognise this may look complicated all laid out...)

    I just look at the notes ABCDEFG, and consider what intervals they all make with each other.

    1. B-C and E-F are half steps (minor 2nds); the others are all whole steps (major 2nds).

    2. General knowledge of other interval types:
    Minor 3rd = 3 half-steps
    Major 3rd = 4 half-steps
    Perfect 4th = 5 half-steps
    Perfect 5th = 7 half-steps
    Minor 6th = 8 half-steps
    Major 6th = 9 half-steps
    Minor 7th = 10 half-steps
    Major 7th = 11 half-steps
    (Plus the augmented 4th and diminished 5th mentioned, both 6 half-steps)

    The above presumes we have counted notes first.
    Eg, an interval which measures 6 half-steps is an aug4 if the note count is 4 (FGAB); and a dim5 is the note count is 5 (BCDEF).

    Likewise - when we get to the harmonic and melodic minor scales - we encounter other interval types not mentioned above, all of which are enharmonic with one of the above s: eg F-G# which is an augmented 2nd, not a minor 3rd.
    If we work from notation, this is not too hard, because we simply count lines and spaces to get the basic interval number.
    Eg, G# is on the line (or space) immediately above F, so is clearly a 2nd of some kind. It's augmented because it's a half-step bigger than F-G, which we know is a major 2nd.

    All this is independent of major scales, or any other scale type. It's all derived from interval knowledge. (Scales themselves are built from intervals. The "major scale" is defined by its 3rd, not vice versa.)

    Of course you can work from a basic major scale template if you find that easier (I guess many do).
    Quote Originally Posted by rbarata View Post
    This is just the basis. The you have to consider , if there's a key sig, how it will affect each note.
    Right.
    Any accidentals in the vicinity too, of course (before the notes in question, in the same bar).

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    B-C and E-F are half steps (minor 2nds); the others are all whole steps (major 2nds).
    Yes, basically that's what I do too (after counting the lines and spaces in the staff, obviously). Generally I can give correct answers to most intervals but only after, let's say, 15 or 20 seconds of thinking in the hardest questions. But when I'm training, for example here, there is an option of giving the answer in less than 3 seconds. By asking these questions I'm only trying to find ways to achieve that.

    Any accidentals in the vicinity too, of course (before the notes in question, in the same bar).
    Right

    I explained a method that works every time without exception (thinking in terms of the lower note's major scale). You seem to want to find an easier way (or a way to avoid doing the work of learning the major scales). By all means try, but I don't think that you'll be able to find something that others have not been able to find over hundreds of years.
    Well, I already know the Major scales but not yet to the point of answering immediately. If you ask me any major scale I still need maybe 5 to 10 seconds to access my memory and find the correct answer (without any papers, pencil, tables, etc).
    I'm now looking for a different internal thinking process to access my memories faster. Maybe it's just a question of practice, for example, finding interval names using the method you've mentioned.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jed View Post
    One advantage of taking the seemingly more complicated route - is for learning to "think" in various keys. Utlimately there are advantages to being able to "think" from any tonal center. There's no reason for anyone to think of F# as a particularly complicated or rare tonality. Chords built on an F# root are very common. Knowing the F# range of tonalities and being able to think in terms of F# is a valuable skill.
    Agree. I wouldn't say F# major is a "common" tonality. But I agree with your point.
    Quote Originally Posted by Jed View Post
    Far from being "more complicated or artificial" it's actual the most direct and simple approach to determining an interval since it exactly follows the rules for interval naming. Learning to read D natural as the minor 6th of F# is more direct that any alternative.
    Yes - but for me the "directness" comes from knowing that F-D is a major 6th. Not from looking at F#-D# first.

    IOW, in the example of F#-D in the key of A major, it's not exactly direct to first raise the D to D# to get a major 6th and then lower it again to identify it as a minor 6th.
    Of course, one first needs to know that F-D is a major 6th . But at least one is starting from the same basis all the time (natural notes and their intervals), just making adjustments for key sig. One doesn't have to apply a different major scale and work from there each time.
    IOW, one is working from what the blank staff shows: the C major scale.
    Quote Originally Posted by Jed View Post
    I think over time, we learn to see these things from so many different perspectives that we can't always identify exactly how we do them. Your example of sorting out F# to D by seeing it as an inverted major 3rd (D to F#=3rd) is one example. But then this only works because you already know D major.
    True.
    That's really what I was trying to say: the more you learn, the more perspectives you see it from. It's hard to disentangle what the most "direct" angle is. And in practice, any of them might be more appropriate than the others.
    Quote Originally Posted by Jed View Post
    We could do that same from F to D (a major 6th) and "reduce the interval to a minor 6th" by raising the reference root (F) to F#. Or we might already know the F# major scale and then of course the Major 6th is D#, so D natural has to be the minor 6th.
    Right. I happen to find the first way simpler - more "direct". Because you only have to know C major - or rather all the intervals in a blank key sig.
    But I accept the 2nd way might seem more direct if one is equally familiar with all 12 major scales.
    Quote Originally Posted by Jed View Post
    I would say that the C major scale is the model for everything but hardly the foundation of everything (all the theory rules are defined in terms of C major for simplicity but those rules apply to every key. It would be no less accurate to define the "rules" of theory in terms of A major or B major. The rules don't change either way). Ultimately knowing any interval from any root means learning to think from any tonality. My claim is the best way to do this is to internalize all of the major scales and then think from that perspective as often as possible.
    Yes, but that's according to that agenda. I agree that's important (being able to think in any major scale), but it's a long way round for the task of interval identification.
    I guess one could argue that interval identification is less important than learning one's major scales anyway! (I might agree.)
    Quote Originally Posted by Jed View Post
    I don't dispute that this is valuable but I do not believe it to be foundational. I disagree that what matters is the key sig. What matters is the tonality, the key signature is a reflection of the tonality - the reverse is not true in all cases. F# minor is a very different animal from A major - even though the key sig might lead some to think of them as the same thing.
    Yes. Again, you're working from the principle that key and tonality are primary - and I agree. Interval identification then becomes subsidiary to that.
    Music is generally in a key, so individual notes relate to a tonic first, and then to chord roots and other notes.

    I can see that my "system" isolates intervals from their usual context. That's obviously artificial to some extent. I guess I just find that an easier way to make sense of them (of the terminology anyway).
    Quote Originally Posted by Jed View Post
    PS This concept that we only need to learn some keys is a genre and instrument specific perspective and flawed logic in my mind. Music doesn't exist in just a few keys. It exists in any key - all keys. Who is to say in which direction someone will move with their music? Why limit our perspectives when the whole pallet of tonalities is available to us?
    I'm not advocating any limitation. But it's natural for a beginner to begin from the easy keys. Pianists begin with C major, then G and F. Guitarists might begin from G, D or A - any key with as many open chords as possible.

    I don't think it's necessary to make every beginner learn every major scale as soon as possible. If you can thoroughly understand a few easy keys, you can then work your way round to the less common ones, applying what you've learned. It's only in jazz that one needs total familiarity with all 12 keys (and the minors too). Not everyone wants to play jazz. One can get a long way in rock and never encounter - or have to care about - the key of F#/Gb major. (And if you find a song where your voice demands that key, well you can use a capo .)

    Notation itself makes C major primary. I know we have to fight against that to some extent: the tyranny of the piano keyboard, with its artificial distinction between white and black notes! (At least the guitar fretboard is more democratic than that. Our "easy keys" are purely dependent on the tuning of the instrument, not on any systematic bias.)

  12. #12
    bitter old fool Jed's Avatar
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    Jon,

    As you already know I don't often disagree with you nor do I take doing so lightly. I'm confident that you understand where I'm coming from. So rather than a rebuttal, this is offered as a clarification for others.

    I agree that there no need for every beginner to first memorize all the scales before they start learning about music. But I do feel very strongly that doing so is the most powerful way to approach learning theory as an adult. I had the good fortune to have been compelled to learn every major scale and every chord spellings in a time and place where I didn't have time to question my instructors. At that time it was a matter of doing these things so that I could get into school or not doing them and not getting into school.

    Now these many years later, I see the value of having intimate knowledge of each key even from a non-jazz perspective. Irrespective of the key of the notation, there is an intervallic structure inherent in any musical piece. This intervallic structure can be viewed from the perspective of the key of the notation or in a key-agnostic way via numerical analysis techniques. Most people with think of numerical analysis as another abstraction layer, but I was taught to see the analysis primarily and the key of notation as secondary.

    To this end, I now view music in numerical terms relative to the tonality and the actual notes as a specific instance of some musical construct expressed in a particular key. I perceive music in terms of the numerical analysis, there is no abstraction, it's just my perception. The abstraction happens when I express the numerical analysis in terms of some key.

    The advantage, IMHO, to this style of perception is that one "sees" the common / characteristic sequences in a way that is not tied to any one key and so is then available in any key known to the musician. Getting to that point requires knowing the scales well enough to read music in some key, and perceive it in terms of it's numerical analysis / function (as well as in terms of the notes themselves, but their function has the greater significance).

    Over time, many musicians end up at the same place via different means. I offer this approach for consideration to the adult learner that is looking for a quick way (relative I know) to get to a point of deep understanding of theory but doesn't have the decades required to learn this material the way longer term students do. Most longer term students learn these things via thousands and thousands of examples over many, many years as they learn their instrument. My approach turns things the other way around - learn the theory and music first, then use that knowledge to learn the instrument in a focused way.

    cheers,

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    Just to say I agree with Jed. I think the same way, although I arrived at it via a different route.
    I learned notation in school music lessons (as well as how to play the recorder, badly), but gave up that subject well before I took up guitar (at 16). I taught myself guitar, with the help of the notorious Bert Weedon manual, but mainly from records, songbooks, and playing in a band with friends. So my process was always highly pragmatic, even though I was always curious about theory (trying to invent my own scales and chords quite early on!).
    I was like a two-strand progress: in playing terms, it was whatever worked, whether that was in folk, rock'n'roll, blues or hot jazz. That was all pretty easy, and fun. Outside of playing, it was curiosity about how it all worked - but from a historical, psychological or scientific perspective, not connected to what I was playing. Still fun, but of a more intellectual kind. My theoretical research never informed my playing - except occasionally in private experimentation. That was because I understood the kind of music I was playing well enough - there was no mystery about it, nothing that couldn't be understood by listening well enough and copying.

    It was when I began teaching (some 30 years after I began playing) that I really started trying to work out systems, and interrogated my own technique and experience. That included trying to organise theory in ways that were as simple and logical as possible, with clear practical applications. I still struggle to do that, because my interest in theory is way beyond what any beginner needs (and it's actually way beyond what I need too). It fascinates me, but I know it doesn't fascinate most of my students, and I respect that.

    Of course, this is really a much larger topic than the original question - but of course it is all connected.

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    ...because my interest in theory is way beyond what any beginner needs (and it's actually way beyond what I need too). It fascinates me, but I know it doesn't fascinate most of my students, and I respect that.
    I think my interest for music and theory is like that too. While many people can accept theoretical concepts just like that, without any further explanations, I find it very hard in most cases. You have seen already, from my previous posts, that I'm always looking for a deep explanation for every bit of information.
    I do that because I have the tendency to go really deep in everything that I do, even if I get overwhelmed in the process. That's how I learn things!

    Even though it makes the learning process harder, the reward is great because you learn much more. I admit that more practical people will get that knowledge too in the end so, basically, it's just a learning process that differs from, probably, most of the people.

    I have a very particular oppinion about learning theory. For example, since music theory has a lot of historical backgrounds, I think that every theory student should start by learning music history together with the practical application of what our ancesters discovered or decided to do. I believe that, if it was like that, many of the beginners doubts wouldn't exist.

    I agree with Jed too because I have understood already that learning the major scales at first will make the learning process easier in the long run but while I'm still memorizing them I don't mind to take a different approach simultaneously. This approach might seem a little confusing to many people and give the appearence that I'm not following a "logical" and "correct" learning progression but I feel confortable with it and it will come to a point where I connect everything. In fact I think that point was achieved already and now things start to make a lot more sense.

  15. #15
    Registered User Malcolm's Avatar
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    All this is great and over my head. I'm a very simple man and have simple thoughts. If I'm following correctly all this is going to tell me what notes are in the scale, correct?

    Scales that I use are going to have 7 notes.
    So I start on the root and lay out 7 notes, i.e. E, F, G, A, B, C, D
    Now I need the accidents. F is the only "pure" letter root with flats so I skip flats.....

    Memory peg for sharps -- See God Destroy All Earth By F#irey C#haos.
    C has none, G has one, D has two, A has 3, E has 4.
    So E is going to have 4 sharps. Which ones.....
    Fat Cat Go Down Alleys Eating Birds. The F#, C#, G#, D#.
    So I insert those sharps and the E scale is E, F#, G#, A, B, C#, D#.

    Once I have the major I get the minor using 1, 2, b3, 4, 5, b6, b7 interval notations.
    Em would be E, F#, G, A, B, C, D

    You have been talking about two different methods, but, unless I missed it neither one is detailed. I really would like to understand those two. No - not kidding, I skipped over all that perfect 5th, second major, etc. in my early study.

    So if you will, please take both methods and show me how they decide what notes are in the E Major scale.

    Little TLC for an old musician.
    Last edited by Malcolm; 04-01-2011 at 11:43 PM.

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