"Secrets of Exciting Chords & Chord Progressions!"
 

     
 

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" Secrets of Exciting Piano Chords & Piano Chord Progressions!"

Free Online Piano Lesson #71

The 3 Essential Parts Of Music:

Part One: Melody

     During the next 3 lessons we are going to consider the essential parts of music -- the elements of music that are "must haves" -- you don't really have music unless you have these 3 elements at some time or another. They don't have to all happen at the same time, or all the time, but they are always intermittently present -- like the weather.

    The first part of music is melody. A melody is a tune, a horizontal flow of notes that generally serves as the basic identifier of a piece of music. On the keyboard we have 12 different notes to work with, and these 12 different notes are repeated in seven different octaves:

     Melodies are constructed from these 12 notes, and are almost always derived from a scale of some kind. A scale is simply a row of notes in some consistent pattern. The word “scale” comes from a Latin word meaning “ladder” – notes ascend or descend the ladder rung by rung. There are many types of scales – major, minor (3 varieties of minor), chromatic, whole tone, etc. We will take a look at some of these other types of scales, but the most-used scale is the major scale, which is a row of notes in alphabetical rotation in the following pattern:

     Notice that the distance between the 1st and 2nd notes of the major scale is a whole step; between the 2nd and 3rd notes is a whole step; between the 3rd and 4th notes is a half step, and so on.

     For example, if we began our major scale on F sharp, it would look like this:

If we started on B, it would look like this:

     Notice that the only half steps are between the 3rd and 4th notes and the 7th and 8th notes – all the other notes are separated by whole steps.


 

     Here is a chart which shows the notes of all 12 major scales according to their position in the scale. Note the relationship of whole steps and half steps:


 

 

1st note (do)

2nd note (re)

3rd note (mi)

4th note (fa)

5th note (sol)

6th note (la)

7th note (ti)

8th note (do)

C scale

C

D

E

F

G

A

B

C

Db scale

Db

Eb

F

Gb

Ab

Bb

C

Db

D scale

D

E

F#

G

A

B

C#

D

Eb scale

Eb

F

G

Ab

Bb

C

D

Eb

E scale

E

F#

G#

A

B

C#

D#

E

F scale

F

G

A

Bb

C

D

E

F

Gb scale

Gb

Ab

Bb

Cb

Db

Eb

F

Gb

G scale

G

A

B

C

D

E

F#

G

Ab scale

Ab

Bb

C

Db

Eb

F

G

Ab

A scale

A

B

C#

D

E

F#

G#

A

Bb scale

Bb

C

D

Eb

F

G

A

Bb

B scale

B

C#

D#

E

F#

G#

A#

B

 

   In the preceeding chart, you will notice that there are no sharp scales listed. This is simply because D flat and C sharp are really the same key – just written differently. The same is true of E flat and D sharp, G flat and F sharp, A flat and G sharp, and B flat and A sharp. These are known as enharmonic scales – the sound is identical, but one scale is written as a flat scale while the other is written as a sharp scale.

     So melodies use scales, and like a climbing vine, they wrap themselves around the harmony of the song. In the next lesson we will take up the 2nd element of music.

(I am well aware, of course, that other cultures do not always use the same scale we do in the West. I am speaking only of Western music (European-American).

 

 

 

 

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