[In the future, I'll post a basic guitar article. For now, this is what you got]
Basic Music Theory
Music is organized in notes. Notes vary in length and pitch. Music is set up in measures. For reasons of simplicity, consider a measure to be four beats. It can be more than four beats, but almost all music is written so that a measure is four beats. Most of the time, a beat is a quarter note. A half note is two quarter notes, a whole note is four, an eighth note is half of a quarter, and a sixteenth note is a quarter of a quarter note, and so on.
Pitch is organized by letters. A, B, C, D, E, F, and G make the rage of musical pitch.
There are also sharp and flat notes. These are “halfway” notes between two notes. There are two sets of notes that don’t have these halfway notes. The interval between E and F doesn’t have a halfway note, and the interval between B and C doesn’t, so the full 12 note scale is as follows (this is referred to as the chromatic scale):
Sharp notes are indicated by a number sign after the note, and flat notes are indicated by a small superscript of “b” after the note. You’ll notice that there are notes with a slash between them. This means that they’re actually the same note, written two ways. Halfway above C is the same as halfway below D. B# is the same as C, and E# is the same as F.
An octave is eight notes. If a note is an octave above or below another note, it’s the same letter, but much higher or lower than the other note. A note has the same sound as a note an octave above it or below it.
Music can be written many different ways, but I’ll be concentrating on writing music on a staff, as follows.
There are three main things here. There’s the clef symbol, which is the big fancy drawing. The symbol there means “treble clef”, and is the clef that instruments such as guitars and trumpets almost always play in. A clef is a way of organizing music on the staff.
The next thing is the time signature. That’s the numbers. Basically, what they say is how many beats are in a measure, and how much a beat is worth in length. Don’t worry about that for the moment.
The next thing present is the staff itself. Notes are written on it like so:
Normally, the name of the note isn’t written above the note itself, but I did so to show what the notes were, as a reference.
Next, I’ll be showing you how you determine length of notes. Use this as a reference.
As I said, a quarter note is the beat of a song. There are four quarter notes in a measure.
Also, when there is a dot after a note, you increase the length of a note by half its original value. For instance, if you have a dotted whole note, you hold it for six beats.
I’ll demonstrate different rhythms that I’ll write on the board and then demonstrate.
Now, you’re going to write music on a staff. Take these notes and write them:
F (quarter note)
F (Eighth note)
G (Eight note)
A (Quarter note)
A (Eight note)
G (Eighth note)
When you play music, you play in a key. This key can be major or minor, but I’ll concentrate on major scales.
A key can be on any note, F#, C, A, you name it. To determine how scales work, I’ll have you look at a piano.
You’ll notice that there are black keys and white keys. The white keys are the notes that aren’t flat or sharp (A, B, C, D, E, F, G) and the black keys are the notes that are sharp or flat. (A#, C#, D#, F#, G#).The Key of C has only white keys on it. To figure out a Key, and what notes are on it, you find the root, which is the note whose key’s name you’re finding, and count from there. You go two keys forward (a whole step) once, hit that note, go another whole step, hit that note. Move one key, or a half step, hit that note, go a whole note, whole note, whole note, half note. The keys hit are the ones on the scale. You’ll notice that if you use this process in the key of C, you’ll only hit white notes on the piano. If you repeat this process for any major key, you’ll find that, as I demonstrated, black keys are hit.
For instance, the scale of A has A, B, C#, D, E, F#, G#, and A
The other scale I’ll be covering is the minor scale. It goes whole step, half step, whole step, whole step, half step, whole step, and whole step. The A minor scaled is the same as the C major scale, but it starts on a different note. The minor scale gives a slightly more dissident and edgy sound than the major scale.
For instance, the minor scale of C has C, D, D#, F, G, G#, G, A#, C.
There are also what are called Chromatic Scales. These scales are made by hitting every key, white or black, between the root note and the note an octave up from that.