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Introduction to Music Theory

Collection Editor:
Catherine Schmidt-Jones

Introduction to Music Theory

Collection Editor:
Catherine Schmidt-Jones
Russell Jones
Catherine Schmidt-Jones

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Rice University, Houston, Texas

0). 2005 PDF generated: October 1. Collection structure revised: March 14. . 90.0 license (http://creativecommons.This selection and arrangement of content as a collection is copyrighted by Catherine Schmidt-Jones. It is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 1. 2011 For copyright and attribution information for the modules contained in this collection. see

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1 Major Keys and Scales . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .5 Consonance and Dissonance . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 72 Solutions .2 Minor Keys and Scales . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 52 3. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 42 3 Triads and Chords 3. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1 Octaves and the Major-Minor Tonal System . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .6 Beyond Triads: Naming Other Chords . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .4 Cadence in Music . . .. . . 69 3. . . . . . . . . . . .3 The Circle of Fifths . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 80 Index . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2 Half Steps and Whole Steps . 57 3. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .3 Beginning Harmonic Analysis . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25 2 Keys and Scales 2. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38 Solutions . . . . . . . . . . 32 2. 88 Attributions . 10 1. . . . . . . . . .2 Naming Triads . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1 Triads . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 65 3. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .3 Interval . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21 Solutions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29 2. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .4 Ear Training . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 49 3. . . . . . .Table of Contents 1 Pitch and Interval 1. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 90 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 1. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 1.

iv .

they talk about its frequency3 .org/content/m11060/latest/#p1e> 1 . The higher the frequency of a note.Chapter 1 Pitch and Interval 1.23/>. these will be 3 "Frequency. like all sounds.1 Where Octaves Come From Musical notes. the higher it sounds. and Pitch" <http://cnx. Wavelength. like "440 vibrations per second. The sound waves that make musical notes are very evenly-spaced waves. and like most measurements. A note can be high or low.1 Octaves and the Major-Minor Tonal System note: 1 Are you really free to use this online resource? Join the discussion at Opening Measures2 .org/content/m10862/2.1." 1 This content is available online at <http://cnx. 1.aect the sound of the note. When scientists and engineers talk about how high or low a sound is. are made of sound waves. depending on how often (how frequently) one of its waves arrives at your ear. 2 http://openingmeasures. They can measure the frequency of notes. and the qualities of these regular waves .for example how big they are or how far apart they are .

in the same key (Section 2. and Standing Waves and Wind Instruments7 . they give the notes names.2 CHAPTER 1. they talk about the note's pitch4 . that's too low for their voices. A note that is an octave higher or lower than a note named "C natural" will also be named "C natural". So when musicians talk about how high or low a note> 6 "Standing Waves and Musical Instruments" <http://cnx. let's talk about frequencies a little more. they are all singing the same pitch . But people have been making music and talking about music since long before we knew that sounds were waves with> 7 "Standing Waves and Wind Instruments" <http://cnx. Standing Waves and Musical Instruments6 . They are just singing them one octave higher. PITCH AND INTERVAL High and Low Frequencies Figure 1.1). Any note that is twice the frequency of another note is one octave higher. (For more discussion of how notes are related because of their frequencies. They can't sing where the men are singing.the same frequency .for each note. That means their note has exactly two waves for each one wave that the men's note has.1: A sound that has a shorter wavelength has a higher frequency and a higher pitch. Instead they sing notes that are exactly double the frequency that the men are singing. see The Harmonic Series5 .org/content/m10943/latest/> 5 "Harmonic Series" <http://cnx. Nobody is singing harmony. Flat. they usually don't talk about frequency. (For> . And instead of numbers. Now some women join in the song. and Natural Notes" <http://cnx. Notes that are one octave apart are so closely related to each other that musicians give them the same name. Imagine a few men are singing a song together. musicians call the note with frequency "440 vibrations per second" an "A". A note that is one (or more) octaves higher or lower than an "F sharp" will also be an "F sharp". like "C". These two frequencies t so well together that it sounds like the women are singing the same notes as the men.) But to see where octaves come from.) 4 "Pitch: Sharp.

2: 1. in the instrument. 8 "The Sta" <http://cnx. Figure 3 shows the names of the octaves most commonly used in music. Many musicians use Helmholtz notation. Informally. a "G" for example. These waves t together so well. Because of> . one has a frequency exactly two times higher than the other . if it's clear which sta8 they're talking about. many discussions of music theory don't bother naming octaves.2 Naming Octaves The notes in dierent octaves are so closely related that when musicians talk about a note. musicians often speak of "the B on the sta" or the "A above the sta".1) without mentioning which octave the scale or the F sharp are in. because the scale is the same in every octave. and in your ears. which simply labels the octaves with numbers. Others prefer scientic pitch notation. We can talk about the "F sharp" in a G major scale (Section 2. it often doesn't matter which G they are talking about. that they sound almost like dierent versions of the same note.3 Octave Frequencies When two notes are one octave apart. starting with C1 for the lowest C on a full-sized keyboard. and in the has twice as many waves. Figure 1. But there are also two formal systems for naming the notes in a particular octave.

25.) . all the notes between "great C" and "small C" are "great". For example.1 Naming Notes within a Particular Octave Figure 1. PITCH AND INTERVAL Naming Octaves Figure 1. One-line c is also often called "middle C".1. higher octaves can be labelled with higher numbers or more lines. (Solution on p. Exercise 1. all the notes in between "one line c" and "two line c" are "one line" notes. No other notes are called "middle".4: Each note is considered to be in the same octave as the C below it. Example 1.4 CHAPTER 1. The octave below contra can be labelled CCC or Co. For example.3: The octaves are named from one C to the next higher C. only the C.1 Give the correct octave name for each note. Octaves are named from one C to the next higher C.> 12 "Pitch: Sharp. you have to use a sharp or at12 sign. higher.which includes most familiar music from Europe and the Americas .3 Dividing the Octave into Scales The word "octave" comes from a Latin root meaning "eight". only seven are used in any particular major (Section 2.) You may be thinking "OK. The octave was named by musicians who were more interested in how octaves are divided into> . than in how their frequencies are related. beginning the next octave. and Scales that aren't Major or Minor10 for more about this. and G. be the next A. D.the octave is divided up into twelve equally spaced> 10 "Scales that aren't Major or Minor" <http://cnx. 9 "What Kind of Music is That?" <http://cnx. Now take a look at the piano keyboard. Only seven letter names are used to name notes: A. E. Other musical traditions . 7).have divided the octave dierently and so they use dierent scales. These are the diatonic scales. Minor Keys and Scales (Section> 11 "What Kind of Music is That?" <http://cnx. of course.5 1. It seems an odd name for a frequency that is two times. F.traditional Chinese music for example . not eight times.1) or minor (Section 2. that still has nothing to do with the number eight". The people in dierent musical traditions have dierent ideas about what notes they think sound best together.2). (Please see Major Keys and Scales (Section 2. and you have the eight notes of the octave. so that you have that a "complete"-sounding scale ("do-remi-fa-so-la-ti" and then "do" again). B. and Natural Notes" <http://cnx.2) scale. In the Western9 musical tradition .5 Figure 1.1). Octaves aren't the only notes that sound good together. To name the other notes. but out of those twelve notes. The eighth note would. Add the rst note of the next octave. that's twelve notes. If you play all twelve of these notes within one octave you are playing a chromatic scale (p.1. the notes on the black piano keys. and they are the basis of most Western11 music. Flat.

For more on the keys and scales that are the basis of tonal> . see Major Keys and Scales (Section and Minor Keys and Scales (Section 2. Musicians often nd it useful to talk about how much higher or lower one note is than another. Black keys can only be named using sharps or ats. The pattern repeats at the eighth tone of a scale. or B at). 13 This content 14 "What Kind is available online at <http://cnx. of Music is That?" <http://cnx. most of the music that feels comfortable and familiar (to Western listeners) is based on either a major or minor scale. or A at).6: Whether it is a popular song. This distance between two pitches is called the interval between them. It is tonal music that mostly uses only seven of the notes within an octave: only one of the possible A's (A sharp. one of the possible B's (B sharp. B natural.2 Half Steps and Whole Steps 13 The pitch of a note is how high or low it sounds. PITCH AND INTERVAL Keyboard The white keys are the natural notes. the small interval from one note to the next closest note higher or lower is called a half step or semi-tone. The other notes in the chromatic scale are (usually) used sparingly to add interest or to (temporarily) change the key in the middle of the music. a classical symphony. or an old folk tune. 1. the octave.2). A natural. Figure 1.6 CHAPTER 1. and so on. In Western music14 .20/>.

like trombone18 and violin19 .7 Half Steps (a) (b) Three half-step intervals: between C and C sharp (or D at).mid> 16 "The Sta" <> 17 "What Kind of Music is That?" <http://cnx. but even they usually don't. and between G sharp (or A at) and A.7 (Half Steps) look dierent on a sta16 . Figure 1. (A few instruments. But it is clear at the keyboard that in each case there is no note in between sometimes not. can easily play pitches that aren't in the chromatic scale. So a scale (Section> 19 "Introduction to the Violin and FAQ" <http://cnx. The intervals in Figure 1. plays all the notes on both the white and black keys of a> 18 "Trombones" <http://cnx.7 (Half Steps).) One Octave Chromatic Scale All intervals in a chromatic notes easily available on most instruments. sometimes they are on the same line. It also plays all the notes easily available on most Western17 instruments. a chromatic scale. Figure 1.7: Listen15 to the half steps in Figure 1.8: scale are half steps.1) that goes up or down by half> . between E and F. The result is a scale that plays all the 15 See the le at <http://cnx.

mid> the le at <http://cnx.10: All intervals in a whole tone scale are whole steps. Whole Tone Scale Figure 1. a scale made only of whole steps. between E and F sharp. If you go up or down two half steps from one note to another. 20 See 21 See the le at < Figure 1. and between G sharp and A sharp (or A at and B at). PITCH AND INTERVAL Listen20 to a chromatic scale. then those notes are a whole step.mid> . sounds very dierent from a chromatic Listen21 to a whole tone scale. You can count any number of whole steps or half steps between notes.8 CHAPTER 1. Whole Steps (a) (b) Three whole step intervals: between C and D. or whole tone apart. just remember to count all sharp or at notes (the black keys on a keyboard) as well as all the natural notes (the white keys) that are in between.9: A whole tone scale.

1 (Solution on p.2 (Solution on p.2.11: Going from C up to F takes ve half steps. a written chromatic scale. or two and a half steps. If you have trouble keeping track of the notes. Figure The interval between C and the F above it is 5 half steps. you can print out this sta paper22 PDF le.9 Example 1. If you need sta paper for this exercise.2. 25. 25. Figure 1. 22 See the le at <http://cnx. use a piano keyboard.) Identify the intervals below in terms of half steps and whole steps.) Fill in the second note of the interval indicated in each measure. Exercise 1. or the chromatic ngerings for your instrument to count half steps.pdf> .12 Exercise 1.

there is a more convenient and descriptive way to name them.13 Thanks to everyone who participated in the survey! It was very useful to me.3. For both as a researcher and as an author. Scientists usually describe the distance between two pitches in terms of the dierence between their frequencies28 .1).2). or "E at is a step and a half above C natural". or dissonance (Section 3. This concept is so important that it is almost impossible to talk about scales (Section 2.25/>.4). and emailed comments are still welcome as always. Intervals can be described using half steps and whole steps (Section 1.5) without referring to intervals. harmonic progression27 .in other> . Flat. I hope to begin updating the survey results module23 in April. Musicians nd it more useful to talk about interval. to get a better picture of my readers' goals and needs. note: 24 1. you can say "B natural is a half step below C natural".org/content/m11654/latest/#l0b> 28 "Frequency. 25 "Pitch: Sharp. Wavelength.3 Interval 1. PITCH AND INTERVAL Figure 1. But when we talk about larger intervals in the major/minor system (Section 1. So if you want to learn music theory.1).org/content/m11654/latest/#l0b> 27 "Harmony": Chords <http://cnx. chords26 . and Natural Notes" <http://cnx. and Pitch" <http://cnx. 23 "A Survey of Users of Connexions Music Modules" <http://cnx. I will also soon begin making some of the suggested additions.1 The Distance Between Pitches The interval between two notes is the distance between the two pitches25 . cadence (Section 3. it would be a good idea to spend some time getting comfortable with the concepts below and practicing identifying intervals.10 CHAPTER> 24 This content is available online at <> 26 "Harmony": Chords <http://cnx. how much higher or lower one note is than the other.

3. Count every line and every space in between the notes.mid> 33 See the le at <http://cnx. This gives you the number for the interval.14 To nd the> 30 "Clef" <http://cnx. Note that. at this stage. 29 "Key Signature" < clef30 .mid> . The simple intervals are one octave or smaller. key signature29 . second33 .org/content/m10941/latest/> 31 "Pitch: Sharp. as well as the lines or spaces that the notes are on. Example 1. Flat.15 If you like you can listen to each interval as written in Figure 1.15 (Simple Intervals): prime32 .11 1. The interval between B and D is a third.3 Counting Intervals Figure 1.2 Naming Intervals The rst step in naming the interval is to nd the distance between the notes as they are written on the sta. count the lines or spaces that the two notes are on as well as all the lines or spaces in> 32 See the le at <http://cnx. and accidentals31 do not matter at all. Simple Intervals Figure 1. and Natural Notes" <http://cnx. The interval between A and F is a sixth.

mid> the le at <http://cnx. fourth35 .12 CHAPTER 1.mid> the le at < Listen to the compound intervals in Figure eleventh42 . Figure 1.mid> the le at < fth36 .mid> the le at <http://cnx.3. Compound Intervals Figure 1.mid> the le at <> (Solution on p.2 Write a note that will give the named interval.mid> the le at <http://cnx. sixth37 .) .org/content/m10867/latest/tenth. Compound intervals are larger than an octave. tenth41 .17 Exercise 1.3. 26.1 (Solution on p.18 34 See 35 See 36 See 37 See 38 See 39 See 40 See 41 See 42 See the le at <> the le at < seventh38 . Figure 1. PITCH AND INTERVAL third34 .) Name the intervals.mid> the le at <http://cnx. Exercise 1.16 (Compound Intervals): ninth40 . 26. octave39 .

These intervals are never classied as major or minor.3. 43 "Clef" <http://cnx.19. fourths. (Both the octave and the perfect fth have prominent positions in most of the world's musical traditions.> 44 "Key Signature" <http://cnx. So in the second step of identifying an> 49 "Harmonic Series" <http://cnx. and Natural Notes" <http://cnx. So the second step to naming an interval is to classify it based on the number of half steps (Section 1. 7) is necessary to do this accurately.) Because they are so closely related. the actual distance. between the two notes has not mattered. octaves.1 Perfect Intervals> . A to C natural and A to C sharp are both thirds.19: Listen to the dierences in the thirds46 and the fths47 in Figure 1. Figure 1. in half-steps. And a fth made up of seven halfsteps sounds very dierent from one of only six half-steps. Wavelength. But a third made up of three half-steps sounds dierent from a third made up of four half-steps.3.mid> 48 "Frequency.13 1. they have been given the name "perfect" intervals.2) in the interval. The dierence between the intervals A to E natural and A to E at is even more and fths can be perfect intervals.) Because they sound so closely related to each> 45 "Pitch: Sharp.mid> 47 See the le at <http://cnx. see Frequency. Familiarity with the chromatic scale (p. they sound particularly good together. note: What makes these particular intervals perfect? The physics of sound waves (acoustics) shows us that the notes of a perfect interval are very closely related to each other. Wavelength. and Pitch" <http://cnx. with a dierent sound. key signature44 . (For more information on this.3 Classifying Intervals So far. a fact that has been noticed since at least the times of classical Greece. but A to C sharp is a larger interval. and Pitch48 and Harmonic Series49 .3: Augmented and Diminished Intervals)). 1. although they can be augmented or diminished (see below (Section 1. and accidentals45 become> 46 See the le at < and probably even longer. clef43 .

A perfect prime is also called a unison. and Natural Notes" <http://cnx.5 50 "Tuning Systems": Section Equal Temperament <http://cnx. For the music-theory purpose of identifying intervals. Flat.mp3> 56 See the le at <http://cnx. modern equal temperament pure51 perfect fourths and fths. sixths. It is two notes that are the same pitch53 . thirds.4 Perfect Intervals Figure 1. this does not matter. A perfect fourth is 5 half-steps.mp3> 55 See the le at <> 54 See the le at <http://cnx.higher or> 53 "Pitch: Sharp. A perfect octave is the "same" note an octave (Section 1.2 Major and Minor Intervals Seconds. and perfect fth56 .3. Major and Minor Intervals • • • • • • • • 1 half-step = minor second (m2) 2 half-steps = major second (M2) 3 half-steps = minor third (m3) 4 half-steps = major third (M3) 8 half-steps = minor sixth (m6) 9 half-steps = major sixth (M6) 10 half-steps = minor seventh (m7) 11 half-steps = major seventh (M7) Example 1. A perfect 5th is 7> 51 "Tuning Systems": Section Pythagorean Intonation <http://cnx. PITCH AND INTERVAL 50 tuning does not give the harmonic-series-based note:> 52 "Tuning Systems" <http://cnx.1) .20 Listen to the octave54 . The minor interval is always a half-step smaller than the major interval.14 CHAPTER half-steps . 1. Example 1. To learn more about how tuning aects intervals as they are actually played. perfect fourth55 .mp3> . see Tuning Systems52 . and sevenths can be major intervals or minor intervals.

15 Major and Minor Intervals Figure Listen to the minor second57 .22 57 See 58 See 59 See 60 See 61 See 62 See 63 See 64 See the le at <http://cnx. major third60 . minor seventh63 .mp3> the le at <http://cnx. major second58 . Exercise 1. minor sixth61 . and major seventh64 .mp3> the le at <http://cnx. minor third59 .org/content/m10867/latest/min7.> .mp3> the le at < (Solution on> the le at <http://cnx.mp3> the le at <http://cnx.) Give the complete name for each interval.mp3> the le at <http://cnx. major sixth62 . Figure 1.mp3> the le at <http://cnx.

3 Augmented and Diminished Intervals If an interval is a half-step larger than a perfect or a major> .4 Fill in the second note of the interval given. not whether the notes are written as natural. though. that it is the actual distance in half steps between the notes that determines the type of interval. Example 1.) Figure 1. sharp.3.6 65 "Pitch: 66 "Pitch: Sharp. 27. or double-sharp. Flat. An interval that is a half-step smaller than a perfect or a minor interval is called diminished.3. Always remember. Exercise 1. Flat. A double sharp65 or double at66 is sometimes needed to write an augmented or diminished interval correctly.3.16 CHAPTER 1. and Natural Notes" <http://cnx. PITCH AND INTERVAL (Solution on p.23> Sharp. and Natural Notes" <http://cnx. it is called augmented.

(Solution on this unique 67 See the le at <http://cnx.5 Write a note that will give the named interval. augmented seventh71 . Are you surprised that the augmented fourth and diminished fth sound the same? Exercise the diminished fth and augmented fourth sound the same.25 As mentioned> 75 "What Kind of Music is That?" <http://cnx.mid> 73 See the le at <http://cnx.mid> 68 See the le at <http://cnx.mid> 71 See the le at <http://cnx. diminished octave72 .) Figure> 69 See the le at <http://cnx. and diminished fth74 . so another term for this interval is a tritone.mid> 70 See the le at <http://cnx. 27. or three whole tones. Both are six> 72 See the le at <http://cnx.17 Some Diminished and Augmented Intervals Figure 1. diminished sixth70 .24 Listen to the augmented prime67 .org/content/m11421/latest/> .mid> 74 See the le at < augmented third69 . In Western Music75 .org/content/m10867/latest/aug4. augmented fourth73 . diminished second68 .3.

Figure 1. That reason sometimes has to do with subtle dierences in the way dierent written notes will be interpreted by> 79 "Enharmonic Spelling" <http://cnx. simply imagine that one of the notes has moved one octave. or perfect interval. but it is mostly a matter of placing the notes correctly in the context of the key (Section 2. Always classify the interval as it is written.3) for more on that subject.26:> . Always classify the interval as it is written.5) and unstable (tending to want to resolve (p. or a minor second as an augmented prime. is considered unusually dissonant (Section 3. the chord77 .org/content/m11654/latest/#l0b> 78 "Harmony" <http://cnx. because of enharmonic spellings76 .1). and the evolving harmony78 . In fact. Because inverting an interval only involves moving one note by an octave (it is still essentially the "same" note in the tonal system). You have probably noticed by now that the tritone is not the only interval that can be "spelled" in more than one way. which cannot be spelled as a major. the composer had a reason for writing it that way. the interval for any two pitches can be written in various ways.4 Inverting Intervals To invert any interval. so that the higher note has become the lower and vice-versa. for example. 71) to another interval).) Enharmonic Intervals Any interval can be written in a variety of ways using enharmonic79 spelling.3. A major third could be written as a diminished fourth.1) system.18 CHAPTER 1. minor. intervals that are inversions of each other have a very close relationship in the tonal (Section 1. 76 "Enharmonic Spelling" <http://cnx. (Please see Beginning Harmonic Analysis (Section> 77 "Harmony": Chords <http://cnx. PITCH AND INTERVAL interval.

3. Example 1. To name the new interval. 4.6 What are the inversions of the following intervals? 1.19 Inverting Intervals Figure 1. 5. 28. and of a minor interval is major. 3. 2.3. The inversion of an augmented interval is diminished and of a diminished interval is augmented. Augmented third Perfect fth Diminished fth Major seventh Minor sixth 1. The inversion of a major interval is minor. subtract the name of the old interval from 9.) . The inversion of a perfect interval is still perfect.27 To nd the inversion of an interval 1. (Solution on p.28 Exercise 1. 2.7 Figure 1. 4.5 Summary Here is a quick summary of the above information. for reference. 3.

and octave . • A perfect octave is often simply called an octave. PITCH AND INTERVAL Number of Common half steps Spelling Example. and goes up the named interval. • Inversions of perfect intervals are perfect. . • A diminished interval is one half step smaller than the perfect or minor interval. • Perfect intervals . fth. from C Alternate Spelling Example.are never called major or minor Summary Notes: Augmented and Diminished Intervals • An augmented interval is one half step larger than the perfect or major interval. Table 1. Summary Notes: Inversions of Intervals • To nd the inversion's number name. subtract the interval number name from 9. It is the next "note with the same name". It is two notes of the same pitch. from C Inversion 0 Perfect Unison (P1) Minor Second (m2) Major Second (M2) Minor Third (m3) Major Third (M3) Perfect Fourth (P4) Tritone (TT) C D double at Octave (P8) C sharp Major Seventh (M7) Minor Seventh (m7) Major Sixth (M6) Minor Sixth (m6) Perfect Fifth (P5) Tritone (TT) Perfect Fifth (P5) Minor Sixth (m6) Major Sixth (M6) Minor Seventh (m7) Major Seventh (M7) Perfect Octave (P8) G Diminished Second Augmented Unison Diminished Third Augmented Second Diminished Fourth Augmented Third Augmented Fourth or Diminished Fifth Diminished Sixth Augmented Fifth Diminished Seventh Augmented Sixth Diminished Octave Augmented Seventh 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 D at D E at E F F sharp or G at A at A B at B C' E double at D sharp F at E sharp F sharp or G at A double at G sharp B double at A sharp C' at B sharp Perfect (P4) Major (M3) Minor (m3) Major (M2) Minor (m2) Perfect (P1) Fourth Third Third Second Second Unison : The examples given name the note reached if one starts on C.1 Summary Notes: Perfect Intervals • A perfect prime is often called a unison.unison. fourth.20 CHAPTER 1.

please try the listening exercise (Exercise> 87 "What Kind of Music is That?" <http://cnx.) However. In other words. and inversions of diminished intervals are augmented. and research seems to suggest that if you don't have it at a very early and inversions of minor intervals are major. when they hear> 86 "Harmony": Chords <http://cnx. A few people have what is called perfect pitch or absolute pitch. you cannot develop it. 82 "Duration: Note Lengths in Written Music" <http://cnx. and Ecstasy: How Music Captures our Imagination. p. to get a better picture of my readers' goals and> 81 This content is available online at <http://cnx. • Inversions of augmented intervals are diminished. but the only dierence that would make (in the sound) is that the entire piece will sound higher or lower. the whole thing can be transposed88 . the dierences in sound between a major key and a minor key is one of the rst dierences that a musician should be able to hear. unless you played it in both keys. and for many musicians may even be more useful than perfect pitch. The term ear training refers to teaching musicians to recognize information about notes82 and chords83 just by hearing them. you may want to look up Robert Jourdain's Music. but how all the notes are related to each other and to the "home" note (the tonic (p. 14) higher than the> .1.1: Major and Minor Chords). If you would like to see whether your "ear" can recognize the dierence between major and minor keys. All minor keys (Section 2.21 • Inversions of major intervals are minor.4 Ear Training 1.1). they can tell you that you played a tonic-subdominant-dominant seventh-tonic (I-IV-V7-I) chord progression86 . they can tell you that one of them is a major third (Major and Minor Intervals. If you play four chords85 in a row.1) are so similar. a piece in a major key will sound almost exactly the same whether you play it in C major or D major. for example.1. This is an unusual skill that even most trained musicians do not have. because of the way Western87 music is conceived. or just because they want it to sound higher or lower). note: Thanks to everyone who participated in the survey! It was very useful to me. 81 1. If someone really wants the piece to be in a dierent key (because it's easier to sing or play in that key.2) are also heard by most listeners as interchangeable. or the rst inversion (Section 3. 30)) of the key. both as a researcher and as an author.1) in Major Keys and Scales (Exercise 2.4. Most listeners would not even notice the dierence. if you play two notes. Since all major keys (Section> 83 "Harmony": Chords <http://cnx.> 88 "Transposition: Changing Keys" <http://cnx. the Brain.1. A few musicians with particularly perceptive ears can even tell you that a piano is tuned a few cents84 higher than the one that they play at home. In> 85 "Harmony": Chords <http://cnx. 4). and emailed comments are still welcome as always. but there are important dierences between major keys and minor keys.15/>. I hope to begin updating the survey results module80 in April.2: First and Second Inversions) of an F minor chord (Section 3. Fortunately. note: 80 "A Survey of Users of Connexions Music Modules" <http://cnx. The thing that matters is not what note you start on.2. having relative pitch is good> 84 "Tuning Systems" <http://cnx. I will also soon begin making some of the suggested additions.1 What is Ear Training? When musicians talk about ear. one right after the other. and understand what the ear has heard. most musicians can be trained to recognize relative pitch. can tell you exactly what they are hearing: the G above middle C (p. (For more on this subject. These people. they don't mean the sense organ itself so much as the brain's ability to perceive.

Suggestions • You do not have to learn to read music to be able to do this. the key is to practice the particular skills that you want to develop. • Really listen to the chord progressions to the songs you do know. try playing them in an unfamiliar key. any musical idea that you "hear" in your head. musicology. And of course. or see if you can change or add chords to make a new harmony that still ts the melody. • Practice guring out the chords to familiar songs (that you don't know the chords to). Simply having an ear well-trained in "relative pitch" is extremely useful in many ways. you can play. until you are good at tuning. • Spend as much time as necessary tuning whenever you play. work with a skilled musician who can teach you how to tune your instrument and help you identify and x tuning problems. it will slow down your ear training tremendously. Given a well-trained "ear".) Don't just tune at the beginning of rehearsals and performances.3) or write the music down. and again listen carefully to how that changes the sound to your ears. if you do. crucial to being able to play music that people will want to hear.4. As with all other musical skills.2. Suggestions • At the beginner> . For songs that you do know the chords to. Whenever possible.2 Ear Training Skills 1.4. • Practice tuning quickly and accurately. What do they sound like? Play the same progressions in dierent keys and listen to how that does and also does not change the sound of the progression. ear training is crucial to any musician who wants to play jazz or any type of improvisation. As always. 1. One musician may be very good at "playing by ear".2. or just being able to write down a tune accurately. Other instrumentalists can play a favorite tune without a written copy of it. Do not (knowingly) practice while out of tune. but may not even read music and cannot name intervals (Section 1. PITCH AND INTERVAL So. get someone else to help you tune every time you play. 89 "Harmony": Chords <http://cnx. just by knowing what the interval to the next note must be. And ear training is also crucial for those interested in music theory. • Play with other musicians often. Change the bass notes of the chords to see how that changes the sound of the progression to your ears. and yet feel unable to do jazz improvisation. but it is very helpful to know a little bit about music theory so that you can predict which chords are most likely to happen in a song.2 Playing Chords By Ear For instruments that play chordal accompaniments. 1.1 Tuning This is the most basic ear training skill. this is an incredibly useful skill. Composers and music arrangers can jot down a piece of music without having to "pick it out" on an instrument to nd the notes and chords they want. and then play the progressions in their favorite keys. Guitar and piano players can gure out chord progressions89 just by listening to them. Learn any alternate ngerings and other "tricks" available on your instrument for ne-tuning each note as you play. Try starting with Beginning Harmonic Analysis (Section 3. (Playing along with recordings does not teach good tuning skills. you often don't need to know exactly what notes or chords are being played.22 CHAPTER 1. Another may be very good at "taking dictation" (writing down the music they hear). there are many dierent levels and kinds of prociency.4.3). Change ngerings and chord voicings. Listen at all times and be ready to retune any note whenever necessary.

Even if you don't normally take lessons.23 • A teacher who understands harmony can help tremendously with this particular skill. listen to it many times. nd the notes on your instrument. of course .petersax.4.3)).com92 . makes it easy to increase your repertoire. A good improviser.and a musician with a well-trained ear will be aware of all of them. when interviewed.3 Playing Tunes by Ear This is fun to be able to do. and many Non-Western91 traditions also use improvisation. • Once you start getting good at this. or as being the fth note in the scale of the key? • As of this writing. How few mistakes can you make the rst time you try it? Can you "recover" quickly from a mistake by making it sound like a bit of improvisation? • If you play a melody instrument (one that plays only one note at a time). rock. one source of a large variety of such books was jazzbooks. Add your own variations. Practice stringing them together in ways that make sense to you. or any teacher familiar with 94 "Melody": Section Motif <http://cnx. petersax-online90 had many exercises graded from simple to more dicult to help the beginner practice playing what you hear.4. The exercises at the petersax93 site mentioned above would also be useful for the beginning improviser. A good book of this type will give the student a chance to improvise on many familiar tunes. see how quickly you can get a new tune down. mention how useful it was to them to learn from other soloists by transcribing their solos in this way. You may want to experiment: is it easier for you to think of the next note as being a perfect fourth higher than the note you are on. at least subconsciously but you may nd at rst that one works better for you than the others. These three things are all related to each other.> 92 http://www. 90 http://www. Blues.petersax. and if a particular solo really appeals to you. or as being the root of the chord.2. given the name of a chord. Find a teacher who is willing and able to teach you specically about harmony and typical chord progressions. but are dierent from what you've heard. where it is in the key (see Beginning Harmonic Analysis (Section 91 "What Kind of Music is That?" <http://cnx. and then try writing it down as accurately as you can.4 Improvisation This is the skill you need for jazz. Suggestions • Just do it! The best way to learn this skill is to spend some of your practice time trying to play tunes you know and like. At the time of this writing. Many famous 93 http://www. and is an important step in being able to improvise. can quickly play not • • • • only the notes of the chord but also the scale implied by the chord. Listen to jazz often.2. 1. Any decent book on playing> . Suggestions • Know your scales and arpeggios. Listen to the improvisers you admire.3)) or where it is in the chord (see Triads (Section 3. Figure out how to play your favorite jazz (or blues or rock) licks (short motives94 that show up in many pieces in the same genre) on your instrument.jazzbooks.1)). there are dierent bits of information that help you recognize what the next note will be: how far it is from the note you are on (see Interval (Section 1. There are now many book/CD combinations available to help the beginning improviser in many dierent genres and on many dierent instruments. and some also introduce the music theory involved. you might want to consider having a series of lessons on this. will introduce the student to these chords and scales.

Then play what you have written. practice is the best way to become good at 98 http://www. a female deer. 17). with links to recordings. since you may nd it easier to work in some keys than in others. Try searching at YouTube for "Interval song" or "ear training" to nd videos that you might nd helpful. join a jazz band. TrainEar98 included a long list. a deer. You may also want to understand Transposition95 .php . and every interval in the phrase "someday I'll wish upon a star" in the song "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" is a minor third. Once again. noticing where you were correct and where you made mistakes.24 CHAPTER 1. Which intervals are you good at hearing? Which do you have trouble identifying? Do you often mistake one particular interval for another? Do you tend to identify a note by its interval from the previous note or by its place in the chord or in the key? Answering these questions will help you improve more quickly. (For example. some people will prefer thinking of the beginning of "The Simpsons" theme. so when trying to hear a tritone (p.) The tune should be very familiar. you must know your major (Section 2. you'll want to be able to make that quick connection between what you hear and written music. If you think this method will work for you.2. try playing the interval you are having trouble hearing. Start with tunes that you know well.4. and/or get together with other musicians who also want to practise improvisation and take turns playing background/rhythm for each other.trainear. but don't know what the (written) notes are. or songs that can be associated with various intervals. others will prefer the beginning of "Maria" from West Side Story.".trainear.1) and minor (Section 97 http://www. musicology.. 95 "Transposition: Changing Keys" <http://cnx.3). As of this If you are interested in composing.2) keys and • • • • scales and your Intervals (Section 1. 1. and the commercial site TrainEar97 included a free online version. all the intervals in the phrase "a female deer" are major thirds. Suggestions • Before you can do this.5 Recognizing Intervals and Writing Music Down This is the skill that allowed Beethoven to continue composing masterpieces even after he became deaf. music theory. Teoria Musical96 was a free ear training website that worked well. arranging. or just being able to write down a tune quickly and accurately. Some people nd it easier to learn to recognize intervals if they associate each interval with a familiar> 96 http://www. and see what tune it reminds you of. in the familiar song from The Sound of Music that begins "Do.. As of this writing. Listen to them in your head (or play a recording) while trying to write them down. PITCH AND INTERVAL • Find a teacher who is familiar with the type of improvisation you want to learn.

25 Solutions to Exercises in Chapter 1 Solution to Exercise 1.2.29 Solution to Exercise 1.1.2. 4) ei d d ii G f B AA E i b ei Figure 1. 9) Figure 1.2 (p.1 (p.1 (p. 9) g g ii d iii a FF ai .30 Solution to Exercise 1.

For example.1 (p.3.32 Solution to Exercise 1. 12) Figure 1.26 CHAPTER 1. Figure> . PITCH AND INTERVAL If your answer is dierent.31: Solution to Exercise 1.2 (p. the B at could be written as an A sharp.3. check to see if you have written a dierent enharmonic spelling99 of the note in the answer.33 99 "Enharmonic Spelling" <http://cnx. 12) Figure 1.

34 Solution to Exercise 1.27 Solution to Exercise 1.35 . 15) Figure 1. 16) Figure 1.3.4 (p.3 (p.3.

36 Solution to Exercise 1.6 (p. 3.3. 17) Figure 1. 5. 4.5 (p.28 CHAPTER 1. 19) 1.3. Solution to Exercise 1. 2. Diminished sixth Perfect fourth Augmented fourth Minor second Major third PITCH AND INTERVAL .

Three are in a major key and two in a minor and even many non-musicians.3. The "bright"-sounding major chords and the strong feeling of tonality are what give major keys their happy. Exercise 2.5 3. nursery rhymes and folk songs we learn as children. and chords. scales.6 4.4 2.mp3> 6 See the le at <http://cnx. or "the resting place".mp3> 29 .1 (Solution on p. in that key. the "catchy" tunes used in advertising jingles. Can you tell which is which simply by listening? • • • • • 1.5: Minor Keys) in order to decide. most musicians. the notes of the scale are often used to build "bright"-sounding major chords (Section 3.Chapter 2 Keys and Scales 1> 3 "Harmony" <http://cnx. In Listen to these excerpts.7 5.1. can distinguish major and minor keys just by listening to the music. these notes are listed in the scale associated with that key.mp3> 7 See the le at <http://cnx.2).org/content/m10851/latest/Guitar3. and cannot tell just by listening. In major keys. music in a minor key is more likely to sound This contrasts with the moods usually suggested by music that uses minor (Section 2. note: 1 This content is available online at <http://cnx.25/>. or mysterious. 30). you may have to do some simple harmonic analysis (Section 3. a note or chord that feels like "home".1 Major Keys and Scales The simple. exciting. inspiring.mp3> 8 See the le at <http://cnx. ominous.mp3> 5 See the le at <http://cnx. or just plain fun.2)> 4 See the le at <http://cnx. the uplifting sounds of a symphony: most music in a major key has a bright sound that people often describe as cheerful. 2 "What Kind of Music is That?" <http://cnx. How are these moods produced? Music in a particular key tends to use only some of the many possible notes available.8 If you must determine whether a piece of music is major or minor. the cheerful. They also give a strong feeling of having a tonal center (p. pleasant moods. Although it also has a strong tonal center (the Western2 tradition of tonal harmony3 is based on major and minor keys and scales). toe-tapping pop and rock we dance to.

2 These major scales all follow the same pattern of whole steps and half steps. the note where music in that key feels "at rest". It is also called the tonic.MID> . Three Major Scales All major scales have the same pattern of half steps and whole steps. KEYS AND SCALES 2. and features a melody and a bass line that also return to the note A often enough that listeners will know where the tonal center of the music is. music in the key of A major almost always ends on an A major chord. Can you hear that they do not feel "done" until the nal tonic is played? • Example A10 • Example B11 2. This note is the tonal center of that> 10 See the le at <http://cnx. whole step. even if they don't realize that they know it. the chord9 built on the note A. (For more information about the tonic chord and its relationship to other chords in a key.1. whole step. beginning on the note that names the scale . For example. They have dierent sets of notes because the pattern starts on dierent notes. Example 2. and it's the "do" in "do-re-mi".3). This will take you to the tonic one octave higher than where you Example whole step. start at the tonic and go up following this pattern: whole step.1.2 Major Scales To nd the rest of the notes in a major key.MID> 11 See the le at <http://cnx.1: 9 "Harmony": Chords <http://cnx. returns to that chord often. half step.1 Tonal Center A scale starts with the note that names the key.1 Listen to these examples. and includes all the notes in the key in that octave. please see Beginning Harmonic Analysis (Section 3. half step. It often also begins on that chord.30 CHAPTER 2.the tonic (p. Figure 2. whole step. 30).

org/content/m10851/latest/stapaper1. If you need more information about half steps and whole steps. Figure 2. sharp. For more practice identifying keys and writing key signatures. the sharps and ats that belong in the key will be written at the beginning of each sta. or natural. one> 17 http://openingmeasures.3).2 (Solution on p.mp3> 13 See the le at <http://cnx. please see The Circle of Fifths (Section 2. In common notation. For more information about how keys are related to each other.2). remember that you won't ever skip a line or space. they all sound very much alike. 7). and B at major14 scales.) For each note below.2 In the examples above. ascending (going up). 42.1. If you need sta paper for this exercise. If you're not sure whether a note should be written as a at. note: 2. If you need help keeping track of half steps.pdf> 16 "Key Signature" <http://cnx.3 Music in Dierent Major Keys What dierence does key make? Since the major scales all follow the same Here is the tune "Row. D major13 . Row Your Boat". beginning on that note. see Half Steps and Whole Steps (Section 1. in the key signature. 12 See the le at <http://cnx. or write two notes of the scale on the same line or space. written in G major and also in D major. you can print out this sta paper15 PDF le.1. or the chromatic scale ngerings for your the sharps and ats are written next to the notes. a picture of a keyboard (Figure . Do key signatures make music more complicated than it needs to be? Is there an easier way? Join the discussion at Opening Measures17 . use a keyboard. Exercise 2.mp3> 14 See the le at <http://cnx. please see Key Signature16 .31 Listen to the dierence between the C major12 . write a major scale. Row.mp3> 15 See the le at <http://cnx. a written chromatic scale ( Keyboard).

KEYS AND SCALES (a) (b) The same tune looks very dierent when written in two dierent major keys. for CHAPTER 2. however. for example. In each major scale.2.mid> 20 "Tuning Systems": Section Equal Temperament <http://cnx. mysterious. because the notes in the minor scale follow a dierent pattern and so have dierent relationships with each other. C> 21 "Timbre: The Color of Music" <> . say. and develops dierently harmonically.) 23 2. So why bother with dierent keys at all? Before equal temperament20 became the standard tuning system.3: Listen to this tune in G major18 and in D major19 .) So music that is in. So you can't.1 Music in a Minor Key Each major key (Section 2. (a) In G Major (b) In D Major Figure 2.1) uses a dierent set of notes24 (its major scale (Section 24 "Duration: Note Lengths in Written Music" <http://cnx. (See Beginning Harmonic Analysis (Section 3. (Please see Transposition22 for more about choosing keys. 18 See the le at <http://cnx. Music in minor keys has a dierent sound and emotional> 22 "Transposition: Changing Keys" <http://cnx. But today the most common reason to choose a particular key is simply that the music is easiest to sing or play in that will not sound signicantly dierent from music that is in. D major.2: Major Scales)).22/>.3) for more on this.mid> 19 See the le at <http://cnx. transpose25 a piece from C major to D minor (or even to C minor) without changing it a great deal. the notes are arranged in the same major scale pattern and build the same types of chords that have the same relationships with each other.1.2 Minor Keys and Scales 2.1). The music may look quite> 25 "Transposition: Changing Keys" <http://cnx. mostly because of dierences in the timbre21 of various notes on the instruments or voices involved. Music that is in a minor key is sometimes described as sounding more solemn. see Major Keys and Scales (Exercise 2. major keys sounded more dierent from each other than they do now. or ominous than music that is in a major key. but the only dierence when you listen is that one sounds higher than the other. there are subtle dierences between the sound of a piece in one key or another. sad. To hear some simple examples in both major and minor> 23 This content is available online at <http://cnx. But music that is in D minor will have a dierent quality. Even now.

33 2. write a natural minor scale. Natural Minor Scale Intervals Figure 2. half step. The scale that is created by playing all the notes in a minor key signature is a natural minor scale.4 Listen27 to these minor scales. If you need sta start on the tonic note (p. Just as it did in major scales. To create a natural minor scale.3). you may print the sta paper28 PDF le. half step. Exercise 2.) For each note below. starting the minor scale pattern on a dierent note will give you a dierent key signature26 .2. one octave. whole whole step. a dierent set of sharps or ats. 26 "Key Signature" <http://cnx. 30) and go up the scale using the interval pattern: whole> 27 See the le at <http://cnx.2.pdf> . whole step.mid> 28 See the le at <http://cnx.2 Minor Scales Minor scales sound dierent from major scales because they are based on a dierent pattern of intervals (Section 1.1 (Solution on p. 43. ascending (going up) beginning on that note. whole step.

and chord progressions30 built around their (dierent) tonal centers. Figure 2.5 2.34 CHAPTER 2.3: Relative Minor and Major Keys)> 30 "Harmony": Chords <http://cnx. they are the same pattern starting in a dierent place.3: Relative Minor and Major Keys) and harmonic minor (Section 2. Flat. KEYS AND SCALES Figure 2.6: It is easy to predict where the relative minor of a major key can be found. Comparing Major and Minor Scale Patterns The interval patterns for major and natural minor scales are basically the same pattern starting at dierent points. They have dierent tonal centers (p. For example. and each will feature melodies. and Natural Notes" <http://cnx. 29 "Key Signature" <http://cnx. In fact.2. a minor key and its relative major sound very dierent. These useful accidentals are featured in the melodic minor (Section> 31 "Pitch: Sharp. minor key signatures would not be the same as major key signatures. In other words.3 Relative Minor and Major Keys Each minor key shares a key signature29 with a major key. C minor has the same key signature as E at major. certain strategic accidentals31 are very useful in helping establish a strong tonal center in a minor key.2. A minor key is called the relative minor of the major key that has the same key signature. so a relative minor is always three half steps lower than its relative major.) The pattern for the minor scale starts a half step plus a whole step lower than the major scale pattern. Even though they have the same key signature. 30). since E at is a minor third higher than C. (If the patterns were very> . harmonies. Notice that the pattern for minor scales overlaps the pattern for major scales.

44.2.2 What are the relative majors of the minor keys in Figure 2. The harmonic minor scale raises the seventh note of the scale by one half step. Melodies in minor keys often use this particular pattern of accidentals33 . and Natural Notes" <http://cnx. They contain only the notes in the minor key signature.2.4 Harmonic and Melodic Minor Scales Do key signatures make music more complicated than it needs to be? Is there an easier way? Join the discussion at Opening Measures32 . There are two other kinds of minor scales that are commonly used. 30). C minor is the relative minor of E at major. C minor and E at major start on dierent notes. whether you are going up or down the scale. the sixth and seventh notes of the scale are each raised by one half step when going up the> .) 2.5? (Solution on p. but have the same key signature. note: All of the scales above are natural minor scales. Flat. Figure 2.3. so instrumentalists nd it useful to practice melodic minor scales.35 Relative Minor The C major and C minor scales start on the same note. but have dierent key signatures. (Please see Beginning Harmonic Analysis (Section 33 "Pitch: Sharp. both of which include notes that are not in the key signature. 32 http://openingmeasures.7: Exercise 2. Harmonies in minor keys often use this raised seventh tone in order to make the music feel more strongly centered on the tonic (p.) In the melodic minor scale. but return to the natural minor when going down the scale.5: Minor Keys) for more about this.

and melodic minor36 scales. dorian minor may start on any note. 45. 2. since it has a basically minor Jazz and "Dorian Minor" Major and minor scales are traditionally the basis for Western Music37 . Like any minor scale.mp3> 35 See the le at <http://cnx.36 CHAPTER 2. which are very useful for improvisation. KEYS AND SCALES Comparing Types of Minor Scales Figure> .org/content/m10856/latest/tonminnatural. which is often called the dorian minor. based on the medieval church modes38 .5 as an ascending and descending melodic minor scale.) Rewrite each scale from Figure> 38 "Modes and Ragas: More Than just a Scale" <http://cnx. but jazz theory also recognizes other scales. it is often illustrated as natural notes beginning on d.2. but like dorian mode.4 (Solution on p.mp3> 37 "What Kind of Music is That?" <http://cnx. One of the most useful of these is the scale based on the dorian mode.3 (Solution on p.mp3> 36 See the le at <http://cnx.) Exercise 2. 34 See the le at <http://cnx. Rewrite each scale from Figure 2.5 as an ascending harmonic minor scale.2. harmonic minor35 .8 Listen to the dierences between the natural minor34 .org/content/m10856/latest/tonminharmonic. Exercise 2. 44.2.

39 "Modes and Ragas: More Than just a Scale" <http://cnx. a chord which is very common in jazz.) In fact.10 You may nd it helpful to notice that the "relative major" of the Dorian begins one whole step lower. Any scale with this interval pattern can be called a "dorian minor scale". while a d minor chord is played in the key of C major). the reason that Dorian is so useful in jazz is that it is the scale used for improvising while a ii chord (Section 3. Figure 2.3.3) for more about how chords are classied within a> . for example.9: Comparing this scale to the natural minor scale makes it easy to see why the dorian mode sounds minor. Comparing Dorian and Natural Minors Figure 2. Dorian is included here only to explain the common jazz reference to the "dorian minor" and to give notice to students that the jazz approach to scales can be quite dierent from the traditional classical approach.37 Dorian Minor The "dorian minor" can be written as a scale of natural notes starting on d. Each of these is named for the medieval church mode39 which has the same interval pattern.) The student who is interested in modal jazz will eventually become acquainted with all of the modal scales. only one note is dierent. (So. and each can be used with a dierent chord within the key.2: Basic Triads in Major Keys) is being played (for example. D Dorian has the same key signature as C major. (See Beginning Harmonic Analysis (Section 3.

40 This content is available online at <http://cnx. 2.1 Related Keys The circle of fths is a way to arrange keys to show how closely they are related to each other. Notice in particular the relationship of the altered notes in the harmonic. KEYS AND SCALES Comparison of Dorian and Minor Scales You may also nd it useful to compare the dorian with the minor scales from Figure 2.3. Figure 2.8 (Comparing Types of Minor Scales).38 CHAPTER 2. melodic. 41 http://openingmeasures.11: 2.15/>. and dorian minors.3 The Circle of Fifths note: 40 Are you really free to use this online resource? Join the discussion at Opening Measures41 .org/content/m10865/ .

with only one at. with seven ats. 14). with six sharps or six ats.3) of a perfect fth (Section 1. you get the key that has one more sharp or one less at. What makes two keys "closely related" is having similar key signatures42 . one could continue around the circle adding ats or sharps (so that B major is also C at major.39 Circle of Fifths Figure 2. 7) (or on a keyboard). The keys that are most distant from C major. and so on). This puts them in the same "slice" of the circle. (Please review inverted intervals (Section 1. E major is also F at major.3. with 6 ats and a double at. if you go down a perfect fth (counterclockwise). the counterclockwise direction is sometimes referred to as a "circle of fourths". The circle of fths gets its name from the fact that as you go from one section of the circle to the next. If you go up a perfect fth (clockwise in the circle). So the most closely related key to C major.) 42 "Key Signature" <http://cnx. since they have the same key signature (no sharps and no ats). are on the opposite side of the> . and F major (or D minor). for example. Keys are not considered closely related to each other if they are near each other in the chromatic scale (p. In theory.3. is A minor. The next most closely related keys to C major would be G major (or E minor). Since going down by a perfect fth is the same as going up by a perfect fourth (p. with one sharp.4: Inverting Intervals) if this is confusing.12: The major key for each key signature is shown as a capital letter.1: Perfect Intervals).3. you get the key that has one more at or one less sharp. the minor key as a small letter. you are going up or down by an interval (Section 1. but in practice such key signatures are very rare.




Example 2.3

The key of D major has two sharps. Using the circle of fths, we nd that the most closely related
major keys (one in each direction) are G major, with only one sharp, and A major, with three
sharps. The relative minors of all of these keys (B minor, E minor, and F sharp minor) are also
closely related to D major.

Exercise 2.3.1

(Solution on p. 46.)

Exercise 2.3.2

(Solution on p. 46.)

What are the keys most closely related to E at major? To A minor?
Name the major and minor keys for each key signature.

Figure 2.13

2.3.2 Key Signatures
If you do not know the order of the sharps and ats, you can also use the circle of fths to nd these. The 
rst sharp in a key signature is always F sharp; the second sharp in a key signature is always (a perfect fth
away) C sharp; the third is always G sharp, and so on, all the way to B sharp.
The rst at in a key signature is always B at (the same as the last sharp); the second is always E at,
and so on, all the way to F at. Notice that, just as with the key signatures, you add sharps or subtract 
ats as you go clockwise around the circle, and add ats or subtract sharps as you go counterclockwise.


Adding Sharps and Flats to the Key Signature

Each sharp and at that is added to a key signature is also a perfect fth away from the
last sharp or at that was added.
Figure 2.14:

Exercise 2.3.3

(Solution on p. 47.)

Exercise 2.3.4

(Solution on p. 47.)

Exercise 2.3.5

(Solution on p. 47.)

Figure 2.12 (Circle of Fifths) shows that D major has 2 sharps; Figure 2.14 (Adding Sharps and
Flats to the Key Signature) shows that they are F sharp and C sharp. After D major, name the
next four sharp keys, and name the sharp that is added with each key.
E minor is the rst sharp minor key; the rst sharp added in both major and minor keys is always
F sharp. Name the next three sharp minor keys, and the sharp that is added in each key.
After B at major, name the next four at keys, and name the at that is added with each key.



Solutions to Exercises in Chapter 2

Solution to Exercise 2.1.1 (p. 29)


Solution to Exercise 2.1.2 (p. 31)

Figure 2.15


or on any other instrument using equal temperament43 tuning. please read more about enharmonic44 scales.16 (Enharmonic Scales). Enharmonic Scales Using this gure of a keyboard. the scales of F sharp major and G at major (numbers 5 and 6) sound exactly the same when played. If this surprises you.1 (p. 33) 43 "Tuning Systems": Section Equal Temperament <http://cnx.43 Notice that although they look completely dierent. although spelled dierently. on a piano as shown in Figure> 44 "Enharmonic Spelling" <> . or the ngerings from your own instrument.2. will sound the same. Figure 2. notice that the notes for the F sharp major scale and the G at major scale in Figure 2.16: Solution to Exercise 2.

2. 35) 1. A minor: C major G minor: B at major B at minor: D at major E minor: G major F minor: A at major F sharp minor: A major Solution to Exercise 2. 5. 6.3 (p.2.17 Solution to Exercise 2.2. 3. 4. Figure 2.2 (p. 36) KEYS AND SCALES .44 CHAPTER 2.

45 Figure 2.18 Solution to Exercise 2. 36) .4 (p.2.

40) KEYS AND SCALES .1 (p.3.2 (p.46 CHAPTER 2. Figure 2. 40) E at major (3 ats): • • • • • B at major (2 ats) A at major (4 ats) C minor (3 ats) G minor (2 ats) F minor (4 ats) A minor (no sharps or ats): • • • • • E minor (1 sharp) D minor (1 at) C major (no sharps or ats) G major (1 sharp) F major (1 at) Solution to Exercise 2.3.19 Solution to Exercise 2.

22 Solution to Exercise 2.20 Solution to Exercise 2.5 (p.3.3 (p.3.3.21 Solution to Exercise 2. 41) • • • • A major adds G sharp E major adds D sharp B major adds A sharp F sharp major adds E sharp Figure 2.4 (p. 41) • B minor adds C sharp • F sharp minor adds G sharp • C sharp minor adds D sharp Figure 2. 41) • • • • E at major adds A at A at major adds D at D at major adds G at G at major adds C at .47 Figure 2.

Figure 2.23 KEYS AND SCALES .48 CHAPTER 2.

note: 1 This content is available online at <http://cnx. 11). In root position. It would.see Naming Triads (Section 3. 3. To simplify things.17/>.15: Simple Intervals) higher than the root (which is also a third higher than the third of the chord). is the lowest note.1. however. and the fth of the chord is written a fth (Figure> 3 "What Kind of Music is That?" <http://cnx. all notes in the examples and exercises below are natural.15: Simple Intervals) higher than the root. minor. the root.1 The chords in Figure 3.Chapter 3 Triads and Chords 3. change the name of the triad . which is the note that names the chord. in root position. which is the most basic way to write a triad. is not important when you are determining the position of the chord. Triads are simple three-note chords4 built of thirds (> 49 . So the simplest way to write a triad is as a stack of> 4 "Harmony": Chords < 2 "Harmony" <http://cnx. The type of interval or chord ..1 Triads 1 Harmony2 in Western music3 is based on triads. etc. The third of the chord is written a third (Figure 1. but it would not change their position at all if some notes were sharp or at.2).1 (Triads in Root Position) are written in root position.1 Triads in Root Position Triads in Root Position Figure 3. diminished.

Figure 3.2 First and Second Inversions Any other chord that has the same-named notes as a root position chord is considered to be essentially the same chord in a dierent position. If you need some sta paper for exercises you can print this PDF le5 . If the fth of the chord is the lowest You cannot call one chord the inversion of another if either one of them has a note that does not share a name (for example "F sharp" or "B natural") with a note in the other chord.2)). all chords that have only D naturals. or if the A's are sharp instead of natural. If the third of the chord is the lowest note.1 TRIADS AND CHORDS (Solution on p.3 5 See the le at <http://cnx. 80. the chord is in rst inversion. and A naturals.1. Exercise 3.pdf> 6 "Pitch: Sharp. note: But if you change the pitch6 or spelling7 of any note in the triad.50 CHAPTER 3. because the intervals (Section> .1. the chord is in second inversion. Flat. are considered D major chords. you have changed the chord (see Naming Triads (Section 3. you have a dierent chord. if the F sharps are written as G ats. If you add notes. In other words. For example. F sharps.2 3. not an inversion of the same chord.6)). Figure 3.) Write a triad in root position using each root given. you have also changed the name of the chord (see Beyond Triads (Section 3. and Natural Notes" <http://cnx. A chord in second inversion may also be called a six-four chord.3) in it are a sixth and a> 7 "Enharmonic Spelling" <http://cnx.

) To decide what position a chord is in. 80. (In fact.51 It does not matter how far the higher notes are from the lowest note. only implied by the context of the chord in a piece of music. A practiced ear will tell you what the missing note is. and name the original position of the chord. we won't worry about that here.2 Figure 3.1 Figure 3. Example 3. all that matters is which note is lowest. move the notes to make a stack of thirds and identify the root. . or how many of each note there are (at dierent octaves or on dierent instruments).4 Example 3.) Rewrite each chord in root position.2 (Solution on p. one of the notes may not even be written.1.5 Exercise 3.

7: G major chord in three dierent positions. I hope to begin updating the survey results module8 in April.MID> .1) that a chord is in does make a dierence in how it Thanks to everyone who participated in the survey! It was very useful to me. both as a researcher and as an author. if the B in one of the chords above was changed to a B TRIADS AND CHORDS Figure but it is a fairly small dierence. but the chord would now sound very dierent. and emailed comments are still welcome as always. to get a better picture of my readers' goals and needs. A much bigger dierence in the chord's sound comes from the intervals (Section 1. I will also soon begin making some of the suggested additions. Listen10 to a G major chord in three dierent positions.1).16/>.1).52 CHAPTER 3. Listen11 to four dierent G chords. Figure 3.3) between the rootposition notes of the chord.MID> 11 See the le at <http://cnx. For> 9 This content is available online at <http://cnx. So chords are named according to the intervals between the notes when the chord is in root position (Section 3. 10 See the le at <http://cnx.2 Naming Triads The position (Section 3. note: 9 3. 8 "A Survey of Users of Connexions Music Modules" <http://cnx. you would still have a G triad (Section 3.

Example 3. then the triad is a minor chord. 14) (3 half-steps).1) form major (Section 2.mp3> .mp3> the le at <http://cnx. but they are four dierent G chords.53 These are also all G chords. A perfect fth (7 half-steps) can be divided into a major third (Major and Minor Intervals. The intervals between the notes are dierent.2. All major chords and minor chords have an interval (Section 1. p.2) the triad is a major chord. p.1 Major and Minor Chords The most commonly used triads (Section 3. Figure 3. Listen closely to a major triad12 and a minor triad13 . If the interval between the root and the third of the chord is the major third (with the minor third between the third and the fth of the chord).3 Figure 3.4 12 See 13 See the le at <http://cnx. so the chords sound very dierent. If the interval between the root and the third of the chord is the minor third (and the major third is between the third and fth of the chord).8: chords and minor (Section 2.9 Example 3. 14) (4 half-steps) plus a minor third (Major and Minor Intervals. 14) between the root and the fth of the chord (Section 3.3) of a perfect fth (p.1).

2 Write the minor chord for each root given. 80.2. which adds up to an . An augmented chord is built from two major thirds. augmented and diminished chords have an unsettled feeling and are normally used sparingly. (Solution on p. 80.11 Exercise 3.) Figure 3.10 Exercise 3.12 3.1 Write the major chord for each root given.2 Augmented and Diminished Chords Because they don't contain a perfect fth.2.54 CHAPTER 3.2. TRIADS AND CHORDS Some Major and Minor Triads Figure 3.) Figure 3. (Solution on p.

org/content/m10890/latest/choaug. which add up to a diminished fth.2.5 Some Augmented and Diminished Triads Figure 3. (Solution on p.2.) Figure 3. Listen closely to an augmented triad14 and a diminished triad15 .13 Exercise 3.) . Figure 3. 81.mp3> (Solution on p. 81. Example 3.mp3> the le at < A diminished chord is built from two minor thirds.15 14 See 15 See the le at <http://cnx.4 Write the diminished triad for each root given.55 augmented fth.3 Write the augmented triad for each root given.14 Exercise 3.

you have also changed the chord's name. 81.17 Exercise 3.2. If you change the spelling16 of a chord's notes. You can put the chord in a dierent position (Section 3. Here is a summary of the intervals in triads in root position.5 (Solution on> .1) or add more of the same-named notes at other octaves without changing the name of the chord. the triad becomes an E augmented chord. will change the name of the chord. if. TRIADS AND CHORDS Notice that you can't avoid double sharps or double ats by writing the note on a dierent space or line.16: Changing the spelling of any note in a chord also changes the chord's name. 16 "Enharmonic Spelling" <http://cnx. Figure 3.56 CHAPTER 3. Figure 3.) Now see if you can identify these chords that are not necessarily in root position. Rewrite them in root position rst if that helps. For example. But changing the note names or adding dierent-named notes. in an augmented G sharp major chord. you rewrite the D double sharp as an E natural.

Why is it useful to know how chords are related? • Many standard forms20 (for example. it is very helpful to know what chords are most likely in that key. and how they might be likely to progress from one to another. and even some who don't read music. 17 "A Survey of Users of Connexions Music Modules" <http://cnx.20/>. • Improvisation requires an understanding of the chord progression. both as a researcher and as an author. This can be such useful information that you will nd many musicians who have not studied much music theory. to get a better picture of my readers' goals and 20 "Form in Music" <http://cnx. I hope to begin updating the survey results module17 in April. note: 3.> 23 "Melody" <> 18 This content is available online at <http://cnx. • If you understand chord relationships.3 Beginning Harmonic Analysis note: 18 Are you really free to use this online resource? Join the discussion at Opening Measures19 . • If you are searching for chords to go with a particular melody23 (in a particular key). but who can tell you what the I ("one") or the V ("ve") chord are in a certain> 21 "Harmony": Chords <http://cnx. I will also soon begin making some of the suggested additions.1 Introduction It sounds like a very technical idea. and emailed comments are still welcome as always. a "twelve bar blues") follow very specic chord progressions21 .18 Thanks to everyone who participated in the survey! It was very useful to which are often discussed in terms of harmonic relationships.57 Figure 3. 19 http://openingmeasures.3. you can transpose22 any chord progression you know to any key (Section> .org/content/m11654/latest/#l0b> 22 "Transposition: Changing Keys" <http://cnx. but basic harmonic analysis just means understanding how a chord is related to the key and to the other chords in a piece of music.1) you like.

but some chords are much more likely than others. the chord that starts on the next scale degree is "ii". Chords in the keys of C major and D major To nd all the basic chords in a key.19: Exercise 3. fourth. and Natural Notes" <http://cnx. The most likely chords to show up in a key are the chords that use only the notes in that key (no accidentals24 ).org/content/m10943/latest/#p0e> 25 "Key Signature" <http://cnx. build a simple triad (in the key) on each note of the Make certain that each chord begins on a note in the major scale (Section 2.4: Added Notes. Flat.3.1 (Solution on p. One easy way to name all these chords is just to number them: the chord that starts on the rst note of the scale is "I". TRIADS AND CHORDS • Harmonic analysis is also necessary for anyone who wants to be able to compose reasonable chord progressions or to study and understand the music of the great composers. The diminished chord (Section 3. So these chords have both names and numbers that tell how they t into the> 26 See the le at <http://cnx. 3. Because major scales always follow the same pattern.58 CHAPTER 3. the pattern of major and minor chords is also the same in any major key. 79) chords. (Hint: Determine the key signature25 rst. you can print this PDF le26 You can nd all the basic triads that are possible in a key by building one triad.3. on each note of the scale (each scale degree). Roman numerals are used to number the chords. and fth 24 "Pitch: Sharp. The chords built on the rst. and Extensions) or altered (p.) Write and name the chords in G major and in B at major.2. Suspensions.1: Major and Minor Chords).1: Major and Minor Chords) and small Roman numerals for minor chords (Section 3. Capital Roman numerals are used for major chords (Section 3. not seventh chords (p.2 Basic Triads in Major Keys Any chord might show up in any key.) If you need some sta paper.pdf> .2: Augmented and Diminished Chords) is in small Roman numerals followed by a small circle. 74) or other added-note (Section 3. 82.) The chords are numbered using Roman numerals from I to vii.2.1) for the moment. You'll nd that although the chords change from one key to the next.6. the pattern of major and minor chords is always the same. and so on.1) and contains only notes in the key signature. Figure 3. (We'll just discuss basic triads (Section 3. in the key.

G chord to C chord (V .I)32 (Please see Cadence (Section 3. Look at some chord progressions from real music. Whereas the I chord feels most strongly "at home". As the other two major chords in the key. a fact greatly appreciated by many beginning guitar players.3: Seventh Chords) (a major chord with a minor seventh added) is often called a dominant seventh. and sixth degrees of the scale are always minor chords (ii. and vi). I is the tonal center (Section 2. 14) added (V7).org/content/m11643/latest/> 28 See the le at < G seventh chord to C chord (V7 . regardless of whether the chord is being used as the V (the dominant) of the key.MID> . is considered to be a harmonically unstable chord that strongly wants to resolve to I. the chord that feels like the "home base" of the music. note: V7 gives the strongest feeling of "time to head home now".3. (See Major Keys and Scales (Section 2. It is so common that this particular avor of seventh (Section 3. IV and V are also likely to be very common. you may nd it dicult to predict whether a chord should be based on a sharp. If you can't name the scale notes in a key. some are much more likely to be used than others. p.6. and V) in your favorite keys.2. third.59 degrees of the scale are always major chords ( This is only one reason (out of many) why it is a good idea to memorize all the scales.mid> 30 See the le at <http://cnx. The chord built on the seventh degree of the scale is a diminished chord. the diminished vii chord (often with a diminished seventh (Section 3. Although it is much less common than the V7.I)31 .mid> 32 See the le at <http://cnx.4: Naming Chords Within a Key)) with a minor seventh (Major and Minor Intervals. 27 "What Kind of Music is That?" <http://cnx. Listen to these very short progressions and see how strongly each suggests that you must be in the key of C: C (major) chord(I)28 .org/content/m11643/latest/Cchord. F chord to C chord (IV .) Many folk songs and other simple tunes can be accompanied using only the I. or natural note. and V).3.2: Augmented and Diminished Chords) added). Notice that IV in the key of B at is an E at major chord.I)30 . In Western music27 . the most common added-note chord in most types of Western music is a V chord (the dominant chord (Section 3. IV and V (or V7) chords of a key. IV. B diminished seventh chord to C chord (viidim7 .mid> 31 See the le at <http://cnx. at. In fact. and vii in the key of G is F sharp diminished. IV. you'll nd it useful to memorize at least the most important chords (start with I. iii.1) of the music. In most music.) However. if you don't plan on memorizing all the scales at this time. The chords built on the second.I)29 .4) for more on this subject. not F diminished.1).3 A Hierarchy of Chords Even among the chords that naturally occur in a key signature. This is very useful for giving music a satisfying ending. not an E major chord. the most common chord is I.mid> 29 See the le at <http://cnx.

and is very likely to use chords that are not in the key. 79) notes. . marches.60 CHAPTER 3.4: Added Notes. Suspensions. rock. and Extensions) or altered (p. This gure shows progressions as a list of chords (read left to right as if reading a paragraph). Figure 3.20: A lot of folk music. and V in your favorite keys. TRIADS AND CHORDS Some chord progressions Much Western music is harmonically pretty simple.6. IV. blues. but of course there is plenty of music that has more complicated harmonies. one per measure. and even some classical music is based on simple chord progressions. so it can be very useful just to know I. Pop and jazz in particular often include many chords with added (Section 3. Classical music also tends to use more complex chords in greater variety.

There is another set of names that is commonly used.3. 82. because this system is commonly used by musicians to talk about every kind of music from classical to jazz to blues. It is not uncommon to nd college-level music theory courses that are largely devoted to harmonic analysis and its relationship to musical forms. (Please see Beyond Triads (Section 3. and chords with altered (p.2 (Solution on p.21: Extensive study and practice are needed to be able to identify and understand these more complex progressions. to talk about harmonic relationships. this naming system is sometimes less confusing. or even chords based on notes that are not in the key such as a sharp IV chord.3. This course will go no further than to encourage you to develop a basic understanding of what harmonic analysis is about.6.61 More Complex Chord Progressions Some music has more complex harmonies. particularly in classical music.) Figure 3. such as I diminished and II (major).) . This can include more unusual chords such as major sevenths. Figure 3.22 Exercise 3. Because numbers are used in music to identify everything from beats to intervals to harmonics to what ngering to use.4 Naming Chords Within a Key So far we have concentrated on identifying chord relationships by number. It may also include more basic chords that aren't in the key. 79) notes such as sharp ves.2: Chord Symbols) to review how to read chord symbols. 3.

if the key is C major. and subdominant chords (C major. 59).4) that end on a C chord.3) than major scales. If the piece is in A minor. dominant. they will produce chord progressions with important dierences from major key chord progressions.4 (Solution on p.3: Relative Minor and Major Keys) scale are the same. print this PDF le33 Notice that the actual chords created using the major scale and its relative minor (Section 2. For example. 30) of the piece. and F major). As explained above (p.62 CHAPTER 3.2.3. G major or G7. 7.pdf> 34 "Harmony": Chords <http://cnx. 83. it will be more likely to feature (particularly in cadences) the tonic. particularly in strong cadences (Section 3.3.19 (Chords in the keys of C major and D major)). Dominant in C major Subdominant in E major Tonic in G sharp major Mediant in F major Supertonic in D major Submediant in C major Dominant seventh in A major Exercise 3.48) to the chords in C major (Figure 3. compare the chords in A minor (Figure 3. the chord progression34 will likely make it clear that C is the tonal center (p.2. Exercise> . and D minor.2) follow a dierent pattern of intervals (Section 1. but they will not be given such a prominent place. and E minor chords). and subdominant of A minor (the A minor. dominant.3 (Solution on p. 83. Which chord is not in the key? Which chord in the key has been left out of the progression? Figure 3. 3. D minor.3. 33 See the le at <http://cnx. 6. The dierence is in how the chords are on the other hand. of course.23 3.) Write (triad) chords that occur in the keys of A minor. Which chord relationships are major? Which minor? Which diminished? If you need sta paper. 5.5 Minor Keys Since minor scales (Section 2.) The following chord progression is in the key of G major. 1.3: Relative Minor and Major Keys) scale and to include only notes in the scale in each chord. 2. for example by featuring the bright-sounding (major) tonic. 4. TRIADS AND CHORDS Name the chord. E minor. Remember to begin each triad on a note of the natural minor (Section 2. Identify the relationship of each chord to the key by both name and number. These chords are also available in the key of C major.

This is an important rst step that may require practice before you become good at it. Exercise 3. There are also changes that can be made to the melodic35 lines of a minor-key piece that also make it more strongly tonal. and at other important cadences • • • • • (Section 3. Determine both the major key (Section 2.1) represented by that key signature. You may be able to identify. folk.2.5 (Solution on p.4) (places where the music comes to a stopping or resting point). If the chords are not named for you and you need to review how to name them just by looking at the written notes.2. which in turn gives a more strong feeling of tonality to a piece of music.) If the music sounds at all "exotic" or "unusual". If the nal chord is not the tonic of either the major or the minor key for that key signature. gives a particularly dominant (wanting-to-go-to-the-home-chord) sound.3: Relative Minor and Major Keys) scale is to familiarize the musician with this common feature of harmony. particularly at the very end. you should suspect that this may be the case.3: Relative Minor and Major Keys) scales. as well as some> 40 "Pitch: Sharp. you have almost certainly identied the key. Try to start with simple music which either includes the names of the> 37 "Music of the Baroque Period" <http://cnx. you may have to study the rest of the music in order to discern the key. Flat. Look at the very end of the piece. when the piece sounds as if it is approaching and landing on its "resting place". even though that requires using a note that is not in the key. Also look for chords that have that "dominant seventh" avor (to identify V).2)) both the sixth and seventh scale notes. What note of each scale would have to be changed in order to make v major? Which other chords would be aected by this change? What would they become.3: Relative Minor and Major Keys) (the minor key that has the same key signature).3: Relative Minor and Major Keys) scales were 35 "Melody" <http://cnx.3: Relative Minor and Major Keys) or melodic minor (Section 2. and Natural Notes" <http://cnx. Look for the specic accidentals40 that you would expect if the harmonic minor (Section 2. perhaps it has a "repeat and fade" ending which avoids coming to rest on the tonic). but only when the melody is ascending. and use the following steps to determine whether the piece is major or minor: Is it Major or Minor? • Identify the chords used in the piece.2. with a minor seventh added. 59).2. and pre-Baroque37 European music are based on other modes or scales. (Please see Modes and Ragas38 and Scales that aren't Major or Minor39 for more about> 39 "Scales that aren't Major or Minor" <http://cnx. and are these altered chords also likely to be used in the minor key? The point of the harmonic minor (Section 2. many minor pieces change the major chord so that it is a dominant seventh.48. If the nal chord is not the tonic of either the major or the minor key for that key signature.6).) Look at the chords in Figure 3. so that the expected chords become easy to play in every minor key. Most pieces will end on the tonic chord. and its relative minor (Section 2. If the nal chord is the tonic of either the major or minor key for that key signature. Because of this. You can begin practicing harmonic analysis by practicing identifying whether a piece is in the major key or in its relative minor.2. Find the key signature36 . 83. So the musician who wants to become familiar with melodic patterns in every minor key will practice melodic minor (Section> 36 "Key Signature" <http://cnx.3. see Naming Triads (Section 3. This involves raising (by one half step (Section 1. the "avor" of sound that is created by a major chord. Pick any piece of music for which you have the written music.2) and Beyond Triads (Section 3. or has simple chords in the accompaniment that will be relatively easy to nd and> . which use dierent notes for the ascending and descending scale. Look for important cadences before the end of the music (to identify I). but you still suspect that it is in a major or minor key (for example. modern. there are two possibilities. One is that the music is not in a major or minor key! Music from other cultures. just by listening.63 As mentioned above (> 38 "Modes and Ragas: More Than just a Scale" <http://cnx.

This is one of the main elds of study for those who are interested in studying music theory at a more advanced level. look for music theory books that focus entirely on harmony or that spend plenty of time analyzing harmonies in real> 42 "Key Signature" <http://cnx. even in classical style. A new key signature42 may help you to identify the modulation key.4: Naming Chords Within a Key).com . modulation. As in longer works. for example from C major to D major. and check it with your music teacher or a musician friend if possible. The new key is likely to be closely related (Section 2. If you nd that the chord progression in a piece of music suddenly contains many chords that you would not expect in that key.2).3) to the original key. or even an actual change of key signature41 . or the relative minor or relative major (Section 2. and abrupt modulations can seem unpleasant and jarring. Flat.3. can be very common in some shorter works (jazz standards.3. This is called modulation.2. are other clues that the music has modulated.4: Naming Chords Within a Key) or subdominant (Section 3. As of this writing.chordmaps. remember that the new key is likely to contain whatever accidentals43 are showing up. with its new set of chords. for example). In most styles of music.7 Further Study Although the concept of harmonic analysis is pretty basic. 3. Check to see whether the major or minor chords are emphasized overall.3) such as the dominant (Section 3. the site Music Theory for Songwriters44 featured "chord maps" that help the student predict likely chord progressions. (Please see Beyond Triads (Section 3. you may also want to spend time creating pleasing chord progressions by choosing chords from the correct key that will complement a melody that you know. Put together the various clues to reach your nal decision. But implied modulations.3. are less likely to have complete modulations. long symphony and concerto movements almost always spend at least some time in a dierent key (usually a closely related key (Section 2. One next step for those interested in the subject is to become familiar with all the ways notes may be added to basic triads. Lots of accidentals. It is also likely that many of the chords in the progression will be chords that are common in the new key. in which the tonal center seems to suddenly shift for a short time.) At that point. is a good way to keep a piece interesting. it may be that the piece has modulated.3. you may want to spend some time practicing analyzing some simple.64 CHAPTER 3. Modulations can make harmonic analysis much more challenging. gradual modulation to the new key (and back) seems more natural. 3. and Natural Notes" <http://cnx. Look particularly for tonic chords and dominant sevenths. actually analyzing complex pieces can be a major challenge. Shorter> 43 "Pitch: Sharp. Depending on your interests. but another favorite trick in popular music is to simply move the key up one whole step (Section 1. For more advanced practice.3: Relative Minor and Major Keys)). It is very common in traditional classical music. so try to become comfortable analyzing easier pieces before tackling pieces with modulations. for example).6 Modulation Sometimes a piece of music temporarily moves into a new key.6) for an introduction to that subject.) You will progress more quickly if you can nd books that focus on the music genre that you are most interested in (there are books specically about jazz harmony. TRIADS AND CHORDS being used. (Some music history textbooks are in this category. a slow. If there is not a change of key signature. familiar pieces. 41 "Key Signature" <> 44 http://www. to keep things interesting.

in both stories and music. Other phrases.4 Cadence in Music A cadence is any place in a piece of music that has the feel of an ending point. although individual phrases or sections may end on a dierent chord (the dominant (> 52 "Rhythm" <> 49 "Form in Music" <http://cnx. Some things that produce a feeling of cadence • Harmony . in tonal music. Stories are also divided into paragraphs. for example. even in the number and length of the phrases54 (Western listeners are fond of powers of two55 ). the harmony must "lead up to" the ending and make it feel inevitable (just as a good story makes the ending feel inevitable. the inevitable tragedy occurs. even if you are not aware of having them. end with a more denite "we've arrived where we were going" feeling. or misunderstandings get resolved .org/content/m11647/latest/#s3> 48 "What Kind of Music is That?" <http://cnx. like questions that need answers.that signal that the end of the story is nearing. 61) is a popular choice). A tonal58 piece of music will almost certainly end on the tonic chord. but most listeners will react to such abruptness with dissatisfaction: the story or music simply "stopped" instead of "ending"> 51 "The Textures of Music" <http://cnx. many phrases leave the listener with a strong expectation of hearing the next. and Equal Temperament" <http://cnx. marked o by strong cadences to help us keep track of them. characters good and bad get what they deserve. These clues may be in the form49 .but it also refers to the "temporary-resting-place" pauses that round o the ends of musical ideas within each larger section. chapters. and then ending in a commonly-accepted> 53 "Harmony": Chords <http://cnx. and movements. harmony57 is by far the most important signal of> 58 "What Kind of Music is That?" <http://cnx. choruses. stanzas. is usually provided by giving clues that an end is> 57 "Harmony" < the Western48 tradition. you will automatically have these expectations for a piece of music. or rhythmic52> 59 "Harmony": Chords <http://cnx.the end of the> 50 "Tempo" < 30). in the development of the musical ideas. One of the most fundamental "rules" of the major-minor harmony system is that music ends on the tonic (p. these expectations can be dierent in dierent musical traditions. to help us keep track of things and understand what is going> 47 "Melody": Section Motif <http://cnx. an ending in music is more satisfying if it follows certain customs that the listener expects to hear. in the chord progression53 . Music also groups phrases and motifs47 into verses. 46 "Melody": Section Melodic Phrases <http://cnx. or the end of a movement or a verse . "answering". And like the customs for> . in music there are clues that signal to the listener that the end is coming up.13/>.org/content/m11809/latest/> 56 "What Kind of Music is That?" <http://cnx. in the music's tempo50 .org/content/m11647/latest/#s2> 55 "Powers. a piece of music can come to an end by simply stopping. If you have grown up listening to a particular musical tradition. though.65 45 3. texture51 . Roots. In good stories. denite stopping point . Some of these musical pauses are simply take-a-breath-type pauses. phrase. there are clues in the plot and the pacing . Like the ending of a story.In most Western56 and Western-inuenced music (including jazz and "world" musics).org/content/m11654/latest/#l0b> 54 "Melody": Section Melodic Phrases <http://cnx. like a sentence. each with their own endings. In fact. the chase gets more exciting. A more satisfying ending. A musical phrase46 . usually contains an understandable idea. usually refers to the "ending" chord plus the short chord progression59 that 45 This content is available online at <http://cnx. sections. and don't really give an "ending" feeling. So the term cadence. But a composer cannot just throw in a tonic chord and expect it to sound like an ending. Like a story. even if it's a surprise). This can be either a strong. scenes. The composer's expert control over such feelings of expectation and arrival are one of the main sources of the listener's enjoyment of the music. or episodes. Similarly. and then pauses before the next idea starts.

you will nd the most common terms below (Some Tonal Cadence Terms.3). or a slowing of or pause in the harmonic rhythm64 are also commonly found at a cadence.same as authentic cadence. each mode also has a home> 64 "Harmony": Chords <http://cnx. (Or a mode may have more than one possible melodic cadence. at least subconsciously. the melody will normally end on some note of the tonic chord triad (Section 3. whereas in another mode the penultimate note may be a minor third (p. 11) above the nal note. This means the substituted chord is the relative minor of the tonic> 67 "An Introduction to Counterpoint" <> 61 "Modes and Ragas: More Than just a Scale" <http://cnx. Form .1).Same as deceptive cadence. • • • • TRIADS AND CHORDS led up to> 70 "Form in Music" <http://cnx. and also often does not bring the expected pause in the music. Complicating matters is the fact that there are several competing systems for naming cadences. A deceptive cadence is typically in a major key. for> 65 "The Textures of Music" <http://cnx. form70 . An accomplished composer may "tease" you by seeming to lead to a cadence in the expected place. Like a scale. Melody .) Harmonic analysis (Section 3. the various naming systems may use the same terms to mean dierent> 71 "What Kind of Music is That?" <http://cnx. Some Tonal Cadence Terms • Authentic . the music may momentarily switch from harmony66 to unison or from counterpoint67 to a simpler block-chord homophony68 . • • 60 "Modes and Ragas: More Than just a Scale" <http://cnx. Deceptive Cadence . it may be typical of one mode to go to the nal note from the note one whole tone (p. form69 and cadence are very closely connected. or often V7-I). but then doesn't actually land on the expected tonic. This introductory course cannot go very deeply into this subject. you actually expect and listen for these regularly-spaced cadences. A mode often also has a formula that the melody usually uses to arrive at the ending> 69 "Form in Music" <http://cnx. and a melody ending on the tonic will give a stronger (more nal-sounding) cadence than one ending on the third or fth of the> .org/content/m11646/latest/> 63 "Tempo" <http://cnx. and is the dominant followed by the submediant (Section 3. but the cadences used can be quite dierent from those in tonal harmony. In some modal61 musics. and so will only touch on the common terms used when referring to cadences.every eight measures for a certain type of dance. but then doing something unexpected instead. For example.This refers to times that the music seems to lead up to a cadence. or its typical cadence may be more complex. For example. Some (but not all) modal60 musics also use harmony to indicate cadence. • False Cadence . a break or pause in the rhythm. and cadence in Western71 music are closely interwoven into a complex subject that can take up an entire course at the college-music-major> 62 "Rhythm" <http://cnx.Changes in the rhythm62 . p.3. 30) chord (V-I.66 CHAPTER 3. so even a list of basic terms is a bit confusing. where the melody is expected to end. Unfortunately. Texture . a change in the tempo63 .4: Naming Chords Within a Key) chord followed by a tonic (p.A dominant (Section> 68 "The Textures of Music": Section Homophonic <http://cnx. Complete Cadence . (When you listen to a piece of music.In the major/minor tradition.) Rhythm .Changes in the texture65 of the music also often accompany a cadence. There are many dierent terms in use for the most common tonal cadences. 8) below it.4: Naming Chords Within a Key) (V-vi). 66). the melody plays the most important role in the cadence.Since cadences mark o phrases and sections. and the overall architecture of a piece of music will often indicate where the next cadence is going to be .org/content/m11645/latest/> 66 "Harmony" <http://cnx.

Deceptive Cadence75 . The rst step in becoming comfortable with cadences is to start identifying them in music that is very familiar to you. this cadence will be familiar as the "Amen" chords at the end of many traditional hymns.Same as authentic cadence. this is considered the strongest.May refer to a cadence that ends on the dominant chord (V). Interrupted Cadence .swf> the le at <http://cnx. Imperfect Cadence . and identify what type of cadence it is. Semi-cadence . Half-cadence . Half-cadence74 . Plagal Cadence73 . Plagal Cadence .swf> the le at <http://cnx.Same possible meanings as half cadence.Same as deceptive cadence. OR may have same meaning as plagal cadence. Then see if you can begin to recognize the type of cadence just by listening to the music. OR may mean a cadence that ends on the dominant chord (same as one meaning of half-cadence).May refer to an authentic (V-I) cadence in which the chord is not in root position.3. or the melody does not end on the This type of cadence is more common at pause-type cadences than at full-stop ones. Perfect Cadence . Do a harmonic analysis (Section 3. You can listen to a few simple cadences here: Perfect Cadence72 . Find the pauses and stops in the music.Same as plagal cadence. As its name suggests. The gure below also shows some very simple forms of some common cadences. Some do not consider a cadence to be completely perfect unless the melody ends on the tonic and both chords (V and I) are in root position (Section 3.67 • • • • • • • • Full Close .3) of the last few chords before each stop.Same as authentic cadence.4: Naming Chords Within a Key) chord followed by a tonic chord (IV-I).swf> the le at <http://cnx.A subdominant (Section 3. most nal-sounding cadence.swf> . Half close .1).org/content/m12402/latest/PlagalCadence. For many people. 72 See 73 See 74 See 75 See the le at <http://cnx.

24: in C major Exercise 3. (Hint: First identify the key and then do a harmonic analysis (Section 3. 84.) Identify the type of cadence in each excerpt.68 CHAPTER 3.3) of the progression.4.1 (a) Perfect Cadence in C major (b) Plagal Cadence in C major (c) Deceptive Cadence (Solution on p. . TRIADS AND CHORDS Examples of Common Cadences (a) (b) (c) Figure 3.

78 "What Kind of Music is That?" <http://cnx. you can listen to one for a long time without feeling that the music needs to change to a dierent chord. This discussion only covers consonance and dissonance in Western78 music. but this is not what consonance and dissonance are about.) 76 "A Survey of Users of Connexions Music Modules" <http://cnx. note: 3. though. I hope to begin updating the survey results module76 in> 79 "Consonance and Dissonance Activities" <http://cnx.5 Consonance and Dissonance 77 Notes that sound good together when played at the same time are called consonant. to get a better picture of my readers' goals and needs. Or they may simply feel "unstable".org/content/m34234/latest/> 77 This content is available online at <http://cnx. note: Of> .12/>. that the choice of tuning system can greatly aect which intervals sound consonant and which sound dissonant! Please see Tuning Systems80 for more about this. both as a researcher and as an author. Obviously. what seems pleasant or unpleasant is partly a matter of opinion. please see Consonance and Dissonance Activities79 .25 Thanks to everyone who participated in the survey! It was very useful to me. you may feel that the music is pulling you towards the chord that resolves the dissonance. I will also soon begin making some of the suggested For activities that introduce these concepts to young students. and emailed comments are still welcome as always. the notes will not sound good together. Notes that are dissonant can sound harsh or unpleasant when played at the same time. if there are problems with tuning. Chords built only of consonances sound pleasant and "stable".org/content/m11999/latest/> 80 "Tuning Systems" <http://cnx. if you hear a chord with a dissonance in it. (Please note.69 Figure 3.

minor sixth86 .2).) Of> 82 See the le at <http://cnx.mid> 89 "What Kind of Music is That?" <http://cnx.70 CHAPTER 3. The intervals that are considered to be dissonant are the minor second90 .org/content/m11953/latest/minorthird.3) and chords81 . TRIADS AND CHORDS Consonance and dissonance refer to intervals (Section 1. all of these intervals are considered to be pleasing to the ear. (See Interval (Section 1. and Beyond Triads (Section 3.1). which is the interval in between the perfect fourth and perfect fth. major sixth87 .mid> 85 See the le at <http://cnx.mid> 86 See the le at <http://cnx.mid> 83 See the le at <http://cnx.6) for some basics on chords. we don't feel a need for them to go to other chords.mid> 92 See the le at <http://cnx. 71).mid> 87 See the le at <http://cnx. 14) (which is 4 half steps).1). the major seventh93 . Chords that contain only these intervals are considered to be "stable". the minor seventh92 . perfect fth (> 84 See the le at < Naming Triads (Section 11) that are considered to be consonant are the minor third82 .mid> 93 See the le at <http://cnx. When there are more than two notes sounding at the same time. 14) (7 half steps). the major second91 . you can still talk about the interval between any two of the notes in a chord.) An interval is measured between two between> 90 See the le at <http://cnx. (See Triads (Section 3. The interval between two notes is the number of half steps (Section to learn how to determine and name the interval between any two notes. and all intervals have a name that musicians commonly use. that's a perfect fth85 . major third83 .org/content/m11953/latest/majorthird. or octave (Section 1.26 In modern Western Music89 .mid> . and particularly the tritone94 . When we hear them. and the octave88 . restful chords that don't need to be resolved (p. 81 "Harmony": Chords <http://cnx.mid> 88 See the le at <http://cnx. Consonant Intervals Figure 3. perfect fourth84 .mid> 91 See the le at < The simple intervals (p.mid> 94 See the le at <http://cnx. like major third (Major and Minor Intervals.

mid> .org/content/m11421/latest/#p7d> 96 See the le at <http://cnx. The pattern of tension and release created by resolved dissonances is part of what makes a piece of music exciting and interesting. or resolving the dissonance. Figure 3.27 These intervals are all considered to be somewhat unpleasant or tension-producing. Resolving Dissonances In most music a dissonance will resolve. chords containing dissonances are considered "unstable". on the other hand. much of twentieth-century "classical" or "art" music) can be dicult for some people to listen to. for example a G seventh chord resolves to a C major chord96 . Music that contains no dissonances can tend to seem simplistic or boring.71 Dissonant Intervals Figure 3. when we hear them. On the other hand.mid> 97 See the le at <http://cnx. because of the unreleased tension. can produce a sense of unresolved tension. we expect them to move on to a more stable Moving from a dissonance to the consonance that is expected to follow it is called resolution. it will be followed by a consonant chord that it naturally leads to. music that contains a lot of dissonances that are never resolved (for example.28: 95 "What Kind of Music is That?" <http://cnx. and a D suspended fourth resolves to a D major chord97 .org/content/m11953/latest/GseventhC.mid> 98 See the le at <http://cnx. A series of unresolved dissonances98 . In tonal music95 .org/content/m11953/latest/dissonant.

there will be exactly two waves of one note for every one wave of the other note. (See Triads (Section> 102 "Tuning Systems" <http://cnx.2). and a few rules. But consonance and dissonance do also have a strong physical basis in nature. If there are two and a tenth waves or eleven twelfths of a wave of one note for every wave of another note. both as a researcher and as an author. 105 http://openingmeasures. and you can gure out the notes in any chord for yourself. For example. chord diagrams. This skill is necessary for those studying music theory.1) of the chord. Even within the tradition of Western music99 . especially if the composer wants a very particular sound on a chord.14/>.1) and Naming Triads (Section 3. and the "minor 7th" in Dm7 is the 7th note in a D (natural) minor scale. 3. you need only a few more rules to be able to name all of the most common chords. arrangers.1) and minor scales (Section 2. note: 3. Thanks to everyone who participated in the survey! It was very useful to me.3). for so many reasons). In simplest terms. if two notes are an octave apart. see Acoustics for Music Theory100 . and notes written out on a sta are all very> 104 This content is available online at <http://cnx. You must know your major. to get a better picture of my readers' goals and needs.2)). that's one of the reasons why the traditional musics of various cultures can sound so dierent from each other. and playing.1) and Naming Triads (Section 3.) 2. opinions about what is unpleasantly dissonant have changed a great deal over the centuries. writing. For example. and emailed comments are still welcome as always. the sound waves of consonant notes "t" together much better than the sound waves of dissonant notes. You must be able to nd intervals from the root (Section 3. like pianists and guitarists). TRIADS AND CHORDS Why are some note combinations consonant and some dissonant? Preferences for certain sounds is partly cultural.6 Beyond Triads: Naming Other Chords note: . Harmonic Series101 . your major scales (Section . What do you need to know to be able to name most chords? 1. you can use the method in #3> 103 "A Survey of Users of Connexions Music Modules" <> 101 "Harmonic Series" <http://cnx. But all you really need to know are the name of the chord. For much more about the physical basis of consonance and dissonance. and Tuning Systems102 .) Or if you know your scales and don't want to learn about (See Interval (Section 1. and performers (especially people playing chords. ngering charts.1 Introduction Once you know how to name triads (please see Triads (Section 3. If you would 99 "What Kind of Music is That?" <http://cnx.72 CHAPTER 3. minor. they don't t together as well. or be able to gure them out following the rules for triads. 104 Are you really free to use this online resource? Join the discussion at Opening Measures105 3. Chord manuals. It's also very useful at a "practical" level for composers. One way to do this is by using the rules for intervals. you can nd all the intervals from the root using scales.2)> 100 "Acoustics for Music Theory" <http://cnx. augmented and diminished triads. I will also soon begin making some of the suggested additions. Either have them all memorized. who need to be able to talk to each other about the chords that they are reading. I hope to begin updating the survey results module103 in April. the "4" in Csus4 is the 4th note in a C (major or minor) scale. If you know all your scales (always a good thing to know.

3: Seventh Chords). if the "minus" chord symbol is used.ars-nova. and for naming bass notes (Section 3. Chord Symbols A chord symbol above the sta is sometimes the only indication of which notes should be used in the accompaniment110 . please see Major Keys and Scales (Section 2. Chord symbols also may be used even when an accompaniment is written out.29: There is widespread agreement on how to name chords. this can be a little confusing.2).6.5: Bass Notes). In such cases.6. are sometimes expected to be able to play a named chord. without seeing the notes written out in common notation108 . a chord symbol above the sta109 tells the performer what chord should be used as accompaniment to the music until the next symbol appears. or an accompaniment107 based on that chord.1) chord. not an added 6.6: Altering Notes and Chords) chords. but there are several dierent systems for writing chord symbols. Figure> 109 "The Sta" <http://cnx. for adding notes (Section 3.> 108 "The Sta" <http://cnx. discussed below.4: Added Notes. such as guitarists and pianists. and Extensions) and altering (Section 3. but need to brush up on your scales. If you're not certain what chord is wanted.1) and Minor Keys and Scales (Section 2.2 Chord Symbols Some> 110 "Harmony": Accompaniment <http://cnx.htm 107 "Harmony": Accompaniment <http://cnx. (For example. (As of this 106 http://www. and Extensions). is very dierent from the gured bass shorthand popular in the seventeenth century (which is not discussed here).> . so that performers can read either the chord symbol or the notated music.6.73 prefer this method. the "6" in gured bass notation implies the rst inversion (Section 3. Suspensions. You need to know the rules for the common seventh chords (Section 3. The basic rules for these are all found below. for extending (Section 3.) note: 3.4: Added Notes. as they prefer. Please note that the modern system of chord symbols.6. particularly when dierent systems use the same symbol to refer to dierent chords. you can get useful clues both from the notes in the music and from the other chord symbols used. For example. there was a very straightforward summary of gured bass at Ars Nova Software106 . 4. check to see if you can spot any chords that are clearly labelled as either minor or diminished.

11) above the root (Section 3. depending on the assumptions of the person who wrote the symbol.1). • The minor seventh is one half step below the major seventh. distinguished by both the type of triad and the type of seventh used. • The diminished seventh is one half step below the minor seventh. notice that some symbols. Seventh Chords Seventh (or "dominant seventh") chord = major triad + minor seventh Major Seventh chord = major triad + major seventh Minor Seventh chord = minor triad + minor seventh Diminished Seventh chord = diminished triad + diminished seventh (half step lower than a minor seventh) • Half-diminished Seventh chord = diminished triad + minor seventh • • • • An easy way to remember where each seventh is: • The major seventh is one half step below the octave (Section 1.3 Seventh Chords If you take a basic triad (Section 3.1) and add a note that is a seventh (p.1). you have a seventh chord. Here are the most common. .30: 3. TRIADS AND CHORDS Examples of Chord Symbol Variety There is unfortunately a wide variation in the use of chord symbols. such as the "minus" sign and the triangle. In particular. can refer to dierent chords. There are several dierent types of seventh chords. Figure 3.74 CHAPTER 3.6.

) Write the following seventh chords. 7.1 (Solution on p. Fdim7. 2. and C half-diminished seventh115 .mp3> 112 See the le at <http://cnx. C major seventh112 . Look closely at the chords you have written and see if you can notice something surprising about them. You can continue to extend the chord by adding to the stack of thirds (Section 3. 85. you can print this PDF le116 1.6. Suspensions. If you need sta paper. 5.) Write a Ddim7. The most common additions and extensions add notes that are in the scale named by the chord.2 (Solution on p.4 Added Notes. C diminished seventh114 .org/content/m11995/latest/chodim7. Exercise 3.mp3> 116 See the le at <> .pdf> 117 "Enharmonic Spelling" <http://cnx. 3. G#dim7. and Bdim7.75 Common Seventh Chords Figure 3. or you can add any note you want.mp3> 113 See the le at < C minor seventh113 .mp3> 115 See the le at <http://cnx. 111 See the le at <http://cnx.31 Listen to the dierences between the C seventh111 . and Extensions The seventh is not the only note you can add to a basic triad to get a new chord.mp3> 114 See the le at <http://cnx. 4. (Hint: try rewriting the chords enharmonically117 so that all the notes are either natural or (single) at.6. 3.6. 6.1). G minor seventh E (dominant) seventh B at major seventh D diminished seventh F (dominant) seventh F sharp minor seventh G major seventh B half-diminished seventh Exercise 3.

and 5) notes of the scale are part of the basic triad. In an extended chord. and G naturals. the performer is left to decide how to play the chord most eectively. E naturals. Chord tones may or may not be left out. just list its number (its scale degree) after the name of the chord.33: . To nd out what to call a note added to a chord. or 5. for example. Adding to and Extending Chords Labelling a number as "sus" (suspended) implies that it replaces the chord tone immediately below it.76 CHAPTER 3. In many other situations. 3. count the notes of the scale named by The rst. that would be any C naturals. and fth (1. 3. If you want to add a note with a dierent name.32: the chord. So are any other notes in other octaves that have the same name as 1. all or some of the notes in the "stack of thirds" below the named note may also be added. third. Labelling it "add" implies that only that note is added. In a C major chord. TRIADS AND CHORDS Extending and Adding Notes to Chords Figure 3. Figure 3.

or minor . the performer must take care to play the correct third and seventh. In other words. The result is that the C11 . introduce dissonance (Section 3. but in practice these chords usually do sound dierent. Such a chord can be dominant. A Variety of Ninth Chords Take care to use the correct third and seventh . and 9 chords are often labelled suspended (sus). 71). note: You may have noticed that. dissonances need to be resolved (p. So even though they both add an F. ninth. The C4. once you pass the octave (8).dominant. this usually means that only the thirteenth is added. or minor.34: All added notes and extensions. on the other hand. If the higher note is labelled "add". needs-to-be-resolved. a C4 suspension118 will sound quite dierent from a C11119 extended chord. and eleventh as well as the thirteenth. Low-number added notes and high-number added notes are treated dierently. On the other hand. including sevenths. Figure 3. If a chord symbol says to "add13". and follow the same rules for resolution (p. It may seem that C4 and C11 should therefore be the same chords. which may include the 7 and 9 as well as the 11. jazzy. major. for example. you are repeating the scale. by leaving out the 3 in a chord with a 4). 71) in popular music as they do in classical. in other styles of music.35: . 2. In extension . a C13 can include (it's sometimes the performer's decision which notes will actually be played) the seventh. 4. and C4 and C11 both add an F. or impressionistic sound. on the other hand. and some chords may be altered to make the dissonance sound less harsh (for example. has a more intense. far away from the bass note and piled up on top of all the other notes of the chord (including the third). In some modern music. In other words.with extended chords.77 Many of the higher added notes are considered extensions of the "stack of thirds" begun in the triad. they will put the added note of a C11 at the top of the chord. major.5) into the chord. classic suspension sound. Figure 3. many of these dissonances are heard as pleasant or interesting or jazzy and don't need to be resolved. don't include the chord extensions that aren't named. C2 and C9 both add a D.has a more diuse. performers given a C4 chord will put the added note near the bass note and often use it as a temporary replacement for the third (the "3") of the chord. However.

TRIADS AND CHORDS 3. 30) as the primary bass note. and basses that are not the root.or it can be an added note . C/E or C/G .37 Exercise 3.4 (Solution on p. following the same basic rules as other added notes (including using it to replace other notes in the chord). The note following the slash should be the bass note.or it can be an added note. 86. added notes. 50) .78 CHAPTER 3.making the chord a rst or second inversion (p.5 Bass Notes The bass line120 of a piece of music is very important.mid> 120 "Harmony": Accompaniment <http://cnx.for example. Chords with ngerings that you don't know but with a sound that you would recognize work best for this exercise. and other chord players: Get some practical> . Figure At the end of the chord name will be a slash followed by a note name.3 (Solution on p. Fsus4. Name some chords you don't have memorized (maybe F6. play the notes and see what they sound like. 118 See the le at <http://cnx.mid> 119 See the le at <http://cnx. and the composer/arranger often will want to specify what note should be the lowest-sounding in the chord. BM7.6. etc.for example C/B or C/A. Decide what notes must be in those chords.) For guitarists.). Naming the Bass Note The note following the slash is the bass note of the chord. pianists. it is best to use the tonic (p. If the bass note is not named. It can be a note that is already in the chord .) Name the chords.36: The note named as the bass note can be a note normally found in the chord . Try to identify the main triad or root rst. 86. Exercise 3. extensions. nd a practical ngering for them. for example C/E.6.) Figure 3. (Hint: Look for suspensions. Am/G.

1). Altered Chords There is some variation in the chord symbols for altered chords. not from the key of the piece. D (dominant) seventh with a at nine A minor seventh with a at ve G minor with a sharp seven B at (dominant) seventh with a sharp nine F nine sharp eleven 121 "Pitch: Sharp. making some chord symbols quite long. The alteration . You can print this PDF le123 if you need sta paper for this exercise.1) of the chord. write the chords listed in the chord symbol. a chord symbol always names notes in the scale of the chord root (Section 3.pdf> . 86.38: Exercise 3.for example "at ve" or "sharp nine" .6. remember that the alteration is always from the scale of the chord> 123 See the le at <http://cnx. so the alterations are from the scale of the chord. Any number of alterations can be listed.6.6 Altering Notes and Chords If a note in the chord is not in the major or minor scale of the root (Section 3. 5. Remember. Alterations are not the same as accidentals121 . Plus/minus or sharp/at symbols may appear before or after the note number. 3. it is an altered note and makes the chord an altered chord.) On a treble clef sta.5 (Solution on p. 4. not from the key> 122 "Key Signature" <http://cnx. ignoring the key signature122 of the piece that the chord is in. Figure 3. 2. When sharps and ats are used. and Natural Notes" <http://cnx.79 3. Flat.

54) TRIADS AND CHORDS . Solutions to Exercises in Chapter 3 Solution to Exercise 3. 54) Figure 3.80 CHAPTER 3.1 (p.2 (p. 51) Figure 3.1. 50) Figure 3.39 Solution to Exercise 3.2 (p.1 (p.40 Solution to Exercise 3.1.41 Solution to Exercise 3.2.2.

56) .2.2.3 (p.81 Figure 3.44 Solution to Exercise 3. 55) Figure 3.4 (p.42 Solution to Exercise 3.5 (p.2. 55) Figure 3.43 Solution to Exercise 3.

45 Solution to Exercise 3.46 Solution to Exercise 3. G major (G) A major (A) G sharp major (G#) A minor (Am) E minor (Em) A minor (Am) E seventh (E7) TRIADS AND CHORDS . 6. 2. Figure 3. 58) Figure 3.82 CHAPTER 3. 61) 1.3. 5. 7. 4.2 (p.3. 3.1 (p.

3 (p. Figure 3. and dominant are minor (i. and v). The supertonic (ii) is diminished.83 Solution to Exercise 3. 62) Figure 3.48 .3. submediant. subdominant. iv. and VII).3. and subtonic are major (III. VI. The mediant. 62) The tonic.47 Solution to Exercise 3.4 (p.

49 Solution to Exercise 3.84 CHAPTER 3.5 (p.4. Figure 3. the III chord becomes augmented. as mentioned above (p. If the seventh scale note is raised. the sharp vii) is sometimes used in cadences (Section 3. a diminished seventh chord based on the leading tone (here. Solution to Exercise 3. 59).4). The augmented III chord would not be particularly useful in the key.1 (p. but. 63) TRIADS AND CHORDS The seventh degree of the scale must be raised by one half step to make the v chord major. and and the vii chord becomes a diminished chord (based on the sharp vii rather than the vii).3. 68) .

75) Figure 3. before returning to the tonic key.2 (p. Solution to Exercise 3. Also notice the accidental required in the minor key to make the (major) dominant chord.51 Solution to Exercise 3.85 Figure 3.3.50 Notice that the half cadence looks like (and in fact is) a modulation (Section 3. In this very common progression. and the piece will continue on in the dominant key for a while. 75) .6.6: Modulation) to the dominant. the dominant seventh of the dominant (which requires an accidental) makes the dominant feel like a very strong resting point.1 (p.6.

p. 78) Figure 3. as a minor seventh with at ve. . TRIADS AND CHORDS Figure 3.52 Solution to Exercise CHAPTER 3.4 (p. 74) can be (and sometimes is) written as it is here.5 (p.53 Solution to Exercise 3. 79) Notice that a half-diminished seventh (Seventh Chords.3 (p. 78) You can check your work by • listening to the chords to see if they sound correct • playing your chords for your teacher or other trained musician • checking your answers using a chord manual or chord diagrams Solution to Exercise 3.

54 .87 Figure 3.



Index of Keywords and Terms

Keywords are listed by the section with that keyword (page numbers are in parentheses). Keywords
do not necessarily appear in the text of the page. They are merely associated with that section.
apples, Ÿ 1.1 (1) Terms are referenced by the page they appear on. Ex. apples, 1





absolute pitch, 21
acoustics, 13
altered chord, 79
altered chords, Ÿ 3.6(72)
altered note, 79
augmented, 16
augmented chord, 54
augmented chords, Ÿ 3.2(52)
augmented intervals, Ÿ 1.3(10)
Authentic, 66
authentic cadence, Ÿ 3.4(65)
bass notes, Ÿ 3.6(72)
cadence, Ÿ 3.4(65), 65, 65
chord, Ÿ 3.1(49), 70
chord progressions, Ÿ 1.4(21)
chord symbol, 73
chord symbols, Ÿ 3.6(72)
chords, Ÿ 3.2(52), Ÿ 3.3(57), Ÿ 3.5(69), Ÿ 3.6(72)
chromatic scale, 7
Complete Cadence, 66
Compound intervals, 12
consonance, Ÿ 3.5(69)
consonant, Ÿ 3.5(69), 69
Deceptive Cadence, 66
diatonic, Ÿ 1.1(1), 5
diminished, 16
diminished chord, 55
diminished chords, Ÿ 3.2(52)
diminished intervals, Ÿ 1.3(10)
diminished seventh, Ÿ 3.6(72)
dissonance, Ÿ 3.5(69)
dissonant, Ÿ 3.5(69), 69
dominant, Ÿ 3.3(57), Ÿ 3.4(65)
dominant seventh, 59
dorian minor, Ÿ 2.2(32), 36
ear, Ÿ 1.4(21), 21
ear training, Ÿ 1.4(21), 21
extended chords, Ÿ 3.6(72)


extension, 77
extensions, 77


false cadence, Ÿ 3.4(65), 66 
fth of the chord, 49 
fths, Ÿ 1.3(10), Ÿ 2.3(38) 
gured bass, 73 
rst inversion, Ÿ 3.1(49), 50 
ats, Ÿ 2.3(38)
fourths, Ÿ 1.3(10)
frequency, Ÿ 1.1(1), 1
Full Close, 67


Half close, 67
half step, 6
half steps, Ÿ 1.2(6)
Half-cadence, 67
half-diminished seventh, Ÿ 3.6(72)
harmonic analysis, 57
harmonic minor, Ÿ 2.2(32)
harmonic minor scale, 35
harmony, Ÿ 3.3(57)
Helmholtz, 3


imperfect cadence, Ÿ 3.4(65), 67
improvisation, Ÿ 1.4(21)
Interrupted Cadence, 67
interval, Ÿ 1.2(6), 6, Ÿ 1.3(10), 10, Ÿ 1.4(21),
Ÿ 3.5(69), 70
inversions, 18, Ÿ 3.1(49)
invert, 18


key, Ÿ 1.1(1), 29
key signature, 31, Ÿ 2.3(38)
keys, Ÿ 2.1(29), Ÿ 2.2(32)


leading tone, Ÿ 3.3(57)
licks, 23

M major, Ÿ 1.1(1)

major chord, 53
major chords, Ÿ 3.2(52)
major intervals, Ÿ 1.3(10), 14



major keys, Ÿ 2.1(29), Ÿ 2.3(38)
major scales, Ÿ 2.1(29)
major seventh, Ÿ 3.6(72)
mediant, Ÿ 3.3(57)
melodic minor, Ÿ 2.2(32)
melodic minor scale, 35
minor, Ÿ 1.1(1)
minor chord, 53
minor chords, Ÿ 3.2(52)
minor intervals, Ÿ 1.3(10), 14
minor keys, Ÿ 2.2(32), Ÿ 2.3(38)
minor scales, Ÿ 2.2(32)
minor seventh, Ÿ 3.6(72)
modal scales, 37
modulation, 64
music, Ÿ 1.1(1), Ÿ 1.4(21), Ÿ 3.3(57), Ÿ 3.4(65),
Ÿ 3.5(69)
music theory, Ÿ 1.4(21)


natural minor, Ÿ 2.2(32)
natural minor scale, 33
natural minor scales, 35


octave, 2, 5
octaves, Ÿ 1.1(1), Ÿ 1.3(10)


perfect, 13
perfect 5th, 14
perfect cadence, Ÿ 3.4(65), 67
perfect fourth, 14
perfect intervals, Ÿ 1.3(10)
perfect pitch, 21
phrase, Ÿ 3.4(65)
pitch, 6, Ÿ 1.3(10)
plagal, Ÿ 3.4(65)
plagal cadence, Ÿ 3.4(65), 67
position, 50


related keys, Ÿ 2.3(38)
relative major, 34
relative minor, 34, 35
relative pitch, 21
resolution, 71
resolves, 69
resolving, 71
rhythm harmonic rhythm, Ÿ 3.4(65)

root, 49
root position, Ÿ 3.1(49), 49


scale, 29
scale degree, 58, 76
scales, Ÿ 2.1(29), Ÿ 2.2(32)
scientic pitch notation, 3
second inversion, Ÿ 3.1(49), 50
seconds, Ÿ 1.3(10)
Semi-cadence, 67
semi-tone, 6
semitone, Ÿ 1.2(6)
seventh chord, 74
seventh chords, Ÿ 3.6(72)
sevenths, Ÿ 1.3(10)
sharps, Ÿ 2.3(38)
simple intervals, 11
six-four chord, 50
sixths, Ÿ 1.3(10)
subdominant, Ÿ 3.3(57)
submediant, Ÿ 3.3(57)
subtonic, Ÿ 3.3(57)
supertonic, Ÿ 3.3(57)
suspended, 77
suspended chords, Ÿ 3.6(72)
suspension, 77
suspensions, Ÿ 3.6(72)


third of the chord, 49
thirds, Ÿ 1.3(10)
tonal, Ÿ 1.1(1), 6
tonal center, 30
tonic, 30, Ÿ 3.3(57), Ÿ 3.4(65)
transcribing, 23
triad, Ÿ 3.1(49)
Triads, 49, Ÿ 3.2(52), Ÿ 3.6(72)
tritone, 17
tuning, Ÿ 1.4(21), Ÿ 3.5(69)

U unison, 14
W whole step, 8

whole steps, Ÿ 1.2(6)
whole tone, Ÿ 1.2(6), 8
whole tone scale, 8


Collection: Introduction to Music Theory
Edited by: Catherine Schmidt-Jones
Module: "Octaves and the Major-Minor Tonal System"
By: Catherine Schmidt-Jones
Pages: 1-6
Copyright: Catherine Schmidt-Jones
Module: "Half Steps and Whole Steps"
By: Catherine Schmidt-Jones
Pages: 6-10
Copyright: Catherine Schmidt-Jones
Module: "Interval"
By: Catherine Schmidt-Jones
Pages: 10-21
Copyright: Catherine Schmidt-Jones
Module: "Ear Training"
By: Catherine Schmidt-Jones, Russell Jones
Pages: 21-24
Copyright: Catherine Schmidt-Jones, Russell Jones
Module: "Major Keys and Scales"
By: Catherine Schmidt-Jones
Pages: 29-32
Copyright: Catherine Schmidt-Jones
Module: "Minor Keys and Scales"
By: Catherine Schmidt-Jones
Pages: 32-38
Copyright: Catherine Schmidt-Jones


0/ Module: "Cadence in Music" By: Catherine Schmidt-Jones URL: http://cnx.17/ Pages: 49-52 Copyright: Catherine Schmidt-Jones License: http://creativecommons.0/ 91 .org/content/m12402/ Pages: 38-41 Copyright: Catherine Schmidt-Jones License: Module: "Triads" By: Catherine Schmidt-Jones URL: Module: "Consonance and Dissonance" By: Catherine Schmidt-Jones URL: Module: "Beyond Triads: Naming Other Chords" By: Catherine Schmidt-Jones URL: Pages: 52-57 Copyright: Catherine Schmidt-Jones License: Module: "The Circle of Fifths" By: Catherine Schmidt-Jones URL: Pages: 57-64 Copyright: Catherine Schmidt-Jones License: http://creativecommons.13/ Pages: 65-69 Copyright: Catherine Schmidt-Jones License: http://creativecommons.0/ Module: "Beginning Harmonic Analysis" By: Catherine Schmidt-Jones URL: http://cnx.12/ Pages: 69-72 Copyright: Catherine Schmidt-Jones License: http://creativecommons.0/ Module: "Naming Triads" By: Catherine Schmidt-Jones URL: http://cnx.14/ Pages: 72-79 Copyright: Catherine Schmidt-Jones License:

teachers. major and minor keys and scales. community colleges. Spanish. interactive courses are in use worldwide by universities. Connexions materials are in many languages. Connexions has been pioneering a global system where anyone can create course materials and make them fully accessible and easily reusable free of charge. Vietnamese. Connexions's modular. We are a Web-based authoring.Introduction to Music Theory This course introduces the basic concepts and terms needed to discuss melody and harmony. Connexions is part of an exciting new information distribution system that allows for Print on Demand Books. teaching and learning environment open to anyone interested in education. Italian. . It is intended for teens or adults with no background in music theory but some familiarity with reading common notation and playing an instrument (or singing). About Connexions Since 1999. including English. professors and lifelong learners. distance learners. Concepts covered include interval. including students. Japanese. Connexions has partnered with innovative on-demand publisher QOOP to accelerate the delivery of printed course materials and textbooks into classrooms worldwide at lower prices than traditional academic publishers. Portuguese. and Thai. and lifelong learners. K-12 schools. We connect ideas and facilitate educational communities. Chinese. triads and chords. French.