Syllabus - Music Theory
What is music ?
Music is an art form that uses sound and rhythm to create a composition or piece. It can be performed by a single person or by a group of people, and can be enjoyed through live performances or recorded media. Music can be composed for a variety of purposes, including entertainment, religious or ceremonial use, and as a form of expression. It can be created with a wide range of instruments, including traditional instruments such as piano, guitar, and drums, as well as electronic instruments.
7 Notes in music
In music, the seven notes of the diatonic scale are A, B, C, D, E, F, and G. These seven notes are the building blocks of most Western music and are used to create melodies, harmonies, and chords. These notes can be played in any order and can be repeated to create a scale. The distance between each note is called a "half-step" (also called a semitone) and the sequence of whole and half steps among the 7 notes create different modes and scales like major and minor scales. The notes repeat at regular intervals, with the next higher or lower note of the same name being located at the next higher or lower octave.
12 Notes in music
In music, the twelve notes of the chromatic scale are C, C#, D, D#, E, F, F#, G, G#, A, A#, and B. These twelve notes represent all the possible pitches that can be used in music, and are used to create melodies, harmonies, and chords. The chromatic scale consists of the seven notes of the diatonic scale, which are A, B, C, D, E, F, and G, along with the five additional notes of C#, D#, F#, G#, and A#. These notes are also known as "accidentals" because they are not a part of the diatonic scale and are "added" to the diatonic scale to create the chromatic scale. The twelve notes repeat at regular intervals, with the next higher or lower note of the same name being located at the next higher or lower octave.
A scale in music is a sequence of notes arranged in ascending or descending order. Scales are used as the foundation for melody and harmony in music, and are often used as a basis for improvisation and composition. There are many different types of scales in music, including major and minor scales, pentatonic scales, and modes.
The most common scale in music is the major scale, which is a seven-note scale that is built on a specific pattern of whole and half steps. The major scale creates a sense of resolution and is often used in pop, rock, and classical music.
The minor scale is another common scale in Western music. It is also a seven-note scale but it has a different pattern of whole and half steps, which creates a different emotional character and is often used in different genres such as blues, rock, and classical.
The major scale is a seven-note musical scale that is one of the most commonly used in Western music. The notes in a major scale are arranged in a specific pattern of whole and half steps. The formula for a major scale is:
- Tone (T) - Tone (T) - Semitone (S) - Tone (T) - Tone (T) - Tone (T) - Semitone (S)
The first note of the scale is called the tonic or root, and the scale is named after that note. For example, a C major scale would consist of the notes C-D-E-F-G-A-B-C.
The major scale is considered to be a "happy" or "bright" sounding scale, and it forms the basis for many different types of music, including folk, pop, and classical. The major scale also provides the foundation for chords and chord progressions, which are an important part of harmony in music.
In music, a minor scale is a scale that is defined by a specific pattern of whole steps and half steps. The most common minor scale in Western music is the natural minor scale, also known as the Aeolian mode. The natural minor scale is formed by playing the notes in the following order: root, whole step, half step, whole step, whole step, half step, whole step. For example, in the key of A minor, the notes of the natural minor scale would be A, B, C, D, E, F, G, A. The natural minor scale has a distinct, melancholic sound and is used in a wide variety of musical genres, including classical, folk, and rock. The harmonic minor scale, which is formed by raising the seventh scale degree by a half step, and the melodic minor scale, which is formed by raising the sixth and seventh scale degrees by a half step when ascending, are other types of minor scales. These scales are often used in classical music and Jazz.
Melody is the element of music that refers to the sequence of pitches that form a musical line. It is the linear aspect of music that creates the musical phrase and gives music its sense of direction and shape. A melody is typically composed of a series of notes that are played or sung in a specific order, and it can be characterized by its contour, rhythm, and intervals.
Melodies can be simple or complex, and they can range from a single line to multiple lines that interact with each other. In most music, melody is the primary element that captures the listener's attention and creates the memorable part of the music. Melodies can be created by various instruments such as the human voice, string instruments, wind instruments, and keyboard instruments, and can also be produced by electronic devices.
Melody can be used to convey a wide variety of emotions, from joy and excitement to sadness and longing. It can also be used to convey different styles of music, from classical to pop, and from folk to jazz. In addition to being the backbone of the composition, melodies can also be used to create a sense of harmony and counterpoint with other melodies in a piece of music.
Rhythm is the element of music that refers to the timing and placement of sounds and silences. It is the pattern of beats and accentuation that gives music its sense of movement and flow. Rhythm can be created by various elements such as the duration of notes, the placement of stresses or accents, and the relationship of different rhythms to each other.
In music notation, rhythm is represented by the duration of notes and rests, which are indicated by different symbols such as quarter notes, half notes, and rests. The time signature, which is represented by a fraction at the beginning of a piece of sheet music, indicates the number of beats per measure and the type of note that represents one beat.
Rhythm can be used to create a wide variety of effects in music, from a steady pulse to complex and syncopated patterns. It also plays a crucial role in determining the feel and groove of a piece of music, and can be used to convey different emotions and styles. In most music, rhythm is the backbone and foundation of the composition, it gives a sense of direction and shapes the melody.
Harmony is the element of music that refers to the sounding of two or more notes at the same time. It is the vertical aspect of music that gives it a sense of tension and resolution. Harmony is created by the simultaneous sounding of notes that are played or sung at different pitches. It is the combination of different pitches that creates chords, which in turn creates the harmony of a piece.
Harmony adds depth and complexity to music, and it can be used to create a wide variety of effects. It can be used to create a sense of dissonance or tension, as well as a sense of consonance or resolution. Harmony can be used to create a sense of movement and progression in music, and it can also be used to create a sense of stability.
In Western music, harmony is often built on chords, which are groups of notes that are played or sung at the same time. These chords can be built on different chord progressions, which are patterns of chords that are used to create a sense of movement and progression in the music. Harmony can also be used to create a sense of counterpoint with melody, where different melodies are played or sung at the same time to create a complex and interesting musical texture.
Harmony also plays a critical role in creating the feeling and atmosphere of a piece of music, it can create a sense of excitement, tension, or relaxation depending on the chords progression and the way they are used.
A chord is a set of two or more musical notes played at the same time. Chords can be played on a variety of instruments, including guitar, piano, and ukulele. They can be major or minor, and can be used to create harmony in music. Chords can also be represented in sheet music as a combination of letters and symbols, indicating the root note and the type of chord.
A chord progression is a series of chords played in a particular order in a piece of music. Chord progressions are used in a wide variety of musical genres and can create a sense of harmonic movement and tension/release.
Tension & Release
Tension and release in music refers to the use of dissonant and consonant harmonies, rhythms, and melody to create a sense of anticipation and resolution. Tension is created when dissonant harmonies, irregular rhythms or dissonant melodies are used. Release is achieved when these elements are resolved to consonant harmonies, regular rhythms, or consonant melodies. This creates a sense of movement and forward momentum in the music, and can be used to create emotional impact. Tension and release can also be created through the use of dynamics, timbre, and other musical elements.
Advance harmony in music refers to the use of more complex chord progressions and harmonic structures in compositions. This can include the use of dissonant chords, unconventional chord progressions, and extended harmonies such as quartal and quintal harmony. It can also include the use of non-Western scales and modes, as well as the incorporation of dissonant counterpoint. Advancing harmony in music can be achieved through studying traditional harmony and counterpoint, as well as experimenting with different harmonic structures and techniques.
In music, a mode is a scale that is derived from a specific set of musical intervals. The most well-known modes are the major and minor scales, which form the basis of much Western music. However, there are also many other modes that have been used throughout music history, such as the Dorian, Phrygian, Lydian, Mixolydian, and Aeolian modes. Each mode has its own unique character and can be used to create different emotional or stylistic effects in a composition.
Modes are also used in Indian classical music and Middle Eastern music. For example, in Indian classical music, there are many different ragas (modes) each with its own distinct melodic and emotive qualities. Additionally, in Middle Eastern music, modes are called "maqams" and have a central role in the music.
In order to use modes in composition, it is necessary to have a good understanding of music theory and the relationships between different intervals and chords.
An interval in music is the distance between two pitches. Intervals can be described in several ways, including by their size (or distance), by the type of interval (such as a major or minor interval), and by the number of scale degrees they span.
Intervals can be classified as:
- Perfect: Unisons, fourths, fifths and octaves
- Major: Second, third, sixth and seventh
- Minor: Same as major but lower by a semitone
- Augmented: Same as major but raised by a semitone
- Diminished: Same as minor but lowered by a semitone
Intervals also have a specific function in harmony, and are used to create chords and chord progressions. For example, a major triad chord (1-3-5) is composed of a major third and a perfect fifth intervals. Understanding intervals is essential for understanding how chords and chord progressions are built, and how to create melodies and harmonies.
Intervals are an essential aspect of music theory, and it is important for composers, songwriters and musicians to have a good understanding of how intervals work in order to create effective and expressive music.
Eastern VS Western Music
Western music and Eastern music have distinct characteristics and traditions that make them unique from one another.
Western music is generally characterized by a strong emphasis on harmony and rhythm, with a tonal system based on major and minor scales. Western music often follows a clear structure, such as verse-chorus form, and is often composed for specific instruments and ensembles, such as orchestras and rock bands.
Eastern music, on the other hand, places more emphasis on melody and improvisation. Eastern music often uses a different system of tuning and scales, such as the ragas of Indian classical music or the pentatonic scale of Chinese music. In Eastern music, the melody is often more complex and ornamented, and is performed by a solo instrument or voice.
Additionally, Eastern music has a strong tradition of oral transmission, meaning that it is passed down through generations by listening and imitation, whereas Western music has a strong tradition of notation, meaning that it is written down and preserved in sheet music.
It's important to note that these generalizations are not exclusive to all Eastern or Western music, and there are many examples of music that blend elements of both traditions.
- Free form composition
- Based on harmony
- Based on rhythm