Music Theory – 0011

We are going to look strictly at the C Major Chord today. What we do with this Chord we can do with other chords. With different inversions, any of the three notes, C – E – G can be the bottom or bass note. I’m feeling lazy today so I’m only going to show you the inversions on the staff and also show a very common melody that uses nothing more than those three notes with some rhythm thrown in.


Notice how on the first Chord all the notes are on consecutive lines, and on the last Chord the notes are all on consecutive spaces. In both cases with just a glance we can tell that these are Chords built on Thirds.

When we go from Root Position to First Inversion, the C is taken from the bottom and put on top. What is important here is that the E becomes the bottom-most note. Similarly going from First Inversion to Second Inversion, the E is put on top and what is important is that the G becomes the bottom-most note. And when we invert the Second Inversion we end up back in Root Position an Octave higher from where we started.

The notes of the C Major Chord can be played all over the keyboard and it is indeed a C Major Chord so long as all we do is play the notes C, E, and G, all over the place. Indeed, those fancy runs you hear in some music ripping up and down the keyboard are usually just a single chord played very rapidly in a pattern.

OK. We’re in the Army now. Time to wake up! Let’s look at what “Reveille” looks like:


Every note above is either a C, E, or G note. Looks complicated, doesn’t it? If you put your thumb on the G above Middle C on the piano and then your middle finger on C and your pinky on E, you could play almost every note. And now for what you don’t want to hear, I want you to enter that whole thing into NotePad. Stop complaining, if you look carefully a lot of those measures are identical and can be copied and pasted. Let me talk you through some of this:

Start a new file in NotePad. You can enter the title as “Reveille”. Put your own name or “Anonymous” as the Composer. Click “Next >” and then select “Brass” in the left column and then “Trumpet in C” in the middle and then click “Add >”. Click “Next >”. Now select the 2 over 4 Time Signature and don’t worry about the number of Measures. (You can make it 25 Measures but the last measure will then be stretched out to an entire line and won’t look very good once you’re done.) Click “Finish”.

Study the music and look for identical measures. You can copy and paste those although it would be excellent practice to enter the whole thing by hand. For example, Measures 2, 3, 6, 7, 18, 19, 22, and 23 are all exactly the same. It is best to copy and past as you get to each measure that is the same as a previous one.

To copy you need the “Selection Tool” which is the arrow over a dotted box icon. Click on a measure where there is no note and the entire measure will be selected. Do a copy command and then click in an empty measure and paste there. In both cases the entire measure should highlight in blue. Music is built on repetition, that is a very important thing to notice.

There is a quarter rest and a couple eighth rests. For those you can open the Rest Palette from the Window menu, or you can make a quarter rest by entering a quarter note and tapping the letter “r” on your computer keyboard, and you can make an eighth rest by entering an eighth note and tapping the letter “r”.

The score uses a Half Note, Quarter Notes, Eighth Notes, and sixteenth Notes. The Half Note has a hollow note-head with a stem. The Quarter Note has a solid note-head and stem. The Eighth Note has a stem and a single flag. The Sixteenth Note has a double flag.

So enter that and we’ll call it a night. Play it with the Playback Controls as you enter a measure or two to make sure it sounds right.

For extra credit you can try to enter “Taps”. I won’t be covering it but if you have the energy it is a good one to try, it will be easy if you keep it simple. Use all Quarter Notes and Half Notes and maybe a Quarter Rest here and there. Keep it simple and just do it as an experiment. Experimenting is good!

One thought on “Music Theory – 0011

  1. This is a very interesting tune. I feel the urge to come back to it later on and have a play. Maybe two instruments interacting like in ‘duet for timpani and triangle’?

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