Music Theory – 0017

Let’s go to step three of the process I’ve been using for writing simple songs. In the first step I chose a simple chord structure encompassing eight measures. In the second step I decided to arpeggiate the bass. When you play an arpeggio, that is just a chord where you play the notes of the chord individually instead of all at the same time and that arpeggiation can go all over the place if you like. In the third step, I’m changing the two measures with the G Major chord so they are in root position and I also add a basic melody for you to build on.

Here’s the next step:


To edit the third measure in the bass clef, use the Eighth Note Tool and click directly over one of the notes and you can drag it up or down, or with the note highlighted you can use the cursor keys to relocate them. I screwed up. What sounds better being played as chords does not work as well for our purposes here when arpeggiated. Once you edit the third measure’s bass clef notes, you can copy and paste that over measure seven, the second to the last.

Sorry for the extra work but it is good practice to alter something like that rather than starting over. Now you should enter my basic melody into the treble clef and listen to the result. It is a very happy and gentle melody. Notice the note F in the third and seventh measures. That is the seventh of the G Major Chord and makes it a Dominant Seventh Chord. The G Major Chord, the V, is the dominant chord in the key of C Major. Adding the seventh adds power to it, something I will address soon in a future article. This only applies to the V and instead we would refer to it as V7. All of the chords we have been using so far use the root, the third, and the fifth of a chord and now we are suggesting there is a seventh which is particularly powerful when added to the V chord.

For your assignment, try to maintain my basic melody and add to it. You can change the notes I provide into quarter notes or eighth notes but keep them in the positions that they are in. I will also do this assignment and show you my results next time.

2 thoughts on “Music Theory – 0017

    • Go to your local music store and tell them you want two books:

      1. John Thompson’s Note-Speller
      2. John Thompson’s Teaching Little Fingers to Play

      (There is a book called “Teaching LIttle Fingers to Play More“. Do not get that one, it is not good.)

      These will take you very gently from the beginning and is intended for young children. If you go through the rest of the series it will take you through five more books, Grades 1-5, and by the end you will be playing mildly advanced classical piano pieces.

      If you know how to use Skype, have a decent internet connection, and can position a webcam to the right of your piano, I will teach you directly.

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