This hot chick called Teeny Bikini asked if I’m just going to permanently make this a Music Theory blog or am I going to do what I have been here and thoroughly explore a topic and then move on to the next thing. I think I’m going to stick with the music bit for a long long time, but not exclusively. Music has been a serious recurrent theme throughout my life so there will be a lot about song writing going forward. Really the music theory is bringing people up to speed toward talking about various aspects of writing music and that will likely be my main hobby for the rest of my life.
Today I want to start a few sessions on a piece of music I’ve recently written called “Finding Diane”.
This piece, a piano solo at least for the moment, was inspired by a novel in progress called “Pieces of the Circle“. Basically, it is a grown-up woman writing a fictional yet somewhat autobiographical novel trying to warn girls growing up not to get involved in abusive relationships. The rough chapters I’ve read speak to me directly, like here is what your wife/girlfriend feels when you behave in certain ways. It is powerful stuff. This whole thing was in the back of my mind when I started picking out notes on the piano. The first day I wrote the intro, the second day I wrote a verse and chorus, and the third day I wrote an ending. Then a week or two later I worked out a middle section. Since the novel is trying to break a cycle of abuse, breaking a circle, I thought I would make the piece into a rondo.
A rondo has a number of variations but basically the form is:
A – B – A – C – A – B – A
The A, B, and C, are all sections of music. The A section that keeps coming back around is a recurrent theme. Today I want to play just the intro for you:
And here is the score for this introductory passage:
First off, notice how in measure seven of the bass clef how the clef is temporarily changed to a treble clef and then back to a bass clef. That is one of many things that NotePad will not do. You can purchase up several levels until you have the full version that I have if you want that magical power, but I intend to keep it so you don’t have to. This is a watch and learn mini-series, not something I hope you will enter yourself.
All that is happening in these initial eight measures is that I am going back and forth between A Minor and G Major. The chords for the key of A Minor are the same as for the key of C Major except they start with A instead of C. The two major chords are still F and G. The key of A Minor is said to be the relative minor of the key of C Major because their scales and chords are all the same notes. The first two measures are A Minor and follow a pattern upwards and falls a little after reaching the top. All those notes are from the A Minor chord, A – C – E, but I also add a B note for color (actually I mishit a note and then decided I liked it). In the second two measures we do the exact same thing except with a G Major chord, same pattern exactly using the notes, G – B – D, and adding the note A to follow the same pattern relative to the G Major chord.
The fourth and fifth measures are exactly the same as the first and second measures. The final two measures of this intro are again G Major and exclusively use notes of the G Major chord.
In the last half of the final measure pictured, an E7 chord is used as the “V” (E – G# – B – D) going to “i” in order to start the Verse or the A-Section. In minor keys it is common to alter the Minor v chord and make it a Major V chord instead because it provides the half step, the G# to A in this key because it is a more powerful movement.
So this intro is essentially just two chords in the key of A Minor going back and forth between the A Minor and G Major chords, changing every two measures. I use a lot of the keyboard, but it is just two chords.
Forgive me for introducing this before we examine the concept of a minor key. Take this as a field trip where you are being introduced to new things that will not be on the test until we cover it step-by-step sometime in the future. This piece of music is on my mind and I’m working on making a finished project so you are stuck with this for a few days.
[Special note: I did not expect that video to expand into the entire 600 pixel width that this blog theme uses. That is why the video is blurry: I recorded it with my iPhone in portrait orientation to match the length of the keyboard and then cropped it thinner still in editing. I will keep this in mind for future videos. I recorded the piano audio separately and then stitched the audio and video together.]