Music Theory – 0033

This might be the last round of this series, but not the last round of this type of material. I have been thinking about how this has all been going down and I’m not entirely happy with it. I would rather start from the beginning and teach musicianship along with online piano lessons. This would entail learning to read music, play piano, sight sing, understand how music works, and writing music. It is of great value to poke at a physical instrument and it is of great value to be able to look at a piece of music and be able to hear it in your head directly. All these things should be taught together and should be taught from the very beginning. 

If there is demand for more of these music theory presentations continuing on I will provide them, but I want to be assured that people have completed this exercise first. That should allow me time to start up with the piano/musicianship approach.

To start this, we will need ten measures in six-eight time. Here I mistakenly only made nine measures, the tenth will be another measure in with a C Major chord. Notice how the chords in the bass clef are not all in root position. I do this to move the notes as little as possible while still changing to the next chord. Doing so is called “voice leading“.



Note that the time signature is six-eight. The six denotes how many and the 8 denotes what kind of note. Each measure is comprised of six eighth notes. In this time signature it is the convention to group each measure into two groups of three eighth notes with each of these two groups getting one beat. This is called compound meter. One would count a measure:

ONE – and – uh Two – and – uh

The first of these two beats gets a stronger accent and the second gets a weaker accent. If you find this confusing you can instead count as six beats to the measure with each eighth note getting one beat and you accent the beats thusly:

ONE two three Four five six

Your assignment for tomorrow — next time — will be to write a melody only using the three notes of the chord assigned to each measure. Try to use only one of three rhythmic values for your notes: eighth notes, quarter notes, and dotted quarter notes. Remember, a quarter notes gets the value of two eighth notes, and a dotted quarter note gets the value of three eighth notes.

Try to make your melody peak at about the fifth measure. Start lower at the beginning, build toward the top, and then come back down at the end.

Next time I will show you my melody and we will work from that to the next step. Don’t worry if yours doesn’t match mine, yours might be better. Good luck with this!

2 thoughts on “Music Theory – 0033

  1. I’m toying with the idea of doing a series of total musicianship where I would teach piano from the absolute beginning and throw in all elements of musicianship — most people from beginner to advanced are not well rounded so anyone interested in doing any sort of music would benefit. At the same time, interspersed, I want to just cover whatever is on my mind. I should probably have more than one blog but I’ll just use categories and appropriate titles instead with general interest being uncategorized.

    More importantly, I’m tweaking my method so that I will have some words, a picture or two, and a short video; I want that to be part of most of my entries. The experiments I’ve been doing keep getting better. Once I start the next big series I might pay $90 for increased exposure. WordPress is in cahoots with some company that does that so it’s probably legit. If I’m selling something, that something is me. I pretty much have the presentation mechanism in place and now I need more viewers. It should be interesting to see how that works out. I’ll post about if and when I pursue that.

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