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Table of Contents

Introduction

Music theory is the study of music. There are many music theory traditions around the world, as music varies from place to place. This is because it was made after the production of music. Music can be many things, and there has been arguments of what is considered music and what is not. Music usually has four basic aspects:

  1. Rhythm : Concerns the note length and speed. This is mainly the timing aspect of it
  2. Melody: This concerns the series of notes in which a song is played with.
  3. Harmony: This concerns the amount of notes played at once. The notes line up together creating a hybrid sound.
  4. Timbre: This concerns the physical parts of the sound of notes. The Attack, Sustain, Decay are the parts that make up the Timbre, and are noticed consecutively while a note is being played.

Notes

There are 12 notes in the standard music system, the notes are A, A#, B, C, C#, D, D#, E , F, G, G#. This can also be stated as: A, Bb, B, C, Db, D, Eb, E , F, Gb, G, Ab. The # sign is known as a sharp, and the lowercase b is known as flats. These are placed on a clef to be understood by a musician.

<need clef image>

Intervals between notes are known as semitones. They are named accordingly to the relationship of the 2 notes. They are used to describe the harmony of songs. For example if you are playing a C note, and someone else is playing a E note, you are playing a major third. This is because C and E are 4 notes away (C, C#, D, D#, E). Two notes that have no notes between the lowest and highest are perfect unison. This means the 2 notes are the same, C and C, or D and D. Two notes that have one note between is a minor second, two is major second, three is minor third, fourth is major third, five is perfect fourth, sixth is tritone, seventh is perfect fifth, eight is minor sixth, ninth is major sixth, tenth is minor seventh, eleventh is major seventh, and twelve is perfect octave. There are also alternative names, to determine what the alternative name is, just remember:

  1. If any perfect interval is raised by one semitone, it is augmented.
  2. If it is perfect and lowered one semitone, it is diminished.
  3. If it is major and raised one , it is augmented.
  4. If it is major and lowered by one, it is minor.
  5. If it is major and lowered by two, it is diminished

This is mainly used to describe compound intervals, which are intervals greater then one octave. Like the minor 9th would be a minor 2nd. A scale has 7 notes, so it would look like : Root Note, 2,3,4,5,6,7,Octave,9,10,11,etc. 9 is the octave of 2, 10 is the octave of 3, etc. These are the intervals that make up scales.

Chords

Chords are notes that are played at the same time. These are used to define a song's key. There are three basic chords:

  1. Major:Major chords sound happy, and bright. They contain the root note, the major third, and the perfect fifth. It is common to also have the octave in the chord. 1 3 5 8
  2. Minor:Minor chords often sound sad, or depressing. They contain the root note, the minor third, and the perfect fifth. It is common to also have the octave in the chord. 1 b3 5 8
  3. Fifth: These chords are neutral. This is because it just contains the root note, the perfect fifth and the octave.1 5 8

Along with the main chords, here is a list, and the notes of the scale displayed next to it. I will describe these after:

  1. : Maj7: 1, 3, 5, 7
  2. : Min7: 1, b3, 5, b7
  3. : Maj7#5: 1, 3, #5, 7
  4. : Maj7b5: 1, 3, b5, 7
  5. : Min7#5: 1, b3, #5, b7
  6. : Min7b5: 1, b3, b5, b7
  7. : Dom7: 1, 3, 5, b7
  8. : 7b5: 1, 3, b5, b7
  9. : 7#5: 1, 3, #5, b7
  10. : 7b9: 1, 3, 5, b7, b9
  11. : 7#9: 1, 3, 5, b7,#9
  12. : 7(b5, b9): 1, 3, b5, b7, b9
  13. : 7(#5, b9): 1, 3, #5, b7, b9
  14. : 7(b5, #9): 1, 3, b5, b7,#9
  15. : 7(#5, #9): 1, 3, #5, b7,#9
  16. : mmaj7: 1, b3, 5, 7
  17. : 7sus4: 1, 4, 5, b7
  18. : dim7: 1, b3, b5, bb7

1-6:

Major and minor sevenths are easy to explain. Minor scale is based off the major scale (used for chord construction) but in the scale, you have a flat third, sixth, and seventh. So what you do? flatten them for minor chords. Chords three through six are just variations of lowering or raising the fifth of that chord. Since the fifth is not touched between the major and minor relationship, the fifth stays perfect unless stated otherwise, either with an augmented sign or a diminished sign.

7-15: Dominant 7th chord is a chord with a flattened 7th. Chords number eight and nine are just putting a augmented (#) or diminished (b ) 5th in there.Chords number ten and eleven is just adding the ninth of the scale (remember compound intervals) and either augmenting or diminishing it. Chord numbers twelve through fifteen shows a mix between augmented (#) or diminished (b ) fifths and ninths in there.

16: The chord Minor Major 7th is just a minor chord, but with a major 7th in it. so just flattening the 3rd.

17: A suspended fourth chord (Sus4) is a chord that just replaces the third with a fourth, meaning instead of using the 1-3-5 triad, you use 1-4-5 triad

18: Diminished 7th (dim7) is just flattened everything but the 1st. However, its also part of a dominant 7th, so the 7th is double flatted.

Modes

Intro

Modes are relative scales to the key that you are in. There are 7 Modes to go over in the Diatonic Scale. The Diatonic scale is the natural Major scale. The example i will be using is the C Major Scale because it is the key with no flats. The Scale goes C D E F G A B C. The steps to make the scale go: Whole step, Whole step, Half step, Whole step, Whole step, whole step, half step. Each of the notes have names for them. I will also be comparing each mode to the C major scale.

  1. Ionian ( C ): The Ionian Mode is the Major scale. This is what we base everything off of. This Mode sounds happy due to the Major 3rd of the scale and Major 6th. The steps to make the scale are in the intro.
  2. Dorian ( D ): Dorian Mode starts off with the D note and the steps go : Whole step , Half Step, Whole Step, Whole Step, Whole Step, Half Step, Whole Step ( Scale: D E F G A B C D). When thinking of it compared to the major scale, it is the mode with a Flat 3rd and a Flat 7th. This Mode tends to sound minor at times due to the Minor 3rd and minor 7th. When you want to apply this mode, you would most likely want to use a D min7 chord . A good idea also is to use the Major 6th of this scale ( B ) to make notice that you are riffing in Dorian.
  3. Phrygian ( E ): The Phrygian Mode starts off with the E Note and the steps go: Half Step, Whole Step, Whole Step, Whole Step, Half Step, Whole Step , Whole Step. This mode tends to sound Egyptian-like because compared to the Major Scale it has a flat 2nd, flat 3rd, flat 6th and flat 7th. To give a dominant sound of the phrygian mode, i would suggest using a E min7, or Emin b9. If you are using an E min7 chord, i would suggest throwing the F in as a dominant phrygian sound.
  4. Lydian ( F ): The Lydian mode is an interesting mode, beings it is the only mode to have a sharp note compared to the major scale. There is a sharp 4th. The steps are Whole Step, Whole Step, Whole Step, Half Step, Whole Step , Whole Step, Half Step. This mode sounds very happy because it is basically the major scale , just with a sharp 4th. To apply the F Lydian mode, you would use an F chord, when riffing, you would want to add the 4th to give it a dominating Lydian Sound.
  5. Mixo-Lydian ( G ): Mixo-Lydian is a mode with just a Flat 7th.The steps are: Whole Step, Whole Step, Half Step, Whole Step , Whole Step, Half Step, Whole Step. This mode can be used in many ways due to the flat 7th. I would use a G maj b7 chord to give the dominating Mixo-Lydian sound. You could use a G Major also, but to give it the mixo-lydian feel, in riffing you would want to use the flat 7th.
  6. Aeolian ( A ) : This is the Natural minor scale. It has a flat 3rd, flat 6th, and flat 7th. You can use any minor chord to accentuate the Aeolian mode.
  7. Locrian ( B): The locrian scale is the most dark sounding scale. The steps are Half Step, Whole Step , Whole Step, Half Step, Whole Step, Whole Step, Whole Step. It has a Flat 2nd, Flat 3rd, Flat 5th, Flat 6th and Flat 7th. I would use a B Diminished Chord. The Normal 4-part Chord is based off of the root, the major 3rd , and the the Perfect 5th, and the Dominant 7th, the Minor is The Root, Minor 3rd, the Perfect 5th, and the diminished 7th (due to the flat 3rd and 7th). However, the Diminished contains the Root, The Minor 3rd, the diminished 5th, and the diminished 7th.

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