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Piano for dummies - Blake N.

Blake N. Piano for dummies - IDG, 1996. - 353 p.
Download (direct link): pianofordummies1991.pdf
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Another scale, another song. Try playing Bach’s little masterpiece “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring” (Track 32), which is based on the G major scale (and a lot of triplets, which you can read about in Chapter 5). All of the notes from the G major scale are used. Yes, even F-sharp.
Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring
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7
Minor scales
Some people think of major scales as sounding “happy” and minor scales as sounding “sad.” Well, grab a hanky, because this section is all about the minor (sad-sounding) scales.
I must clarify something right away: Minor scales are no less important or any smaller in size than major scales. They just have an unfair name.
Like major scales, minor scales have eight notes with the top and bottom notes having the same name. But unlike major scales, minor scales use the following step pattern:
Whole-Half-Whole-Whole-Half-Whole-Whole
Chapter 8: Scaling to New Heights
Sure, it may look similar to the major scale’s pattern, but this slight rearrangement of half and whole steps makes all the difference in the world. The best way to understand this sonic difference is to play and hear a major and a minor scale side by side. Figure 8-5 shows the C major scale, followed immediately by the C minor scale.
C major scale: C minor scale:
Figure 8-5:
Mai°r fo -..._
and minor J e o ° 01 0 o
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HE
TT
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C scales. CDEFGABC C D & F G Al # C
Hear the difference? Try something else: Figure 8-6 demonstrates the scaly song “Joy to the World.” The first time the melody uses the C major scale. The second time, the melody is constructed on the C minor scale. Notice the difference in the sound.
Melody based on (happy) major scale:
pm
Figure 8-6. Melody based on (sad) minor scale:
Joy (and
sadness) to the world.
j>i[j j ji .Ni'J- Jy- pif t ii
Minor scales can use both sharps and flats. Apply the step pattern to the root note A and you get a minor scale on all white keys. But apply the step pattern to other root notes and you encounter some minor scales with sharps (like E minor) and some with flats (like G minor), as you can see in Figure 8-7.
The notes from minor scales make great, memorable melodies, too. “House of the Rising Sun” is based on the E minor scale. Play this song along with Track 33 and you’ll hear how a minor (but not less important) melody sounds.
100 Part III: One Hand at a Time
Figure 8-7:
So many minors, not enough chaperones.
A minor scale:
o
o
II °
Q
o «
A B C D
E minor scale:
F G A
a
Q
n;
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E F» G A B C D D minor scale:
n O-
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F G A C D
G minor scale:
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Track 33
House of the Rising Sun
5 1
There is a house in New Or - leans, they
5 2 4 1 2
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call the
5 1
Ris - ing Sun.. 3 4 5
------------------------------- It's
2 1 5
ÿ V 1 ! :
- ■ ■ -I--J m m f f r ta r
——1 m 1 i i1 +1— —Ô 1
been the ru - in of man-y a young girl, and 1 3 2 1
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■— a —1 —
boy
know
am one..
_______________________ ___ Chapter 8: Scaling to New Heights
Breaking the rules
Of course, the composer of a song is not obligated to use every note from a scale in the melody. The composer simply uses the scale notes as a menu to choose from. “The Farmer in the Dell,” for example, is based on the F major scale, but it does not use the note B-flat. Listening to Track 34, or playing the song on your piano, I bet you don’t even miss the omission.
Track 34
The Farmer in the Dell
3 4
The far - mer in the dell, the far - mer in the dell.
4 M rj m♦ 5 *— 4 2 1 2 3 2 F —s 1 *—
/- ^ k— • ■— L JJ Cj , ?—
heigh - ho the der - ry - o, the far - mer in the dell. 4 5 4 2 1 2 3 2 1
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What is a der - ry-o? Who cares, just play it well.
Not only can the composer leave out notes from a scale for a song’s melody, he or she can also use notes that aren’t even part of the scale — just to spice things up a bit. I told you that music has no rules. Play “Greensleeves” (Track 35) and hear what I mean. The song is based on the A minor scale, but that G-sharp and F-sharp sure aren’t part of the A minor scale, are they?
102 Part III: One Hand at a Time
Track 35
Greensteei/es
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4 3 2 1 2 3 4
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5 4 3 2 1 2 3
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____________________________ Chapter 8: Scaling to Haw Heights
Alternative Scales
Major and minor scales are definitely the most popular scales, but they aren’t the only ones. Come on, admit it — you’ve experimented a little bit with the step patterns of the major and minor scales. Curiosity begs you to insert a half-step in place of a whole-step here and there to hear what happens.
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