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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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Impress your friends with your newfound gift of “perfect pitch” by telling them the intervals used in lots of famous songs. Play a melody in different keys. Build huge chords of indescribable (until now) proportions. Part IV even shows you how to play songs on your telephone, among other, more useful skills.
Chapter 10
The Building Blocks of Harmony
In This Chapter
p- Measuring the distance between two notes ^ Recognizing notes by sound ► Constructing harmony ^ Harmonizing up a melody
• ••••••
mMy hen you listen to music, the melody usually sticks out in your ears. ▼ ▼ Either that or the ultra-funky drumbeat. You are less aware of the other notes being played along with the melody to form the harmony of the music.
Without harmony, you would hear one single note at a time. On your piano, you can play more than one note at a time, giving it the coveted distinction of being an instrument capable of harmonizing. Sure, other instruments in a band or orchestra can play collectively to form harmony, but you can harmonize by yourself with a piano.
Playing many notes simultaneously is the essence of harmony. The notes you choose and how you arrange them around the melody determines the kind of harmony you produce, whether you use many notes or just one note with each hand. Go ahead and try it: Play two, three, four, even ten notes at once. Ah, sweet harmony ... or a cluttered mess, depending on what notes you play.
Measuring Harmony on a Scale
The distance between any two musical notes is called an interval You may think I’m just trying to make you swallow a music dictionary. Actually, you need to understand this term, the concept of intervals, and which notes make up each interval so that you can select the correct notes to build harmonies.
/24 Part IV: Living in Perfect Harmony
You measure an interval by the number of half steps and whole steps in between the two notes. (See Chapter 8 for more information on whole and half steps.) But because this method involves lots of counting, memorization, and complicated arithmetic, I have an easier solution: Use the major scale as a measuring tape. (Again, Chapter 8 tells you all about scales.)
Each major scale contains eight notes that you can use to name intervals. For example, Figure 10-1 shows the ever-popular C major scale. In the space below each note of the scale, I number the notes from 1 to 8. Don’t I have nice handwriting?
Figure 10-1:
Numbering notes on a scale.
0
1
o
2
o
IE °
You use these eight numbers to name every interval in a scale. You simply pick two notes and count the scale notes in between to find the name of the interval you are playing.
For example, if you play the first note of the scale (C) followed by the fifth note (G), you just played a fifth interval. If you count the scale notes in between C and G, you get five — C, D, E, F, G. From C to E (the third note) is a . . . third interval. Not much originality in these names, but is this easy or what?
But you don’t have to start with the first note of the scale to make a fifth interval. Remember, this concept of intervals is all about distance. You can build a fifth interval on the note G with the fifth scale note up, D. It’s easy to check yourself — just count the scale notes in between.
Notice that 1 count the number of scale notes, not the number of piano keys. If you count the piano keys (black and white) from G to D, for example, this simple number naming of intervals doesn’t work. And I prefer not to devise some algebraic equation to make it work, thank you.
Figure 10-2 shows you the C major scale again, but this time I marked every interval in the scale.
Intervals
Figure 10-2:
A family of intervals.
0
1
o
2
Octave
o
Chapter 10: The Building Blocks of Harmony
I use the C scale as an example because it’s so easy, with no sharps or flats. However, this method of number-naming the intervals works for every single major scale. Simply write out the scale and number the notes from 1 to 8 — it works the same every time.
Internal shorthand
Like scales, intervals come in different varieties: major, minor, and perfect. Knowing these classifications helps you make appropriate harmonies for the music you play. For example, if you want to build a minor chord to harmonize with a melody, you must use a minor interval. (Chapter 12 tells you all about building chords.)
All intervals start out as either major or perfect. You can make a minor interval by lowering a major interval one half-step. The perfect intervals can’t be made minor, because they’re just too darn perfect as is.
In an eternal attempt to be lazy, er, efficient, most musicians use the following abbreviations, or shorthand, when discussing intervals:
J1 M for major intervals J1 m for minor intervals J' P for perfect intervals
J' Numbers for the size interval. For example, a fifth uses the number 5.
Therefore, when you see P5, you know I mean a perfect fifth. When you see M2,1 mean a major second. When you see m6, I mean a minor sixth.
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