Music Theory - The Fundamentals
There are 12 tones used in western music. Some cultures differ.
7 are named from the alphabet:
A B C D E F G
The white keys on the piano are the 7 letters repeating over and over.
The piano is such a visual instrument that we will use it occasionally when talking about music theory.
The remaining 5 (black keys on the piano) each have 2 names.
The sharp sign
raises a note a
A# = Bb
C# = Db
D# = Eb
F# = Gb
G# = Ab
The flat sign
lowers a note a
Sometimes whether we call a note a sharp or flat will depend on the key we are playing in. More on this later 🙂
Terms to Know
Before we apply the above knowledge to the guitar there are a couple terms we need to know.
Half step - a half step is the smallest distance we can play between two notes.
On the guitar it is one fret to the very next fret.
Whole step - two half steps
On the guitar it is one fret, skip a fret to the next fret.
Let's Apply this Knowledge to Guitar!
Take a look at the piano to the right and notice there are no black keys between:
- B and C
- E and F
This information is important because it means on the guitar E and F will be right beside each other as will B and C. For the other alphabet letters we will have to skip a fret.
We can think of Bert and Ernie from Sesame Street to help us remember this.
Any time we land on B (Bert), C will be right beside, when we land on E (Ernie), F will be right beside. Any other note we land on we will have to skip a fret to get to the next alphabet letter.
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