Mudcat Café message #601933 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #41608   Message #601933
Posted By: Mary in Kentucky
01-Dec-01 - 09:09 PM
Thread Name: Scared of Music theory? Faggggedaboudit!
Subject: RE: Scared of Music theory? Faggggedaboudit!
kat - to summarize what Gary said: To find the key, look at the key signature. Instead of memorizing his chart:
B--five sharps
E--four sharps
A--three sharps
D--two sharps
G--one sharp
C--no sharps or flats F--one flat
Bb--two flats -- NOTICE THAT I MADE THIS Bb NOT B (Gary made a mistake above)
Eb--three flats
Ab--four flats
Db--five flats

I taught my 8 yr. old piano students -- memorize the ORDER of sharps and flats (F#, C#, G#, D#. etc) or for flats (Bb, Eb, Ab, Db, etc. it spells the word BEAD) OR if you can't memorize them at first, just look at the order they are written in the key signature from left to right. THEN --- if you have sharps, count up a half step from the last sharp to get the key signature. (one sharp, F#, count up one half step to get key of G major) OR if flats, take the next to last flat and that's your key signature (two flats, Bb and Eb, key of Eb). Remember the key signature gives the major key OR the relative minor key. To get the relative minor key, count down 3 half steps from the major key. (Key of C major has the same key signature as key of A minor...key of G major has the same key signature as key of E minor, etc.) The song tells you if it's major or minor. I find this helpful for keyboard/visual thinkers. For non keyboard people, a half step is just the next note (black or white) on the keyboard.

I like what Sheila said about intervals of the major scale...whole, whole, half, whole, whole, whole, half. I would have itty bitty kids start on ANY note of the piano, and play the major scale, first by ear (do, re, mi what sounded right), then analyze the whole, whole, half, etc.

Many traditional songs, have the I, IV, V (or V7) chords AND their relative minor chords. Then throw in a zinger for color. Example: key of C -- C major chord (I), F major chord (IV), and G major chord (V) or G7 major chord (V7) then also the relative minors of those... a minor, d minor, e minor.

From studying Learning Theory I learned that I'm primarily a visual learner who likes Advanced Organizers. That means I don't have to understand everything in order to assimilate pieces as I go along, but if I don't have an overall outline in advance, my mind shuts down and I refuse to take in bits and pieces. (I think that was what M.Ted was referring to) From teaching, however, I learned that EVERYONE is different. My best friend is an aural learner and absolutely drives me insane. I find her instructions extremely frustrating.

Rick, after a hodge-podge of talking here, it's your job to summarize it. ;-)