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Unread 08-09-2009, 03:24 PM   #136
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Rainer, that chord name primer is excellent! That has to be the most concise explanation I've seen.

One note - what you said about sus chords is completely correct (i.e., if it says "sus" you should default to playing the sus4) for guitar players. Be aware, though, that keyboard players often take it the other way and default to a sus2. If you're playing in a band with a keyboardist, ask about it and agree between you what you're going to play.

Our praise team has a person playing keys and another on piano, plus acoustic guitar and me on electric. We've learned to all look at each other during practice and hold up 2 fingers or 4 fingers with a questioning look, agree, and get nods all around.

Of course, if you have a score and not just a lead sheet or chord chart, it'll be obvious.

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Unread 08-09-2009, 06:05 PM   #137
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Thanks.

The suspension confusion starts way back in classical theory, IIRC.

The term suspension was used to refer to whenever a note in a triad was shifted one note higher; such as the third to the fourth; the fifth to the sixth. The suspension was then released when the fourth returned to the third, or the sixth returned to the fifth ( often most seen in authentic cadences at the end of pieces: V7sus V7 I ). Suspension meaning "held above".

The harmonic technique of lowering a tone was called a "retardation", such as the third to the second or fifth to the fourth. The note below was held and "released" up to it's home tone. This was used similarly, but was never quite used as much as the suspension.

Somehow over time, the term "retardation" for a lowered tone was dropped from common usage, and the 3-to-2 retardation was rebranded a "suspended second".
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Unread 08-09-2009, 07:25 PM   #138
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I'm calling it a retarded second from now on...
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Unread 08-09-2009, 07:29 PM   #139
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It could be that the term "retarded" was dropped from this usage because "retard" also means to slow the tempo. Unfortunately, we're left with an ambiguity about "suspended."
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Unread 08-10-2009, 02:28 AM   #140
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rainer. View Post
The 6/9 chords and b5 chords (and even 6/9b5 chords ) are a whole different beast; a beautiful one at that. 076676 is a gorgeous chord, but I think I'd call it more of a 6/9#11...
Jon, you're such a geek.

I mean that in the nicest possible way....
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Unread 08-10-2009, 01:23 PM   #141
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The forum ate my post twice... Let's try again.

Ok... so here's a question that perhaps there's no answer to. But as I was playing the notes on the 1-4 strings yesterday (a thrill a minute, I know) I was wondering why some are whole steps and others are half steps.

I'm assuming it's a function of just how music works. And yeah, I'm aware there may be no answer here other than "that's just how it works." But why? If I look at a piano keyboard there's only a half step between B-C, and E-F. Is there an answer to why? Or am I looking at it wrong?

Sorry, but my mind wonders this stuff. It's part of my personality to dig into stuff I don't understand and try to figure it out. I've never been good with "that's just how it is" type answers.
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Unread 08-10-2009, 02:37 PM   #142
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I don't know how much of a "why" there is. Much of music notation and language is derived from very old traditions and norms. It also has to do with what our ears perceive as pleasant combinations of tones.

But "why?" Beats me. Why the scale that has no sharps or flats is a C scale, when the note intervals could have been chosen differently so it would be an A scale, or whatever, is beyond me.

Nevertheless, here's how it works:

All the notes we use in western music are:

A A# B C C# D D# E F F# G G# A
Bb Db Eb Gb Ab

There is a half-step between each note, so each is adjacent on the piano. Since there's no sharped or flatted note between B and C, for example, there's no black key.

Certainly those notes could just as easily have been named A B C D E F G H I J K L A, or Bob Joe Pete Alice.... Why on earth that wasn't done, I have no idea, though it would make a music staff much harder to read.

Now, scales are formed from fixed patterns of intervals based on what sounds pleasing to the ear. For example, a major scale has the step pattern W W H W W W H (whole and half steps). A minor scale has the pattern W H W W H W W.

So let's build a scale. If we start with a C note and follow the major scale step pattern, we get
C D E F G A B C
hence a key signature with no sharps or flats denotes the key of C.

If we start on a D note and follow the same pattern, we get
D E F# G A B C# D
so a key signature with 2 sharps (F# and C#) denotes the key of D.

Does this help at all, or am I boring you by stating the blindingly obvious?
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Unread 08-10-2009, 02:59 PM   #143
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Certainly those notes could just as easily have been named A B C D E F G H I J K L A, or Bob Joe Pete Alice.... Why on earth that wasn't done, I have no idea, though it would make a music staff much harder to read.
Harder to reach on a keyboard too, I would think.

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Now, scales are formed from fixed patterns of intervals based on what sounds pleasing to the ear. For example, a major scale has the step pattern W W H W W W H (whole and half steps). A minor scale has the pattern W H W W H W W.

So let's build a scale. If we start with a C note and follow the major scale step pattern, we get
C D E F G A B C
hence a key signature with no sharps or flats denotes the key of C.

If we start on a D note and follow the same pattern, we get
D E F# G A B C# D
so a key signature with 2 sharps (F# and C#) denotes the key of D.

Does this help at all, or am I boring you by stating the blindingly obvious?
That actually helps. It doesn't answer the question, but it does help me see how / why the keys are different. As I said before, my original question may be unanswerable. Kind of like why is there gravity. There just is.
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Unread 08-10-2009, 11:21 PM   #144
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It's actually very mathematical. Amazingly mathematical, in fact. The relationships between the notes in a major scale are harmonically pleasing because they offer a relationship between dissonance (tension) and rest.

What's fascinating about this is that the most rested interval other than a perfect octave is a perfect fifth. The notes C and G played together. You might think that logically the fifth would come in the middle of an octave... but it doesn't! In fact, the fifth comes a half step above the very middle of the octave.

The very middle of the octave is called the tritone, and it is an incredibly important dissonant interval. There is no resting on a tritone, in other words, playing a C and an F# at the same time just doesn't sound like it should stay that way.

The second most pleasing interval is a "perfect fourth", which is just an inverted perfect fifth (play a lower G and a higher C). This tone can rest here because there is very little dissonance.

The other tones are very specifically placed as well. The major and minor third, from C to either E (major) or Eb (minor) set the major or minor tonality of the key. They are right in between the root (C) and perfect fifth (G). The problem is that you can't split a perfect fifth, the most pleasing interval, in half! You can only have the note above the middle, or the note below the middle point. The note slightly above the middle point makes a major chord, while using the note below makes it a minor chord.

The sixth note in the scale follows the third note, generally. In a major scale, you will use A as the sixth note, in a minor scale (C, D, Eb, F, G...) you will actually use Ab. The third and sixth have a special relationship, because the sixth is a perfect fourth above the third, and third is a perfect fifth above the previous sixth.

The second is a note right between the root and the third. It shares a fifth/fourth relationship with the fourth, and also lies a whole step above the root, because if it were only a half step it would seem to "fall" back onto the root.

The seventh, now, is also special. It's often called the "leading tone" in classical theory, because it really wants to head up to the root. When you sing a melody that reaches the seventh, it'll almost always go back up to the root because it's so close! Only half step away.

There are just so many amazing relationships between the notes we play. Sorry if I'm gushing. The way the notes are arranged ensures that in one key, every note will have a perfect fifth "partner" that lies both a perfect fifth above it and a perfect fourth below it (with one exception, but there is beauty in that exception, because it provides a single strong dissonant interval that is INCREDIBLY important, that I don't think I will gush on about quite yet...). There are also three major chords and three minor chords (and one diminished chord) in a major key, and they actually almost work in pairs harmonically (to use roman numerals, I and vi, IV and ii, V and iii). The interaction of all these harmonic intervals is what really makes all of our music.
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Unread 08-10-2009, 11:40 PM   #145
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Do you think music is a Created Thing. One of the things God placed in us to speak to us? I do.
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Unread 08-10-2009, 11:54 PM   #146
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Do you think music is a Created Thing. One of the things God placed in us to speak to us? I do.
I think music, and art in general really, is a reflection of our souls. Our desire for beauty, aesthetics, harmony, rhythm, poetry, it's all an outgrowth of our inner emotional needs; our need to feel. The need that God gave us when He made us in His image. We are meant to enjoy, love, and create, and how we can gather around the emotional power of artwork is only natural; and as we study how intricate and harmonious what we hear and see and feel in artwork is, the more we must realize that our souls were not made accidentally.
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Unread 08-11-2009, 12:05 AM   #147
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You're pretty articulate for a guy who apparently never wears shoes.
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Unread 08-11-2009, 06:57 AM   #148
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This begs mention of tempered tuning. The intervals between notes are determined by very precise mathematical relationships. It's impossible, though, to achieve the exact desired ratios in every key on the guitar, or on other instruments with fixed intervals. In a perfectly tuned world, C# and Db are not quite the same note, for example.

The tuning we use on guitars, pianos, and most other instruments is a compromise that allows C# and Db to be the same note. The ratios between pitches are very slightly off, and the errors are distributed among all the notes. In this way, these instruments can play acceptably in any key. Otherwise, only two or three keys would sound good, and there would be excessive dissonance in other keys.

This method of tuning is called "equal temperament." The frequency ratio of each note to the next is the same. It's an approximation to "just temperament" which would only work in one key.

For example, consider concert A, which is 440Hz. The major third above A is C#. In just temperament, that frequency would be 1.25000 * 440 = 550Hz.

So in the key of A, C# is ideally 550Hz. But, in the key of C, the minor second is Db, which would have an ideal (just temperament) ratio of 1.06667 above C, and that gives 563Hz. C# and Db, therefore, are not exactly the same note.

So equal temperament provides an acceptable compromise. In equal temperament, the 1.25000 ratio is compromised to use 1.25992, so we get 1.25992 * 440 = 554Hz for C#. It's a little higher than a true C#, and a little lower than a true Db.

Skilled players on instruments without fixed intervals, like violins, can play the true notes. If we're going to have frets on our guitars, however, we're stuck.

-----------------------------------
Regarding the other discussion about the origins of music,...

I agree with Rainer. Genesis describes the majestic creative acts of God, and concludes with God creating man "in his own image." I believe that a very critical part of that "image" is man's drive to create. Creativity and its related sense of appreciation of beauty and art and music is a major distinction between man and mere animals. God has instilled in us a drive, a yearning, a compulsion to be creative, and music is one of the results.
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Unread 08-12-2009, 01:41 AM   #149
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I got my copy of Fretboard Logic today. It looks like some great information. But after looking at it. I just feel... overwhelmed. I should know better than to look ahead.
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Unread 08-12-2009, 01:51 AM   #150
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I got my copy of Fretboard Logic today. It looks like some great information. But after looking at it. I just feel... overwhelmed. I should know better than to look ahead.
Best done one page at a time. Also, don't just look at FBL but work it into practicing with learning songs and such.
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