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Fundamentals of Music: The Keyboard

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Douglas Brown

on 26 March 2013

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Transcript of Fundamentals of Music: The Keyboard

Chapter 3 The Keyboard Fundamentals of Music A keyboard instrument , such as a piano or organ, is the standardized default instrument of Western music. At virtually every music school in the USA, not to mention
the entirety of Western civilization, the piano is the required instrument for every music major to learn to play
proficiently in order to graduate. There are several advantages to the musician learning the
piano over another instrument, such as a wind instrument
or a guitar. (I should make one thing clear. There is nothing wrong with
wind instruments, guitars, or anything else.) One advantage is that beginning piano players do not need to be concerned with playing in tune. ...assuming that the piano has already been tuned by a professional. Merely striking a key plays the note that the pianist intends. Another advantage to learning piano, and one that helps our class, is the visual aid that the keyboard part of the piano offers. The piano has 88 keys. 52 white keys and 36 black keys The white keys are named with the letters
we learned in the previous chapter ...and just like when we get to G , we start over at A . A B C D E F G A B C D E F G A B C D E F G A B C D E F G A B C D E F G A B C D E F G A B C D E F G A B C The highest note is a C . A B C D E F G A B C D E F G A B C D E F G A B C D E F G A B C D E F G A B C D E F G A B C D E F G A B C Further, we can take these piano keys and match them with the pitches on the grand staff. middle C (both the same pitch
notated in two different ways) A B D E F G A B C D E F G A B C D E F G A B C D E F G A B C D E F G A B C D E F G A B C D E F G A B C To differentiate between notes of the same name in different octaves
when talking about pitches, we sometimes use numbers. The lowest C on the piano keyboard is C 1 . C 1 (Note that the octave number is in subscript case.) LOW HIGH A B D E F G A B C D E F G A B D E F G A B D E F G A B D E F G A B D E F G A B D E F G A B C 2 The next C higher is C 2 . 1 ...then C 3 ... C 3 C 5 C 6 C 7 C 8 C 4 C 8 ...until we reach at the high end. A B D E F G A B C D E F G A B C D E F G A B C D E F G A B C D E F G A B C D E F G A B C D E F G A B C C 1 Other things to know about octave designation... We can label all of the notes with subscript numbers... ...but the number does not move up until it changes from B C to . 7 6 7 6 6 6 6 6 6 7 7 7 7 7 8 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 1 1 1 1 1 1 0 0 A B D E F G A B C D E F G A B C D E F G A B C D E F G A B C D E F G A B C D E F G A B C D E F G A B C C 1 7 6 7 6 6 6 6 6 6 7 7 7 7 7 8 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 1 1 1 1 1 1 0 0 C 4 is middle C. or The notes below are designated in 1 C octave zero . Identification of the Piano Keys How do we know by looking at this chunk of the keyboard which note is which? The black keys fall into a pattern. They alternate by a set of two, followed by a set of three,
followed by a set of two, and so forth 1 2 1 2 3 1 2 1 2 3 C C 2 set of black keys 2 set of black keys 3 set of black keys 3 set of black keys The C is always found to the immediate left
of the set of C C 2 set of black keys 2 set of black keys 3 set of black keys 3 set of black keys The F is always found to the immediate left F F of the set of three black keys. two black keys. C F B A G E D C F B A G E D All of the notes can be found in the same relative place on the keyboard. Test Yourself Match the notes on the system below with one of the piano keys above. Do not be concerned with octave numbers for now. This is a mental drill. Do it before moving on, but if you need a little help, you may move forward one frame. C F 1. 2. 3. The answers
are next 1. 2. 3. A D B A B D Answers C E F G We use octave numbers only to avoid confusion. It is much easier to say "F" when it is the only F in whatever we are discussing. Most of the time, the context of the conversation
does not necessitate the use of octave numbers. The Black Keys D C The distance between these two
white keys is called a whole step . D C The distance between this white key and this black key is called a half step . D E This is also a half step. D C D E half step Yes, a half step D E F E This is a whole step. But, wait! There is no black key in between these two white keys. F E F E Because there isn't a note between these two piano keys, this is a half step . A half step occurs between adjacent notes. A whole step occurs when there is another note in between,
like this A and this B. B A When we want to we use a sharp . It looks like this: half step , So, a raised C is a C (C-sharp). raise a pitch by a When we want to we use a flat . It looks like this: half step , Thus, a lowered D is a D (D-flat). lower a pitch by a C C D D D D C C C and D are played by the same key, but are technically not the same note. They are what we call enharmonic equivalents . D D C C Now we have a range of
note names for each piano key. G A B F E E D B A A G G F Here's a question. Can we have something like... E ? Yes, we can. Look at the keyboard and raise E by a half step. E F E Raising or lowering a note by a half step does not mean that it has to land on a black key. E F E A B D C C G A full range of notes and their place on the keyboard. E is enharmonically equivalent to F. C D F G A D E G A B F B C Accidentals An accidental is a symbol that appears before a note that raises or lowers that pitch. You already know two of them. Flat Sharp lower a
half step raise a
half step When placing accidentals on notes, the accidental goes before the note. When putting accidentals with the letter name, the accidental goes after the letter. C before the note after the letter Here is the next accidental to know. Double Flat The double flat lowers the pitch by a whole step (two half steps) . G G G G G G G G G G G G is enharmonic with F. F Guess what is next? Double Sharp The double sharp raises the pitch by a whole step (two half steps) . A G is enharmonic with A. Don't get fancy when drawing the double sharp.
Just use two strokes to draw an "x". printed drawn Here is G on the keyboard with the
whole gamut of accidentals. E E E E E Look at this example built around E.
Notice that the half step between E and F
makes things a little different. Here it is. Natural The natural is used to cancel a previous accidental. G G A F B G G G Rule: Accidentals are in effect for every note
that follows in that same space or line. In the first measure, each G that follows is raised to G . Notice that the G's in the second measure are not sharped
because the bar line at the end of measure 1 cancels the accidental. If we want a G without the sharp in effect later in the measure,
then we need one more kind of accidental. G G A F B G G G You can refer to these notes as G-natural (G By saying G-natural, we are differentiating from the G-sharp on the page. Using the term "natural" may or may not be necessary, depending on the context. ), or simply, G. Recap on Accidentals And for crying out loud, do not draw a double sharp by drawing two sharps next to each other.
That is wrong. flat sharp double flat double sharp natural - lowers pitch by half step - raises pitch by whole step - lowers pitch by whole step - raises pitch by half step - cancels previous accidentals
on same pitch in same measure One last word for today... The author on page 66 of your textbook is correct
when he says that "the lines of the sharp sign... are vertical..." This is also true of the flat and natural signs. They all contain
vertical lines that should be truly straight up-and-down. However... The author's examples do not follow his own advice. Look at his drawings on page 66... they are slanted. Please, please, please... do not fall into this trap. Draw your accidentals vertically straight, and slant the other elements. Make your instructor happy. : ) <END OF PRESENTATION> It is two half steps. This presentation contains a lot of video detail
that is very difficult to see when viewing in the normal mode. Please hover your mouse over MORE and select
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