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*** Let's Begin! ***

1. Music Notes

You know the ABC's. Music theory goes from A-G, and stops:

A B C D E F G

This musical alphabet respresents the sounds your instrument fingerings and voice produce. And Sound is what music theory structures. Together, we'll improve our sound output.

There are additional steps, or sounds between these letters. That means more fingerings (we'll go slowly):

A (step) B C (step) D (step) E F (step) G

Half and Whole Steps

"You're a good music student, since you want to know about theory!"

The steps between the ABCDEFG letters are termed half steps. They fall between whole steps, like A to B. So, A to (step) is a half step, as well as (step) to B.

AstepB
A h step h B

Again, A to B is a whole step, with two half steps between. Why is that important? We will learn about Sharps and Flats to answer. It helps to label these sound increments.

You're a good music student, since you want to know about theory!

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2. Sharps and Flats

Sharp

sharpflat.png

A Sharp is like a nail that points up. It raises letters a half step. So the sound goes up, as from A (step) B. Now it's called A (sharp) B. Keep going up the musical alphabet:

A (sharp) B C (sharp) D (sharp) E F (sharp) G

Don't worry about the steps I skipped, it's for a reason I'll get to later. Just know the sound is going up half steps, called Sharps. The symbol for Sharp in music is '#' (the number, or pound, or hash mark, symbol):

Sharp = #

Flat

brianmcknight.jpg
brian mcknight

A Flat is the tire that nail punctured. Just like a flat will deflate, and bring you down too, the sound goes down a half step. B (step) A now becomes B (flat) A, as the sound goes down a half step. The musical alphabet downward:

G (flat) F E (flat) D (flat) C B (flat) A

We start on G because we need to reverse the direction of the sound (since our sharp nail gave us a flat). Flat's symbol looks like a lowercase 'b':

Flat = b

Sharp Flat Rule Page

3. Half Step Exceptions

kellyclarkson.jpg
kelly clarkson

In the musical Alphabet, some letters have no steps, or in-between notes. Again, the steps between the letters are:

A (step) B C (step) D (step) E F (step) G

The steps between the notes are now either # Sharp or b Flat. The steps between ABCDEFG with Sharps and Flats:

A (#,b) B C (#,b) D (#,b) E F (#,b) G

BC , EF

Notice that there are no steps between B and C, and between E and F. This means when you play a B# (B sharp), you are playing the letter C. And when you play an E# (E sharp), you are playing an F.

B# = C  ,  E# = F

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CB , FE

loggins.jpg
kenny loggins

Conversely, when you play a Cb(C flat), you are playing the letter B. And when you play an Fb(F flat), you are playing an E.

Cb = B  ,  Fb = E

Therefore, both B to C, and E to F have no between steps:

A (#,b) B C (#,b) D (#,b) E F (#,b) G

You may remember the BC,EF exception, with the phrase:

Bake Cakes, Eat Food

Thanks for reading, and for help and suggestions, come to the Guestbook Chat. I'm glad to have intelligent musicians here!

The next page introduces a combination of half and whole steps to make scales.