Re: Music Theory Books

> Help!  Can anyone recommend a book on music theory?  (I won't ask for a
> lesson on the list, because that would take far too long for me.)  I want to
> follow along with these discussions, but the theory is way beyond me right
> now.  (Gdominant7, semi-tones...etc)

While I believe that either a good book and/or a music theory course is
definitely the way to go, I also think a minimalist on-line basic music
theory lesson is a great idea, because most of us will never buy the book or
take the course :-)

If you take your C harp and play 4-blow, 4-draw, 5-blow, 5-draw, 6-blow,
6-draw, 7-draw, and 7-blow, you have a C major scale.  Number these notes
one through 8, with 8 being the same as one except one octave higher in
pitch.  The notes are C-D-E-F-G-A-B-C respectively.  The C major scale has
no sharps or flats.  On a piano, it's the white keys.

A C major chord is 1-3-5.  This is the "I" chord (e.g. in a I-IV-V
progression.)  F (the IV chord) is 4-6-8.  G (the V chord) is 5-7-9 (which
is 2, but an octave higher.  These are what is called "standard inversion" -
that is, the "root" note of the chord is the lowest.  These can be played in
any order, i.e. F chord 1-4-6, G chord 2-5-7, etc.  They're still the same
chord, but a different "inversion".

1, 2, and 3 are spaced a whole tone.  There are flats (or sharps - they're
the same thing) between these notes.  3 and 4 are spaced a half tone, or
semitone.  There is no note between these.  5, 6, and 7 are whole tone
spaced.  7 and 8 are half tone spaced.

This applies to the major scale.  There are other scales, too - several
minors, scales using more or less than 8 notes (pentatonic is one example of
this), scales using intervals other than major (mixolydian, the standard
blues scale, is a good example of this), etc.  but those, you'll have to get
out of the book (unless this thread really takes off a lot more than I
expect :-)

If you want to play better harp, be it diatonic, chromatic, blues, rock,
classical, country, kiddy tunes, or anything else, understanding music
theory is an incredible help.  It won't "ruin" you in any way - you're
always free to totally ignore it if you wish - but it will give you much
insight into what you're doing, and why.

 -- mike

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