Music Theory Fourth Floor

This is all about intervallic thinking. We need to learn some simple mental music theory exercises to get us using these developing patterns of western music in a practical way.

Welcome back by the way!

New Order Thinking Patterns

One of the first and most practical things you can do in western music theory is to learn to think in new and different orders such as leaps rather than steps. As users of the Roman/Latin alphabet, we learn to recite this well established grapheme system in order. The first seven letters /characters i.e. A B C D E F G are especially familiar.  

Try it yourself right now out loud. Say the letters of the alphabet out loud from A through to G (No, really! Just do it.) Have you done it? Ok now say them backwards from G to A. Just as easy? It is probably not.

Now try skipping every other letter. Like so: A C E G B D F. Again not as easy is it. Try every fifth letter! A E B F C G. Is that even harder? 

Thinking In Thirds In Music Theory

If you want to get a good mental foothold on western music theory learn to think in thirds first. Here is the easiest way. Spell the word face: F A C E then remember the phrase G B D. Put them together in you “mind’s eye”. The whole thing should look like this: F A C E /G B D. Don’t just say/think “face”-“g-b-d” face”-“g-b-d” face”-“g-b-d” repeatedly.  You need to say each letter as an individual event. F then A then C then E then G then B then D then F then A then C then E then G then B then D then F… You must say it /think it until it has no beginning and no end. You should get to the point where you can start on ANY letter.

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Why Is It Called Thinking In Thirds?

You will see why this is thinking in thirds when you look closely at what we are doing.

If you start on the first letter of our chosen alphabet A and call it number one then B would be number two…easy right? Well that makes C letter number three…correct? Good. So A to C represents an interval of a third. A1 (skip B2) get to C3. It is as easy as one two three. This will hold true for any letter that you choose to start on and decide to call letter number one. Like: F1 (skip G2) get to A3. The note F to the note A is a third. Remember from The Major Scale Part One?

It is still as easy as one two three. You just have to get used to it. Practise it. Carry your little notebook around filling void, trapped time with mental practice.

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How To Make Use Of This

Now that you can “think in thirds” you have inadvertently learned triads! You will now learn how to create any chord in existence. Congratulations!

In order to make use of all the information you have been absorbing from this site we will need to include another angle of practice routine. We need to learn the notes on the fretboard. We will cover this in detail from many angles as this site grows (click here to see how to support this site). But for now get started with this customised note identification exercise from musictheory.net. Many thanks to musictheory.net for allowing us to use this and many other exercises. 

Go To  Fourth Floor -Page Two All About Triads-

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