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(@demoetc)
Noble Member
Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 2168
 

I don't know if this was mentioned, but in a key sig, say G with the F#, it also has to be remembered that all the F's are sharped, in all octaves. I knew a guy who was learning from SN and he saw the F# but only sharped that particular F; the rest he left natural, and that made what he was playing really weird-sounding.


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(@noteboat)
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Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 4933
 

That's a good point - and it brings up a more confusing one about standard notation: it isn't completely "standard" in the way problems are solved.

A sharp or flat in a key signature changes every note by that name, no matter who the publisher is. But a sharp or flat used as an accidental within a measure is different.

Within a measure, a sharp or flat affects only notes on that line or space. If you put a sharp on the bottom-space F, the top-line F will still be F natural.

Not every publisher (or music editor) knows this - so sometimes you need to figure out the intent. And other publishers/editors realize it's confusing, so some will use "courtesy accidentals" - ones that aren't required by the music, but are nice reminders to the performer... like a natural sign before a top-line F when there's a bottom-space F# in the same measure.

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(@voidious)
Estimable Member
Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 153
 

Another tiny tidbit that I don't think was mentioned: an accidental on a note applies to the remainder of the measure, not just the one single note.

Abs, thanks for posting all the Circle of Fifths info, I'll definitely be referring back to that. For me, it also helps to remind me that music is a coherent system that can be navigated through, much like mathematics, and not just some arbitrary set of rules (though they both seem that way sometimes). I've always found myself more willing to learn something like that than some arbitrary memorization.

I realized something really obvious and minor (so bear with me), but still helpful to me, while playing guitar last night - I already have part of the Circle of Fifths memorized! Just knowing the open strings, which are mostly 5 semi-tones apart, is the same as one octave down and a perfect fifth up; so just in terms of letters, moving down a string is a fifth (except from B, natch). From what I have memorized on the fretboard so far, I already have a good starting point on memorizing all those fifths.

-- Voidious


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(@noteboat)
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Joined: 19 years ago
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That's somewhat true, but with exceptions.

Most music published today uses "traditional" notation rules for accidentals - a sharp or flat lasts until the end of a measure (more precisely, until the end of the last tone that begins in a measure - if the last note is a C# tied to a C in the next measure, it stays C# until it ends; any C notes after that will be C naturals).

But there are other methods of notation. Harp music usually uses "Salzedo" notation... on a harp, there are diatonic strings - one for each letter name. The harpist uses pedals to make specific strings sharp or flat, so there are seven pedals that work a lot like motorcycle gearshifts. Since harpists don't want to be using the pedals any more often than they need to, in Salzedo notation a sharp or flat lasts until it's cancelled by a different accidental - no matter how many measures that may be. If there's a C# in measure 1 and a C natural in measure 9, any C notes in measures 2-8 are played as C# without needing a sharp symbol.

The third method is for atonal music, and it's called the "Second Vienna" notation (after the Second Viennese school of composition - Schoenberg, Webern, etc) or "modernist" notation. Since this is usually 12-tone music, notes are marked as needed in each appearance; F#-B-F in one measure would have the second F played as F natural. The only notes that don't need a specific accidental are those immediately repeated - if it says F#-F-B-F, the second F is played as F# (because it's an immediate repetition), but the third one is F natural (because each new note gets its own accidental markings).

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(@ab0msnwman)
Estimable Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 125
 

Another tiny tidbit that I don't think was mentioned: an accidental on a note applies to the remainder of the measure, not just the one single note.

Abs, thanks for posting all the Circle of Fifths info, I'll definitely be referring back to that. For me, it also helps to remind me that music is a coherent system that can be navigated through, much like mathematics, and not just some arbitrary set of rules (though they both seem that way sometimes). I've always found myself more willing to learn something like that than some arbitrary memorization.

I realized something really obvious and minor (so bear with me), but still helpful to me, while playing guitar last night - I already have part of the Circle of Fifths memorized! Just knowing the open strings, which are mostly 5 semi-tones apart, is the same as one octave down and a perfect fifth up; so just in terms of letters, moving down a string is a fifth (except from B, natch). From what I have memorized on the fretboard so far, I already have a good starting point on memorizing all those fifths.
Memorizing the perfect forth and fifth interval build off of any note is pretty easy. Looks like you are on to it.

For some still confused about how one can figure out the notes in a scale quickly, there is a simple "hands on" way to do it on the guitar.

Since the open 6th and 5th strings (and open 5th and 4th, open 4th and 3rd, and open 2nd and 1st) are all separated by a major 4th (due to the tuning of the guitar) you can simply play a note and then just play the note directly "below" it to get the perfect forth. Then,move that note up a whole step and you get the perfect 5th.

Example-- on the sixth string play C (8th fret).

Now what note is the perfect 4th in the key of C major? Well you could go through the whole scale -- C-D-E-F...etc and find out relatively quickly that F is the perfect forth and G is the perfect 5th note in the key of C major.

But what if I asked you for the 6th chord in the key of Db?

You *could* play it out in triads, "okay so Db major to Ebm to Fm to Gbmajor to Abmajor to Bb minor to C diminished to Db major.." and see that it is Bb minor, but....

That can get really confusing and take a lot of time. Instead you can just find Db on the 6th string (9th fret) drop down directly "below" it to the 9th fret on the A string and discover "oh hey cool that note is Gb, the perfect forth of the scale I just harmonized"

From there just jump up a whole step to Ab (fret 11 on A string) and then one more whole step to Bb (fret 13 on A string), call it minor (6th note in a harmonized major scale is always going to be a minor chord-- i.e I ii iii IV V vi viidim) and you have your 6th chord!

The basic thing to remember is that interval training can really open up a lot of doors and make learning these notes on the fretboard (which seems to be part of your problem) a lot easier.

Remember that between every open string (except G and B which are tuned to a major 3rd), the interval is a perfect 4th. From there you can jump in and alter those intervals to find out your major 3rds minor 2nds minor 6ths 9ths, etc. It all just builds from a solid foundation of knowing the intervals and notes on the guitar.

One final thing and then I will shut up.

For learning the notes Ted Greene in his book Chord Chemistry had some great and SIMPLE advice. Just spend like 15 minutes a day and pick one note and play it all over the fretboard. You soon begin to see that there is a logical shape (not as logical as piano but it's there I promise!) between each octave that you play. What's better is that since there are only 6 different spots to play a note (they all repeat after 12th fret duh) the memorization comes quickly. In about a month you will be able to instantly identify any note and that skill truly is invaluable.


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(@kevin72790)
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Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 840
Topic starter  

I read all these posts...but it'd be tough to reply to them all, so I'll just ask this...

One of you said that the key determines where it's usually played on the fretboard. I still don't see how that's the case. *sigh* >_>

I guess it'll come eventually. Does anybody know of any good books to buy?


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(@noteboat)
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Joined: 19 years ago
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Key won't tell you where to play it, but it'll help guide you where NOT to.

If the key signature is C, you can't play in 11th position; none of the 11th fret notes are in C.

On the flip side, there are positions where you won't have to stretch very much. For C, those are:

- open (range= low E to A above the staff; only stretches for high A)

- 2nd (range = F below the staff to A above; stretches only for the F notes on the top line and 3 lines below the staff)

- 5th (range = A below the staff to C above; stretches only for the B on the middle line)

- 7th (range = B below the staff to D above; no stretches)

You can play in other positions, of course - 8th is pretty common, especially if you're shooting for 3-notes-per-string picking. But it's basically a matter of narrowing the field by the key signature, and then making a decision based on range.

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(@fretsource)
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Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 974
 

I read all these posts...but it'd be tough to reply to them all, so I'll just ask this...

One of you said that the key determines where it's usually played on the fretboard. I still don't see how that's the case. *sigh* >_>

You mean "play in a certain area of the fretboard depending on the key?" No, music in any key isn't limited to certain areas of the fretboard.
Sometimes you'll notice though that when playing in D you're often hanging around the second position, or if in C minor you're often in third position - but that's just because the simplest chord shapes associated with those keys are often played in those positions.

Keep asking questions - You'll get fed up before we do.


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