User:Gairy K/Music Theory

From WikiEducator
Jump to: navigation, search


Western Music is based on what is called a 'well-tempered scale'. This scale which is based on tweleve (12) tones or pitches was created by using carefully calculated linear frequencies which use as its basic symbols the first seven letters of the latin alphabet and thus the seven letters of all latin language derivatives.

In order to fully understand the concept of scales one must first grasp the concept of half steps and accidentals

Half Steps

A half step or semitone is the distance from any pitch/tone to the pitch immediately above or below it in the frequency series. It is probably best understood and viewed from the perspective of a piano. Let us then take a look at this:

File:Piano keyboard.jpg

As is observed there is a consistent repeating structure of keys including a grouping of three black keys and two black keys. A half step then is the interval or distance from anyone of these keys to the keys immediately above or below it.


An accidental is a symbol or sign which alters a pitch by raising or lowering it bay a half step. There are five accidentals:

  1. The sharp (image)
  2. The flat (image)
  3. The natural (image)
  4. The Double sharp (image)
  5. The double flat (image)

The sharp raises the pitch by a half step

The flat lowers the pitch by a half step

The natural cancels the sharp or flat

The double sharp raises a pitch already sharpened/raised (i.e. it raises it by another half step

The double flat lowers a pitch already flatened/lowered (i.e. it lowers it by another half step


(To add content)

Key Signatures

(To add content)