The Fundamentals of Music Theory and Identification of Notes

The Music Theory
Let us begin with The Music Theory. Music has been evolved since the evolution of mankind. We human beings have admired the magnificence of nature from ages. Amazing chirruping of sweet little birdies, soothing relentless music of raindrops falling over garden plants, serene sound of flowing river, terrifying roar of thunderstorm all have greatly influenced emotions of mankind and music has been adopted as a great mean for amusement.
Since then, today human being as well as Music substantially evolved a lot. For the development of music we are abide by some rules and regulation in music so it would be much easier to develop or produce sound. We call these rules as Grammar or The Music Theory.
Let’s get started with the fundamentals. We will discuss scientific background of this in later article. For now consider the general parts of The Music Theory.
The fundamental sections of music theory are:

In this article let’s talk about notes in details.

This may sound difficult to understand at first but believe me, this is quite easy to understand once you will get hang of it. Read the whole article and you will understand everything you need to know.
The sound produced by any instrument is assigned to only 12 categories, each with definite frequency, these are called notes. Each note after completing the cycle sound similar but the sound is little high pitched or sounds thinner. We call this as octave, we will learn more about octaves in a later section.

Now, let’s learn about notes deeper. There are only 7 natural notes. These are named as A,B,C,D,E,F,G. After G we again come back to A forming an octave. But this A sounds quite thinner as we said after completing each octave, it gets higher pitched.
Now while singing, singers find it difficult to produce some interesting sound effects. That is why new notes were introduced. These are called Sharps and Flats. Sharps denoted by #and flat denoted by b.
For example, The note in between and is called C#(Pronounced C sharp)  as well as Db(Pronounced D flat). Do not get confused, both of them are exactly same thing with different name convention.
One more thing to keep in mind is the there are no Sharp/Flat notes in between and C, also not in between E and F. That means there does not exist any B# which is also called Cb, and there also does not exist E# which may also be called Fb.

At this stage let us write entire sequence of notes. This is A,A#,B,C,C#,D,D#,E,F,F#,G,G#,we can also rephrase it as A,Bb ,B,C,Db,D,Eb,E,F,Gb,G,Ab.
This was for just only one octave. If we continue moving forward in the pattern we will reach higher notes which follows as A,A#,B,C,C#,D,D#,E,F,F#,G,G#,A,A#,B,C,C#,D,D#,E,F,F#,G,G#,A,A#,B,C,... and this could continue unless the sound is inaudible to human ear. (Read more about this in scientific background of Music Theory).
If we rephrase the sequence in other convention it will become A,Bb ,B,C,Db,D,Eb,E,F,Gb,G,Ab,A,Bb ,B,C,Db,D,Eb,E,F,Gb,G,Ab,B,C,... continues in same pattern.

Let’s try to identify these notes
We will discuss this in context of a Piano. This is because it is the easiest to understand and there are too many keys in it so you can understand the pattern. Piano roll is provided in all popular DAWs (Digital Audio Workstation) so this will help in many purposes. Piano at first may look confusing, but it’s only just a repetition of certain pattern.
The first 3 octaves in a Piano are called Bass Clef and all later all are known as Treble Clef. We will learn more about them in Time Signature and Notation section.
For instance, C note of first octave is called C1, for second note it is called C2, for third C3, next C4 and So on.

Now to identify notes, first of all look for the pattern in a Piano. There should be some white keys and some black keys. Each key sounds to one note. White keys are all natural notes and Black keys are Sharps/Flats.
Note the pattern of black keys, it is easier to notice. There should be group of 2 Black key and 3 black key sets. Of course there are white keys in between each black keys, but at certain points there should be two white keys and that makes the difference.
Now let’s call the set of 2 as 2 Black Key pairsand the set of 3 as 3 Black Key pairs.

Figure 1- Pattern in a Piano

Identifying Natural Notes
·       The White key, which is just left of the 2 Black Key pair is note C. This note is quite a vital note, you will get to know gradually.
·       Followed by C, the notes in the sequence of white keys are C,D,E,F,G,A,B and if we continue with the octave it will be C,D,E,F,G,A,B,C,D,E,F,G,A,B,C,D,E,F,... and this continues.
Identifying Sharps/Flats
o   The Black note which is in between C and D, it is called C#(as it is one step ahead of C) at the same time it is also called Db(as it is one step behind D.
o   From same logic, second black key of this set is situated in between D and E. So it could be called as D# or Eb.
o   The first from the left is F# or Gb, it is in between F and G
o   The second black key is G# or Ab, it’s in between G and A
o   The third black key is A# or Bb, in between A and B

At this stage take a look at the image below, you will understand everything.
Figure 2 Natural Notes

Figure 3 Sharps and Flats 

These are the basic notes. Each and every well recognized music instrument obeys these rules. Piano, Guitar, Violin, Ukulele, Bass, Jazz, Harmonium, Flute, Trumpet, Tanpura, Sarod, Pungi, Strings, Harp and many more are in the list in which we could find these notes. Even in Drums, Pads, Triples, Tablas many more such beat generators are also tuned to certain notes or else the music would be pale. These leads to a point that every singer or musicians must know the Music Theory, it would help them to understand music much better and create something amazing. This is just the beginning; we have a long way to go so make sure to get updated for the next posts which is about Scales and Octaves.
Till then share this with your friends.

Labels: , ,