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Free piano lesson 2 - Basic scale theory PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 14 April 2009 13:55

 

Lesson 1 – Get to know the notes on a piano
>  Lesson 2 – Basic scale theory
Lesson 3 – Basic chord structures
Lesson 4 – Learn to play two songs
Lesson 5 – Practice your ear
Lesson 6 – Notes and fingering
Lesson 7 – Add melody to chords
Lesson 8 – Understanding and expanding chords
Lesson 9 – Harmonic principles and progressions

 

In the picture below the plain (white) notes CDEFGAB[C] represent the key of C:

Numbering of notes in the scale of C

In the above picture, when you play the scale of C, you play C again on the eighth note.  Then you have completed the scale of C.  Try playing the key of C (we will discuss fingering techniques in Lesson 6).  When you play a song in the key of C, you will mostly use these notes.  In other words, if you play a song in the key of C, you will mostly play on the white notes.

 

Take time to understand this...

 

In the above picture, you will see that the notes in the key of C are in a fixed relationship to one another:

 

C and D is one tone from each other, or two semitones.
D and E is one tone from each other, or two semitones.
E and F is one semitone from each other.
F and G is one tone from each other, or two semitones.
G and A is one tone from each other, or two semitones.
A and B is one tone from each other, or two semitones.
B and C is one semitone from each other.
(key specific – the key of C)

 

These relationships are the same for all keys.  Note that the notes are numbered, starting from C:  C=1, D=2, etc.  The universal way of indicating the notes in any key, is through numbering, where the first note (tonic) in a scale is 1, the second note is 2, etc.

 

Therefore, a better way to learn the relations of all the notes in any scale, relative to each other, is through numbering.  This will help you greatly in understanding all keys and help you to play in all keys.

 

Try and memorize the following fixed relationships:

 

1 and 2 is one tone from each other, or two semitones.
2 and 3 is one tone from each other, or two semitones.
3 and 4 is one semitone from each other.
4 and 5 is one tone from each other, or two semitones.
5 and 6 is one tone from each other, or two semitones.
6 and 7 is one tone from each other, or two semitones.
7 and 8[1] is one semitone from each other.
(not key specific)

 

Can you see the pattern?  tone, tone, semitone, tone, tone, tone, semitone.   This is a fixed pattern for all keys.

 

Take time to understand this...

 


Now let’s move on to other keys.  Let’s learn how the key of D will look like:
The key of D with numbering

Your starting note (tonic) will be D.
We will start numbering from D.  D=1, E=2, etc. – see picture.

 

Note how all the notes are in the same relationship relative to each other than the notes in the scale of C are:

 

tone, tone, semitone, tone, tone, tone, semitone.

The same pattern...

 

You can work out the notes of any key by using the note relationships (tone, tone, semitone, tone, tone, tone, semitone).  Remember that each following note on the piano (including the black notes) increases or decreases one semitone (depending if you move up or down).

 

Take time to understand this...

 

Try now to work out which notes you will use in the key of E.

 

Hover E  F#  G#  A  B  C#  D#  [E] to see the answer.

 

 

Advance to Lesson 3.