Monthly Archives: April 2014

"Gotta get to my study room!"

AC #43 Musical Symbols At A Glance / A Few Short Lessons

The music symbols in the following graphics represent some of the tools a musician uses to express and communicate his or her ideas to the player and/or listener of music.


Like a painter who uses various colors from a palette and sets to canvas with different brush sizes and strokes to create a picture, a musician creates various musical colors with different symbols and tools from a musical palette and sets to manuscript.

  A Glance at Some Important Musical Symbols

Time Signatures
Rests and Notes
Various Tools
Expression Marks 1
Expression Marks 2

Clicking each column’s graphic opens a window that displays info about that column’s symbols. A few of these secondary pop-up windows have links to some short lessons on the material.

Study well! I’ll see you next post.

"Gotta get to my study room!"

AC #42 Intervalics 101 (8ths)

PartyBalloonsOkay! It’s time to take a look at the last interval of the series!  champagne-celebration

8ths – a.k.a. octaves. These intervals are easily identified because both notes share the same letter name.  When written in standard music notation, the upper note will occupy a space if the lower note is on a line and vice versa, notwithstanding any accidentals which may be attached to either note.

Several perfect octaves are illustrated in the graphics just below.

Harmonic and Melodic 8ths on a treble staff

On the piano keyboard, both notes of a perfect octave share the same letter name and they are 8 major scale steps apart (up or down).


 Play some octaves starting on as many keys as you can with this playable onscreen piano keyboard.

Major Scale Legend
1-8 = scale steps
w = whole step (major 2nd)
1/2= half step (minor 2nd)
1 w 2 w 3 1/2 4 w 5 w 6 w 7 1/2 8

The most commonly used accidentals are shown in the lineup just below followed by examples of the most common occurrences of 8ths in the key of C.

= natural
= sharp
X = double sharp
= flat
♭♭ = double flat

Perfect 8th = C to C (The 8th note of a major scale remains unmodified)
Augmented 8th = C to C (The 8th note of a major scale is sharped once)
Minor 8th *(N/A)
*(Minor functionality isn’t allowed on any perfect interval.)
Diminished 8th = C to C **(The 8th note of a major scale is flatted once)
**(Perfect intervals become diminished with only one flat)

This link will open an Acrobat/Adobe flash type of applet where you’ll be asked to correctly match ten intervals via a drag-n-drop process. Doing the exercise at least 4 or 5 times will give you an introductory workout on identifying and matching the intervals in C and other keys.

After working with the “open-book” drag-and-drop drill exercises in this section, move on and dive into some deeper waters with the staff and keyboard exercises just below.

Dive into “deeper waters” with these staff and keyboard exercises

The blue staff 2 or 8 opens a page where only numeric values are required in your answer.

A pictorial link to staff drills on 2nds thru 8ths Clicking the treble staff or keyboard icon opens a respective interval ID page where numeric and quality values are required.

Staff Drills Keyboard Drills Staff Drills Staff Drills

Since each exercise utility is never-ending and presents questions indefinitely, you may want to set some type of completion benchmark for yourself such as, answering 25 up to 100 questions correctly or using the timer, located at the top of each utility, to set a time limit, such as 5 to 10 minutes. 

In any case, keep working until you have a success rate that’s between 90% and 100%.

Study well and have fun,

See you next post,