# Quick Question about musical theory

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by somethingshort, Sep 10, 2003.

1. ### somethingshort

Aug 22, 2003
When I was taught musical notation and note order I was told never to use certain notes, for instance, never use Gb, its always F# or never use A#, its Bb. I was just wondering which notes you guys use, I've been trying to figure out if I was taught correctly or what.

The notes I use are: A Bb B C C# D Eb E F F# G G#

2. ### JMXVorsprung durch Technik

Sep 4, 2000
Cologne, Germany
You can't say that - enharmonic is defined by the context.

For example, the intervals between c - eb and c - d# are the same number of halfsteps, eb and d# have the same pitch (provided you're in the same octave).

But the context determines if it's a eb or a d#, when you need a minor third for a chord it's a eb, if you need an augmented second (#9), it's a d#.

3. ### somethingshort

Aug 22, 2003
Yah point taken, I'm talking about when writing out scales though, I'm writing down a bunch of notes to help teach some theory to a fellow bass player. Just didn't want to be way off the path if I'm going to be teaching him

4. ### JMXVorsprung durch Technik

Sep 4, 2000
Cologne, Germany
It's the same thing, really.

You just don't repeat note names, it's never d - d#, but d - eb, and the accidentals are used according to the intervals.

Example:

C Major scale:

c d e f g a b c

you can't write:

c d e e# g a b c

5. ### somethingshort

Aug 22, 2003
Ahh ok, think I get what your saying now, I don't have any idea why my music teacher chose to teach us that way ( I played trombone for 8 years ), maybe just for the sake of less notes to remember, I dunno. Thanks for the help!

6. ### Howard K

Feb 14, 2002
UK
Well if you talking about writing scales then that's precisely where you should make sure you get this correct.

The easy way to approach it is to assume that every scale has one of each note C through B (until you get to scales with more than 7 notes...), then each note is flatted or sharped depening on the the key signeture. Teaching this in line with cycle of 4ths should help reinforce how sharps/flats are used in writing scales

7. ### JMXVorsprung durch Technik

Sep 4, 2000
Cologne, Germany

http://www.bartleby.com/61/93/E0149300.html

The concept of enharmonic is pretty important and basic, I'm surprised that your teacher did not use it.

8. ### somethingshort

Aug 22, 2003
Ahh guys lol, what I'm saying is that when I'm teaching him the notes in a scale I would say:

E Major: E F# G# A B C# Eb E

as opposed to

E Major: E Gb Ab A B Db D# E

I understand the concept of enharmonic notes ( at least I think, you guys are trying to confuse me ). Im just saying that when reading a scale with no distinguised key I would read Ab as G# or D# as Eb.

9. ### Bruce LindfieldUnprofessional TalkBass ContributorGold Supporting MemberIn Memoriam

Depends what's written - if you are reading, then sharps or flats will be specified - you can never just decide to always use all sharps to make it easier - it is just wrong!

10. ### somethingshort

Aug 22, 2003
No, I dont do this when reading music, just when discussing general theory or when writing down quick riffs and such, I dont use all flats or all sharps, I just use what I was taught .

11. ### Howard K

Feb 14, 2002
UK
OK, correct me if I'm wrong here, JMX, but it's not usual to write sharps and flats in the same scale.

In the cycle of fourths E Major is four 4ths away from C

...EADGC

...and the 7th note of the scale is sharped as you go round the cycle... so

C has no sharps
G has one, F#
D has two, F#, C#
A has three, F#, C#, G#
E has four, F#, C#, G#, D#

So E Major has four sharps

E F# G# A B C# D#

No flats. It is a "sharp key", as opposed to a "flat key"

12. ### somethingshort

Aug 22, 2003
Ahh ic, I wasnt aware of that

13. ### JMXVorsprung durch Technik

Sep 4, 2000
Cologne, Germany
Both are wrong!

Again, you must not repeat note names, same with skipping one.

E major is:

e f# g# a b c# d#(!) e

nothing else.

14. ### somethingshort

Aug 22, 2003
Ahhhhhh, I'm starting to understand what your telling me now lol. After 10 years using one method it takes a bit to knock it into my head again, damn faulty teachers .

Thanks guys

15. ### JMXVorsprung durch Technik

Sep 4, 2000
Cologne, Germany
I never said that.

16. ### Bruce LindfieldUnprofessional TalkBass ContributorGold Supporting MemberIn Memoriam

Well - you mentioned trombone - it might well be useful to think of Bb as always Bb from the standpoint of playing trombone and how you get that note - it's just wrong from a musical theory/standard notation point of view?

17. ### somethingshort

Aug 22, 2003
Yah, we pretty much just got a crash course in theory, how to read music and such, the rest I've had to sit here and figure out myself.

18. ### Howard K

Feb 14, 2002
UK

I know you didn't?! I was asking if you agreed with me on that?

There's no need to to write any diatonic scale with sharps and flats, right?

19. ### moley

Sep 5, 2002
Hampshire, UK
Yes, all keys are either sharp or flat keys (except C Major/A Minor), and you have either sharps or flats in a key signature - not both.

But scales can have both sharps and flats - for example harmonic minors.

D Harmonic Minor is: D E F G A Bb C#

But the C# isn't in the key signature, of course.

20. ### Howard K

Feb 14, 2002
UK
Yep, so, diatonic scales never have sharps AND flats.

Morning moley, I got those transcriptiosn yesterday - haven't tried 'em out yet. VERY neatly written I must say! I might forward Steve's one to him, in case he's interested. Ta