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Bases for Scales, Chords and Modes

Alberto Betancourt (albetan)

TETRACHORD:
Is a whole of four sounds with intervals of tone, tone and half-tone.
1 2 3 4

1 t. 1 t. 1/2 t. In piano there is a half-tone from a key to the next one.

Tetrachord departing from C:

&

Sound 1 1 tone

sound 2

sound 3

1 tone

sound 4

1/2 tone

EXERCISE: Play all tetrachords following this order: C D E F G A B Bb Ab F# Eb Db

& # # # b #

Follow performing and learning all tetrachords in suggested order. EXERCISE: Play tetrachords in octaves with both hands:
1 1 1 1 # # # b & 1 2 3 4

& # # # b 2 5 4 3 5 5
5 5

Follow it in suggested order until mastering it.

Bases for Scales, Chords and Modes 2

Scales:
In order to do a scale, play a tetrachord, skip a tone, and play other tetrachord. Play a tetrachord with left, Left hand 1 tone Right hand 4 Skip a tone, 3 1 2 Play a tetrachord with right. &

In same way do all scales and learn them:


right
1

4 2 3 # # # # # b # & # 3 2
5 4

left

First tetrachord goes from 1 to 4 step in scale. Second tetrachord goes from 5 to 8 step in scale.

b # # # # # # # b b b b b b b & #

& # # # # #

# #

b b b

b b b b b b

EXERCISE: Play all scales with right hand using practical fingering: 1 2 3_1 2 3 4 5. Same for all scales. This is the diatonic scale:
1 3 3 1 1 1 5 3 b b b b b & b b b b b b b 5 1 3 1

* Put finger 3 in wide part of white key and pass thumb over to next black.

If you have mastered classical fingering... go ahead and don't forget it. This practical fingering is most easy... same for all scales.

Bases for Scales, Chords and Modes 3

Major Chord:
For doing a major chord, play steps 1, 3 and 5 of diatonic scale. Discover and learn all Major chords following this method:

w w w &
C

No Chord

F b w w w No Chord

No Chord

G w w w

& w w w & w # # #w w
No Chord E

w b w w w # #w w w # #w w
No Chord No Chord A

w w w w # #w w
No Chord D

& # # #w w w & w b b b bbw w


No Chord Eb

w # #w w
Ab

w b b b b bbw w w b b b b bbw w
No Chord

w bb bb bbw w
No Chord

Db

& b b b bbw w w
No Chord

w bb bb bbw w
#

&

wb b b b b b bG w b b w

F # # ###w w # # w

w & b b b b b bbbw w

w # # # # ###w w

Bases for Scales, Chords and Modes 4

w # # # ##w w & & # # # ##w w w

No Chord

w b b bw w w b b bw w

No Chord

Bb

You have discovered all major chords departing from first five steps of scale. These 3 note chords are named Triads. EXERCISE: Major scales and triads:
5 1

1 & 4 31 1

b
4 1 1

b 1
4 4 1

4 1 # 1 3

?w w w &

5 # 1 3 1

w w w

w w w
4 1

w w w

w w w

3 1 # # # 1 # # # # #
1 3

w w ?w
Fingering:

#w w w
E

#w w w

Go ahead following order of last exercise.

Beginning in white key, except F: 1 2 3_1 2 3 4_1 2 3_1 2 3 4 5 Beginninig in F: 1 2 3 4_1 2 3_1 2 3 4_1 2 3 4 Beginning in black key there are two systems: Classical fingering: Begin with finger 2 and put 1 in next white key. Practical fingering: For all white scales: 1 2 3_1 2 3 4_1 2 3_1 2 3 4 5 For black scales: Same fingering. When passing from 3 or 4 to 1, put 3 or 4 in wide part of white key and pass thumb over to next black key.

Bases for Scales, Chords and Modes 5

Chords system in a key:


We have learnt 12 major chords departing from first step in each scale. Now we will explore making triads departing from each step of scale.

&w w w

w w w

II

w w w

III

w w w

IV

w w w

w w w

VI

w w w

VII

bbbbb

Explore doing triads in all tonalities:

bb &bbb w w w
I

w w w

II

w w w

III

w w w

IV

w w w

VI w w w

VII w w w

##

&

##

w w w

w w w

II

w w w

III

w w w

IV

w w w

VI w w w

VII w w w

All these triads are the basis of Classical Harmony. In Classical harmony a chord note is a consonance and any other note is a dissonance that must be solved by descending to chord note. A seventh is always a dissonance that must be solved. In Jazz harmony a seventh is a color sound, no dissonance, as we will see in next lesson Basic Jazz chords.

Bases for Scales, Chords and Modes 6

Modes:
If we make a scale departing from each one of steps of scale we will find seven scales called modes. Achademics call them with greek names: Jonian (I), Dorian (II), Frigian (III), Lidian(IV), Mixolidian (V), Eolian (VI), Locrian (VII). It is most practical to call them with ordinal numbers: First mode (I), Second mode (II), Third mode (III), Fourth mode (IV) Fifth mode (V), Sixth mode (VI), Seventh mode (VII).

& 1 1 1 1 1 3 1 1
1

Dm

Em

?w w w
G

Jonian

w w w

II

Dorian

w w w

III

Frigian

w w w

IV Lidian

B mb5 1 1 1 1 & Am
1 1

bbbbb bbbbb

w w ?w

V Mixolidian

w w w

VI

Eolian

VII w w w Fm

Locrian

b & b bbb

Db


Gm I

Eb m

? bb b w w bb w

w w w

II

III w w w

IV w w w

bb &bbb
C mb5 V w w ? bb b w bb VI w w w Em F#m VII w w w

Ab

Bb m

Bases for Scales, Chords and Modes 7

## ##

&

##


G I

w ? ## w w & ##
A

w w w

II

w w w
Bm

III

w w w

IV

C #mb5

w w ? ## w

wVI w w

wVII w w

Go ahead discovering modes in all tonalities. Antique modes were used in Gregorian chant. Monks and religious people sang "a capella", it is without instrumental accompaniment, although sometimes they used organ playing melody at unison or in "organum". This was a style of playing organ in three parallel voices: melody, suboctave and fifth between them, and sometimes they sang in these three parallel voices in chorus. At the end of 15 Century they began accompany unison voices with organ in triads, adding the third in a modal harmony. They used modes as tonalities. For example a song in phrygian mode began and finished in third note of scale, using that mode along all the song. All classical harmony consists in the management of those elements that you have discovered and learnt by yourself in this lesson. Main difference between Classical and jazz harmony is this: Classical harmony works with triads, and any other sound is a dissonance that must be solved.

Bases for Scales, Chords and Modes 8

Jazz harmony works with chords of four and more sounds, and here we don't speak about dissonance but about tension chords. Next lesson will be about Basic Jazz chords. Actually modal scales are used a lot in Jazz. Practise all exercises in this lesson until mastering them. So you will save in subconscious all bases of music, your fingers are learning to do their job, and you will develop a great ear training. Good luck and enjoy these bases for playing piano.