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Theory Terms


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temperment - meantone
a system of tuning in which the pure fifths are compromised in favor of pure thirds
enharmonic equivalent
two tones having the same pitch but different spelling
Neumatic notation
the early system of musical notation
compound meter
meter in which the basic pulse may be subdivided into groups of three EX: 6/8, 9/8, 12/8 etc.
simple metere
a meter that has a simple division of the beat
this interval may be heard as either a diminished fifth or as an augmented fourth
any one of the common scales make of whole steps and half steps in a particular pattern
C Clefs
the soprano, alto, tenor, mezzo soprano, and baritone are all examples of the C clef
the process of rewritting a piece of music or a scale so that it sounds higher or lower in pitch. This involves raising or lowering each pitch by the same interval
the decreased pressure in the air caused by an activated (vibrating) surface or air column
Pythagorean tuning
sixth century philosopher Pythagoras method of tuning was to use only the pure fifths found in the harmonic series. While this method would appear to be ideal, the other intervals, particularly the major third were so badly out of tune that the major chords were dissonant
Just intonation
(15th century) solved the problem of out of tune major chords by tuning a few major thirds according to the harmonic series. The result of this method was that some chords were pure whereas others were even more out of tune than with the Pythagorean tuning system.
Unequal temperment
this gave up the purity of the thirds and fifths and distributed the error over enough of the intervals that most of them were acceptable
Equal temperment
divides the octaves into 12 equal half steps. this is what we use today
musical result of tones sounding together. (melody implies the linear or horizontal aspects of music, harmony refers to the vertical dimension of music)
a harmonic unit with at least three different tones sounding simultaneously
chords containing a superposition of harmonic thirds
Triad Root
the note on which the triad is built
Major Triad
consists of a major third and a perfect fifth
Minor Triad
consists of a minor third and a perfect fifth
Diminished Triad
consists of diminished third and diminished fifth
Augmented Triad
consists of a major third and augmented fifth
Triad Inversion
inversion of a triad occurs when the root is not the lowest-sounding pitch
Root Position
if the root of the triad is the lowest sounding pitch
First Inversion
if the third factor is lowest sounding pitch
Second Inversion
if the fifth factor is the lowest sounding pitch
a style from the thirteenth century
Figured Bass
the bass line with the accompanying symbols - consists of a bass line with figures (mostly numbers) below to indicate the type of harmony
Primary Triads
triads built on the tonic, subdominant, and dominant
Harmonic Analysis
Two analytical methods are: roman numeral analysis and macro analysis
Roman Numeral Analysis
Roman numerals are used to distinguish triads based on scale degrees; Arabic numerals with carets are used for scale degrees themselves
Triad Position Symbol -
Root position - no symbol
first inversion - 6
second inverstion - 6/4
Simple Position
when triads are reduced to three notes spaced as close together as possible
Seventh Chords
formed by adding another third above the fifth factor of a triad
Seventh Chord Analysis
Root position seventh chord - 7
first inversion - 6/5
second inversion - 4/3
third inversion - 4/2 or 2
Figured Bass Symbols
the numbers 6 and 6/4 refer to intervals above the bass note. Figured bass numbers do not denote specific arrangements. That is, they do not indicate what note should be placed in a particular voice
Macro Analysis
uses letter names to indicate the roots of chords, with symbols to depict chord quality
substantial musical thought which ends with a musical punctuation called a cadence. Phrases are created through an interaction of melody, harmony, and rhythm
harmonic cadence
musical puntuation that closes a phrase or section of music
perfect authentic cadence
a progression from V to I in major keys and V to i in minor keys. Both chords must be in root position. In this cadence the tonic note must also be the highest sounding pitch in the triad. The perfect authentic cadence is the strongest.
Dorian (2)
Phrygian (3)
Lydian (4)
Mixolydian (5)
Aeolian (6)
Locrian (7)
Ionian (7)
scales (natural minor) (harmonic minor) (melodic minor)
NM - down 4 half steps (including start note)\
HM - raised seventh degree
MM - raised 6th and seventh degree
first degree
second degree
third degree
fourth degree
fifth degree
sixth degree
leading tone and subtonic
seventh degree
blues scale
flat third and seventh
octonic scale (diminished scale)
eight note scale made up of alternating whole steps and half steps

(because resulting triads are diminished)
more on modes
Dorian - D
Phrygian - E
Lydian - F
Mixolydian - G
Aeolian - A
Locryian - B
Ionian - C
Modes I III V and VII are called...
authentic because the final is at the bottom of the range
Modes II IV and VIII area called
plagal and has the same pattern of half steps and whole steps as the authentic except their range surrounds the final
standard instrumentation of a jazz band today...
4 trumpets
4 trombones
5 saxaphones
the three basic elements of jazz performances provided by the rhythm section are...
pulse, harmony, and rhythmic interaction
half step motion
flatted tones most often followed by a tone w/a different letter name a half step lower
the number of compression to rarefraction cycles that occur per unit of time
the volume or loudness of a tone
pitches produced silumtaneously by the vibrating sections
organized system of tones where one tone becomes the central point
pentatonic scale
five tone scale
whole tone scale
made up entirely of whole steps between adjacent scale degrees
tenor clef
designates the fourth line of the staff as middle C
the first partial
tone quality or color of sound
alto clef
designates the third line as middle C
asymmetrical meters
means not symmetrical and applies to the meteres that cannot be divided into equal groups
compound intervals
intervals greater than an octave
the increased pressure in the air
pitch inventory
collection of total pitch classes appearing in a piece of music arranged from lowest to highest

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