(musTh1) Tonality, Scales, Keys

Just some quick notes to remember, with a few bits of extra information.

Tonality is a hierarchy, which means that pitches have varying levels of importance.

Functional tonality (Western tonality) relies on the major and minor scales.

You can use a major scale as an aid in identifying intervals. Ascending intervals from tonic are either M or P; descending intervals from tonic are either m or P.

There is only one minor scale, but it has three forms of common alterations (natural, harmonic, melodic).

Know the scale degree names (tonic, dominant, etc.) in both major and minor. Learn the names arranged by function out from the tonic (not in a linear order from ^1 – ^7).

Know the circle of fifths for major and minor keys.

Know how to identify key signatures either by rote memory or by the pattern of sharps/flats. In major, the last sharp is always the leading tone and the next to last flat is the tonic. You can easily identify minor keys from their major counterpart.

***Know the order of sharps and flats in  key signatures, and where to place them on staves. I didn’t go over this in class. You can see placement from the book. It does not vary. The order is based on the fifths.


Flats: BEADGCF (the reverse of the sharps)

Know major and minor key relationships. Parallel keys (one major and one minor) share the same tonic. Relative keys (again one major and one minor) share the same key signature.


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