Unit 2 Notes 2/11/09

Unit Test Notes

Unit 2 Notes

Harmonic Series - Pitched musical instruments are often based on an approximate harmonic oscillator such as a string or a column of air, which oscillates at numerous frequencies simultaneously. At these resonant frequencies, waves travel in both directions along the string or air column, reinforcing and canceling each other to form standing waves. Interaction with the surrounding air causes audible sound waves, which travel away from the instrument. Because of the typical spacing of the resonances, these frequencies are mostly limited to integer multiples, or harmonics, of the lowest possible frequency, and such multiples form the harmonic series.
Overtone Series - Any complex tone "...can be described as a combination of many simple periodic waves (i.e., sine waves) or partials, each with its own frequency of vibration, amplitude, and phases." An overtone is any partial except the lowest. Overtone does not imply harmonicity or inharmonicity and has no other special meaning other than to exclude the fundamental. This can lead to numbering confusion when comparing overtones to partials; the first overtone is the second partial.
A partial is any of the sine waves by which a complex tone is described.
Circle of Fifths - The Circle of Fifths is an easy way to find out the key a song is in. [It] tells you how many sharps or flats are in a given key. C has no sharps or flats. It is called the Circle of Fifths because as you go clockwise, you go up a fifth. For example, the fifth note of the C major scale is G. The fifth note of the G major scale is D, and so on.
Major Scale - A diatonic scale having half steps between the third and fourth and the seventh and eighth degrees and whole steps between the other adjacent degrees.
Minor Scale - a diatonic scale with notes separated by whole tones except for the 2nd and 3rd and 5th and 6th
Tonic - the first note of a diatonic scale
Supertonic - the second note of a diatonic scale
Mediant - the third note of a diatonic scale; midway between the tonic and the dominant
Subdominant - the fourth note of the diatonic scale
Dominant - The fifth note of the major or minor scale and the chord that is built upon that note. The relationship between dominant and tonic harmonies is fundamental to tonal music.
Submediant - the sixth note of a major or minor scale (or the third below the tonic)
Leading Tone - the seventh note of the diatonic scale
Octave - a musical interval of eight tones
Half Step - the musical interval between adjacent keys on a keyboard instrument
Whole Step - two half steps on a keyboard
Ionian Mode - The Ionian mode is a musical mode of diatonic scale. It was part of the music theory of ancient Greece, and was based around the relative natural scale in C (that is, the same as playing all the 'white notes' of a piano from C to C).
Aeolian Mode - An Aeolian mode formed part of the music theory of ancient Greece, based around the relative natural scale in A (that is, the same as playing all the 'white notes' of a piano from A to A). Greek theory called this simple scale the Hypodorian mode, and the Aeolian and Locrian modes must have formed different (perhaps chromatic) variations of this.
Tetrachord - A scale series of four sounds, of which the extremes, or first and last, constituted a fourth. These extremes were immutable; the two middle sounds were changeable.
Pentatonic Scale - a gapped scale with five notes; usually the fourth and seventh notes of the diatonic scale are omitted