Improvisation Beginning!



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Identifying Phrases


IDENTIFYING PHRASES

For a tune to make sense, it needs a structure, just as writing needs sentences and punctuations. Tunes are built from groups of notes that sound as though they belong together as an idea. These groups are known as PHRASES, and are usually separated by a tiny silence when the music is sung or played.

IDENTIFYING PHRASES: Musicians often disagree about where phrases start and finish. This is because there is often more than one possible INTERPRETATION. When you play music, try to hear which notes belong together. Phrases may be the same length, or start on the same beat of a measure. Songs may have a phrase for each line of words.

ANSWERING PHRASES: In some music, pairs of phrases of the same length sometimes seem to match each other. The first phrase seems to ask a question, and the second phrase to answer it. For example, the second phrase may seem to answer the first by ending on the tonic when the first phrase did not.

RHYTHM PATTERNS: Phrases often have a strong rhythm structure. A pattern may be repeated or varied within a phrase, between phrases, or even throughout a whole piece.

MELODIC PATTERNS: Phrases often contain patterns of notes that are repeated exactly, or changed by transposing them to a different pitch or varying the intervals.

SHOWING PHRASES: Composers usually do not show phrases in their music. Instead, they show how to play notes within phrases, using signs such as SLURS and STACCATOS. It is up to each player to decide how to phrase the music. Signs such as BREATH MARKS or BOWING can help do this.

PHRASES THAT MODULATE: Sometimes a phrase may end in a different key from the one it began in, such as the relative minor or major key. This is called MODULATION. For a tune to modulate clearly, it has to use a note that is in the scale of the new key but not in the scale of the original key.

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Playing Chord Patterns


I - IV - V - I Chord Pattern

Examples:
Key of C: C - F - G - C
Key of D: D - G - A - D
Key of E : E - A - B - E

I - iii - IV - ii - I Chord Pattern

Examples:
Key of F: F - A - Bb - G - F
Key of G: G - B - C - A - G
Key of A: A - C# - D - B - A

I - vi - ii - V - I Chord Pattern

Examples:
Key of B: B - G# - C# - F# - B
Key of Db: Db - Bb - Eb - Ab - Db
Key of Eb: Eb - C - F - Bb - Eb
Key of Gb: Gb - Eb - Ab - Db - Gb

I - ii - iii - IV - V - I Chord Pattern

Examples:
Key of Ab: Ab - Bbm - Cm - Db - Eb - Ab
Key of Bb: Bb - Cm - Dm - Eb - F - Bb

I - vi - ii - IV - I Chord Pattern

Examples:
Key of C: C - Am - Dm - G - C
Key of D: D - Bm - Em - A - D

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Fun With Modes


MODAL MUSIC began in ancient Greece. Influence by the Greeks, the early church used a system of MODES- almost all music written before the 1500's was based on the various modes. Many well-known folk songs are modal. In recent years modal music has become more and more popular, and modern composers use modal melodies and harmonies in their compositions.

Any scale of 8 NEIGHBORING WHITE KEYS is a MODAL SCALE.

Each Greek mode was named after an ancient group of people whose musical system it was supposed to represent. In our modern system, we still use the IONIAN MODE, which we call the MAJOR MODE.

The scale using 8 white keys, beginning and ending on C, which we call the C MAJOR SCALE, may also be called the IONIAN SCALE. It is in the IONIAN MODE.

The scale using 8 white keys, beginning and ending on D, is called the DORIAN SCALE. It is in the DORIAN MODE.

The scale using 8 white keys beginning and ending on E, is called the PHRYGIAN SCALE. It is in the PHRYGIAN MODE.

The scale using 8 white keys, beginning and ending on F, is called the LYDIAN SCALE. It is in the LYDIAN MODE.

The scale using 8 white keys, beginning and ending on G, is called the MIXOLYDIAN SCALE. It is in the MIXOLYDIAN MODE.

The scale using 8 white keys, beginning and ending on A, is called the AEOLIAN SCALE. It is in the AEOLIAN MODE.

The scale using 8 white keys, beginning and ending on B, is called the LOCRIAN SCALE. It is in the LOCRIAN MODE. the LOCRIAN MODE was not used in ancient times and is only occasionally used by modern composers. The IONIAN, DORIAN, PHRYGIAN, LYDIAN, MIXOLYDIAN, and AEOLIAN modes are called AUTHENTIC MODES. The LOCRIAN is not an authentic mode.

Each mode, however, may be transposed to begin on any KEY.
AN EASY WAY TO KNOW EACH MODE:

THE IONIAN MODE is very easy:
Just play any major scale.
THE DORIAN MODE:
Play any natural minor scale with the 6th tone raised one half-step.
THE PHRYGIAN MODE:
Play any natural minor scale with the 2nd tone lowered one half-step.
THE LYDIAN MODE:
Play any major scale with the 4th tone raised one half-step.
THE MIXOLYDIAN MODE:
Play any major scale with the 7th tone lowered one half-step.
THE AEOLIAN MODE;
Play any natural minor scale with no changes.
THE LOCRIAN MODE;
Play any natural minor scale with the 2nd and 5th tones lowered one half-step."

P.S. I have found it easy for children to remember the first letter of each mode! BTW, I'm Greek!

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