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Theory

Music Theory Files. Key Cycles, Music Notation, Pulse, Rhythm, Meter and more.

Major And Minor Key Cycles

One of the most common tools used in songwriting is the Key Cycle. Also referred to as the Circle of 5ths or Circle of 4ths. Chords have a natural tendency to move to a chord a 4th above or a 5th below the current chord. For example if you are playing a C Major chord, moving to an F Major chord (an interval of a 4th) would sound natural as the next chord in the progression.

Music Notation On The Guitar

Many guitarist can read tabs and play by ear, but some turn away when you mention reading music on the guitar. In this short lesson we will get you on your way to finding the notes on the guitar as their displayed on the musical staff.

Pulse, Rhythm, Meter

The durations of tonal music are divisible by the pulse. Pulses are organized into measures. Measures are organized by patterns of accents. Accents result from both rhythmic placement and harmonic content.

Understanding Rhythm Notation

To keep things organized, we group our notes in something called "bars". A bar of music usually contains 4 beats, 3 beats etc. To figure out a bar of music by listening to it, we can count and tap along and find out where the accents seem to repeat. When reading music, we can look at the time signature. This is that fraction that happens at the beginning of a piece of music.

Arpeggio Substitution

The most important cadence in all music and exploited extensively in jazz-is the V7 to I chord progression. In the key of C the cadence is G7 (V7) to C (I) in the key of E the cadence is B7 (V7) to E (I) and, as with all music theory, the relationship is the same in all keys. This theory lesson will explore some important and popular arpeggio substitution possibilities for the V7 to I cadence.
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