Musical Steps


MUSICAL STEPS are the stepping stones to chords and harmony.... each has its own character, style and unique sound.

Understanding them, and the chords and harmony that they generate begins with a few small ... well, baby STEPS ... These musical steps can be either

HALF STEPS or WHOLE STEPS.

Before starting this journey, the most basic rule to remember is:

the musical alphabet has only 7 letters:

A B C D E F G

That's it - after letter G, we go back to A.


keyboard scale diagram

Look familiar? It's the black and white key structure of your standard keyboard.

As you move from one key to the very next key, you you are moving a
HALF STEP. It doesn't matter if it's a

  • white key to black key
  • black key to a white key
  • white key to white key

if they are right next to each other, it's a HALF STEP.

going up = SHARPS!

going up

going down = FLATS!

going down
sharp

When you go from left to right, or up the keyboard, the sound gets higher. When you go up, the black keys are called SHARPS. They look like the picture at the left.

Below you can see an entire CHROMATIC SCALE from C up to C with all of the BLACK KEYS in between. Each one of these is a SHARP.

flat

When you go from right to left, or down the keyboard, the sound gets lower. When you go down, the black keys are called FLATS. They look like the picture at the left.

Below you can see an entire CHROMATIC SCALE from C down to C with all of the BLACK KEYS in between. Each one of these is a FLAT.

In addition to sharps and flats, there are double sharps and double flats. These are discussed in the 7th chords page.

So... if moving from one key the the very next key is a HALF STEP, moving two consecutive steps is a WHOLE STEP.

So moving from:

  • C to C sharp = HALF STEP
  • C to D = WHOLE STEP
  • D to E = WHOLE STEP
  • E to F = HALF STEP

Notice how E to F is a HALF STEP even thought they are 2 white keys?

This is what you need to know to get a basic understanding of basic intervals and scales! Intervals and scales are the foundation music as we know it.


Alfred's "Complete Book of Scales, Chords, Arpeggios and Cadences" includes ALL the scales and music fundamentals. Here's a book that will last years as you get started learning & practicing Musical Steps!

keyboard

Onward: intervals, basic scales, chords, chord symbols...

go here for INTERVALS

go here for MAJOR SCALES

go here for CHROMATIC SCALES


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