Originally written May 2016

Yes, the title says guitar, and yes, I talk about the piano. And that’s ok, because it really does clear things up!

I have made a big part of my living as a musician. Specifically as a guitar, singer kind of guy. I fancy myself quite the expert on things musical. I commend any interested young person to learn all that they can about something that is absolutely useless.


Lesson one is that music has no value what so ever other than entertainment. Soooo, to be worth while it M U S T first and foremost provide FUN and enjoyment for the performer (Interesting word; “performer”) or the listener.

There is actually a huge variety of music in the world. Think, Classical, Jazz, Rock, Rap, Country, Oriental, African, Native American. Ummm. ……. WHOLEY KRAPP! So a valid point early on is that nobody, anywhere knows all of it.

Again my favorite personal preposition; Sooooo, from here it is best to concentrate on what you enjoy. Yet music is derived from sound, nothing more than vibrations in the air that our God given ears sense. Therefore {another VERY loaded word; “therefore”} physics is involved. The organized sound that is music, is quantifiable.


What the??? And who cares?

Well, for one, I do. More knowledge can make the music more enjoyable, and easier to play at any level. The study of the organized sound called music is known as either Music Theory or Harmony. Both terms are popular and interchangeable. Which is correct usually depends on the teacher. Books are available that use both terminologies.

Where to start?

Western music, as defined by some long dead dude in Italy is made up of scales. Using twelve pitch divisions between OCTAVES. First insanity. Octave seems to mean eight notes not twelve. Well, it does. That is why there are black keys and white keys on your keyboard. Their are eight natural notes. {The white keys} A, B, C, D, E, F, G, —> and back to A.

The white keys are the natural notes and the black keys are sharps and flats.

Weird factoid number two. Their is no sharp or flat between B and C, or E and F. The pitch difference between any key and the key next to it is properly called a half step. The second key [up or down] {black or white} is a whole step. Up being left to right and down being right to left.

See where there is a grouping of three black keys. Counting black keys from left to right the white key between the second and third black key is “A”. Twelve keys (half steps) up or down from that is another “A”. Pitch pipe “A” makes four hundred forty vibrations per second. The next higher “A” will be double at eight hundred eighty vibrations per second. The next “A” lower will be half as many at two hundred twenty.

Soooo, if you play an “A” and then play every white key up to the next “A” in succession you have played an “A” minor scale. Actually quite useless to know and un-necessary to know to play the keyboard. But a good start as a physics lesson to learn “Music Theory”. However the symphony conductor, first chair violin, and featured soloist all know that. Soooo ….. Why not you?