How Many Letters Are In The Music Alphabet?Posted by Mike Schuck
Let’s take a look at some of the most common music letters, and how many characters they make up!
The first letter in the music alphabet is actually the sound for the letter “A.” The word this sounds resembles is probably not familiar to you.
It’s the sound that people make when they say the word “aaaaaahhhhh.” You know it because everyone seems to be able to make it consistently. Some even teach it as such!
This sound is called the aspirated or breathy A, and it’s usually two notes long. (Think about it- there are only so many different notes you can have in a song!)
The second note of the A is typically one half step lower than the first, making them both an octave higher. This makes it easier to remember, too!
Most musicians use their voice to produce this beautiful tone, but instruments like the piano and guitar also have ways to access it. For example, on the white key board of the piano, there is a little hole where air can escape while the hand moves up and down. On the fretboard of the guitar, you hit the string with your index finger slightly more slowly to achieve this same effect.
Second letter of the music alphabet
The second letter in the music alphabet is the syllable sound that is used to describe some of the most important parts of a song. This includes lyrics, melodies, chords, and rhythm. When it comes down to it, songs are made up of these pieces and how well you know your songs’ components will determine how effectively you can analyze and understand a new song.
The first part of this alphabetic element is the lyric. A lot of people may not recognize the word “lyric” as being part of the music alphabet, but they have definitely heard them before!
When we talk about lyrics, we mean the words that someone sings – or more accurately, raps- out for the purpose of communicating a message or story. For example, when someone listens to a song with lyrics such as "Girl I want to fuck you all night", they realize the song is telling a story about having sex.
Third letter of the music alphabet
The third letter of the music alphabet is the one that sounds like the ‘sh’ sound, such as the word shark. This letter is called the phi-tone or phi-sound. The name comes from the Greek word for half, which refers to this tone being half as loud as the second highest pitch.
The phi-tone was used frequently in ancient greek music.
Fourth letter of the music alphabet
The fourth letter of the music alphabet is the semitone (or tone). A semitone can be either rising or falling, depending on whether it is ascending or descending.
A one-semitone drop is an example of an ascentive semi-tone. There are five different notes that make up a major scale, which have their own name, shape, and position within the music spectrum. These notes are called the notes of the major scale.
The note directly under the tonic is known as the second degree of the major key. This is because it has two steps down from the tonic. The next lower note is a one-semi step away, making it a half step higher than the first degree. This new note is referred to as the third degree of the major key. And like with the other degrees, there is a unique shaped note for this one.
The notes between the second and third degree are both a whole step away from each other, and they form a perfect square. Because these notes are a whole step apart, they are not only themselves separate tones, but also create an octave gap. An octave is what makes up a full musical note.
Fifth letter of the music alphabet
The fifth letter of the music alphabet is the semitone, also known as a one-note difference or a pitch shift. A semitone can be a half step (also called a whole tone), a minor third, major second, or any other similar type of shift.
A half step goes down by a perfect fourth; a minor third moves up by a major third; and a major second drops by a perfect sixth. These are all examples of a semitone.
There are twelve notes made up of three parts: octave, scale, and semitone. An octave has two complete steps while a full scale has seven.
Sixth letter of the music alphabet
The sixth letter of the music alphabet is the semitone, also known as a tone or a pitch. A semitone is one half step higher or lower than another note. For example, the notes B and F are both one semitone higher than C, so they are both a second (half) step away from C.
There are twelve different major tones and twelve minor ones in all. All of these have names that describe what frequency they are. For instance, the A-major third is called the “Aton” because it has an infinite number of repetitions. This means that you can always play this note forever without getting bored!
The other name for this tone is ‘chord tone’ since it is used to create chords. When you combine two or more notes together, the most popular method is using the tonic + fifth = dominant + octave = mediant. These are the most common types of chord progressions found in music.
Seventh letter of the music alphabet
The seventh letter of the music alphabet is the semitone (or tone). A semitone can be one note or a sequence of notes. A one-semitone decrease is called an oovertune, while a three-semitone drop is a tritone.
The octave contains twelve septimal steps, making it have eight times as many possible combinations as a tonal system that has only seven! This makes the octave very powerful for musicians looking to expand their knowledge beyond just scale theory.
A popular use of the tritone is transformationally speaking, creating two new melodies out of one source material. For example, starting with the familiar major third chord, we could add a minor second interval to create a minor sixth chord, then add another minor second to make a minor ninth chord, and finally take away a perfect fourth to get back to our original start point.
This process, when done quickly, becomes transposition. Transposing means changing where you are coming from; for instance, if your song started at the third degree of the treble clef, then singing it one whole step higher will make it begin at the fifth degree.
Eighth letter of the music alphabet
The eighth letter of the music alphabet is the semitone (or tone). A semitone is one step down from a whole note or full stop. It is one of the most fundamental types of changes within music. Technically speaking, any time there’s a change in pitch that isn’t a half-step (up/down), it is a semitone.
Most musicians never really get this concept though. For them, a semitone just means lowering your voice by a single note.
Ninth letter of the music alphabet
The ninth letter of the music alphabet is represented by the semitone, also known as a tone or pitch. A semitone is one half step up or down from another note. For example, if the next note has a middle C as its natural frequency (tone), then the new note two steps higher will have a G sharp as its natural tone.
This can be extended to any number of notes. If the last note had a D as its natural tone, then the new note one octave lower will have an F as its natural tone. In fact, the first eight letters of the music alphabet are made up of only whole tones and half tones!
The reason this is important is because musicians use these sounds for creating melodies and phrases.
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