Musical Alphabet LettersPosted by Mike Schuck
Music is such a vast language that there are many ways to approach it and learn about it. There are songs for every genre, vocabulary includes all of music theory, and some even have their own alphabet!
Here we will go over some of the most common musical letters and what they mean. You do not need to know how to play these notes in order to enjoy this article, but if you already do then great! We can still apply this information to learning more about music.
The five main musical letters are: A, B, C, D, and G. These five notes make up the golden ratio of music, which is known as the major scale. This set of notes can be used to create several different melodies and songs.
There are multiple ways to identify each note’s position in the major scale. By knowing the name of the note, its numerical value, and where it falls within the major scale, you will be able at least somewhat familiar with any song that uses this key.
This article will focus mostly on the piano, since it is one of the easiest instruments to start on. But everything here can be done on any other instrument! Just remember that some notes may sound slightly differently depending on your keyboard or guitar setup.
B is for Bird
Birds are one of the most beautiful creations in nature. They seem to take pleasure in what they do, constantly exploring new things. Many have drawn inspiration from birds to create songs and music!
Birds make sounds by moving their wings or other body parts. For example, when a bird flutters its wing it creates air currents that produce vibrations which become sound waves.
Some birds even develop specialised vocal chords that vibrate to create different notes. The song of a particular bird can be very intricate and hard to figure out.
There are many ways to learn how to play the piano using these concepts. By playing like a duck, you get the idea!
Music made with birds as an influence is called avant-garde or neotraditional. Avant-garde artists want to shock their audience by not adhering too rigidly to rules set by others before them, while traditionalists stick more closely to the past styles.
Many people use musical letters to learn about birds and their songs.
C is for Cocoa
The next letter of the musical alphabet is definitely not what you would expect! If you have ever heard the song ‘Happy Birthday’ then you have already encountered the sound known as the tritone.
The term comes from ancient Greek, where it was used to describe a discordant note that clashes with the tonal center or keynote of a piece.
In music theory, this note is referred to as an octave lower than the one it contrasts with. In Happy Birthday, the tritone is a very low B flat which sounds like a high G sharp five steps down.
This oddball note has been making appearances in popular songs lately, most notably in the chorus of Taylor Swift’s new smash hit Shake It Off!.
D is for Dog
Let’s learn the alphabet by learning some dogs! The first letter of the word “dog” is the letter D.
The most popular dog names in America start with a d, such as Dash, Duke, or Drake. Many people who name their dogs use these initial letters to make it more interesting. For example, if your favorite puppy goes by Dash then you can make up new words like Mashed-up Puppy or Drakester.
Some famous people have had dogs named after them. Like Beyoncé, her pup Blue was born just before she released her album Empire. Taylor Swift also has a pooch called Dot that she got when she was around nine years old. She shared an adorable picture of her and Dot on social media last year.
Interchangeability is another way that some famous dog owners use their pets’ names. This means they don’t mind what gender their pet is so long as they look similar. For instance, Barack Obama owns a male Chihuahua mix that he refers to as Barry. He uses this same pattern for his middle name – Barrett, which comes from his father’s family.
What about case? Some parents choose to put an extra emphasis on certain parts of the dog’s name, making the whole thing lowercase or uppercase.
E is for Elephant
The next letter of the musical alphabet is definitely not what you would expect. It is actually an elephant! The first note of this letter is the sound of an elephant trumpeting. This high pitched noise, which some call the “o” or “A” tone, comes from the back part of your mouth.
The second note is one that most people do not use unless they are teaching music. This half-note has a middle bit that does not go up nor down but instead stays steady. This is called a rest and it gives time to process the notes before moving onto the next group.
This whole sequence makes a beautiful chord that many musicians refer to as the Eleventh Chord. It is usually written in parentheses like this: (E)Eleve…
You can play this ele...
F is for Frog
The frog is one of the most famous animals in the world! It has fascinated humans since prehistoric times, making it one of the top ten favorite species. There are many theories as to why frogs have such an allure, but probably the main reason is that they make some noises. When threatened, some will call out or hiss or croak, which can be quite amusing to listen to.
Some people say that when you hear a frog’s voice for the first time, it sounds like someone shouting “Hellooooo!” An unfamiliar sound, what we refer to as an empty space, makes us wonder who this person could be. They say that once you figure out who the frog is, then you understand something about yourself.
Frogs also enjoy eating insects so there is another reason to admire them. Some believe that if we listened more closely, we would find that the earth is singing with songs full of messages left behind by living things. For example, crickets sing very loudly at night, and bullfrogs growl during springtime.
There are several different types of frogs, each with their own unique characteristics and behaviors. As fun fact, the word amphibian comes from the Greek words amfibes, meaning both land and water, and panthêr, referring to spirit.
G is for Google
Let’s look at some other letters of the musical alphabet! The next letter is definitely not familiar, but it’s one you probably use every day. When looking up something on your phone or computer, you type in an online search engine such as google.com.
After you enter your query into the search bar, the site behind the bar lists all of its results for you to browse through. It does this by finding similar queries with common terms, and then linking those together.
This process can be done so well ahead of time that there is no need to write any content! By using what we call “keywords and phrases” as our source material, the bar gets most of its content from the internet already.
So how do you get credit for helping grow the web? You just have to make sure your own website isn’t full of them!
Start adding some of these keywords and phrases to increase your SEO (search engine optimization) score.
H is for Horse
Let’s look at some letter sounds that begin with the sound “H.” The first of these is horse, which we will talk about later. For now, you have learned how to say the initial sound of the word horse in all twelve languages!
Next, let’s learn the second half of the musical alphabet, the vowels. We will start with the vowel o, the first of the two short vowels.
The vowel o makes us speak more slowly, and it can be lengthened or shortened using your voice when speaking. To make this easier, remember our phonetic spelling system!
If you know my book My Language Tips, you may recall that I mentioned adding stress to a syllable. If you are able to add weight to one specific part of a sentence, then you should use that knowledge to emphasize certain parts of a word as well.
For example, if you were talking about horses, you could say something like: This is such a pretty horse! Or You need to see this beautiful horse!
By adding emphasis on the words such and horse, they become special and interesting. That is what happens when you use strong vocabulary!
We already learned the letter O as the starting letter of the vowell Sounds in our music lesson on gOing through the different vowellSounds. Now let’s see it in action!
Practice by saying the name of each vowel out loud several times.
I is for Ice cream
Let’s look at the letter ‘I’. The top of the 'i' looks like an eye so we can call this the ocular i or, if you want to get really fancy, the eyeless i. This ocular i represents the element earth.
The lower case ‘i’ has one small circle in the middle and two big circles surrounding it, making it look similar to a smiley face. This lowercase representation of the element air goes by the same rule as the human body; there are two sets of lungs that breathe out oxygen and inhale carbon dioxide.
The lower case ‘i’ also resembles the shape of the moon. So what do you think the letter ‘I’ represents? It represents ice cream!
As humans, we need to eat to live. Therefore, the element represented by the letter ‘I��’ is needed for our survival.
The Jam Addict team is a revolving door of writers who care about music, its effects on culture, and giving aspiring artists tools and knowledge to be inspired and keep on creating.
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