Thursday, March 31, 2011

hammered dulcimer

Today I am tooting my own horn.  I have posted several YouTubes of me playing hammered dulcimer. Two of the songs, "Mountain Sunrise" and "Interpretations", are ones that I wrote.  There are also several slow versions of songs to help my students learn them.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

I, IV and V7 in Red River Valley

When I am sight singing, I find it helpful to look for patterns in the music.  I look for the places where the melody moves by skips and try to relate those notes to chord tones.  In today's lesson you will see how this works with the song "Red River Valley".  I will show you the melodic line along with the chord progression (I, V7, I, IV, V7, I) so that you can begin to recognize when the melody outlines a chord.

Monday, March 28, 2011

notating and singing I, IV and V7 chords

Notating a chord is kind of like building a snowman. Instead of stacking three big balls of snow on top of each other you stack up thirds. If the root of the chord is on a space, then the third will be on the next space up and the fifth on the space above the third. If the root of the chord is on a line, then the third will be on the line above it and the fifth on the line above the third. Watch today's lesson to see and sing the I, IV and V7 chords in several different keys.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

comparing dotted rhythms

Today's lesson takes the dotted quarter-eighth rhythm found at the beginning of "Auld Lang Syne" and compares it to the dotted half-quarter and dotted eighth-sixteenth patterns that occur in the same song if it is written in a different time signature.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

I and V7 chords

Watch today's lesson to learn about the V7 chord.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

I, IV, V chords

Watch today's lesson to learn about the tonic (I), dominant (V) and subdominant (IV) major triads or chords.  These three chords (plus a few minor chords which we will learn later) are the backbone of a large portion of the songs that you will encounter.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

What key? - flat keys

Watch today's lesson to learn how to determine the key of a song when the key signature has flats in it.  The last flat in the key signature is "fa" in the scale.  To find the tonic ("do") for major you just go up a perfect fifth or down a perfect fourth from the last flat. 

Friday, March 18, 2011

harmonic minor - Ah, Poor Bird

So far in our lessons we have done songs in natural minor.  The natural minor has the same notes as its relative major key (e.g. C major and A minor) with the tonic being "la" rather than "do".  In harmonic minor the tonic is still "la", but 7th degree of the scale ("so") is raised a half step.  Watch today's lesson to hear the difference between natural and harmonic minors.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

2/2 or 4/4?

Up to this point in our lessons we have had time signatures for simple time with a four on the bottom indicating that the quarter note gets the beat (2/4, 3/4, 4/4). It is important to know that there are other time signatures in which the beat is not the quarter note.  Watch today's lesson to learn about 2/2 time which has the half note as the beat.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

What key? - C major and sharp keys

In order to sight sing a song you need to know what the tonic is and whether you are in a major or minor key. Today's lesson explains how to figure out the key of a song by looking at the key signature and the last note in the song. 

Monday, March 14, 2011

notating and sight singing "Make New Friends"

Today's lesson walks you through notating and sight singing "Make New Friends" in the key of C major written on a bass (F) clef.  You'll need blank staff paper if you want to write out the notation yourself; or, if you prefer, you can also just follow along with me as I notate the song.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

sight singing practice in major using s drmfsl

Today’s lesson on YouTube gives you practice sight singing the beginning few measures of some familiar songs.  The songs are all in major keys and the tonic (“do”) is marked with red to give you a reference point.  The melodies contain stepwise motion and skips that outline the tonic triad.  Try pausing the video on each new song to give yourself time to figure it out before I sing it.  Have fun.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

sight singing "Shalom Chaverim"

Watch today's lesson for sight singing "Shalom Chaverim" in D minor (Dm).

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

notating the tonic triad

Today's lesson guides you through writing the notes for "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot" which has the tonic triad in the melody.  You will also practice rhythms that include quarter, eighth and half notes. 

Monday, March 7, 2011

tonic triad - Red River Valley

Today's lesson has more practice singing tonic triads in the context of a song.  If you know the tune to "Red River Valley", try singing it before watching the video to see if you can find the tonic triad (do, mi so) in the melody.  The song actually starts on the "so" below "do" just like the beginning of "Auld Lang Syne".

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Friday, March 4, 2011

tonic triad - "Auld Lang Syne"

A tonic triad is a chord built on the tonic.  The notes in the tonic triad in a major key are do, mi and so.  In today's lesson you will sight sing "Auld Lang Syne" which has the tonic triad outlined in the melody.  It is notated in the key of F major.  In this key the note names for the tonic triad are are F, A and C.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

hearing the tonic (tonal center)

A melody is more than just a succession of notes.  Each song has a distinct tonal center also called the tonic.   Just as the beat is felt even when it is not audible, the feel of this tonal center is present even when it is not being sounded by voice or instrument.  Today's lesson is practice with keeping this tonal center ("do" in major mode) present in your mind as you sing a melody.