Forum - Banjo Ben Clark

Discuss the lesson: Intro to Music Theory Part 8- Music Keys

Let’s learn all about these thingamajigs called keys!

Best explanation I have found regarding the 1,4,5

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Hey all, I was wondering if anyone has any thoughts on fixed ear training(learning all songs in one key to develop the ear for intervals) versus learning different songs in different keys. I was talking to this guy I know who said he learned faster by transcribing all the songs he hears into one key because he is more easily able to identify intervals that way. He said eventually after practicing like that he was able to understand the construction of songs better and learned to improvise faster. It sounds kind of boring to play all songs in one key, but o like the aspect of developing a solid understanding of intervals.

The interval between notes/chords is the same regardless of the key.

You might learn a bit quicker playing in only one key because the fingering,etc is the same every time, but it doesn’t do you any good if the song doesn’t actually go in that key.

Sounds to me like the guy was learning to recognise specific notes…not the interval between (which is the goal)

What is meant with: Note combinations? (at 1:35)
Though it is definitely not really important for music I would like do understand why the total number of note combinations is calculated by 12 to the power of 12 (I’m a math student). To figure this out I must know what particularly is meant with a note combination.

It sounds to me like a note combination is where you play two notes or more simultaneously? Which would mean any combination of two or more notes would be a note combination, so there’s twelve notes, which each can go with twelve other notes (actually eleven) thus the (12×12)×12. I’m a homeschooler, so my method of writing that equation might be wrong? Actually, looking at it I’m gonna guess it’s only two notes, not “or more”. I haven’t watched the video, but I hope this helps

You had it right the first time. The “or more” part is the ^12 part of 12^12. The term “note combination” is just another way of saying “chord.” You could literally come up with a chord that includes all 12 notes. Not saying it would sound good, but you COULD do that.

Strike a Chord

Just incredible. Already two replies to my weird question. Thanks so far.
If the term “note combination” really is equivalent to “chord”, then I just have to count all possible “chords”. But there are only 4095 possibilities!

If anyone is interested, there are:
12 “chords” consisting of 1 note
66 “chords” consisting of 2 notes
220 “chords” consisting of 3 notes
495 “chords” consisting of 4 notes
792 “chords” consisting of 5 notes
924 “chords” consisting of 6 notes
792 “chords” consisting of 7 notes
495 “chords” consisting of 8 notes
220 “chords” consisting of 9 notes
66 “chords” consisting of 10 notes
12 “chords” consisting of 11 notes
1 “chord” consisting of 12 notes

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Yeah, I was thinking it didn’t look quite right with only two, but I’m not a math person at all :joy:

Archie that sounded slightly Chinese

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Good though. I’d live to try it out.

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Uhhh, this isn’t right at all…

First off, a chord is a set of notes (combined to be played simultaneously or one after the other as in an arpeggio) which includes what is commonly known as a triad (root, third and fifth). Chords or “harmonies” can be inferred with two notes (as if in the key of C major and playing an “F” and an “A” note with the F in the root which leans the listener toward the sound of the IV chord as long as the preceding chord is not something like a ii chord (D, F, A). Not all note combinations can be called a “chord” per se. For example, if you play the following chords on the piano adjacent to each other “C, C#, D, D#” that is a tone cluster and not a chord as thought of in a basic song writing. Such a chord might be used in modern classical music theory (and is by many composers), but is not something you would normally use during a bluegrass tune.

Chords can be extended however with various notes of the scale to which the origin of the chord belongs. For example, a C6 chord (C major 6) includes the 1, 3, 5 of the C major scale with the added 6 degree of the scale (C, E, G, A). Such a chord with the C in the root will have a major tonality with the A adding a relaxed color to it. However, the same notes with the A in the root position spells an Am7 ( A minor 7) chord (A, C, E, G) and has a completely different sound. In addition, some chords can have so many added notes that the chord can begin to lean toward sounding like a tone cluster like a G13 (G, B, D, F, A, C, E) which is essentially an entire G mixolydian scale played simultaneously. Of course, most folks will leave out the 9th (A) and the 11th (C ) from that chord and guitarists often favor also leaving out the 5th (D).

As far as the number of possible chords, that is only limited by your imagination. For example, If I were going to write a dominate chord (V) in the key of C major, I might spell such a chord G, B, D. Of course that is the most basic sound of such a chord and a stronger dominate chord might be spelled, G, B, D, F. And if I wanted to add color, I might spell it:
G, B, D, F, A (G9) or G, B, D, F, E (G13) or G, B, D, F, A# (G7#9) or G, B, D, F, Ab (G7b9) or G, B, D#, F, Ab (G7#5b9) or any number of interesting colors added to the standard dominant 7th chord sound. And that is only in root position as all of these chords could be inverted with any of the chord tones in the root or on top depending on how you would like to voice it.

To sum up, I don’t think most musicians would consider all the notes of the scale played at once as a “chord”, but rather as a note or tone cluster. A chord, in the modern sense of the word, is a harmony (often 3 or more notes but can be inferred by 2 notes) that can be defined as having a root, or a definable tonal center. A tone cluster does not really fit this description.


One other point to be made.

There are many different definitions of “music”. One such definition is painted with an extremely broad brush: Music = Organized sound. Even though such a definition can easily be argued, I doubt that many folks would consider the sound of cars purposely crashed into a brick wall to be music (unless those cars were Fiats :laughing: ). With such a broad brush, a tone cluster could indeed be considered a chord (C13#4#5b9#9 ???), but such a chord would have no particular use in most popular styles of music.

Finally, let me make one more point. My wife and son have told me that I have tendency to speak definitively, as if there can be no other reasonable answer. PLEASE take anything/everything I say with a grain of salt. Just a few decades back, it was unreasonable to think that everyone would walk around with a battery powered computer in their pocket 100s of times more powerful than the computer that first took men to the moon. And if you had told me back in 1980 that I would be paying more than a $1 for a tiny bottle of plain water someday, I would have called you crazy (ever bought a bottle of water in a movie theater??). So if you have other thoughts on my babbling, please feel free to share.

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I think you’re right on all all accounts, and this comment

Is absolutely hilarious, I literally laughed out loud! :joy::joy::joy::joy:

I speak from experience about the Fiats. The first car I drove was a 1963 Fiat 1100D.

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Well that’s cool! Here’s the first car I drove. 64 Plymouth Barracuda. 273 V8 - pushbutton transmission. Anyone else want to join in.

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Image result for premier padmini picture

Fiat was under the name “Premier Padmini” in India. One of my uncles had it several years ago, bunch of my class mates also had it (their parents car), when car was a rare commodity in India.


My first car was a Fiat X1/9. I was bummed when the guy I sold it to ran it into a wall :frowning:

You should have kept it… I’m sure there will be someone willing to pay a lot more as it is rare now!