Major - sounds happy, bright
Minor - sounds sad
Atonal - sounds very strange (the music is not in a key)
Modal - sounds somewhere between major and minor (likely to be folk music, very old music or world music)
Tonality - Diatonic and Chromatic
Diatonic - melody which sticks to the notes of the key.
Chromatic - melody which uses several notes not in the key ('accidentals' - extra sharps or flats)
Tonality - Consonant and Dissonant
Consonant - a chord in which the notes sound right together.
Dissonant - a chord in which the notes clash to create a 'dischord'.
Tonality - Harmonic Devices
Pedal - a repeated note in the bass which does not change.
(Inverted pedal) - a repeated note in a higher part which does not change.
Drone - one ore more notes which are sustained under the rest of the music.
Degrees of the Scale
Cadences - Perfect Cadence
- v - i (e.g. G to C in C major) Bom bom!
- Sounds like a complete close to a phrase or piece.
- Often found at the end of a phrase or piece.
Cadences - Plagal Cadence
- iv - i (e.g. from F to C in C major)
- Sounds like the amen at the end of a hymn, rested.
- Often found at the end or a phrase or piece.
Cadences - Imperfect Cadence
- i - v (e.g. from F to G in C major)
- Sounds like the end of a question phrase to which there is going to be an answer phrase. It will not feel like the piece could finish on an imperfect cadence - left dangling.
- Often found at the end of a phrase before another one.
Cadences - Interrupted Cadence
- v - vi (or anything except i) (e.g. G to Am in C major)
- Sounds like it is going to be a perfect cadence and the piece phrase is going to end but it is 'interrupted', surprises you at the last moment.
- Often found just before the end of a piece.
A modulation is when a piece changes key.
- Dominant (the key a 5th up - e.g. C to G)
- Subdominant (the key a 5th down - e.g. C to F)
- Relative minor (e.g. C to Am) or relative major (e.g. Am to C)
- Tonic (means back to the home key)
Major - sounds happy (4 semitones between the bottom two notes and 3 semitones between the top two).
Minor - sounds sad (3 semitones between the bottom two notes and 4 semitones between the top two).
Dominant 7ths - sounds like a major chord with an extra note at the top to make it sound more jazzy.