Seventh Chord Etudes
This new curriculum is a way of introducing concepts of basic theory in a typical school orchestra setting. The idea is to teach concepts by performing them – i.e., to Experience Theory. The first two volumes cover scale degrees and intervals. It is intended that the material would be presented over a long period of time, or during a summer program when you could devote an hour daily to the study of theory concepts.
Volume 1: Scale Degrees
In this volume, students are presented with the concept of scale degrees and learn to read a special notation. This is wonderful training for the ear and the mind. It helps students to conceptualize “key”, and gives them an opportunity to practice transposition of simple melodies.
Volume 2: Introducing Intervals
Each interval is introduced through a series of short excerpts which include mneumonic etudes, singing, fun identification games, and finally small pieces that features the target interval. Find some examples below.
Here is the melodic piece featuring the minor third:
Next is an example of an identification game. The recording is a live student reading, so you hear mistakes, but I think you can get the idea. When we did this, the students thought it was great fun! The score page you see below is the “answer key” found in the conductor’s score. In this example, students are told to locate all the sixths in the example and then play only the top pitch of each sixth putting rests on all other notes.
Volume 3: Triad Etudes
In this volume, four triads are introduced, Major, Minor, Augmented and Diminished. The featured triad is introduced at the beginning of the etude and then its musical character is exploited in a short musical excerpt.
There are 4 triad etudes in Volume 2. Individual parts (Violin 1, Violin II, Viola, Cello, Bass) are 1 page each, the score is 3 pages. Hear the examples below performed by a high school orchestra in Oregon.
Volume 4: Seventh Chord Etudes
In this volume, four seventh chords are introduced, Major 7th, Dominant Seventh, Minor Seventh, Half-Diminished 7th and Fully Diminished 7th. The featured chord is the harmonic basis for the etude and its musical character is exploited in a short musical excerpt.
There are 5 etudes in Volume 3. Individual parts (Violin 1, Violin II, Viola, Cello, Bass) are 2 page each, the score is 8 pages. Hear the examples below performed by a high school orchestra in Oregon.