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Completing this exercise – and then practicing it! – will improve your reading skills, facility at the keyboard, command of music theory, and ability to be musically creative.

Write the exercise in a blank manuscript (music paper) notebook, using two pages per key, for a total of 12 sets of facing pages (24 pages total).

Use pencil since changes are inevitable. Write neatly; you’ll need to read your notation later so you can learn to play what you’ve written!

To complete the exercises correctly, refer to Modules 1 through 7 as needed.

Keys and Enharmonic Issues

You will write the exercises in the order of the clockwise Circle of Fifths, beginning with C, then G etc.

The sharp and flat keys meet at the bottom of the circle, where there are three sets of keys that are enharmonically equivalent (they are spelled differently but sound the same).

While you may notate all the exercises in both F♯ major (6 sharps) and G♭ major (6 flats), it makes more sense to combine these enharmonic keys as follows:

  • Notate both the F# and G♭ major scales, so you can refer to them as needed.
  • Notate the remaining exercises with sharps or flats in order to avoid white key and/or double sharps/flats as much as possible (see below).

There is no need to notate the uncommon keys of C♯ major (7 sharps) or C♭ major (7 flats).

If an exercise will require white key and/or double sharps/flats, notating its enharmonic equivalent is acceptable and recommended. For example, the G♭ harmonic minor scale contains two double flats and a white key flat:

Notating this scale as F♯ harmonic minor is easier to read and understand, though it still requires one white key sharp:

The more fundamental reason to notate this scale with the tonic F♯ is that the relative major of G♭ harmonic minor would be B♭♭ major – a scale which doesn’t exist!

Rarely, you may realize that an altered interval – such as a diminished 6th in the key of G♭ – would have to be “correctly” notated using three accidentals – which may be theoretically possible but is nevertheless objectionable. Notate it using the root of F♯ instead.

Certain chord types in some keys may also lend themselves to enharmonic spelling. For example, D♭m requires a white key flat:

It’s easier to notate it (and its inversions) using the root C♯ instead:

Follow the instructions below to notate the key of C.

Name of Key

At the top center of a left-hand page, write “KEY OF C”:

Scales

Major Scale

  1. Draw a grand staff and key signature (shown below) as follows:

–Draw a bar line at the left edge connecting two staffs.

–Draw a connecting brace to the left of the bar line.

–Draw a treble clef and bass clef.

–Notate the key signature after the treble and bass clefs. On the bass staff, the key signature is written a third lower than the treble staff.

–A time signature isn’t needed on this exercise or the ones that follow.

–Draw a connecting double bar line at the right edge.

–Write “Major Scale” (or “MS” for short) in the left margin or above the treble clef.

  1. After the key signature, write one octave of this key’s major scale on both treble and bass staffs, from tonic to tonic, using whole notes. Include accidentals – if the scale requires sharps or flats, add them before the appropriate notes even though they wouldn’t normally be required because of the key signature. Space notes evenly, using the entire width of each staff. Vertically align notes in the treble and bass staffs.
  2. Below the bass staff, write the scale degrees (1, 2, 3 etc., ending with 1).
  3. Above the treble staff, write T (for tonic) over 1 (the first and last note), SD (for subdominant) over 4, D (for dominant) over 5, and LT (for leading tone) over 7.

Parallel Harmonic Minor Scale

  1. On a single staff below, draw a treble or bass clef. If you’d like to improve your bass or treble clef reading, use the appropriate clef. If you’d also like to improve your ledger line reading, write the first note in an octave that will require the use of up to three ledger lines above or below the staff. Depending on the clef some keys will require ledger lines.
  2. Write “Harmonic Minor Scale” (or “HMS” for short) in the left margin or above the clef.
  3. Don’t include a key signature on this or any of the remaining exercises.
  4. Write one octave of the parallel harmonic minor scale from tonic to tonic using whole notes and accidentals.
  5. Below the staff, write the scale degrees.

Intervals

Standard Intervals

  1. On a single staff below, draw a treble or bass clef.
  2. Write “Standard Intervals” (or “SI” for short) in the left margin or above the clef.
  3. Notate the standard harmonic intervals derived from the major scale from perfect unison to perfect octave. Use accidentals as needed.
  4. Above the staff, label each interval using “P” for perfect and “M” for major.

Altered Intervals

  1. On a single staff, draw a treble or bass clef.
  2. Write “Altered Intervals” (or “AI” for short) in the left margin or above the clef.
  3. From the following table, choose at least one diminished, one minor and one augmented interval from three different interval sizes. A check indicates the alteration is available for that interval size; if blank, it isn’t available. For additional practice, choose more than three intervals.
  1. Above the staff, write the abbreviation of each interval you plan to notate using “1” for unison, “8” for octave, “d” for diminished, “m” for minor, and “A” for augmented.
  1. Notate each interval by first writing a standard harmonic interval, then adding the appropriate accidental to the upper note. Notice that augmented unisons require two accidentals before the notes, and seconds require accidentals to be written to the left of both notes.

Chord Inversions

Triads

  1. On a single staff, draw a treble or bass clef, labeling the exercise “Triads.”
  2. Draw double bar lines to create four equally-spaced measures.
  1. Notate the major chord and its inversions in the first measure; the minor chord in the second measure; diminished chord in the third measure; and augmented chord in the fourth measure.
  2. Add the appropriate chord symbol above each of the 12 chords.

Tetrads

  1. On three staffs, draw treble or bass clefs and five measures separated by double bar lines, labeling the exercise “Tetrads.”
  2. Notate the five diatonic tetrads and their inversions in this order: major 7th, dominant 7th, minor 7th, minor 7th flat 5, diminished 7th.
  3. Add chord symbols above.

Major Key Chords

Continuing on the right-hand page, notate the major key chords. Leave a blank staff between each exercise to leave room for chord symbols and Roman numerals.

Major Key Triads

  1. On a single staff, draw a treble or bass clef, labeling the exercise “Major Triads.”
  2. Notate the triads using accidentals as needed.
  3. Above the staff, write chord symbols.
  4. Below the staff, write Roman numerals.

Major Key Tetrads

  1. On the next staff, notate the tetrads.
  2. Add chord symbols and Roman numerals.

Minor Key Chords

Minor Key Triads

  1. Notate the triads using the parallel harmonic minor scale.
  2. Add chord symbols and Roman numerals.

Minor Key Tetrads

  1. Notate the tetrads using the parallel harmonic minor scale.
  2. Add chord symbols and Roman numerals.
  3. Conform the following chords to the natural minor scale as follows:

–Lower the 7th of im7 by a half step

–Lower the 5th of IIIM7 by a half step

  1. You may wish to include naturals (optionally in parentheses) to make the spellings clear.