Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Reading Notes: The Importance of B

When we think about music theory, we usually start with the letter C, which is the tonic of the key of C, which is the 'natural' key - having no sharps or flats. But if the key of C begins with C, it ends with B.

In keeping with the basic principle of Fretography®, we'll look at how notes are arranged symetrically on the staff, and examine how the staff's symmetry relates to the fretboard.

B is the central note on the staff. The B line is the middle of the five lines. And going up or dawn an octave from the middle B will bring you to a space equidistant from the center of the staff;

These three Bs have more than three positions on the fretboard;
To memorize these note positions, it will help you to understand how they are related to each other, rather than just treating them as separate isolated positions. Look at the lowest (burgundy) B. Notice that its two positions are a span of 6 frets, from the 2nd to the 7th fret.

Now look at the middle (black) B. From the open 2nd string, there is a 5 fret span to the next position on the 4th fret. Then a 6 fret span to the 9th fret, and another 6 fret span to the 14th fret.

The high (brown) B starts on the 7th fret of the 1st string and there's a 6 fret span to the next B on the 12th fret of the 2nd string, then a 5 fret span to the 16th fret of the 3rd string.

As you can see, the 5 fret spans are always between the 2nd & 3rd strings, and the 6 fret spans fall between the other adjacent string pairs. This pattern of fret spans is true for every note on the fretboard, but only the note B is positioned so symmetrically on the staff.

Reading notation requires that you can easily connect the notes on the page with their positions on the fretboard. So understanding the unique geometric character of each note is very helpful.

In the next posts, we'll look at symmetrical pairs of notes.

All contents of this blog are © Mark Newstetter

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