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  • Demetri Besougloff

Blog #20 The Demi-Circle of Music Vocabulary.


The Demi-Circle of Music

1st finger: The 1st finger is the pointer.


2nd finger: The 2nd finger is the middle.


3rd finger: The 3rd finger is the ring.


4th finger: The 4th finger is the pinky.


Accidental: is a symbol (sharp "#" or flat "b") that indicates the altered note is a 1/2 step higher or lower than its natural note.

Augmented 4th: (Aug4) is three whole steps (6 dots).

Augmented interval: extends one 1/2 step beyond a Perfect or Major.

Chord: A group of three or more different notes.

Chromatic notes: (blank dots): A note altered by an accidental.

Diminished 5th: (dim5) is three whole steps (6 dots).

Diminished interval: removes one 1/2 step from a Perfect or minor.

Fifth: The fifth interval above the root in a chord.


Flat sign: (b) indicates the altered note 1/2 step lower. For example, the note "D" is at 2:00. The "Db" will be one dot counter-clockwise at 1:00.

Fret: (metal wires) embedded into the fretboard on the neck of string instruments (guitar, bass, ukulele, etc.). The purpose of the fret is to assist in shortening the string to a specific length giving us the desired note (pitch).

Fretboard: is on the neck of the guitar, where we place our finger(s) to find the other notes.

Half step: the closest distance between two notes. (1 dot).

Harmony: What supports and accompanies the melody.

Interval quality: (measurement) To find the interval quality count the number of dots (half steps) between the two notes. Do not count the lower note's dot. The same note is the same dot on the Circle.

Interval quality: (types) The fourth, fifth, and octave intervals are perfect in quality. However, the second, third, sixth, and seventh intervals could be better; they have Major or minor qualities. In addition, all intervals can be Augmented or diminished. Interval size: To identify the interval's size, we ask how many letters are from the lower note to the higher. They are always measured clockwise from the lower one to the higher one. Including both letters in the count will give us the interval size (2nd, 3rd, 4th, etc.). Count the letters outside the Natural Note Circle to find the size of the interval.

Interval: The distance between two notes measuring from lower to higher.


Keynote: The name of the key.


Major 2nd: (M2) is one whole step (2 dots).


Major 3rd: (M3) is two whole steps (4 dots).


Major 6th: (M6) is four whole steps + one 1/2 step (9 dots).

Major 7th: (M7) is five whole steps + one 1/2 step (11 dots).


Major Scale: All Major scales have this same structure: two tetra-chords separated by a whole step. When looking at the top of the Circle (12:00), both tetra-chords share the same keynote.

Major tetra- chord: Is four notes in alphabetical order with a structure of a whole step, a whole step, and a half step.

Melody: The part of music that is above the chords and rhythm. The sing-along part.

Minor 2nd: (m2) is one 1/2 step (1 dot).

Minor 3rd: (m3) is one whole step + one 1/2 step (3 dots).

Minor 6th: (m6) is four whole steps (8 dots).

Minor 7th: (m7) is five whole steps (10 dots).

Music: Consists of three parts (melody, harmony, and rhythm).

Natural harmony: Chords with only the notes in the scale.

Natural Note Circle: The natural note spacing on the "Natural Note Circle" page is --C-D (2 dots) apart, D-E (2 dots), E-F (1 dot), F-G (2 dots), G-A (2 dots), A-B (2 dots), and B-C (1 dot).

Natural notes: are notes with no sharps or flats.


Note: notes are single, not plural. Therefore, a singer can sing a single or a series of notes in a row. A note identifies the (pitch): the height or depth of a tone.

Octave: the distance between one note (like A) and the next note bearing its same name (the next A that's either higher or lower). See Perfect 8th.


Open string: Open is the full length of the string. Perfect 4th: (P4) is two whole steps + one 1/2 step (5 dots).

Perfect 5th: (P5) is three whole steps + one 1/2 step (7 dots).

Perfect 8th: (P8) is six whole steps (12 dots).

Pitch: (note): the height or depth of a tone.

Primary chords: These are chords built on the first (I), fourth (IV), and fifth (V) scale degrees of the Major scale.

Rhythm: The time aspect of music.


Root: The name of the chord.

Scale degree: The numbering of the notes in a scale starting with the keynote as the Roman numeral "I."

Scale: A series of notes looked at collectively is called a scale.


Sharp sign: (#) indicates the altered note 1/2 step higher. For example, on the "Natural Note" circle, the note "D" is at 2:00. The "D#" will be one dot clockwise at 3:00.

Simple chord: (triad): Consists of three notes - the root, the third, and the fifth.

Ternary: Taking every other note.


Tetra-chord: A chord that consist of four notes in alphabetical order.


Third: The third interval above the root in a chord.

Tone: a musical sound (vs. a noise).


Tonic: the name of the scale.


Whole step: A whole step is (2 dots).


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