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The Musical Alphabet (Guitar Lesson)


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Steve Eulberg

The Musical Alphabet

Steve provides a brief explanation of the musical alphabet. From A to G, Steve demonstrates his "finger" method as a great remembrance tool. This tool will help you understand the topics that Steve will teach in future lessons.

Taught by Steve Eulberg in Music Theory 101 with Steve Eulberg seriesLength: 2:46Difficulty: 0.5 of 5
The western Musical Alphabet uses 7 different note names:

...A B C D E F G A... The string names continue in both directions:

A B C D E F G A B C D E F G A B C D E F G A B CD E F G

So we only have to worry about 7 different note names (rather than the 26 letters in the English alphabet!) But, in good 21st century fashion the 7 names are re-used and recycled.

If you are familiar with a piano, the note names correspond to the names of the white keys. (more on the black keys later)

A B C D E F G A B C D E F G A B C D E F G A B C D E F G

Each time the note name repeats a new octave is beginning with a higher version of that same note. (See Lesson 1) This is what that song from "The Sound of Music": Do, Re, Mi, Fa, Sol, La, Ti, Do is teaching singers to understand about the musical alphabet.
*Note: Scandinavian and German alphabets are slightly different, H replaces B:

...A H C D E F G A ...

The strings on the guitar relate to these names and are called (from lowest, or thickest to highest, or thinnest): E A D G B E.

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Member Comments about this Lesson

Discussions with our instructors are just one of the many benefits of becoming a member of JamPlay.


cadcocadco replied on January 25th, 2013

I wish I would have known that humans remember patterns of 7 when I was in college. Perhaps I would have studied better,ha!

FingerWafflesFingerWaffles replied on January 25th, 2017

7 is the working memory magic number. Technically its 7 +/- 2, as it varies depending on the person and their brain.

tschullytschully replied on January 25th, 2013

I forgot the most important ! Thanks Steve for all your interesting lessons ! It's a pleasure to learn music with so passioned teachers as you are!

tschullytschully replied on January 25th, 2013

Hi Steve, hi everybody. Just for those who are interested, in France (Belgium, and the french part of Switzerland) and Italy we use the DO, RE, MI, FA, SOL, LA, SI scale, wich starts with the C (do). These names follow the original names reputedly given by Guido d'Arezzo in the 11th century, who had taken them from the first syllables of the first six musical phrases of a Gregorian Chant melody Ut queant laxis, which began on the appropriate scale degrees. And how music meets History and religion!

wv_wilsonwv_wilson replied on January 18th, 2013

I love the reference to the phone number - very true, that is why local numbers are 7 digits in the modern US phone bank. It i s proven that we can remember in fields of 7.

patrik ejenstampatrik ejenstam replied on June 15th, 2011

In the scandinavian countrys we dont use an H instead of a B anymore. As far as i know, there was a monk that misspelled the B so that it looked like an H. Anyway it doesnt really matter i just feelt a strange need to clear things up :) btw i love these great lessons on theory and everything is explained in a very great way :)

happy2bplayinghappy2bplaying replied on March 27th, 2010

I have been playing for year and not gotten any better than at first manny years ago ,I starting from the beginning and working my way up

guitarmonkeyguitarmonkey replied on March 27th, 2010

This lesson was VERY simple :p But hey, i don't mind! :p

terryeterrye replied on March 26th, 2010

Hey Steve...I think this series is going to be a winner.. After many a year of picking up and putting down the guitar, I believe I won't be putting it down again! Jam Play is great and I've been going through your lessons as not only a refresher, but learning things I was never taught so many years ago. I'm also correcting a LOT of bad habits developed over a LONG time! All the folks here at Jam Play are super. I check in on different folks and am amazed at all the talent here! Keep it up and bring it on! Just shows to go ya, even old farts like me can still learn! I really appreciate all the work everyone puts in here....Thanks...

zarry777zarry777 replied on March 26th, 2010

Thank you... I've started playing guitar a few months ago and Jam Play and especially your series is a wonderful tool and a wealth of knowledge for a person to never give up the guitar. Your series breaks down every lesson to it's nuts and bolt and gives me encouragement to practice, practice and practice without frustration. Keep up the excellent work!!!! You're THE man!

steveeulbergsteveeulberg replied on March 26th, 2010

you're welcome Kenyyha619. Thanks for the feedback!

kennyha619kennyha619 replied on March 25th, 2010

Thank You Mr. Eulberg, good lesson. I have done all of your beginner lessons and am on your phase 2 lessons now. Keep up the good work!

Music Theory 101 with Steve Eulberg

Found in our Beginner Lesson Sets

Steve presents an information packed lesson series that will break down the basics of music theory. From the language to notation, all things music will be taught right here.



Lesson 1

Introduction to Series

Welcome to the introduction video to Steve's music theory lesson series! This is an information packed series that will cover the fundamental elements of music including notation, language, rhythm, harmony...

Length: 2:23 Difficulty: 0.5 Members Only
Lesson 2

Sound and String Physics

Steve Eulberg delves into a few scientific properties that explain why the guitar produces its unique sound.

Length: 9:51 Difficulty: 0.5 Members Only
Lesson 3

The Musical Alphabet

Steve provides a brief explanation of the musical alphabet. From A to G, Steve demonstrates his "finger" method as a great remembrance tool. This tool will help you understand the topics that Steve will...

Length: 2:46 Difficulty: 0.5 Members Only
Lesson 4

Scales & Modes

Steve explains how scales and modes are constructed.

Length: 2:28 Difficulty: 0.5 FREE
Lesson 5

Whole & Half Steps

In this lesson, Steve explains what whole and half steps are. In conjunction with the musical alphabet, Steve provides in depth instruction on how certain notes and intervals work together.

Length: 6:16 Difficulty: 0.5 Members Only
Lesson 6

Musical Notation

Steve explains the basics of standard musical notation. This Western system of writing music primarily details two parameters - pitch and time. Discover the visual world of music in this lesson!

Length: 5:32 Difficulty: 0.5 Members Only
Lesson 7

Musical Notation Continued: Musical Staff

Steve continues his music theory series as he dives more in depth into musical notation. Here he breaks down the staff and explains how it is used in reading music.

Length: 5:49 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 8

Understanding Tablature

Steve breaks down Tablature. This is a very simple concept and when applied in the correct way, can be used to teach any determined guitarist any kind of arrangement.

Length: 4:00 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 9

Comparing Notes on Piano & Guitar

Welcome to lesson 9 in Steve's music theory series! In this lesson, Steve explains how the notes of the guitar compare to the notes on a piano when written in standard notation.

Length: 16:25 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 10

Music Vocabulary

Steve presents a lesson on the vocabulary used within music. This lesson covers many descriptive terms and symbols that help communicate what is intended to be played in a piece of music.

Length: 16:02 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 11

Key Signatures

Steve breaks down and explains what key signatures are as well as how sharps and flats are used within each key.

Length: 22:50 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 12

Scales and Modes

The title says it all. Simply put, Steve explains what scales and modes are and utilizes two different key signatures to help demonstrate the differences.

Length: 22:17 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 13

Time Signatures

In this quick lesson, Steve will explain time signatures and what those numbers mean at the beginning of a notated piece of music.

Length: 8:56 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 14

Tempo

Tempo is the subject of understanding how fast or slow to play a piece of music. Steve will utilize more Italian words to help demonstrate the various ranges in tempo there can be.

Length: 9:08 Difficulty: 1.0 Members Only
Lesson 15

Fundamentals & Overtones (Harmonics)

Steve will dive into the topic of harmonics. When playing a single note on a guitar, other notes can be herd. Steve will explain why that is as well as demonstrate where other harmonics on a guitar can...

Length: 8:44 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 16

Chord Quality

Chord quality refers to whether or not the chord is Major or Minor. Steve will take an in depth look at how this is applied and all the various terms that are associated with this subject.

Length: 10:19 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 17

Chord Quality Part 2

Welcome to part 2 of chord quality theory! Steve now dives into 4 note chords and common additions that are made.

Length: 16:15 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 18

Chord Voicing

Steve tackles the subject of chord voicing. This term simply refers to the order in which we hear the notes that form a particular chord. Let Steve break this subject down in a very hands on sort of way.

Length: 10:38 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 19

Circle of 5ths

Welcome to a lesson in one of the most widely known topics in Music Theory, Circle of 5ths. This handy tool can easily bring light to how notes relate to each other, and Steve will explain how this is...

Length: 11:17 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 20

Relative Minor

The relative minor key or chord is built from the sixth step of any major scale. For example, A minor is the relative minor key and chord in relation to C major.

Length: 7:09 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 21

Chord Substitution

It's time to get creative with your music theory knowledge! In this lesson, Steve demonstrates how to utilize chord substitutions in order to add your own personal touch to the harmony of a song.

Length: 15:31 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 22

Power Chords

Steve presents a very insightful lesson on what power chords are on the theory side of things, but also how best they can be used.

Length: 6:10 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 23

Arpeggios

Arpeggio is an Italian word meaning "broken chord". Steve demonstrates how this applies to the guitar and some common picking patterns used with familiar chord shapes.

Length: 6:37 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 24

Pentatonic Scale Theory

Steve delves into the topic of pentatonic scale theory. Steve discusses why both the major and minor pentatonic scales are two of the most common scales used in music.

Length: 11:45 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 25

Diminished Chords

Steve discusses diminished chords and how they relate to dominant chords.

Length: 7:59 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only

About Steve Eulberg View Full Biography An Award-winning multi-instrumentalist and singer-songwriter, Steve Eulberg weaves mountain and hammered dulcimers with a variety of unusual instruments to create thought-provoking, smile-inducing, toe-tapping acoustic experiences.

He has sung and composed for religious communities, union halls, picket lines, inter-faith retreats, mountain-top youth camps, as well as the more familiar venues: clubs, coffeehouses, bookstores, festivals, charity benefits and showcase concerts.

Born and raised in the German-heritage town of Pemberville, Ohio, Steve was exposed to a variety of music in his home. Early piano lessons were followed by trumpet in school band, and he became self-taught on ukelele and guitar and harmonica. Mandolin was added at Capital University where, while majoring in History, he studied Ear Training, Voice and took Arranging lessons from the Conservatory of Music.

While at college, he first heard hammered and mountain dulcimers, building his first mountain dulcimer just before his final year. Seminary training took him the west side of Denver where he built his first hammered dulcimer. With these instruments, he was able to give voice to the Scottish, English and Irish traditions to which he is also heir.

Following marriage in 1985 to Connie Winter-Eulberg he settled in Kansas City, Missouri. There he worked cross-culturally in a church of African-Americans, Latinos and European Americans, with music being a primary organizing tool. He moved with his family in 1997 to be nestled beside the Rocky Mountains in Fort Coillins, Colorado.

Founder of Owl Mountain Music, Inc. he teaches and performs extensively in Colorado and Wyoming with tours across the US and the UK. He delights in introducing the “sweet music” of dulcimers to people in diverse settings and in addition to his own recordings, has included dulcimers in a variety of session work for other musicians.

In 2000 he was commissioned to create a choral composition featuring dulcimers for the Rainbow Chorus in Fort Collins. It was recorded in the same year (BEGINNINGS). He is currently at work on a commissioned symphony that will feature hammered dulcimer and Australian didjeridu.

Eulberg passionately believes that music crosses cultural and language barriers because music builds community. Influenced by a variety of ethnic styles, his music weaves vital lyric with rap, rock, folk, gospel and blues. Audiences of all ages respond well to his presentation and to his warm sense of humor.

Steve is a member of Local 1000 (AFM), The Folk Alliance, BMI and BWAAG (Better World Artists and Activist's Guild).

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