# VIOLA/MUSIC THEORY LESSON III. GRADE 0.

Within this lesson, I learnt of…

1. The C-major scale family, leger lines, bar lines.
2. Music history, and composers (one must appreciate music, to be serious about it).
3. Triple and duple metres.
4. The left-hand technique upon the viola.
5. Restraint of the D string by use of the left hand’s one finger, two finger, and three fingers to produce the pitches: E4, F#4, G4.
6. Bow hold with pronation of the index finger.

First, “Music Theory”:

With all of this, I was also introduced to a small amount of piano theory. My instructor tuned my Treasure, first of all… by referencing the ‘A4 note’, on the virtual piano. This note is the basal note, for the equal-tempered scale of the piano… set to 440 HZ. The A4 registering to 440 HZ. Using that as reference, he then tuned the corresponding pegs (the remaining three) on the viola–that is, bearing in mind that both instruments register differently. The piano intrigues me, just as much as the viola does. After I had spent a good many years advancing through grade-school theory, I will eventually move onto piano. First and foremost, I want to understand the theoretical underpinnings of music. I dearly love it.

I am curious, just as well… when it comes to the frequencies of each respective note. There is a chart on the site provided below, which shows all of the respective pitches and their corresponding frequencies. This is all set to 440 HZ. The piano is set to 440 HZ.

https://pages.mtu.edu/~suits/notefreqs.html

The piano has 88 keys, and is capable of 7 octaves in comparison to the 4 of the viola. On the piano, each key is tuned equally and set to the frequency of 440 HZ. The pitches of the piano are slightly sharper, than that of the viola–however, we use this online piano as a way of reference before I get one of my own (I intend to purchase one with traditional hammers–no digital). With this in-mind, the piano has all of its pitches lined up quite nicely… and with that, I learnt of the C Major Scale:

C4 to C5.
In-between: C4, D4, E4, F4, G4, A4, B4, C5 (Bare in mind, that this is from the treble staves).

C4: 261.63 HZ (Lower HZ registers a lower pitch)
D4: 293.66 HZ
E4: 329.63 HZ
F4: 349.63 HZ
G4: 392.00 HZ
A4: 440.00 HZ (There’s a reason why I love the A4 note.)
B4: 493.33 HZ
C5: 554.37 HZ (Higher HZ registers a higher pitch)
(The Keys on the online piano also follow suit, with I-O-P-Z-X-C-V-B. )

Now, the higher the number… the higher the oscillation per second (HZ refers to the rate at which a sound ‘cycles’)–that is, how high that respective sound vibrates. This registers, through our senses (auditory) as a higher pitch. These frequencies refer to the piano, which is equal-tempered in its scale.

The C-Major Scale is also connected to Solfege (I won’t be delving too much into this, by advice of my teacher) of DO-RE-ME-FA-SOL-LA-DI-DO. The procession, repeating itself from 1-7. Just as well, in the way that each number assigned to each of the treble’s staves… corresponds to the HZ (frequency) which determines whether the pitch is lower or higher. C4, is considered as the middle-C… whilst your C-5 is raised a step higher. When notating the C-major scale, one must place a leger line underneath the default treble staves. This gives way to the addition of both C, and D outside of the default range. All leger notes are temporal. I have notated this, repeatedly to understand the conventions just as well! And have began experimenting with the three different bar-lines, which act as a convention of ‘organizing’ music written into nice boxes. Double bar lines, end a section if they are not found to be at the end of a set of bars (if it’s at the end, it’s the end).

With this, my Viola instructor also had me create an excel spreadsheet document. Upon this document, we are collaboratively contributing composers and musical suggestions having to do with viola. Through this, I have discovered and learnt of many great composers as well as musical movements: The Romantic period, being my favorite, next to Classical. With each movement, one can begin to form how each had informed the compositions. Romanticism, for instance is very sweet and concerned with emotion–however, it was an era that was informed by the structural conventions of Classical… therefore, the catharsis which presented was still ‘controlled’. This is in comparison to the chaotic conventions of Baroque. My fascination with Romanticism is attributed to Frederic Chopin’s works, which I was familiar with before I began my musical journey. Also, don’t judge me… but I have the hots for Chopin. He was a very handsome looking man, okay! With nice hands, beautiful eyes, and a mind to follow suit, too. My dream man.

Many great composers I had not heard of, had been discovered such as: Carl Phillipp Stamitz, Franz Anton Hoffmeister, Henri Vieuxtemps, Ralph Vaughan-Williams, Béla Bartók… each contributing beautiful concertos, and sonatas composed for the viola in-mind.

All I love. It is hard to choose a favorite, although… Vaughan-Williams is delightful. His pieces are quintessentially British (in that his music informed a lot of contemporary composers from the UK).

Past theory, I am also tasked with practice… just as well:

1. Clapping to triple, and duple metres. I instead take to playing the metres written, via the digital piano found online. It helps me understand the notational values of both the crotchet, and the minim–the minim equating to two beats. On the viola, one would draw out the note defined by the minim for two beats.
2. Left-hand technique of holding Treasure: 1) Straight wrist, 2) C shape formed with thumb and index finger, and 3) Loose thumb upon the finger board. One takes to using three fingers for restraint: The index finger, the middle finger, and the ring finger. In doing-so, I must build up the muscle of that arm in an incremental fashion–that is, firstly practicing it by five minutes, then to ten–extending the duration of practice with skill acquisition.
3. Using the left-hand technique, one then restrains certain sections of the ‘D’ string to play these particular notes: E, F#, G. All registrations of (4) in regard to frequencies. Whilst doing this, I compare the digital piano’s pitches to the viola’s pitches with my ear to ensure that I am playing them correctly. The “X-S-P” corresponding to “E-F#-G”. My instructor marked the neck of my viola, so that I may memorize these placings. With practicing these notes, I also take to practicing compositions from Stephen Chin’s “My First Pieces”, pages 15-17. All the while, keeping in time with a metronome set to 60 BPM.
4. And finally, practicing my bow-hold again.

Gathering tutelage under a teacher, is the best thing I ever did! This is the third lesson, and I have learnt more than I ever have… in an entire year of messing about. Hah! He is a good teacher, however. My mind can be somewhat chaotic, and tangential. I, by nature, jump from point A to Z without having considered the remaining 25 letters in-between. He is quick to snap me back in-line. That is what a good teacher does.

And yes, from this third lesson and my journey thus far. I love music, and I want it to be part of my life ’til the end. I see myself spending many years learning, and this is what I have always wanted! Therefore, I look forward to doing this for the rest of my life.

There will be a one-week delay with any updates to my musical progress, which I am very sad of… I enjoy studying this. I truly do. I must get eye surgery. I’ll continue when I can.

Notes from last week:

+ I must take to cutting my nails to its beds, each week. It would appear that my nails grow back, very quickly. Instrumentalists play with the flats of their fingers.

+ My instructor stated that my hand-and-eye coordination had improved, from the last time he had seen me. This is welcome news.

+ It was observed, that my hands had tensed up a bit in handling my Treasure. Switching between the confining act of drawing, and typing does this. It’d be best that I relax, whilst handling him… those experienced in viola, are seen to be quite composed, albeit pensive. In-fact, all experienced instrumentalists appear this way. And I like that.

+ My posture, however is good. I will admit, there is pain involved: The calluses being developed, both the shoulder and arm muscles agonizing and… the pain incurred to one’s back which is used to slumping for years and years (I draw for a living). However, I care not for the pain. I will take it! It is worth it. What is a little pain in this moment? This is to set the theme of my life, for the next twenty years (and more, of course).