as i’ve written before, kevin is enrolled in not one but TWO classes at lincoln land – piano class and something like music theory only they call it something else.  he missed a whole week of class because we were in key largo, then they were on spring break and now, this morning, he has to take his music theory test a day early because tomorrow he has to take me to the oral surgeon to get my tooth pulled.

when i finally got out of bed this morning (is anybody else all screwed up because of the time change?), he had already been furiously studying for the test and practicing his piano and i can’t say he was panicking because i’ve never actually seen him panic, but he did seem to be kind of…in a tizzy.  ok, maybe tizzy is the wrong word…he was just  very concerned about the test.

the test is about music notation.  here’s what it say in wikipedia about music notation:

Notational Conventions

The convention for the notation of key signatures follows the circle of fifths. Starting from C major (or equivalently A minor) which has no sharps or flats, successively raising the key by a fifth adds a sharp, going clockwise round the circle of fifths. The new sharp is placed on the new key’s leading note (seventh degree) for major keys or supertonic (second degree) for minor keys. Thus G major (E minor) has one sharp which is on the F; then D major (B minor) has two sharps (on F and C) and so on.

Similarly successively lowering the key by fifth adds a flat, going counter-clockwise round the circle of fifths. The new flat is placed on the subdominant (fourth degree) for major keys or submediant (sixth degree) for minor keys. Thus F major (D minor) has one flat which is on the B; then B? has two flats (on B and E) and so on.

hmm.  i took piano lessons for maybe 13 or 14 years, and had some music theory here and there, and i’m sure i must have come across this whole circle of fifths thing somewhere along the line, but i have to say it seems a little bit complicated, at least it seems so now, less than an hour after i woke up, not to mention all that supertonic and subdominant and submediant stuff thrown in.

i’ve tried to tell kevin about how i learned how to remember the key signatures – if it’s a sharp, the key signature is the note above the last sharp written on the signature.  so if you have F, C, and G sharp, then the key is A, which is the next step up from A.  This is a very simple way to figure it out and i explained it to him before, but i think it was so early in his learning that he didn’t quite get it.

if it’s a flat key, the key signature is the flat that is right before the last flat listed.  so if you have B, E, A, D flats on the key signature, you know that it’s the key of A flat.  the one right before the last one.

very simple.  i tried to point this out to kevin again this morning but i fear it’s a little too late, or at least that’s what he felt.  i could have helped him on sunday if only he’d asked, since i spent the majority of sunday just sitting around.

so he dashed out the door without even finishing his cup of coffee (but i assume that he had other cups since he’d been up for about three hours) and as he left i told him that at least his life or livelihood didn’t depend on it, and that he would do fine anyway, and afterwards he was going out to lunch with his friend wayne, and later we might go running (shuffling) so really, if he thought about it…life is good.

i’m not sure if any of that sank in, and i tried again to tell him about the easiness of figuring out the key signatures, but in a flash he was gone.

whew.   such a whirl of activity on a (thank god, sunny) tuesday morning.

ok then,

grace with only one day left before i become a hillbilly with a missing tooth.