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mellotron
i just started using reason about 2 months ago... is there is anyone who uses reason and can tell me what a semitone is. when you go to the change events window and use the transpose function, how much is that changing the events you have selected? is it by a whole step or half step?
ghess
A semitone is a half step.
Levon River
Whole tone=whole step
Semi tone=half step.

Just don't step in any hemisemidemiquavers.

biggrin.gif laugh.gif
rickenbacker
Semitones are basically the stage between two notes: from C to D is a tone, with a C sharp in between, ie a semitone up from C. Or conversely, a semitone down from D. C sharp and D flat are the same note, effectively.

It's not a hard and fast rule: there's no such thing as a B sharp for instance - the next note up from B is C. That's a semitone interval.

Musical theory, what fun. laugh.gif
Levon River
QUOTE (rickenbacker @ Nov 28 2002, 11:52)
C sharp and D flat are the same note, effectively.

Only to keyboardists.

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ghess
There certainly is a B#, without it the major key of C# would be very difficult. Actually, most notes have three different names, using naturals, accidentals and double accidentals. For example, C can also be called the aforementioned B# and it can be called Dbb (double flat). These are known as enharmonics.

Perhaps theory may seem mundane to some who don't understand it, but dismissing it to a musician is similar to saying, "Syntax, what fun" to a computer programmer or "Grammar, what fun" to a writer.
Levon River
mellotron: We've started wandering into the poppy-fields of music theory now, and I just wanted to make sure your question actually got fully answered in the context in which you asked it. Ghess's first and original reply to you was correct, and is probably all you need to know for the purposes you were asking about.

If you want to learn more about music theory, there are many basic books and even free on-line dissertations on the subject. When you want to bite off a little more of the subject, my bibles are the Harvard Dictionary of Music and Walter Piston's "Harmony."

What ghess is talking about, enharmonics, are the different names for notes. You run into those when you start writing or arranging or analyzing music in different keys, where a certain note has to be named a certain way to reflect the correct interval (distance between notes) in order to keep the scale orthodox. smile.gif That's when the key you look at and think about as "C" on the keyboard might need to be called and thought of as "B#." It sounds just the same when you strike it, though. At least on a keyboard....

And what *I* was talking about when I said "only to a keyboardist" is the fact that a violin player--not encumbered by frets, keyboard keys, or "tempered tuning"--will often play a "C" in, e.g., a C-major key, slightly differently than he would play a "B#" in , e.g., the key of C#--even though on a piano or other keyboard, they would be the same keyboard key, and would produce precisely the same sound.

Hope that makes some sense.

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K-note
In fact tests have shown that string players often play "enharmonicly" spelled notes differently. For example, in c# minor B# is the leading tone and is often played higher than "C". Wind player often "lip" the note higher. Hope this is just what you've been waiting to hear all your life.

PEACE
rickenbacker
Hey, Ghess, chill out. Mellotron asked a simple question and I gave a simple answer. You know, I've got grade 8 violin and musical theory certifcates, too.

It's not essential to understand musical theory or to be able to read and write music and it doesn't necessarily make you a better musician.
My point was that if you look at a keyboard, there "is" no B# - there's no black key between the white keys of B and C. The same on a guitar - there's no extra fret between the B and C frets. It goes from B to C with nothing in between.

When I said "musical theory, what fun", well, as a writer I guess I should have learnt by now that irony and light-hearted remarks don't always translate well to the black and white of the printed page.

As for "grammar, what fun" - hey, I've worked as a sub-editor and made a living out of correcting spelling and punctuation, but I don't go round telling everyone how exciting it is. Because it isn't. laugh.gif
ghess
Rickenbacker, I understood your point. Your response wasn't simple, but simplistic. As a professor with a Ph.D in music theory and composition, I felt compelled to correct the misinformation. My analogies were intended to indicate that I consider music theory as essential to a musician as grammar to a writer. As a musician, I find theory interesting. As a writer, I also find grammar interesting. Go figure.
Of course, reading music and understanding theory isn't essential to all types of music making. But unless you are very lucky or very talented, or both, it will probably help.

Sorry if you are offended. Have a nice day.
Presto
Rickenbacker smile.gif You could even say B## = Db for a bit of fun, but you were absolutely right not to complicate the issue for somebody who asks what a semitone is.

Mellotron, I thought I'd add a bit of basic theory concerning semitones, and please excuse me if you DO know what a semitone is but when you saw the word on your computer you didn't realise it was the same thing.

Let's presume you know what an octave is. You use 8 notes to make a scale starting at one C and finishing at the next C (like doh, re, mi, fa ...... up to doh). However, you have 13 white and black notes on a keyboard to choose from between C and C. The difference in pitch (highness) between each of these 13 successive notes is called a semitone.

For the C major scale, you'd play just the white keys. When you play an C minor scale (sad) going up (to the right), instead of playing the 3rd white key (E), you have to play the black key just to its left. Here its called E flat. Flat means a semitone lower. Sharp means a semitone higher. Etc.

Alot of people learn to play an instrument instinctively, and although they don't necessarily know the word "semitone", they most certainly do know how to use semitones. So, if you compose instinctively on a keyboard for instance, you don't have to know the words to explain what you do. However, if you are going to write music on your computer, you need a bit of theory. Hope this gets you started.

In Hungary, before the rusty iron curtain fell, the zigane bands were given a label depending on their level in theoretical music. They were not allowed to play for "high level" concerts if they hadn't passed an advanced level theory exam. Some excellent intuitive bands were restricted to playing for only small wedding festivities.

Rickenbacker, I help French researchers correct their articles before submission, and I find it quite exciting - a bit like playing chess. But it's the logic, concision and clarity we work on. Hell, it must have been boring doing just the spelling and grammar. I also "teach" English as a foreign language to French people who have previously done between 5 and 10 years of spelling and grammar at school. They often don't understand even simple spoken phrases and say they never liked English. Imagine 10 years of highway code before grabbing a steering wheel.

In France the music schools subsidized by the town councils, often use obligatory music theory classes for a year before kids are allowed to also go to the practical music classes. This is to dissuade the many kids who want to learn to play an instrument. That way the schools can afford to provide lessons for the few kids who tolerate the theory.

I wish I'd done more theory. It really is useful, but at first its boring, specially if its not introduced in small doses and linked to practice with an instrument.

I'm rambling and going to get told off for OT wink.gif
rickenbacker
Presto and Ghess: it's good to have your technical input around these parts. It's one of the strengths of these forums that there's always someone who knows a topic inside out, so people can get all the answers they need - as much or as little info as they want to absorb.

Don't take any of what I said as meant with aggression. I just know that you can get by in computer music without knowing any theory whatsoever, in the same way that you don't need to understand the internal combustion engine to drive a car. I'm not sure how much Mellotron wanted to know - but he got a whole lot out of us!

And, hey, my subbing job wasn't just spelling and grammar - sometimes I was allowed to re-work the content, too! laugh.gif
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