by David W. Maves


Table of Contents     INDEX

This online monograph will be a compilation of notes added to from time to time. They are here in order that my (theory) students may use (or complain about) them. Gradually they may evolve into something more useful and/or printable. Until then WYSIWYG.

Rules to live by:


  • In root position, double the root
  • In 1st inversion double anything ( to double the soprano is often best)
  • In 2nd inversion, double the fifth (the bass note)

EXCEPTION: DON'T DOUBLE THE LEADING TONE (primary or secondary--as in tonicizations or modulations).


  • Each melodic voice (soprano, alto, tenor, bass) should be a musical/singable, mostly stepwise line.
  • Don't jump aug. 2nds, tritones, or 7ths--or ANY augmented or diminished interval. Occasional leaps of a 6th or an octave are allowed, don't jump compound intervals.
  • Don't cross or overlap voices.



  • When roots move by 4th or 5th, keep the common tone (in the same voice!) and move both the other voices stepwise to the nearest chord tone if at all possible.
  • When roots move by 3rd or 6th, keep BOTH common tones and move the other voice stepwise.
  • When roots move by 2nd, move the upper three voices in contrary motion to the nearest chord tone.


 Part I: (first semester theory 246)

 Part II: (second semester theory 247






Phrase Structure

Antecedent Phrase, Consequent Phrase. = Musical Period

Antecedent Period, Consequent Period. = Double Period

Phrase Group


The Meanings of Music Terms for Country Music

 Musical Terms Commonly Misunderstood by Country-Western Musicians,

With Their Translated "Country" Definitions:

Diminished Fifth -- An empty bottle of Jack Daniels

Perfect Fifth -- A full bottle of Jack Daniels

Relative Major -- An uncle in the Marine Corps

Relative Minor -- A girlfriend

Big Band -- When the bar pays enough to bring two banjo players

Pianissimo -- "Refill this beer bottle"

Repeat -- What you do until they just expel you

Treble -- Women ain't nothin' but

Bass -- The things you run around in softball

Portamento -- A foreign country you've always wanted to see

Conductor -- The man who punches your ticket to Birmingham

Arpeggio -- "Ain't he that storybook kid with the big nose that grows?"

Tempo -- Good choice for a used car

A 440 -- The highway that runs around Nashville

Transpositions -- Men who wear dresses

Cut Time -- Parole

Order of Sharps -- What a wimp gets at the bar

Passing Tone -- Frequently heard near the baked beans at family barbecues

Middle C -- The only fruit drink you can afford when food stamps are low

Perfect Pitch -- The smooth coating on a freshly paved road

Tuba -- A compound word: "Hey, woman! Fetch me another tuba Bryll Cream!"

Cadenza-- That ugly thing your wife always vacuums dog hair off of when

   company comes

Whole Note -- What's due after failing to pay the mortgage for a year

Clef -- What you try never to fall off of

Bass Clef -- Where you wind up if you do fall off

Altos -- Not to be confused with "Tom's toes," "Bubba's toes," or "Dori-toes"

Minor Third -- Your approximate grade at the completion of formal schooling

Melodic Minor -- Loretta Lynn's singing dad

12-Tone Scale -- The thing the State Police weigh your tractor trailer truck with

Quarter Tone -- What most standard pickups can haul

Sonata -- What you get from a bad cold or hay fever

Clarinet -- Name used on your second daughter if you've already used Betty Jo

Table of Contents ( = Paragraph numbers)