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Greetings! First off, let us say quite honestly that if
purchasing the Harmony Wheel and embarking on a journey of musical experience,
we assume you have at least purchased a beginning book of sorts, have some
level of musical background via church choir, high school band or some sort
of childhood training in music. If you don't, please purchase or borrow
one for a time as it will make many things MUCH EASIER.
The Harmony Wheel is designed to compliment any system,
and as you will find out as do all players that stay with music for any
length of time, that eventually most of us have gone through whole mountains
of books (some good & some bad) In any event, you will eventually
need one complete with diagrams and the like, so why wait and waste time
when if embarking on self- teaching, it will be imperative.
A good one can be purchased for somewhere around $20. With
a good instructional manual and the Harmony Wheel, a bit of practice, &
patience with yourself through the rugged 1st months and a bit of confidencehey!!
the sky CAN & WILL BE the limit.
You also might want to seek out a reputable teacher. In
any event we are addressing you that would like to know how the Harmony
Wheel works as a person who knows at least a little bit about musica few
chords, a blues box here or there and you've found yourself struggling to
learn more about your guitar or piano or for that matter, any instrument
here ... High School B - and Members are MOST DEFINITELY WELCOME!!! The
Harmony Wheel will assure that you get so much more out of the experience.
The Harmony Wheel in a very basic sense works as follows:
2 wheels are set up. One is the "face" or front
wheel. The one behind it is the "modes of operation" wheel. One
is constant and doesn't change and the other can be turned to show how all
the notes in every key inter-phase with every other note depending on what
"mode" we turn the back wheel to.
The 1st "mode or section" of the back wheel is
comprised of our DO/RA/ME/FA/SO/LA/TI/DO tones comprising or making up our
MOST BASIC major scale most of us learned in grade school.
With instruction book or with teacher we can then start
to view things that are similar in every key and start to see things with
our Harmony Wheel that we can't readily see without the overview that it
If we are using a chord book it will show us umpteen chords.
The wheel's design is to show us how they fit together. Let us look at the
numbers on the "modes" section of the wheel, and see how they
go from 1 thru 7 (our scale degrees). They are exactly the same in every
key around the wheel and easily found as we journey around it. We can see
this easily due to our "color bands". The scale degrees are our
numerical equivalents of our letter names.
As best explained:
a) we have our basic DO/RA/ME/FA/SO/LA/TI/DO (our basic
b) This can be counted numerically as 1st(root or tonic),
2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, back to our octave or 8th tone-octo meaning
8 (these are our scale degrees)
c) As we view our letter names around the wheel, we will
find different letter names in every key. These are names for our scale
degrees coinciding with our major scale and given an alphabetical name.
THEY ARE ALL THE SAME THING. Important point is that the degrees of the
scale are a constant (never changing or varying) and the letter names
vary according to the key. THIS IS BECAUSE---
d) Our musical alphabet is comprised of 12 tones that keep
repeating themselves again and again in the same order. When we get back
to the place we started, we have just completed one "octave or cycle
and the whole process starts over. This should be addressed quite adequately
in the accompanying instruction manual that came with the wheel.
The notes are different in every key ONLY IN THEIR RELATIONSHIP
TO EACH OTHER. One will find that the notes run concurrently one after another.
Those of you who are complete beginners can see that as you journey around
the wheel that you have #'s (sharps) & b's (flat's). This
also should be addressed in your manual. If you didn't get one with it or
have lost it, get in touch with us as you will need it.
Realizing this let's take a moment to view our wheel in
light of understanding this AND realize that playing any succession of these
notes in any order give us what we define as MELODY.
e) Now let us turn to our consonant chord section of the
wheel. This is to show us our major scale. It is exactly the same notes
but played as chords . if we know the chords we can play them one after
the other and get our major scale.
VERY IMPORTANT POINT: We can change the chords in any order
and find patterns of chords that we can recognize as the patterns of chord
"changes" of our favorite songs.
Try some different ways of strumming your chords in different
order. Experiment and mix and match! How the two sections of the wheel work
together is simply that the scale tones that you play IN ANY ORDER AGAINST
THE SCALE CHORDS BUILT OFF OF THEM all effortlessly FIT regardless of chord
used or melodic line played.
f) This brings us to our Relative minor scale. It is derived
from our same major scale only starting on our 6th degree of the scale and
playing through it back up to our octave (getting back to the same tone).
All minor scales are relative to their relative major scale
- AIN'T NO ORPHAN MINOR SCALES OUT THERE FRIENDS!
One can then see using a simple chord book how all the
minor chords that they play fit in somewhere. Our two grand divisions in
music are comprised of the difference between Major and Minor keys, scales
and our consonant chords formed off of them.
This is a basic and important part of harmony understanding
that once grasped will clarify SO MUCH in the study of music.Of course utilizing
the same logic as we used with our consonant major scale chords, we have
the chords formed in the same way.
IN FACT AN INTERESTING INSIGHT, not immediately apparent
to you but when once grasped will be 100 x's the value price of purchase;
THIS IS simply though we get caught up in seeing our major and minor scales
and chords as two completely DIFFERENT THINGS, a close inspection of the
two will reveal that they are THE EXACT SAME NOTES AND CHORDS.
To elaborate on "why", you being a beginner is
something you have to grow intoTrust that even very accomplished players
playing for several years, though intuitively grasping a "feel"
FOR THIS BIT OF INFO ARE REALLY NOT HIP TO THE REALITY OF IT. If you can
see that, you have set up the foundation for all future growth QUITE HANDILY.
g) As we move to the modes all that needs to be said regarding
modes to a beginner is essentially they are scales formulated back in Greece
during Plato, Pythagoras' and Aristotle's time and that that is where Western
Music originated. (A fascinating study and well worth many trips to the
library to explore).
They are essentially just a different way of perceiving
our same modern scales. Good point to take up with teacher or explore in
music books .
h) It is good to remember that our color bands can help
us transpose (change key higher or lower) virtually instantaneously
by just going to our appropriate key, and playing the corresponding tone
or chord . You should be totally thrilled with that concept of the wheel
once you get the hang of it.
There are many other insights that the wheel contains which
cannot be explained to a novice. This however should get you started. The
reality and ease with which one can see and assimilate this knowledge and
structural relationship that all notes reveal relative to each other and
how we essentially view and construct music is the Harmony Wheel's basic
It will reveal more to you, the more you learn about music.
Realize that if Mozart viewed the Harmony Wheel he would see it in a totally
different sense than you.
We hope we have illustrated enough though, to get you started.
It is a very creative tool and one that reveals more to you the more you
grow on your instrument(s). It is great fun to review your lessons, books,
or what your teacher has shown you and then see it in the holistic light
that the Harmony Wheel provides!! Have a great harmonious journey !!!
If any questions remain regarding the Harmony Wheels basic
use, you can contact me, Robert Creveling. I am the Harmony Wheel's creator,
feel free to write me at Robert Creveling c/o Ducks Deluxe - P.O.Box 35677,
Las Vegas, Nevada. 89133 - U.S.A. Thanks for checking it out!! Hope this
helps you understand the immense world of music a little better!! - Remember,
practice makes perfect!! Later..