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COSC 414 Audio in Games Music Theory Introduction to Composition Basic understanding of music theory Facility with music vocabulary Opportunity to create new music Sound

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introduction to composition
Introduction to Composition
  • Basic understanding of music theory
  • Facility with music vocabulary
  • Opportunity to create new music
  • When vibrations travelling in the air reach our eardrums, our eardrums vibrate at the same speed as whatever is vibrating.
  • Anything that vibrates disturbs the air around it and causes the air to vibrate.
    • An insect in a puddle wiggles, causing small waves. A small leaf in the puddle begins to wiggle at the same rate.
audio receptors
Audio Receptors
  • A complicated set of bones and organs inside our ears change vibrations that strike our eardrums into electrical messages.
  • Nerves carry the messages to the brain.
  • The brain can interpret messages when the eardrum is vibrating as slow as 20 vibrations per second up to 20,000 vps.
  • Piano:
        • lowest note -> 27 vps
        • highest note -> 4,000 vps
vibration causes sound
Vibration causes Sound
  • As the speed of a vibration increases, the sound we hear becomes higher.
  • As the speed of a vibration decreases, the sound becomes lower.
  • Hearing is an interaction which occurs among 3 parts:
    • vibration in the air
    • the ear
    • the brain
pitch note
Pitch & Note
  • The sound produced by any particular vibration speed is called a note.
  • The highness or lowness of a note is called the pitch.
  • The difference between any two notes is called the musical distance or the interval.

A person with a well trained ear can distinguish between notes produced by 260vps and 261 vps.

Average person: 260 vps and 265 vps

octave notes
Octave Notes
  • A note vibrating at 260 vps and its double, 520 vps sound remarkably alike, although the 520 vps note is higher.
  • Double again: 1040 vps sounds alike
  • We call these similar notes octave notes
  • We call the interval and one octave.
  • Dog drool
8 notes

Pythagoras used 12 intervals

7 white notes

5 black notes

note names
Note Names

c# d# f# g# a#

  • The following two are important to remember, we call them accidentals:
  • #: the sharp sign: makes a note a half step higher
  • b: the flat sign: makes a note a half step lower
tones semi tones
Tones & Semi-tones
  • The interval between any of the 12 keys in an octave is called a semi-tone.
  • Two semi-tones make a tone.
major scales
Major Scales
  • MajorScaleFormula:

2  2  1  2  2  2  1

Tone Tone Semi-tone Tone Tone Tone Semi-tone

  • C Major


  • D Major

D   E   F#  G   A   B   C#

list of all major scales
List of all Major Scales

C  Major Scale: C   D    E    F    G   A    B

D  Major Scale: D   E    F#  G   A    B    C#

E  Major Scale: E    F#  G# A    B   C#  D#

F  Major Scale: F    G    A    Bb  C    D    E

G  Major Scale: G   A    B    C    D    E    F#

A  Major Scale: A    B    C#  D   E    F#   G#

B  Major Scale: B    C#  D#  E   F#  G#  A#

C# Major Scale:C# D#  E#  F# G#  A#  B#

Eb Major Scale: Eb   F    G    Ab   Bb   C    D

F# Major Scale:F#  G#  A#  B    C#  D#  E#

Ab Major Scale: Ab   Bb   C    Db   Eb   F    G

Bb Major Scale: Bb   C    D    Eb   F    G    A

minor scales
Minor Scales
  • MinorScaleFormula:

2  1  2  2  1 2  2

Tone Semi-tone Tone Tone Semi-tone Tone Tone

three variations of minors
Three Variations of Minors
  • Natural Minor

A-Natural: A B C D E F G

  • Harmonic minor

To convert any natural minor scale into harmonic minor, raise the seventh note by a half step.

A-Harmonic: A B C D E F G#

  • Melodic Minor

To convert a natural minor scale into melodic minor, raise both the sixth and seventh notes by a half step.

A-Melodic: A B C D E F# G#

a major
  • A - Major Scale: A    B    C#  D   E    F#   G#




major vs minor
Major vs. Minor
  • Music in minor keys has a different sound and emotional feel, and develops differently harmonically
  • Most music in a major key has a bright sound that people often describe as cheerful, inspiring, exciting, or just plain fun.
  • Music that is in a minor key is sometimes described as sounding more solemn, sad, mysterious, or ominous than music that is in a major key.
  • 3 or more note combinations that are played simultaneously, relative to a specific key

  • Much more to be said about chords.