Key unit competence:
Be able to sol-fa musical scales.
1. In groups of three, look at the key board from C to B and answer the following
a. How many white keys are there?
b. How many black keys are there?
2. The distance between the nearest keys is called half-step.
Consider now the white keys:
a. How many half-steps are there in C scale?
b. How many whole steps are there in C scale?
c. Locate the steps and half steps on the key board.
1.1 Diatonic and chromatic scales
1.1.1. Diatonic scale
Learning Activity 1.1.1
Consider the following stave:
a. Identify the tones and semitones.
b. In the pattern from C to C, how many tones and semitones are there?
What is a diatonic scale?
A diatonic scale consists of a pattern of whole tones (whole steps) and half tones
(half steps)—it has five whole steps and two half steps. The notes of the diatonic
scale are referred to as scale degree. The successive scale degrees are numbered
1,2,3,4,5,6,7, 8. For instance if the first note of an octave is C, then the pattern of
notes will be as follows:
Whole tone-Whole tone-Half tone- Whole tone - Whole tone - Whole tone -Half
Remember that a whole tone consists of an interval of two half tones (two half steps);
for example, the intervals from C to D or from E to F# are whole tones. That is, there
is one and only one other note between those two tones (notes).`
A half tone consists of an interval between two directly adjacent notes; for example,
the intervals from C to D♭ or from E to F are half tones. That is, there can be no notes
in between two notes which are separated by a half step.
On the keyboard these tones look as follows:
A diatonic scale on the musical staff
From C to D there is a whole tone.
From D to E there is a whole tone.
From E to F there is a ½ tone.
From F to G there a whole tone.
From G to A there is a whole tone.
From A to B there is a whole tone.
From B to C there is a ½ tone.
On a keyboard diatonic scale is as follow.
1.1.2 Chromatic scale
Learning Activity 1.1.2
1. How many half steps are there in a series of C scale?
2. On a staff, use sharps to show all the succession of half steps in ascending order.
3. Downwards in C scale, use flats to show all the succession of half steps
What Is a Chromatic Scale?
A chromatic scale consists of all the 8 tones in the do-re-mi scale plus all the additional
half-tones that are left out when you sing do-re-mi.
In other words, the 12 tones in a chromatic scale are a half-step or semi-tone apart.
C Chromatic Scale as you go up: C C# D D# E F F# G G# A A# B C
C Chromatic Scale as you go down: C B B♭ A A♭ G G♭ F E E♭ D D♭ C
On the keyboard, every key is played consecutively; you don’t jump any key.
On a keyboard, ascending chromatic scale uses sharps
On a keyboard descending chromatic scale uses flats
1.2 Major and minor scales
Learning Activities 1.2.
Individually write notes on a musical scale from C to another C above.
Play these notes on the keyboard (use the white keys only).
By brainstorming answer the following questions:
(i) How many half tones do you notice?
(ii) How many whole tones do you notice?
Use a sharp to complete the series of tones and semitones in
G scale and in (ii) E scale. W W H W W W H (W=Whole tone H=Half
1.2.1 Major scale
A major scale consists of eight notes organized in a diatonic fashion. It has two half
tones (half steps) and five whole tones (whole steps). So the pattern of major scale
is organized as follows:
W W H W W W H
C major scale
The first scale degree (first note of the scale) is designated by the symbol 1 and is
known as the tonic. The first note (or tonic) of C major scale is C. So scale degree
names in any Major key are:
1st scale degree=Tonic
2nd scale degree =Supertonic
3rd scale degree =Mediant
4th scale degree =Subdominant
5th scale degree =Dominant
6th scale degree =Submediant
7th scale degree =Leading tone
8th scale degree =Tonic
You have noticed that always between 3rd and 4th degree as well as between 7th and
8th degree (on the staff and on the keyboard) there are half tones/steps; and the note
on the 8th degree is the same as the note on the 1st degree but an octave high.
See below how the major scale is organized on the keyboard
Like on the staff above, there are half tones (steps) between E and F and between B
To find the rest of the notes in all major scales (keys) starts with the tonic (the firsts
note of the scale) and go up respecting the following pattern: Whole tone, Whole
tone, Halftone, Whole tone, Whole tone, Whole tone, Half tone (W-W-H-W-W-W-H)
Rule: All major scales have the following pattern of whole tones (steps) and half
(tone) steps: half tones occur always and only between 3-4 and between 7-8. All
other tones are whole tones.
It is worth to know that starting a major scale on note names other than C requires
accidentals. Remember that accidentals are musical symbols which are used to raise
or lower pitches.
Remember the importance of these accidentals
A Sharp (#) raises a half tone (half step)
A Flat (♭) lowers a half tone (half step)
Consider the examples below:
G major (the tonic is G)
D Major Scale (the tonic is D)
You have noticed that to respect the same patterns of half tones and semi tones in
major scales accidentals sharp (#) and flat (♭) are used.
You can start a major scale from any note provided that you respect the pattern
above indicated. When the key signature is used the accidentals in the middle of the
staff are replaced by the key signature.
See examples below:
• Major scales spelling
The following guidelines will help you to spell correctly the major scales
Individually, write the eighth notes letter name on the staff, starting with the note
that has the same name as the scale you are going to build.
If the scale starts on an accidental, place the sharp or flat immediately in front of
both1 and 8. When this is done, do not change the spelling of 1 and 8.
Add accidentals to form the correct whole steps-half step pattern. Scales with sharps
do not use flats, and scales with flats do not use sharps.
Example: How to construct scale starting with a flat. (E♭ major scale)
Step 1: Write scale degree starting with and ending with E an octave high.
As you can see there is:
A Whole tone between degree 1 and 2 (between E♭ and F)
A Whole tone between degree 2 and 3 (between F and G)
A Half tone between degree 3 and 4 (between G and A♭)
A Whole tone between degree 4 and 5 (between A♭ and B♭)
A Whole tone between degree 5 and 6 (between B♭ and C)
A Whole tone between degree 6 and 7 (between C and D)
A Half tone between degree 7 and 8 (between D and E♭)
Note that some of the scales we have seen above are enharmonic. It means they
have notes which are identical but spelt differently. Thus, C# major and D flat
major are just different ways of describing the same notes. The same F# major is
the same as G flat major; B major is the same as C flat Major.
Remember that scales are named after their tonics, thus the tonic of the scale of C
is the note C, and the scale of G is the note G etc.
Application Activity 1.2 (a)
1. Write the major scale pattern starting from the note indicated in the staves
below. Don’t use the key signature and remember to respect the scale pattern
(W-W-H-W-W-W-H). Insert the accidentals as needed.
Now, on the keyboard, play the ascending and descending scales you have done
Sol-fa (solfege or solfegio) is a system for sight singing music that applies standard
syllables to the notes. Singing with solfege syllables make it easier to here and
remember the sound of intervals. The following syllables are common.
Application activity 1.2. (b)
Sol-fa and sing the melodies
1.2.2 Minor scales
Learning Activity 1.2. (c)
1. In groups construct C scale and illustrate the series of tones and semi tones.
2. Play it on the keyboard and sing it.
3. Start from the sixth degree of C scale (it is A) and illustrate the series of tones
4. Play up to A above using the white keys only.
5. What is the difference between both scales according to the series of tones
6. Discuss the sounds you get when you start from C and when you start from
7. Do you know how to call the new scale from A to A above?
8. Do the same for G major, D major and for the scales starting with their
respective sixth notes. What about the key signatures of these both kinds of scales?
The minor scales get its notes from the major scale. The minor scale begins on
the 6th scale degree of the major scale and then follows those same notes in the
same order. For instance, the sixth note of C major is A. If we start from A and end
C major scale: W-W-H-W-W-W-H
A minor scale: W-H-W-W-H-W-W
The first scale degree (first note) of A minor scale is designated by the symbol 1 and
is known as the tonic. The first note (or tonic) of A minor scale is A. So scale degree
names in a natural minor are:
1st scale degree=Tonic
2nd scale degree =Supertonic
3rd scale degree =Mediant
4th scale degree =Subdominant
5th scale degree =Dominant
6th scale degree =Submediant
7th scale degree =Subtonic
8th scale degree =Tonic
be the same as in the examples above.
• Relative major and minor
Major and minor keys with the same key signature (like in the examples above) are
known as relative Major and Minor keys. To know how to determine the minor
relative of a major key, you have to go down three half steps. Hence C major has A
minor as relative. G major has E Minor as relative.
If you take C major scale and compare it to A minor scale, you will see that they have
exactly the same notes. G major notes are the same as E minor notes etc.
• C major scale: C, D, E, F, G, A, B
• A minor scale: A, B, C, D, E, F, G
• G major scale: G, A, B, C, D, E, F#
• E minor scale: E, F#, G, A, B, C, D
Note that C major and its relative A minor scale don’t have sharp or flat.
In groups sol-fa and sing the melodies
Major and minor Parallel relationship
When a major and a minor scale begin on the same tonic note we say that they are in
parallel relationship. The three examples below show major scales and their parallel
Application activity 1.2.(e)
Sol-fa and sing the melodies
1. Construct the ascending parallel minor scales of the following major scales.
Remember that the key signature should change.
• Types of Minor Scale
Although there is only one kind of major scale, there are three kinds of minor
scale – natural, harmonic and melodic.
A. Natural minor scale
A natural minor scale is the one we have been studying above. It consists of 8
notes organized in the pattern of Whole-Half-Whole-Whole-Half-Whole-Whole
(or WHWWHWW). All natural minor scales should follow this patter. On the staff, if
we start with A minor, this pattern is as follows:
B. Harmonic minor scales
Learning Activity 1.2. (c)
1) Construct the scale of A minor and E minor rising the seventh degree by a
2) Play them on the keyboard.
3) What is the difference between the scales in 1 and the others you know?
The harmonic minor scale differs from the natural minor scale by only one half
step—the seventh degree is raised a half step. Note that this scale creates the
interval of an augmented 2nd between the 6th and 7th scale degree. So the pattern
of harmonic minor scale is as follows:
Whole- Half-Whole-Whole-Half-1½-Half (W-H-W-W-H-1½-H). It means you take
the pattern of natural minor (W-H-W-W-H-W-W) and raise the note on the seventh
degree a half step. Then you get (W-H-W-W-H-1½-H).
Note that 1½ means a whole tone and a half tones (W&H).
C. Melodic minor scales
Another variation on the minor scale is the melodic minor scale that has a different
pattern depending on whether you are going up the scale or coming down. The
sixth and seventh degrees of the scale are raised a half step when ascending and are
lowered a half step when descending. It’s clear that the descending scale is the same
as the natural minor scale. A melodic minor ascending and descending patters are
The ascending patterns is: W-H-W-W-W-W-H
The descending pattern is the Natural Minor Scale: W-W-H-W-W-H-W
Application activity 1.2. (f)
1. Without using a key signature write the specific type of minor scale below.
Remember that the minor scale key signature comes from its relative major
E Melodic minor (ascending and descending).
Learning Activity 1.3.
(i) Sing a song of your choice.
(ii) Sing the same song in another tone higher than the first.
(iii) Now sing it in a lower tone than the first.
(iv) Discuss the relationship between the three activities you have done above.
Transposition is changing the key of a piece of music, which affects notes or chords
For example, let’s say you play the note C in the key of C which is the key tonic note.
When you transpose that note to the key of D you now play D which is the tonic
note for the key of D. In this method, you count the half steps between the first key
and the second, and then you move each note up or down the necessary numbers
Consider the following melody in the key of C. If we transpose it to D, we will have to
move two half steps high.
Things to remember before transposing any piece of music:
-- Use the correct key signature.
-- Move all the notes to the correct interval.
-- Take care with the accidentals.
Note that when you are transposing, the intervals never change. never transpose
from minor to major or vice versa.
In the examples below, see how some accidentals have been affected after
transposition of a melody from C major, with some accidental, to D major.
Key unit competence:
Be able to sol-fa notes according to their pitches and notes
1. In group discuss:
(i) Time signature
(ii) Give different types of time signatures.
2. What do you understand by ‘beat unit’?
3. Give different musical notes you know and describe their relationships.
4. What are the beat units in the following two fractions 6/8 and 4/4?
2.1. Time signatures
Learning Activity 2.1
Consider the staves below:
1. Put treble clef
2. How many beats allocated between to bars?
3. considering a crotchet as a unit value, what time signature may you suggest
2.1.1 Quaver and semi-quaver
A quaver is a drawn like crotchet with a tale while a semi quaver is drawn like a
crochet with two tales. See the following examples. Two quavers equal one crotchet
and four semi quavers equal one crotchet.
When quavers are written together can be beamed as follows:
When semi-quavers are written together can also be beamed as follows:
Application activity 2.1
Draw claps of the notes below and then sing using ta or ti…..
In pairs, draw your own musical notes (mix quavers and semi quavers) and then
clap the rhythm before the peers.
The quavers in the staff below are missing their flags or beams. Draw the missing
flags and beams.
In music, a dotted note or rest has a small dot written after it. The dot lengthens the
value (duration) of the note or rest by adding a half of its original value.
Three-eight-time signature 3/8
To better count the beats in compound time signatures; let us introduce a new
simple time signature which is 3/8. This 3/8-time signature is a simple time
signature whose beats are governed by quavers. For example one beat equals one
quaver. Since there are three quavers in 3/8 measure, there are also three beats.
Consider the figure below:
In 3/8 one quaver equals one beat. So the following measure can beat beaten as
By respecting the time signature indicated above:
-- What could be the value of a dot in each measure?
-- What is the duration of dotted note?
In music, a dotted note or rest has a small dot written after it. The dot lengthens
the value (duration) of the note or rest by adding a half of its original value.
In compound time signature the top number is divided by 3 to determine how
many beats are in each measure.
Common Compound Time Signatures
The chart below shows some frequently used compound time signatures
Notice when the bottom number is 8 notes in compound meter are grouped in
three quavers (eighth notes) which are equal to a dotted crotchet (quarter note). 6/8
is classified as a duple because two dotted crotchets lead the beats. Duple means
two beats per measure.
Quadruple means four beats per measure.
The beat unity of the compound times (6/8; 9/8 and 12/8) is a dotted crotchet. In
6/8 we have two beats per measure governed by two dotted crotchets, in 9/8 we
have three beats per measure governed by three dotted crotchets in 12/8 we have
four beat per measure governed by four dotted crotchets.
Since 6/8 time signature is a double of 3/8, its beats will also be a double of the ones
we have in 3/8. Hence, beating time of the compound time signature can be made
easy by imitating the one we use for 3/8 time and then multiply by 2 for 6/8 time,
three for 9/8 time and then four for 12/8 time.
See the examples below.
Note that beat 1 and beat 4 are strong
Syncopation or syncopated rhythm is a variety of rhythms which are unexpected
making longer notes falling on the weak parts of the bar or when the off-beat is
Normally, in music, the down beat is emphasized or accented; it is a strong beat. But
when this first beat is replaced by a silence and the music starts on the second beat,
the off-beat, which is weak, we say that there is syncopation since this second beat
(which is normally weak) has been emphasized.
In any time, signature, there are strong beats and weak beats. In the example below
there is syncopation because the off-beats (weak beats) have been emphasized.
Normally in four-four time (4/4) the first and the third beats are strong while the
second and the fourth beats are weak.
When rests on the beats are followed by quavers (eight notes) on the second half of
each beat in a melody.
2.5. End unit assessment
1. Compare simple time signature and compound time signature.
2. What do you understand by:
a. Dotted notes and dotted rests?
b. Duple, triple and quadruple?
3. Sol-fa the notes on the staves below and perform.
Key unit competence:
Be able to compose songs in major and minor mode and sing them respecting
dynamics and tempo.
1. In group sing any song you know in ten diff erent ways indicated below,
a. Moderate speed
c. Very slowly
e. Very quickly
f. In a low voice
g. In a middle voice
h. In a high voice.
i. In a very high voice
2. Below we have three notes (C-E-G).
a. In your group, you are going to play and sing the three notes
b. Put a fl at on E (=Eb) and again play and sing simultaneously.
c. Now compare the two sounds you get after singing the two sections. i.e.
(C, E, G and C, Eb, G).
A triad is a chord consisting of a root tone, the tone two degrees higher, and the
tone five degrees higher in a given scale sounded simultaneously; a bottom note is
known as root, a middle note is a 3rd and a top note is a 5th.
How to make a triad?
Suppose the first note start from C. Write the first note (root) at the bottom and count
up 3 to get the next note a 3rd (include the starting note when you are counting)
(in our example, 3rd notes up from C is E). Now start again at the bottom note and this
time count up 5 (5th notes up from C is G). So, to build a triad on C we have used the
Below is how a triad looks like on musical staff and keyboard.
Suppose the first note starts on F
So the root is F, the next note is A and the last note is C. So to build a triad whose
root is F we have used the notes F-A-C. Below is how it looks like on the staff and
3.1.1. Minor and major triads
a. Major Triad
As we have seen a major triad is created by taking a root note and combining it
with a major third and a perfect fifth. Thus a major triad can also be described as
a major third interval (2 tones) with a minor third interval (1tone and semi-tone) on
If we take C as the fi rst note (a root) we shall have the following major triad.
3.1.2.Diminished and augmented triads
Apart from major and minor triads, we have also two other triads qualities which are
diminished and augmented triads. A diminished triad is built with a m3 and a dm
5 above the root.
3.1.3. Inversion of triads
Inverting triad is writing its note in other ways. The examples we have seen above
are written in root position.
Consider the examples below C as the fi rst note (the root).
A chord is a group of three, four or more notes played simultaneously. There are
diff erent types of chords. The most common chords are triads. The common used
chords are major and minor chords.
3.3.1. Major chords
A major chord consists of a root, a major third and a perfect fifth. For example, the
C Major chord includes the note C-E-G. The E is a major third above the C; the G is a
perfect fi fth above the C. It is founded as Major triad.
Below is how to build perfect major chords on every note of the scale
3.3.2. Minor chords
The main difference between a major chord and a minor chord is the third that
modifies the number of tones and semi-tones.
In group of four discuss what could happen on third when making minor chord.
Below we have a minor triad chord.
Something to remember: the minor chord is the same as the major with the same
letter name except the 3rd degree is fl atted in the minor chord.
3.3. Diatonic chords
Learning Activity 3.3.
Consider the following scales:
a . Identify the notes that do not belong to the above fi ve diatonic scales,
b. Build the triads based on
1. C tonic.
2. G tonic.
Diatonic chords are chords whose notes are made from the note of the particular
scale, being minor or major. It means all notes of these chords are found inside that
particular scale; no notes outside the scale.
3.3.1. Major Key diatonic triads/chords
Taking C major as an example, we can show the seven types of diatonic triads that
occur on each degree of major scale.
Use of roman numerals
The Roman numeral indicates the scale degree of the chord root; e.g.: (I, ii, iii, IV V,
Triad/ Chord quality are indicated as follows:
Major is upper case: I, IV, V
Minor is lower case: ii, iii, vi
Diminished is lower case with an added º: vii°
Remember that, this pattern I, IV, V (major chords), ii, iii, vi (minor chords) and viio
(diminished chord) is common to all major keys.
3.3.2. Minor key diatonic triads
Taking A minor natural as an example, we can show the seven types of diatonic
triads that occur on each degree of the minor scale.
Use of roman numerals
The Roman numeral indicates the scale degree of the chord root e.g.: (i, iio,III,iv,v,VI,
Triad/ Chord quality are indicated as follows:
- Minor is lower case: i, iv, v
- Major is upper case: III, VI, VII
- Diminished is lower case with an added º: ii°
Notice that these are the same diatonic chords of C Major. Only the Roman numerals
and their qualities have shifted over by the notes (or six depending on which
way you go) to accommodate the relative minor key of A.
Remember that, this pattern i, iv, v (minor chords) III, VI, VII (major chords) and iio
(diminished chord) is common to all natural minor keys.
Application activity 3.3 (a)
1. In C major key which triads are minor?
2. In A minor key which triads are major?
3. Using notes of the C major scale, build chords on a very scale degree.
3.3.3. Primary chords
Primary chords or I IV V chords are the three most used chords.
For example, in the key of C major the primary chords are:
C (I), F (IV) and G (V).
In D major, the primary chords are:
D (I), G (IV) and A (V).
Major key diatonic chord names are:
- i chord = Tonic
- ii chord = Supertonic
- iii chord = Mediant
- iv chord = Subdominant
- v chord = Dominant
- vi chord = Submediant
- vii chord = Leading Tone
So the primary chords are:
- i =Tonic
3.4. Dynamics and tempo
Learning activity 3.4
1. In a group of fi ve learners choose your favorite song and perform it in the
following three ways:
b. moderate speed
2. Perform again the same song in the following three ways:
a. Low voice
b. Middle voice
c. High voice
3. Appreciate the diff erent ways of performances
Both dynamics and tempo direct the performer or conductor during music
performance to which speed or loudness a piece of music is to be performed.
The following combinations are possible, going from softest to loudest:
fp=Forte piano= begin the note loud, but drop it to soft immediately.
sf/sfz= sforzando= forced, accented, sudden accent on a single note or chord.
sfp=sforzando piano=sudden accent followed immediately by soft.
fp=forte piano= loud followed immediately by soft.
Words used to indicate changes in dynamics. These are qualifi ed terms used to
indicate the mood, degree intensity or style.
- Fortissimo piano = very loud and then immediately soft.
- Marcato = stressed, pronounced.
- Pianoforte= soft and then immediately strong.
- Smorzando=dying away.
- Agitato= agitated.
- Dolce= sweetly.
- Energico= energetically.
In music, articulation refers to the musical direction performance technique which
aff ects the transition or continuity on a single note, or, sometimes—they (articulations)
mark the strength of individual notes. They can be placed above or below
Below are some of the articulations we use in music
Slur is a symbol indicating that two or more notes it embraces are to be played or
sung without separation. These notes are played in legato style.
Tempo can also be indicated by using the Italian words to approximate the speed.
Grave= extremely slow and solemn (20–40 BPM)
Largo= slow (40–60 BPM)
Lento = slow the same as Largo. (40–60 BPM)
Larghetto =a little faster than largo and Lento (60–66 BPM)
Adagio = Moderately slow (literally, "at ease") (66–76 BPM)
Andante=at a walking pace, moving along/walking tempo (76–108 BPM)
Andantino=slightly faster than andante
Moderato= moderate pace(108–120 BPM)
Allegretto=moderately fast/slower than allegro (but less so than allegro)
Allegro=fast, quickly and bright (120–168 BPM)
Vivace= fast/quickly and lively (≈140 BPM) (quicker than allegro)
Vivacissimo =very fast and lively
Presto=very fast (168–200BPM)
Prestissimo =extremely fast (more than 200 BPM)
A piecere= (also known as adlibitum in latin) the performer may take liberties with
regard to tempo and rhythm; literary at pleasure.
Gradual change in tempo
Often a tempo will change gradually. Gradual accelerations or decelerations in
tempo are indicated by:
Terms used to indicate simultaneous reduction of speed (tempo) and volume.
Mor. Morendo=dying away
Cal. Calando =decreasing tone and speed
Smorz. Smorzando=dying away
Incalzando=increasing tone and speed
Application activity 3.4. (a)
1. Draw lines connecting each musical term or symbol to its correct
defi nition. First word is done for you.
2. Solfa and sing respecting dynamics and tempo
3. Repeat signs
Repeat signs are used to diorect the performer to which section of the music should
How to follow repeat signs?
Two dots before a double bar form a repeat sign. If a repeat sign occurs at the end
of the piece, it indicates that you should repeat the entire piece of music once from
the beginning up to the end.
To play the inverted repeat, you play to the original repeat, then you go back to the
inverted repeat and play/sing to the end. In the example below the inverted repeat
sign means that you should skip the fi rst measure when you repeat the piece.
Alternate Endings (1st and 2nd ending)
A bracket and number are used to show the performer that there are multiple endings
for a piece of music. You should play/sing though the fi rst ending, and then
return to the beginning. Then play/sing through the piece again skipping the fi rst
ending; play/sing the second ending until the end. Third and higher ending are
Da Capo (D.C.)
Da Capo (abbreviated D.C.) means go back to the beginning of the piece and
To perform a D.C. you play/sing until you reach to D.C. then go back to the
beginning then you play/sing from there until the end of music.
Dacapo al Coda (D.C. al Coda)
To perform ‘Dacapo al Coda (D.C. al Coda)’ play/sing until you reach D.C. al Coda
, go back to the beginning and play to the Coda sign( ); then skip, and play the
CODA (a short ending section).
ber of measures at the end of the piece
a. Writing triads in four parts
There are four main voice types:
- The top voice is soprano (high women’s voice)
- The next lowest voice is alto (low women’s voice)
- Then comes the third voice, tenor (high men’s voice)
- The lowest is bass ( low men voice)
The term voice and part are used interchangeably to help distinguish the voices
when four parts are written:
The soprano and alto are written on the top staff and tenor and bass are written on
the bottom staff . Stems for soprano and tenor notes go up. And stem for alto and
bass notes go down.
Consider the example below:
The progression of plagal cadence is IV to I in major keys, or its equivalent iv to i
in minor keys. It is also known as the Amen Cadence because of its appearance in
church hymns ending with Amen.
Plagal cadence on the staff
Half cadence progresses as follows: I–V or IV to V. This cadence appears mostly in the
middle of the song
Example on the staff
Advice to the beginner in composition
Don’t repeat the same note too often
send your song on the tonic or authentic cadence
start by composing short melodies
start with a one voice song and then four voices
avoid long leap
often use the root of the chord in bass
The whole process of mixing notes in four parts is known as harmonization
Application activity 3.5.
1. In four groups sol-fa and sing.
Key unit competence:
Compose and perform a short play in diff erent languages
1. In group compare and contrast the two illustrations below and give a
2. Identify the objects and explain why they are in the pictures.
3. In your group compare a play and a short story
4. In your group what do you understand by "participants in drama"?
5. According to you, what are the structures (steps) of a play when you
6. consider its presentation to the audience?
7. In your group choose a story you know and act it out before the peers.
Structure of a play
Learning Activity 4.1.
Choose one of the following topics, imagine the scenario and perform:
You are sick and you go to see the doctor accompanied by your mother.
Your classmate boy or girl falls in love of you but you have another boyfriend
You are in the market and a pickpocket steals your money before you pay.
Discuss the beginning, middle and end of your performances.
A play is written to be performed by actors or actresses and watched by an audience.
A structure of a play is built around the plot. The plot is how the author
arranges events to develop his/her basic idea. It has logical series of events consisting
of beginning, middle and end.
A play plot is structured into five parts:
Climax (or turning point)
Resolution (or denouement)
The exposition is the first part of the plot. It provides the back ground information
needed to properly understanding of the story, such as the protagonist, the antagonists,
the basic conflict, and the setting.
Rising action (complication) comes after the exposition. During the rising action
the basic conflict is complicated by the introduction of the secondary conflicts. The
main character takes some action to resolve the conflict and meets with problems
or complications: danger, fear, hostility, etc.
Climax (turning point) marks a change, for the better or the worse in the main
character (protagonist) affair. If the play is a comedy things will begin to go well for
him or her. If the play is a tragedy things will start to go bad for the main character
Falling action comes after the climax. During the falling action, the conflict between
the main character (protagonist) and the antagonist…The action of solving
a problem, dispute, or controversial matter.
Resolution marks the end of the play. If it is a comedy it ends happily. If it is a
tragedy it ends with a catastrophe. You learn how the conflict is resolved and what
happens to the characters.
What is a confl ict in a play?
Confl ict is a struggle or clash between opposing characters or forces. Confl icts may
Between characters who want diff erent things or the same things.
Between a character and his or her circumstances.
Within a character who is torn by competing desires.
Types of conflicts
Confl ict between a character and another person or a character and something
Man versus Man: one human character is in confl ict with another human character.
For example an antagonist versus a protagonist.
Man versus nature: in this confl ict a character is in confl ict against nature.
Man vs. technology, progress
Man versus Society: it is when a character has confrontation with institutions, traditions,
laws of his /her culture.
Man versus supernatural: Man versus supernatural powers.
Conflict takes place inside a character’s mind
Person versus himself/herself because of fears, self-doubts, etc.
Play versus sketch
Both sketch and play are meant to be performed before an audience. While the
play is long a sketch is very brief—it is a one seen, often comic, performance which
sometimes can be improvised. A sketch performance takes a short time ranging
from one to ten minutes. Most of the time, the audience in sketch performance are
limited to few people. In sum, we can compare a sketch to a very small play.
Compose a sketch on one of the following topics in a language of your choice
(French, English, and Kinyarwanda).
Family conflict management.
Fight against school dropout.
Fight against human trafficking
Fight against drug abuse
First day a big city
4.1. Roles and characters
Learning Activity 4.2.
1. Who are in the pictures?
2. What are they doing?
3. In a group of four, imagine a story from the pictures and tell it to the
4. Now act out the stories
Characters in a play
Characters are the people in a play.
Types of Characters
- Major characters: The main characters are usually, if not always, the
primary focus of the story of the play.
- Minor characters: these are supporting characters.
-- Static characters: Do not change.
-- Dynamic characters: Changes as a result of the story's events.
-- Protagonist: A protagonist is the main character of the story that changes.
He/she changes and grows because of experiences in the story of the play.
-- Antagonists: An antagonist is a character or force in conflict with the
main character. This is the person or thing that is working against the main
A Characterization is how the author develops the characters, especially the main
character. There are two types of characterizations: indirect characterization and
Indirect characterization is done through:
what the character does or says
what others say of and to the character
author’s word choice in descriptive passages
Direct characterization is done through:
The author directly states what the character’s personality is like. Example: cruel,
Showing a character’s personality through his/her actions, thoughts, feelings,
words, appearance or other character’s observations or reactions.
Setting in a play:
The setting mean when and where play story takes place.
Roles in the play
We have seen that in a play we have characters that do actions in the play. When the
play is to be performed the roles of characters are taken over by actors or actresses
who perform before an audience. A group of actors or actresses who perform a play
are known as a cast. When you take a role of a give character in a play you have to
perform by imitating him or her, and be creative by improvising.
4.2 Application activity
a. In a group of four students give examples of settings.
b. Why do you think setting (s) is (are) very important in a play?
c. In a group of fi ve students, give other roles and responsibilities in
d. In a group of fi ve students look at the picture below and then answer the
questions that follow:
a. Who are in the picture?
b. What are they doing?
c. Discuss the setting in the picture.
d. Verbally, create a story from the picture. Tell it to your group members and
then to the whole class.
e. Compose a play relating to the story, fi rst in English then in French
Props and scenery
Learning Activity 4.3. (a)
1. You are invited to a drama competition and you are asked to act out as
2. Enumerate some objects you will need so that the acting out can be
3. Now perform before the peer
Props (short for properties) are items that the actors carry or handle on stage
during a performance to support the actions. Hence a prop is considered to be
anything movable or portable on a stage. The person in charge of props must
make sure that the right props are available to the actors at the right moments.
Examples of props: telephone, book, pens, gun, etc
Categories of Props
- Hand props: any prop that can be manipulated by one or more actors during
a performance. Examples of hand props are a book, a gun, food, a cane, a
basketball, a football, etc.
- Set Props: set props include furniture on the stage during performance.
Examples of set props are bed, television, refrigerator, table, chair, etc.
-- Personal/costume Props: Anything worn by an actor during a performance.
Examples of personal props are pens, belts, sunglasses, jewelry, watch etc.
Scenery is the painted background used to represent a location in a theatre or natural
features or other surroundings on a theatre, stage structures, etc. it (scenery)
will depend on the type of play and the acting area.
Purpose of scenery
The most important purpose of scenery is to provide a place to act
The scenery should define the time and setting of the play:
Historical period (pre-colonial period, during colonial period etc.)
Season of year (rainy season, dry season etc)
Time of day (morning, midday, night etc)
Climate / geographical conditions
Rural or urban
Inside the room or outside etc.
Normally setting reveals interrelationships between people: rank, influence, position
in their families, communities, offices etc
Composing a short play
2. Now improvise any performance on a topic of your choice. Use some of the
props you can find at your school.
3. In groups of five students discuss how you can set a scene of a theatrical
performance whose theme is ‘poor hygiene, a cause of different diseases.’
Then improvise a sketch performance on the given theme.
4. Improvise a sketch performance on a theme of your choice.
4.4. Learning activity
Read the extract of a play below and then answer the questions that follow:
Early morning. Village noises fill the air as the curtain opens on a small cemetery.
In the back ground, running light across the stage, is the wall of a modern church.
In front of the wall are several graves randomly situated. Nuhu, Ndururu, and
Mbaluto have just completed cementing the newest grave and are now busy
clearing the tools of their trade. Jumba stands a little farther away from the
masons, his eyes critically glued to the new grave. Satisfied with a job well done,
he nods his head approvingly and walks towards Nuhu.
Jumba: Nuhu, son of Rabala!
Nutu: Speak Jumba, my ears are for the headman of Membe’s words.
Jumba: This is truly the work of an old man. The name of whoever trained you
should be preserved song.
Nuhu: Thank you headman. Our composers should have been here to hear
you say that.
Jumba: Yes, indeed. This is a job perfectly done.
Nuhu: your late brother should deserve it. He was Mmembe’s glow-worm in
Jumba: (Absent minded.) Yes, Mmebe’s glow-worm in days gone. (Recovering)
I am sure his shadow is more than pleased with it.
Rosina: (Entering) Pleased? Did I hear you say, pleased? Jumba, my husband,
why do you deafen your ears against my words? What worms block your ears
when I speak?
Jumba: Worms? (Clears his ears with index fingers.) What worms?
Rosina: (Determined to make her point). The church people, did you inform
church people had their turn, Maman Rosina. They buried their man and left.
This is only a little family matter.
Rosina: Only a little family matter! My husband, Ngoya was your brother, true,
but he was also a Pastor of the church. Do you now call the dressing of his grave,
a little family matter? Ngoya was not only a Membe, no! He was a man of God.
Remember that the sweetness of sugar is not in its color.
Jumba: We are all men of God.
Extract from the play ‘Aminata’ by Francis Imbuga; PART ONE, Scene one.
In group, discuss why some words are in italics while others are not.
Which part of the extract interested you the most?
What have you seen in the extract that can help you in writing your own play?
Take the roles of the characters in the extract and perform.
1. What is a play?
A play is a piece of writing written for the stage. The author of a play is called a
playwright. A play in written form is called a script.
Purpose and audience
The purpose of a play script is to tell a story through dialogue (the character’s spoken
words) and action. The audience consist those who will watch the play script
How is a play script?
With your partner discuss how a play should look like. How are its words? How is it
divided? How are characters presented on the scrip? Etc.
2. Steps to create a play
Once you want to write a play you should:
-- Decide the theme, topic the play will address (for example you may decide to
make a play on love, patriotism, corruption etc)
-- Determine the genres (examples comedy or tragedy).
-- Choose the structure for the plot of the play (it means how events follow
each other).Remember that the beginning introduces characters, and setting,
and set up the situation or conflict.
- Choose characters and make them work.
- Create languages and actions of characters
- Remember to use stage directions to indicate for instance which props to
use, describe the setting etc.
3. Staging a play
Drama is more than just the words on a page. The production of a play involves directing
the way the characters move, what they wear, the lighting, and the scenery.
Staging is the practice of putting on the play. Some of the details of staging may
be included in the stage directions; however, the director and the producer take
what the playwright has described and bring it to life with their own ideas.
Sets are the scenery, backdrops, and furniture that create the setting. A production
may have different sets for different scenes. For example, some scenes may take
place outside in the street, while others may take place in a bar. Some scenes may
take place during the day, while others may take place at night.
Application activity 4.4.
1. Write a one scene play on topics of your choice and then perform before
the audience. Some of you will take responsibilities such as director, stage
2. In groups discuss how the performance of the play has been.
4.5. End unit assessment assessment
Draw a play structure
diagram and explain its content
Improvise a sketch on a topic of your choice
Write a short play on a topic of your choice and then perform
Accelerando: gradually get faster
Accidentals: Signs that alter musical notes as follows (sharp, flat and natural)—a
bar line cancels the accidentals from the previous measure.
Anacrusis: An anacrusis (also known as pickup or upbeat) is an incomplete measure
of music before a section of music. It also refers to the initial note(s) of a melody
occurring in that incomplete measure.
Articulation: Articulation refers to notation which indicates how a note or notes
should be played. Slurs, accents, staccato, and legato are all examples of articulation.
Bar line: A vertical line that separates measures.
Beam: Line connecting a series of notes (shorter than a quarter note). The number
of beams determines the note value of the connected notes.
Chord: Two or more tones/notes sounding simultaneously.
Chromatic scale: a scale entirely composed of half steps.
Chromatic : movement by half steps
Clef: a sign placed at the beginning of a staff to indicate the position of some particular
Compose: The activity of creating a musical work
Composer: a person who writes musical works
Compound time signature: A meter that includes a triplet subdivision within the
beat, such as 6/8, 9/8, 12/8.
Conductor: a person who leads a musical group
Crescendo: increasing volume
DaCapo: Abbreviated D.C. Indicates that the piece is to be repeated from the
beginning to the end or to a certain place marked fine.
Dal Segno: Abbreviated D.S. Repetition, not from the beginning, but from another
place frequently near the beginning marked by a sign (segno).
Decrescendo: decreasing volume
Diatonic scale: A scale consisting of 5 whole tones and 2 semitones (S). Scales
played on the white keys of a piano keyboard are diatonic.
Diatonic: the tones of the major or minor scale; opposite of chromatic. (Half steps
and whole steps)
Diminuendo: It indicates a decrease volume.
Dominant: The fifth scale degree
Double bar line: Indicates the end of a section within a movement.
Duple: groups of two beats
Dynamics: the volume of sound, the loudness or softness of a musical passage
Fermata: Prolonged note or rest of indefinite duration.
Fine: the end
Flag: Ornament at the end of the stem of a note used for notes with values less
than a quarter note. The number of flags determines the note value.
G clef (treble clef): A clef symbol that indicates G above middle C.
Harmonic cadence: A sequence of chords that terminates a musical phrase or
Harmony: the sounding together of two or more tones
Interval: the relationships (distance) between two pitches
Key signature: The sharps or flats appearing at the beginning of each staff indicating
the key of the music.
Key: According to the 12 tones of the chromatic scale there are 12 keys, one on c,
one on c-sharp, etc.
Lyrics: the words that are sung in a song
Major: Major keys are based on major scales and usually have happy sound.
Median: The third scale degree.
Metronome: Device used to indicate the exact tempo of a piece.
Minor: Minor keys are based on minor scales and usually sound more somber than
Note value: note duration
Quadruple: groups of four beats
Relative key: Major and minor keys that have the same key signature.
Ritardando: Gradual slowing down, more pronounced than
Scale: a fixed succession of ascending and descending tones. There are three basic
types of scales: major, minor, and chromatic.
Scale degree: Names and symbols used in harmonic analysis to denote tones of
the scale as roots of chords. The most important are degrees I = tonic (T), IV = subdominant
(S) and V = dominant (D).
Secular: non-religious music
Solfege syllables (sol-fa syllables): the designation of pitches by means of conventional
syllables rather than letter names
Solo: one person plays or sings
Staff: A staff (plural: staves) is a series of (normally five) horizontal lines upon and
between which the musical notes are written.
Subdominant: The fourth scale degree.
Submediant: The sixth scale degree.
Syncopation: placing an accent to the weak part of the beat, or a displacement of
either the beat or the normal accent of a piece of music
Time signature: The sign placed at the beginning of a composition to indicate its
meter. It most often takes the form of a fraction,
Transposition: the rewriting or performance of music at a pitch other than the
Triple: groups of three beats
Tuning fork: A two-pronged piece of steel used to indicate an absolute pitch, usually
for A above middle C, or for middle C.
Whole tone: The interval of a major second. The interval between two tones on
the piano keyboard with exactly one key between them
Woodwind: A family of blown wooden musical instruments.
Act: a major division in the action of a play, comprising one or more scenes.
Acting: use of face, body, and voice to portray a character.
Actor: male performer
Actress: female performer
Acts: the major sections of a play.
Antagonists: An antagonist is a character or force in conflict with the main character.
This is the person or thing that is working against the main character
Aside: a short speech or remark spoken by a character in a drama, directed either
to the audience or to another character, which by convention is supposed to be
inaudible to the other characters on stage.
Cast: all performers selected to portray characters. (Actors and actresses in play)
Characterization: the representation of persons in narratives or dramatic works.
Climax: any moment of great intensity in a literary work, especially in drama.
Comedy is a play that ends happily.
Comedy: a play written chiefly to amuse its audience.
Dialogue: conversations between actors on the stage.
Director: instructs actors on how to portray characters.
Drama: the general term for performances in which actors impersonate the actions
and speech of fictional or historical characters (or non-human entities) for the
entertainment of an audience, either on a stage or by means of a broadcast.
Dynamic characters: Changes as a result of the story's events
Exposition: the opening part of a play.
Improvisation: to make up or perform without preparation.
Major characters: The main characters are usually, if not always, the primary focus
of the story of the play.
Mimicry: to copy or imitate something very closely.
Minor characters: these are supporting characters.
Monologue: a long speech given by single actors to others.
Nonverbal Expression: facial expression, movement and gestures
Pantomime: to communicate without speaking using only facial and body gestures.
Playwright: person who writes plays.
Protagonist: A protagonist is the main character of the story that changes. He/she
changes and grows because of experiences in the story of the play.
Scene: subdivision of an act usually indicating a time lapse or location change or
Script: The written text of a play.
Soliloquy: speech by a character alone onstage to himself or herself or to the audience
Speaking: verbal expression, voice projection, speaking style, diction
Stage directions: Stage directions are written in italics. They provide useful information
for actors, directors and the also for people who are reading a script.
Static characters: Do not change
Theater: A building where a play is performed containing the stage and seating
area for the audience.
Tragedy is a play that ends unhappily
Tragicomedy: dramatic work incorporating both tragic and comic elements.
Burt, Daniel S. (2008). The Drama 100: A Ranking of the Greatest Plays of All Time.
Facts on File ser. New York
Chakraborty, Kaustav, ed. (2011) Indian English Drama. New Delhi: PHI Learning.
Hornby, Albert Sydney. (1974). Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary of Current
English, 3rd ed. London: Oxford University Press,
Howard S. (1995). Learn to Read Music. New York
Johnstone, Keith. (1981). Improvisation and the Theatre Rev. ed. London
Ministry of Education, REB (2015). Music Dance and Drama Syllabus, Ordinary Level
Ministry of Education, REB (2015). Teacher training manual Roll out of Competence
Roger E. (1978). How to read music New York: crown publishers
Randall, Don, ed. (1986). The New Harvard Dictionary of Music. Cambridge: Belknap
Press (Harvard University Press),
This book for Music is specifically written for learners of Senior Three. It is built
upon the clearly stated goals of the Competence-Based Curriculum designed by
Rwanda Education Board under the Jurisdiction of the Ministry of Education in the
Republic of Rwanda.
Music is one of the subjects that are taught in Secondary Schools. And it is relevancy
to the modern world in increasing day by day. Despite of this, Music teaching
has remained complicated especially on the side of students due to limited
references for this subject. For this reason, this book is here-to act as learning and
It covers four different units which are supported by the teachers’ guide and have
introductory activities, music scales, simple and compound time signature, chords,
dynamics and tempo, and finally composition and performing a short play in
different languages. At the end of each unit, we have an end unit assessments and
glossary that are intended to guide the learners throughout the whole process of
acquiring practical skills.