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40 Lessons in how to correctly play improvisations.

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LESSON I Introductory
And I know not if, save in this, such gift be allowed to man, That out of three sounds he frame, not a fourth sound, but a star.
Before starting work at the keyboard, consideration should be given to the structure of the modern diatonic scale, which contains the material from which the music is to be evolved.
The key should be regarded as a tone-family, as a collection of different tones more or less nearly related to one another. Upon this relationship of the individual tones of the scale will depend the relationship of chords, and of the melodies which will be derived from them.
The first member of the tone-family is, of course, the keynote, or tonic. Its nearest relation is its perfect fifth. This is taken because it represents the simplest vibrational ratio, i.e., 2:3. The octave (1:2) is evidently of no assist­ance in this connection, because our ears have decided that the two tones which it represents are, for practical purposes,, identical.
Taking then the fifth from a given tone (C) we make the
first move in the assembling of a tone-family:
By repeating the process five times we obtain the following
These, rearranged in alphabetical order, produce a scale
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E-Book - An Annotated Compendium of Old Time American Songs by James Alverson III