Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Bruce Lee, the Liberal Arts and the Tao of Jeet Kune Do


So I am often asked as a musician, who are my influences.   That is always a tough question, because everyone and everything is my influence, but I usually respond with Jaco, J.S. Bach, Paul McCartney, Beethoven, Geddy Lee, Scot LaFaro, and Bruce Lee...   What?!? 

Let me back up...

Most of musicians I know, love sports.  And think about it, with all of the fine tuned body mechanics, from breathing to core strength to the hand dexterity, plus the endurance of an 8 hour per day practice schedule necessary to be being a top level performing artist - music is indeed an athletic activity. 

So too the best athletes are indeed artists. I love American Football, I love to play it in my "Musicians Football League" and I love watching the strategy of the game, and how the highly developed artists compensate and improvise when a play does not develop as planned. It is music!  The same is true when watching a good MMA match.  While I am not really into the violent aspect, the good MMA artists, understand it as a sport where athletic competition is a "puzzle" to be solved  - where the process of solving aids in the development of ones character and ability - where using the best of everything you have helps develop the character and ability of your opponent.

As a philosophy major, music educator, and amateur mixed-martial artist, I am always keen on learning more about the intersection of the mind, spirit and body -- i.e. the Human Being and how Being interacts with the environment.

This approach helps my own playing, but more importantly it ensures that my students learn to turn their entire body into an instrument which is freely capable of "singing" their mind. And "conversing" with others.  To do this, I spend a great deal of time developing of a fine tuned, relaxed technique, with the entire body free from tension.  It is especially tough for some of my younger students who just want to learn flashy riffs and play fast right away.(Speaking as an aficionado of heavy metal, one cannot ever hope to play fast (and groove) if they are full of tension.) - But again we are learning not simply for ourselves but to play with others, engage in musical dialog and raise the level of discourse.
  
This past summer I had the opportunity to pay my respects to Bruce and Brandon Lee.  I opened my copy of his Tao of Jeet Kune Do and discovered passages which to my mind coincide with my approach.  

A few excerpts from Bruce Lee's posthumously published notebook 

An artist's expression is his soul made apparent, his schooling, as well as his "cool" being exhibited. Behind every motion, the music of his soul is made visible. Otherwise, his motion is empty and empty motion is like an empty word - no meaning

Art is never decoration, embellishment; instead, it is work of enlightenment. Art, in other words, is a technique for acquiring liberty.

The aim of art is not the one-sided promotion of spirit, soul and senses, but the opening of all human capacities - thought, feeling, will - to the life rhythm of the world of nature. So will the voiceless voice be heard and the self be brought into harmony with it.
The Tao of Jeet Kune Do. 1975

Monday, December 14, 2015

Instinct, Morality, and the Pursuit of Truth

Just some simple thoughts from this rural Iowan who has made St. Paul his home for 20 years. An issue which keeps me up at night when I consider the kind of world in which I am raising my children, is the unwillingness for many humans in a community to do the really hard work of honest investigation into matters of knowledge.  Most it seems are inclined to rest comfortably in superficiality.

In this state of mind, information contrary to our experience is often viewed as an attack upon our values. With our convictions left unchecked we have a tendency to do anything to defeat our attacker.  Discussion turns to adversarial contest where lies and misinformation are prized if it helps win.

Unchecked instincts are what motivate us toward the acquisition of wealth, power, and prestige, placing them as our final good.. There are entire industries out there which freely exploit these instincts:  advertisements, reality and gossip centered TV shows, the bulk of talk radio shows, negative political ads, 140 character tweets and Facebook posts,  bathroom graffiti, sound-bytes,bumper stickers, billboards, mass e-mails of spurious content, cheer-leading, etc. -- If any of these avenues spark in us emotions of anger or smugness, it is a warning sign, that we are being lazy if we do not take time to thoroughly investigate the claims.  For without sincere investigation, we can make no claim to pursuing Truth.  Unchecked, convictions are seriously unhealthy for the development of personal character.  This is a requirement of the liberated person in a functioning democracy which tries to build strength through community.

Raising each other up and pursuing knowledge and success in life is not a politically divisive issue.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Dorothy Sayers, C.S. Lewis, Gene Veith, Andrew Kern and Public Classical Education



An Academic Institution should never be grounded in Anecdote. 

The seductive polemics of these four populist authors boils down to their assertion that "Truth is what we believe it to be."  Basically they exhibit the very kinds of arguments Socrates loved to take down. 
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While there exist many readily available populist accounts which praise and encourage a need for Classical Education, the difficulty for Public Schools wishing to adopt a Classical Curriculum lay in that the majority of these essays and books are inadequate.  While they often raise good points, they rely more heavily upon Rhetoric to persuade while lacking both Logic and substance.  
In recent decades, the majority of published works on Classical Education are based neither in academic research in cognitive development, nor are they informed through rigorous academic scholarship which utilizes critical examination of Classical sources through historical methods and textual reception.   More often than not, these works are limit the variety of Classical thought -- cutting away significant primary sources which challenge the convictions of the particular market to which they are trying to sell their product.(ironically this strategy alone --i.e. forgoing the pursuit of truth and holding customers in ignorance by marketing for the sake of personal profit -- seems quite contrary to the values of Classical Virtue Ethics)

FEET OF CLAY
The fact is, many Classical schools which promise to instill life long learning and critical thought  have founded their educational philosophy upon texts which have not been critically examined.  

A school which is built upon such foundation of empty Rhetoric alone does not stand up to scrutiny. Some populist works which have been cited in the modern Classical Education movement include two 1940s era speeches by British fiction authors: Dorothy Sayers', The Lost Tools of Learning and C.S. Lewis, The Abolition of Man.  While I personally find their rhetoric inspiring for an audience already convinced of the need for classical education, and as such remain recommended reading, their arguments raise a number of "red flags" to student of Logic, their historical accuracy is a bit sketchy for the student of Classics, and their misrepresentation of progressive education is unfair an a quite a bit overblown. 

So a list such as this (Suggested Readings for Public Schools) is intended for a school committee to move well beyond these more populist works,do the hard work and delve deeper into rigorous academic research to provide a more substantive base which will hold up to Academic scrutiny.
As a start, I recommend the following anonymous critique of a C.S. Lewis argument in one of the chapters of The Abolition of Man.  It is entitled, CS Lewis Men without Chests, a Critique.  While this may not be a perfect critique, the author does point out some of Lewis' more obvious logical fallacies.

Critique of the Gene Veith / Andrew Kern book
The work Classical Education: The Movement Sweeping America by Gene Edward Veith, Jr. and Andrew/Kern is a short readable book intended persuade the general audience, who are not versed in academic scholarship. The authors appear to be neither Classics scholars nor educational theorists.  Dr. Veith holds a PhD in English Literature from the University of Kansas, and Andrew Kern, holds a BA From Concordia Univeristy, though he does not indicate in what field.  

Their work focuses on the various ways the new Classical Education movement, begun in the later half of the 20th century, has been implemented throughout the United States. There exist much to be admired in their easy to read approach. It serves as a good starting point for some casual discussions. It provides quick uncritical descriptions of the Trivium and Quadrivium in the Liberal Arts curriculum of the Middle Ages; its shares the common frustrations held by many of us who teach in the humanities; and as a source for those looking for a particular kind of Liberal Arts college curriculum.  As a foundational text for establishing a public state funded charter school however, this work should not be considered without some serious reservations. 

As the work focuses on modern schools,  a number of works cited are written by those have proposed methods and started their own Classical Education schools,  A critical examination of the End Notes reveal a serious lack of primary Classical sources and critical evidenced-based research in education.  As such it ignores the majority of core philosophical topics discussed by the ancients.  These sources are essential to bring fully informed discussion of Classical ideals to the foreground.. Tbe work relies on secondary sources such as newspaper editorials and articles from official sounding journals.

Nonetheless
The result is a biased opinion intended both to politicize and to market Classical Education to a "family values demographic who are skeptical of academics engaged in critical evidence based research.

Veith and Kern reel in the casual reader with the common frustrations in contemporary education.
If Veith and Kern stopped with these points, This book would serve as a perfect introductory guide for a public state funded school
Once hooked, the authors subtly misrepresent other educational methods.  They do this by building upon the unnecessary fallacies begun by Lewis and Sayers deriding and equating extreme straw man stereotypes.  What is left is a narrative that dishonestly confuses such concepts as Multiculturalism, Post Modernism, Dewey, Progressive Education, Evolution, Evidence based scholarship etc.  For them, these concepts are not only separate from but also destructive to Classical Education and their adherents serve as oppressors to "Free thinkers" in higher education.  Dr. Veith uses the term Fascist to characterize those who do not adhere to his vision of Classical Education.  For more in his own words view: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BWGlEcgKkFw


He sounds friendly and sincere, but his strategy is to vilify, a common rhetorical strategy utilized when an author, who cannot present a logical or substantive argument, wants to persuade the mob.  It is far easier to play the victim of "post-modernists" (p. 112) when an author wishes to justify their avoidance of utilizing critical research and peer review.

Veith and Kern's Classical Education serves as an excuse to attack Classical scholarship and evidence based research.. Because of their omission of actual primary sources, They remove the process and methods essential to Classical Philosophy from the center of Classical Education,  To fill this void, he favors one particular strand of belief.  In their case, this clears the way for a definition of "Truth" that is exclusively Bible-based, universally supportive of free enterprise, and Intelligent Design.

All other historical criticisms to that view, they brand as "Post Modern" or "Dewey" influenced. Here is a link to Kerns anti-Dewey, Anti-Darwin polemic: https://www.circeinstitute.org/2007/11/how-dewey-has-overcome-american-christianity-and-overthrown-america

Anyone who spends so much time bashing the Socratic influenced methods of inquiry practiced by John Dewey has clearly never read Plato, OR Dewey,...or the vast bulk of Classical philosophical dialog for the past 2,500 years. Then someone like Veith who refers to Academics who actually engage in peer review and historical research methodologies, as "Fascists" who discourage "Free Speech" This Cult of Sayers, Lewis, Kern, and Veith is poisonous to Classical Education -- (don't even get me started on their straw man fallacies against Analytic Philosophy.)

I should not have to point out the irony, that if questioning the values of Western Civilization were in conflict with Classical Education, we would have no Socrates, Jesus of Nazareth, Paul of Tarsus, Hildegard von Bingen, Martin Luther, Galileo, John Adams, Thomas Jeffereson, Susan B. Anthony, Martin Luther King, Jr.     Finally, at the risk of committing a few logical fallacies myself it should be noted that  1) Schools which require a signed Statement of Faith, such as Patrick Henry College where Dr. Veith teaches, limit freedom of inquiry required for Classical Education; 2) The book itself is published by a conservative think tank, Capital Research Center  --

In the end, we have to wonder who benefits? It is merely an excuse for them to say, We don't need to abide by Scientific Method, We'll just sell books to a like minded mobs, using Anecdotes instead of legitimate sources. 

Friday, December 4, 2015

Science Appreciation and the Study of Music

Remember shows like Mr. Wizard, Beakman's World, Bill Nye the Science Guy? These were designed to inspire the young into the joys of science and inquiry, with the hopes that they would grow into scientifically literate adults who, if they did not happen to pursue a career in the sciences, would nonetheless know and understand enough to recognize its importance to humanity and the world.

Today it is relatively easy to find such Science Appreciation demonstrations on video.  These range from hammering a nail with frozen banana, exploding hydrogen filled balloons to demonstrations of chain reactions with mousetraps and ping pong balls.

Take a moment to watch the video below:


Wasn't that cool!  Did it provoke an emotional response?  I mean really! All of those ping pong balls flying all over the place in such a cool explosion!  That was really entertaining.

Now...
...did you learn anything from the video?

It may be entertaining, but did this video provide us with any significant detail regarding the actual science, the history of methods which lead up to the ability to conduct the experiment and predict results, the weights, measures, formulae, the safety precautions etc..... In other words, did this video provide you with any value as to the NEED to study science as a curricular subject in school?

Should we include the study of Language if all the students read are trashy novellas? Math if all they learn are mathematical parlor tricks? Medieval History if they simply watch "Game of Thrones?"

From this perspective there seems little value teaching Science, Math,  History or English as a core requirement.  An observation of an exploding balloon makes for a fun extracurricular activity, but provides nothing which requires scholarly discipline.

Appreciation or Study
This is however exactly the all too familiar attitude faced by music educators on a daily basis. For just as the exploding balloon is to a Richard Feynman, Isaac Newton, or Albert Einstein; the pop song is to a J.S. Bach, Ludwig van Beethoven, or Maurice Ravel.  In schools, we require all students to conduct lab experiments; to get inside the process of doing scientific experiments, but we routinely make instrumental music an elective.

Pop songs, like the science video above, are appreciated as passive entertainment.  Classical music is at best merely deemed worthy of appreciation for its beauty.  This makes for a convenient excuse for the misinformed to disregard proposals for the reintegration of the curricular Music programs. For whatever we think of "appreciation" it is ultimately a condescending term.  Would we ever think to offer English as an "appreciation" course and forgo its study of grammar, syntax, interpretation?

The fact of the matter is that the Study of Music is hard.  It ranks among the most difficult disciplines to understand and study as it does not simply involve just audible "music." Degree programs require a heavy dose of science, math, literature, foreign language and history.

Forgive me if I sound a bit defensive in this side track here:
...to be considered for a graduate program in Musicology,  Not only must students be able to audibly identify a minimum of 1,000 works, genres and composers, within specific historical, regional and philosophical traditions from the past 2,500 years (based upon either a 5-10 second audio clip or a fragment of a musical score), but they must also be able to dictate music by ear (that is identify pitches, rhythms, instrumentation and transcribe into notation), read and sing from a musical score...as well as improvise a harmony by sight during a piano proficiency exam.
When music has a text, one must be able to understand literary devices, religious and secular nuance and metaphysics -- how these concepts are set to music (if the music has a text).
For a Masters program in musicology, A student must have reading proficiency in at least one Foreign language, but its more beneficial to learn the big three: German, French, and Italian.  Plus if, like me, you desire to study medieval music, you must also know Latin, (Ancient Greek helps too).
Historical research methods, paleography etc., and deep understanding of Literature and interpretive methodologies is also required. In fact, many works of literature require musical knowledge to understand the full meaning a text.
-- I have not even touched upon the requirements for the  Ethnomusicology and Linguistic expectations for the degree)
Musicians must also have a basic understanding of room acoustics so that with the practiced technique of properly tuned fine motor skills, they are able to produce music with an appropriately informed musical performance practice. - For my electric bass performances, I routinely draw upon classical guitar and cello sources, but also the results of pedal technique used by professional organists.
This brief clip, with dialog from the movie "Amadeus" demonstrates the expectation of what is required of a Music major.



So when a musician speaks of the importance of music education, they are speaking from a much deeper and integrated understanding of music. This is quite a different perspective than one which thinks of music as the simply pop song, or the casual untrained person playing and singing in a weekend garage band -- who is almost certain to develop vocal cord nodes or tendinitis.

Some relevant links:
Music and the Brain http://www.brainvolts.northwestern.edu/slideshows/music/index.php
The Music Instinct http://www.pbs.org/wnet/musicinstinct/
History of Music in Classical Education - http://www.christianmcguire.com/2015/04/music-in-classical-education-part-1.html

To provide just a brief glimpse on how all of these disciplines intersect, take some time to peruse one of the three (3) study guides I wrote for the Minnesota High School Music Listening Contest.  This was written to condense some of these more heavy subjects for an 8th grade reading level:
http://www.christianmcguire.com/2015/04/study-guide-table-of-contents-click-on.html

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Suggested Readings for Public Schools
adopting a Classical Curriculum

What follows are my initial recommendations and rationale for a basic reading list of essential works for parents, administrators, faculty and students engaged in a Classical Education through a Public School.   As I do not claim to know the answers. my intentions are to pursue some sort of mutual understanding.  My hope is that you will gladly contribute your recommendations into the mix:

Why the need for a public school to have such a list?
While there exist many readily available accounts which praise and encourage a need for Classical Education, the difficulty for Public Schools wishing to adopt a Classical Curriculum lay in that the majority of these essays and books inadequate.  While they often raise good points, they rely heavily upon anecdotes rather than substantive evidence..  
In recent decades, the majority of published works on Classical Education are based neither in academic research in cognitive development, nor are they informed through rigorous academic scholarship which utilizes critical examination of Classical sources through historical methods and textual reception.   More often than not, these works limit the variety of Classical thought -- cutting away significant primary sources which challenge the convictions of the particular market to which they are trying to sell their product.(ironically this strategy alone --i.e. forgoing the pursuit of truth and holding customers in ignorance by marketing for the sake of personal profit -- seems quite contrary to the values of Classical Virtue Ethics)

PRIMARY SOURCES
When speaking to the benefits of Classical Education to the development of moral character, one is immediately drawn to the study of Philosophy.
As Philosophy is the Mother of All Disciplines and at the Heart of Education, I suggest at minimum the following four (4) works: Plato's Apology, Books II and III from Boethius, Consolation of Philosophy; Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics; James Madison's Memorial and Remonstrance.
[With all of these (or any primary source text) look for a Critical Scholarly Edition in the original language (Brepols Publishers contains the best work replacing a number of the ambitious but faulty 19th century editions produced by Migne and Pitra).  If your Greek and Latin are rusty, look for an English translation based upon the Critical Edition (newer tends to be better as it is based upon much larger amount of primary source materials with large teams of scholars working on producing texts, rather than some of the older (esp, 19th century editions) which tend to be quite biased to a 19th century worldview - but if you are stuck with a 19th century text (like many of my links are), you can be on guard and hopefully find an original text to check their translation.] 

Plato
The Allegory of The Cave (Book VII of The Republic): This is the Heart of Education, here is an overview of what Plato wrote, (without the religious interpretation by later commentators). https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1RWOpQXTltA
The following Dialogues are among Plato's earliest and are fairly easy to digest.
     EuthyphroEnglish translation - Commentary & Analysis - Greek text
          (What is Piety?)
     * ApologyEnglish translation - Commentary & Analysis - Greek text
 - This is early work is what really set the stage for Education, Philosophy, Ethics
         "The un-examined Life is not worth living."
Incidentally, here is a fun 15-minute abbreviated Live action Video –https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=23Pl2HcmpVk
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      MenoEnglish translation - Commentary & Analysis - Greek text 
            (What is Virtue?) -- This is the classic!
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      The Republic - Started to become known in to the West in the 13th century.  Lots of differing opinions on its meaning - some have taken Socrates literally others as intentionally satirical to demonstrate some of the more ridiculous claims.
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Aristotle
   Nicomachean Ethics
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Boethius
     Consolation of Philosophy - Commentary

Anicius Manlius Severinus Bo√ęthius  Last of the Romans - First of the Scholastics.  It is through Boethius that the bulk of Western (Latin language) Classical education was transmitted between the years 525-1200 CE.  Aristotle was largely unknown during this time and the only work of Plato known was his Timaeus, which was transmitted via commentaries.  Most all other authoritative learning came through basic encyclopedic works such as Isidore of Seville's Etymologies.

Before Boethius death, he planned on translating all of the works of Plato and Aristotle into Latin with hopes of integrating their Philosophical views.  The very brief but extremely influential Consolation of Philosophy, touches upon many of the themes expressed by both Plato and Aristotle – which is why I start students with it.  Some of the more famous Translations are by King Alfred (who translated it into Anglo-Saxon) and Chaucer, (Middle English), and Queen Elizabeth I into Modern English.  
While Boethius was a Christian, there are no overt Christian references in Boethius' Consolation (though many subsequent vernacular translations (including those mentioned above) have interpreted  it thus-as they have tended to do with many works, including those by Plato and Aristotle)   The Consolation is a short work comprised of 5 books.  For the sake of the current topics,  I highly recommend reading Books II, and III.   Here is a quick synopsis of the entire work with a link specifically to the issue of “Happiness”  http://boethius101.org/?page_id=25
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Memorial and Remonstrance
A common theme running through every generation since the time of Socrates, has been that only a certain type of educational philosophy can restore virtue by delivering both academic rigor and moral character in students as contemporary times seem to be falling ever further into decadence .Such a heated conversation took place in the Virginia State Legislature in 1785 (two years before the US Constitution was ratified). 

One of the best arguments demonstrating that Virtue education extends beyond particular Faith traditions was penned by the classically educated, James Madison (4th President of the US and “Father of the Constitution."  The work is his 15 point argument entitled “Memorial and Remonstrance.”  http://press-pubs.uchicago.edu/founders/documents/amendI_religions43.html

A contextual history and rhetorical overview of James Madison's Memorial and Remonstrance (1785) by Dr. Eva Brann of St. John's College.  In this essay, Dr. Brann demonstrates some of the best type of informative historical scholarship.

SECONDARY SOURCES
In most of these seminal works regarding moral philosophy, especially with regard to the branch known as "Virtue Ethics."  We come across terms like Happiness, Virtue, Truth, Beauty, Goodness.  These terms are not easily rendered into our modern sense as we tend to use them in ordinary casual every day speak.  For example, Jefferson's "Pursuit of Happiness" is not a license to base self serving behavior, but carries a much older and storied pedigree in Philosophical dialog.

Some recommended sources:
“Happiness” is what Aristotle refers to as Eudaimonia http://www.philosophybasics.com/branch_eudaimonism.html

The Ethics of Plato
http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/plato-ethics/


* Here is a chapter from the book entitled, “Philosophy: The Basics” by Nigel Warburton The book is an absolutely accessible and easy to read intro to the basic issues of Philosophy, and this chapter “Right and Wrong” serves us as a good introduction into the topic of Virtue Ethics (and Ethics in general)

Overview of Virtue Ethics in Plato and Aristotle
http://moralphilosophyatdvk.blogspot.com/2011/07/plato-aristotle-and-virtue-ethics.html

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On Classical Education: History and Methods
The Seven Liberal Arts and Classical Scholarship by David L. Wagner -- If you are serious about learning the history of Classical Education (the Trivium & the Quadrivium), START with this text.  It is intended as an overview for an academic audience (and its kind of old -published over 30 years ago) but it is still a recommended introductory source for scholars.

Socratic Method
 http://www.socraticmethod.net/how_to_use_the_socratic_method/using_the_socratic_method.html

Constructivism AND Instructivism
http://www.ucdoer.ie/index.php/Education_Theory/Constructivism_and_Social_Constructivism

Logical Fallacies

OPINION and INSPIRATION
(these works are not critically evaluated, but nonetheless have served to inspire.  For more on tips on how to analyze a source, please visit the quick guide
Works by Classical Scholars
  College is not a Commodity - By Dr. Hunter Rawlings, Classics Professor and 17th President of the Univeristy of Iowa
  Art of the Lecture (newspaper op-ed)
  Why Post Modernism Isn't New - A Classical op-ed rooted in source study

Works by English Literature Scholars and Enthusiasts
(see my critique of these influential but problematic works here)
  The Well Trained Mind by Susan Wise Bauer and Jessie Bauer
  The Lost Tools of Learning by Dorothy Sayers
  The Abolition of Man by C.S. Lewis
  Classical Education: The Movement Sweeping America - Gene Edward Veith, Jr. PhD  and Andrew Kern


Monday, November 30, 2015

A Quick Guide to Analyze Written Sources

The most essential skill honed in academia is the analysis of written works. In the history of the written word, human beings have demonstrated a tendency to see truth in those works whose authors they agree while dismissing the arguments of challengers. Often it is the works of ancient writers to whose authority we appeal. Many of us fall prey to the mistaken belief that given two sources, the older one must necessarily be more accurate. In certain research contexts this is helpful, for example:
If we want to know what a first century Roman citizen likely thought about the German people, we would probably start with Tacitus first century account, depicting them as primitive, drunken, lazy and barbaric though with a few noble qualities to be admired.
Up through the end of the 19th century and beginning of the early 20th century this once accepted view is where historical research stalled.  But,
If we want to know what those same German people were actually like,  inquiry demands that we challenge and examine the authority of Tacitus (as we would any other writer) and take him to task on his own use of sources material; his biases as a Roman writing about another culture for which he has no first hand knowledge and a culture(s) whose territory borders an ever expanding Roman Empire.(perhaps his view was informed by the limited experience of soldiers involved in skirmishes and thus his depiction emphasizes traits of the warrior rather than a fully nuanced society?) Thus we would need to widen our field to include a critical evaluation of recent discoveries of archaeological research, other written accounts, and various other methods available. 
It is this second example which reminds us as readers to remain vigilant as we embark on our quest for knowledge.  With the world full of bargain books on history, education, philosophy, talk radio, media depictions, and bloggers (ironic, eh?) we cannot afford to take any source at face value.  All must be met with critical examination.  

As your bibliography accounts for 50% of the grade of your Final research paper, and must be submitted prior to your rough draft, I am presenting below a handout developed by Professor James Hepokoski, Chair of the Music Department at Yale University to aid you in your research.

ANALYZING MUSICOLOGICAL WRITING
PART I

  1. Research the author and determine his/her expertise in the field.
  2. What basic question(s) is (are) the author attempting to answer?  Is this (according to the author) a sufficiently worthy problem? Has the author articulated this question within the article or is it merely implicit?
  3. Is the author’s answer to this question (i.e., the central argument) implicit or explicit?
  4. With what types of evidence does the author buttress his or her claims?
  5. Is the author relying principally on primary sources? If not, how much of the work relies on secondary sources? Has the author represented accurately his/her reliance on these secondary sources?
  6. Has the author omitted relevant evidence that might contradict his or her argument?
  7. Does the evidence (presented) lead inevitably to the author’s conclusions?
  8. For what audience has the author written the article? What terms, analytical concepts, historiographical orientation, or musical repertories must the reader know in order to fully understand the article?
  9. Is the author’s treatment overly complex or overly simplistic?

Writing Style and Organization:
  1. Are the opening paragraphs sufficiently intriguing to make you want to read further? How well do they articulate the central argument and establish the author’s authority?
  2. Does the article follow a logical path, leading inevitably to the author’s conclusions? Try to separate those sections of the article which bear directly on the author’s thesis form those which, while engaging and informative, form a momentary digression. Does this rhetorical strategy work in this instance? Similarly, evaluate the organization of the article’s sentences, paragraphs, and sub-sections.
  3. Can you locate any particularly well-written or poorly-written sentences? What makes them stand out?
  4. How has the author concluded the article? Do the closing paragraphs summarize the article’s central point? Do they broaden the question to hint at a larger context? Does the author end with a rhetorical flourish?

PART II

  1. Has the author explicitly or implicitly aligned him/herself with any of the methodological prescriptions that have emerged in musicology over the past fifteen years? If so, how closely is this methodology followed? Is it acknowledged?
  2. Does the author rely on methodologies from other disciplines? Again, are these approaches explicit or implicit? Does the author question aspects of these methods? If any terms concerning these methods are new to you, look them up and make sure that you understand both the methodology and its implications.
  3. In articles which are theoretical in nature, does the theory grow out of the problem at hand, or is the problem itself subjected to a pre-existent theory?
  4. How reliant is the author on authority?
  5. Does the author look at music in its context(s), contexts in music, or some combination?
  6. Do the article’s conclusions result form musical analysis? What analytical methods has the author employed? Are these successful?
One final thought, for a refresher on the the distinction between Primary and Secondary sources, I encourage you to review the following video:

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

What Classical Education Means

Way back when, I earned my undergraduate degrees as a double major in Philosophy and Classical Languages from Luther College in Decorah, Iowa (with a year studying Philosophy abroad at the University of Nottingham.)  Pretty much from its inception in 1861 through my graduation in 1992, the majority of those who served as President and Deans of Luther College were Classics Professors. In this environment it was stressed that Classical Philosophy is the pinnacle of Education, developing skills transferable to all disciplines.

Why is that so? Well, At the heart of Classical Philosophy is Investigation and Analysis.  The developed method and refined skill, for sifting through (and acknowledging) prejudice and bias in pursuit of some underlying Truth.  It is with this background (or chip on my shoulder) with which I approach issues of education and life.  Ensuring that we are careful to define our terms with appropriate meaning and acknowledgement of the history of their concepts.  So that when we discuss things like “Truth, Beauty, Goodness, Happiness, Liberty as well as the traditional 4 Cardinal Virtues: Justice, Temperance, Prudence, and Fortitude --  that we not rely on our everyday common usage, but rather their deeper philosophical understanding.

Today, there are many schools out there which bear the moniker "Classical" and even more which boldly proclaim "Academy."  Yet a careful look at their curriculum demonstrate their casual usage of these meanings.  So in the interest of clarity, I would like to share below the impression that faculty at Institutions of Higher Learning understand when they discuss the words “Classical” and “Academy.”

When a school adopts the appellation  "Classical Academy"   they communicate a commitment to an educational pedigree inherited from the first Academy founded by Plato in Athens in 387 BCE.
Since Socrates first challenged the convictions of the Athenian elite, we see in example after example --from antiquity through our modern age -- that our shared purpose as Classical Educators is to build character through the continued Pursuit of Truth. This is quite a different task than teaching students to "know Truth."  For Classical Philosophy as well as our modern common sense demonstrate that "knowing Truth" is available only to the omniscient (All-Knowing).
The frustrations faced by Socrates, and the inheritors of Classical Education, is embodied by those who claim special privilege in knowing Truth.  While perhaps well meaning, they assert dogma as universal without aid from the tools developed from Classical Philosophy.  They are unable to challenge their own cultural, temporal, and personal biases and become enslaved to their Convictions.
Convictions are the traditional enemy of Learning for it presumes that Truth is known.  If truth is known, then there is no further need for inquiry, and thus no need for Education and the Pursuit of Truth.  Convictions are often rooted in misinformation and fear and sustained by arrogance.  They provide a convenient excuse for willful ignorance. When held fast they provide self-justification for bullying. They are the un-virtuous stain on the character of the Warlord and thus a detriment to a just and virtuous Democratic citizen.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Boethius and the Relevance of Musical Understanding - my response

Instead of a full on blog, I am submitting this month a response I made to another Blog with whom I disagree on Boethius' division of 3 kinds of musician.
"Hi Todd,
I dig your web page. A few comments on this particular post I am compelled to address..
You begin with a decent introduction, however you miss some crucial elements in the history of Greek Philosophical Thought, of which Boethius is heir, and improperly conflate 2,500 years of terms (e.g. equating modern classical musicians with the musicians experiences of Boethius time) and in the process flip-flopped some of the terms as received in the early 21st century. 
Let me begin with the history of textual transmission. After Boethius, De Institiutione Musica Is a Latin translation (with some original points) of the Greek Nichomachus of Gerasa's "Handbook of Harmonics" (books 1-4) and Ptolemy's "Harmonia" (book 5). As with most texts) these were not handed down to each generation in its entirety. Only a handful of complete mansucripts contain all five books existed. Most often however Monestaries contained only anecdotes (i.e. florelegia) with a few lucky monasteries containing Book I. Nonetheless this work was the primary "textbook" for Musical study from about the 9th century thought the 17th, (even though the trasnmission of his work was always debated and typically ignored by composers especially from the 12th century on -- and its instruction largely forgotten with the rise of experimental science (Beginning with the efforts of Vincenzo Galilei and the Florentine Camerata in the 16th) - This lead to our modern concept of music (Melody with Bass/Chords) upon which all popular music and the the bulk of Classical music from 1600-now is based today. As well as the rise of the Virtuoso instrumentalist. Its a very different concept of music in which we live than what Boethius describes.
Secondly we must understand that Boethius aim is not instruction for the practical musician. His aim is Philosophical - part of that long tradition established by Plato with the goal of creating ethical "Philosopher Kings.: As such: the underlying principle in Classical thought is the concept of Harmonia..The philosophers did not seek discord -- and education is not an adversarial system. Though there are many examples, such displays of common adversarial contests (typically fought over pride, money, power) are typically derided by the educators. We retain the word Harmonia rather than balance precisely because of its ties with Greek Philosophical Thought. For the Greeks recognized that Music was the central discipline which so readily revealed the connections between the soul and universe. Acting in accord (again another musical term) with the nature of the Cosmos is the foundation of Ethics.
So with this in mind, if we are to take the path and ascribe to our modern age, Boethius description of the 3 musicians. Those who play by instinct the first group are really the buskers, the self-taught street musicians, garage band guitar heroes, who have not actually widened their knowledge base through study of theory, ear training new strands of music, but are self serving and only play the kind of music they want. In the composer realm, we'd put the typical Classical Musician, or open minded rocker who is not afraid to learn theory. And despite your remark to the contrary, MOST Classical Musicians improvise, its kind of a requirement at such a high level of playing, they might improvise in a different manner, but most of the cats I've played with from the world class Minnesota Orchestra know love all music and they certainly know how to jam in all styles.
The 3rd type of musician is a Philosopher. They have studied not only music and performance, but the rest of the sciences as well as rhetoric, logic, ethics, etc. As such they do not cloud their mind with schemes for personal gain (power, wealth, prestige, honor) but direct their minds and efforts understand the workings of the Cosmos (i.e. Good Order) and society as a whole - which is why the Liberal Arts education has been a necessary component of education since Plato founded the Academy 2,500 years ago. They do not act without careful examination. Think Socrates maxim, "The Un-examined Life is not worth living"
This does not mean you cannot make a living as a musician, but music does not begin with the limited and false motivator of "MONEY" or "being a famous star." -- These are the lures of the "Sophists" which lead to the quick and easy temptation to defraud and exploit others for personal gain. In the whole of Boethius works, he asks us to reject that the sake of civil society.
Christian McGuire

Friday, October 30, 2015

Defining terms and battling assumptions

Beginning an Investigation
Defining Terms and Concepts by Asking Questions
            One very important skill honed in humanities courses is how to ask probing questions (Investigation).  Asking questions serves to clarify the meanings of terms and concepts which are shared by you and your audience, whether you work in a lab, law office, corporate environment, retail, school, band, etc.  In depth questions and responses are essential for analysis and strategic planning. It is really useful everywhere.
When beginning your investigation, Do not take any term, word or phrase at face value, and Do not assume that your audience necessarily shares your intrinsic understanding of that term and its related concept.
For the most part, many of the terms used in our own sub-culture carry meaning which we do not feel necessary to define. We are able to cruise through life and conversation utilizing words, phrases, cliches without giving them a second thought.  The people in our immediate family, social circle, and subculture share our interpretation of these ideas.  The moment we begin to converse .with those outside our immediate sphere of social interaction, we need to be more careful with our use of language if we are to be understood.  Each group has a specialized understanding of words and concepts.  Often the same word carries multiple meanings.
It is this very real language phenomenon which makes “literal interpretation” impossible.  It is however a great demonstration of the humor found in satire and puns.  One must of course understand the cultural usage of the word, phrase or idiom to understand the meaning.
=
So lets try an example:  How would you define The Green Bay Packers
We could say, “They suck!, "They have rabid fans”, "Cheeseheads!" while these may be a useful subjective sentiments in understanding a certain sub-cultural emotional perspective, it doesn’t really serve as a useful objective definition.

Just as we often find that people have emotional responses to music (e.g. "Its relaxing", "Its upbeat" ,"It makes me feel like dancing." etc.), we need to find a way to get past those initial sentiments in order to describe musical events objectively in order to have fully meaningful discussions.
So lets try to define in measurable terms what the Green Bay Packers are as if we had to explain it to  someone who knows nothing about them.  We do this by asking questions ourselves to discover what is really necessary to know.
Q: What are The Green Bay Packers?
A: The Green Bay Packers are a sports team.
Q: Do they play against the Yankees?
A: No, the Yankees play baseball.  The Green Bay Packers are a Football team.
Q: Have any of their players played in the World Cup?
A: No, the World Cup is for soccer teams (called football teams everywhere else in the world).  The Green Bay Packers play American Football.
Q: Oh yeah, you mean like the Nebraska Cornhuskers.  Do they ever play each other?
A: No, the Nebraska Cornhuskers are a college team.  The Green Bay Packers are a professional American Football team.  There are 32 professional teams.  These teams are divided into two conferences of 16 teams, the American Football Conference (AFC) and the National Football Conference).  Each conference is further subdivided into 4 divisions, North, East, South and West. After the regular season the winners of each division (plus two of the higher performing teams within the division (termed Wild Card teams) goes on to play for the conference championship in a round of play-offs.  The Champion of each Conference then goes on to play for the NFL Championship in a game called the “Super Bowl.”  The Green Bay Packers are a professional American Football team in the National Football Conference, North Division of the National Football League and are the most recent Super Bowl Champions.
Q: North Division, NFC – got it, so where exactly is Green Bay.
A: Green Bay is located on the western shore of Lake Michigan in the state of Wisconsin.
Q: How close is Lake Michigan to Lake Tahoe?
A: Not even.  Lake Michigan is one of the 5 Great LakesWisconsin is a Great Lakes state north central United States bordered by Lake Superior and the Upper Peninsula of Lake Michigan on the north, Lake Michigan on the east and the St. Croix river on the west.
Q: Can they use their hands? Can they touch other players? How many people on a team? How many on the field at one time? etc.
=====
As you can see one can get really get down to specifics when asking probing questions. In fact in the span of 10 minutes I have written about one page of essay worthy material by describing something I already know through question and answer. And I haven’t even gotten into discussing, venues, how the game is played, positions on the team, fans, merchandising advertising, its relationship to the rest of American culture etc.
This technique is easily applied to your studies in the book. i.e.
Q: What is a kidi?
A: A kidi is a drum
Q: Like a snare drum in an American rock band?

A: No it is an African drum.

Monday, October 5, 2015

The Un-examined Life, Diversity, and the Classical Model

As a college music educator who guides students meeting the expectations of college life, each class presents unique challenges. Not only is there diversity in learning and working styles, but there exists differences in economic and educational privilege as well as distinctions between global, rural, and urban cultures.  I use the Classical Model in my classes to conduct a practical laboratory for civic engagement. In one brief example, most people have an emotional connection to the music they value.  Music analysis is a near perfect vehicle for distinguishing these tastes and presuppositions from the objective musical elements that can be identified (Grammar) and measured (Logic). Equipped with these tools, students discuss their perspectives openly. They learn to articulate how that music persuades (Rhetoric) their emotions, sharing their experiences to produce a clearer understanding of each other through common meaning of descriptive musical elements.  This method hones the transferable skills of analysis, listening, civil dialogue, and serves as a means to engage those with other cultural perspectives.

The issue faced by many of us in higher education is the increasing number of students who require remediation in the varied perspectives of human experience: world history, literature, fine arts, and science. This makes the insights from the example above difficult for students who arrive with a limited knowledge base. What excites me about Classical Education is the dedication in preparing students with a rich foundation to begin fearless investigation into the unknown.

At Nova, we have adopted Seneca's motto 'We Learn not for School but for Life.'   As an extension of Socrates' maxim, 'The un-examined life is not worth living' it encapsulates the Classical spirit of continuous self-evaluation and our connection to nature.   Our Great Hall visually reinforces this spirit.  Students are greeted by the banners of Plato's Cardinal Virtues. Raphael's fresco, "The School of Athens" adorns the stair wall.  This work depicts a nearly 2,000 year long conversation between men and women. In the lower left we see Pythagoras discussing the early science of Music. Above him are influential scholars like Hypatia and Averroes. In the lower right, we would see Euclid on Geometry and Ptolemy on the Cosmos.  At the center, Science and Virtue walk hand in hand in the form of Plato with his "Timeaus" and Aristotle holding "Ethics."

In the 500 years since this work was created, our examinations have become enriched by discoveries revealed through the Scientific Method.  Coupled with the rise of democracy and the recent exponential growth in primary historical sources through digital media, peer-reviewed scholarship today has a more reliable means to evaluate the evidence which constitutes the basis of shared knowledge.  The Classical spirit of Socrates quest yet remains: promoting inquiry into the nature of our motivations as we interact with each other and the practical world.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Life in the Pit...(Orchestra)

During my professional performance career I have toured and recorded as an electric bassist with rock and jazz bands, big bands, experimental ensembles for new classical compositions; I have sung with the Minnesota Chorale, performed some vocal solos / duets and even some classical guitar at special events such as weddings. As great and rewarding these experiences are, there is one style of playing, often overlooked by would be pop stars, which exercises the skill sets of musicianship, historical knowledge, and dramatic awareness. That is....  

THE PIT ORCHESTRA

A pit orchestra is 

Unlike playing in a small ensemble or band, the role of the a pit orchestra is to support the dramatic action in Opera, Musical Theatre, Ballet

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Music Education is not a Commodity

Two excellent and related articles were brought to my attention in the past week. The first by Peter Greene, urging Music advocates to stop defending Music Education on the basis of test scores.  The second by the Hunter Rawlings, the 17th President of the University of Iowa and Classics scholar, who fittingly takes the traditional Classical view of education vs. the detrimental ideology which has reduced Education to a market driven commodity.  Needless to say as a Classical Scholar and Musicologist who teaches in higher ed, the points raised in these articles are all to familiar to me and grounded in the tradition of Educational Scholarship.

Both articles tie into the decline we as college faculty have been experiencing in the recent decade:  students ill-equipped to learn, unwilling to engage in critical thought and when asked, "Why do you want to take my course?" the typical response is something like, "I need to get at least a B to keep my scholarship so that I can afford to get my degree then get a high paying job."  It is becoming increasingly rare to find a student who is actually willing to learn. 
     
In the Greene Article he echos my Day one lecture in stating:

There are so many reasons for music education. Soooooooo many. And "it helps with testing" or "makes you do better in other classes" belong near the bottom of that list. Here are just a few items that should be further up the list.
Music is universal. It's a gabillion dollar industry, and it is omnipresent. How many hours in a row do you ever go without listening to music? Everywhere you go, everything you watch-- music. Always music. We are surrounded in it, bathe in it, soak in it. Why would we not want to know more about something constantly present in our lives? Would you want to live in a world without music? Then why would you want to have a school without music?"
link to Greene's full article:
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/peter-greene/stop-defending-music-education-_b_7564550.html

These are of course the points made for music education since antiquity.(see my April 2015 post)  The test score defense has long been troubling for professional educators.  As college instructors and employers, we often wonder, "Who exactly is looking at, or cares about, test scores in the first place?"  It certainly is not the educators. 
Educators are looking for students who are willing to learn, work, think and contribute to course discussions. We usually get a good picture of that from student essays one-on-one discussions, and portfolio of work.  But most of there is a spark, a desire to take a chance and learn something new.  

Hunter Rawlings brings to light the importance of active student participation in determining their own success and value, contrary to the common, non-educator view that student success is a passive role dependent solely on the instructor:
The value of a degree depends more on the student’s input than on the college’s curriculum. I know this because I have seen excellent students get great educations at average colleges, and unmotivated students get poor educations at excellent colleges. And I have taught classes which my students made great through their efforts, and classes which my students made average or worse through their lack of effort. Though I would like to think I made a real contribution to student learning, my role was not the sole or even determining factor in the value of those courses to my students...
...Governors and legislators, as well as the media, treat colleges as purveyors of goods, students as consumers and degrees as products. Students get the message. If colleges are responsible for outcomes, then students can feel entitled to classes that do not push them too hard, to high grades and to material that does not challenge their assumptions or make them uncomfortable. Hence colleges too often cater to student demands for trigger warnings, “safe rooms,” and canceled commencement speakers. When rating colleges, as everyone from the president to weekly magazines insist on doing nowadays, people use performance measures such as graduation rates and time to degree as though those figures depended entirely upon the colleges and not at all upon the students. 

Unfortunately many promising students who would excel in college are weeded out through the "black & white" computerized admissions process.   Humans do not look at applications until after a computer has eliminated many promising candidates who have unfortunately had poor test results on a multiple (rather limited) choice standardized test.  Furthermore, those humans who do look at the applications are not educators!  They are not the college and university professors and educators.  Typically the first encounter we have with the applicants is on the first day of class.

There was a time not to long ago when Colleges and Universities were run by educators.  In my own experience, The Dean of College was a post held by a Classics Scholars (e.g. Orlando "Pip" Qualley, and "A. Thomas Kraabel ).  This encouraged an academic culture which encouraged the hard work required by students, which dedicated fulltime educators who pushed students to new heights in critical thinking helping us (often painfully) hone our research and writing skills and open doors to discuss any matter of issues.

Hunter Rawlings provides the appropriate close:
you need a professor who provokes and a student who stops slumbering. It is the responsibility of colleges and universities to place students in environments that provide these opportunities. It is the responsibility of students to seize them. Genuine education is not a commodity, it is the awakening of a human being.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Major Keys: Reference Examples & Worksheets

Interval and Triad Reference
Major Keys
Degree Function
Tonic
Supertonic
Mediant
Sub-dominant
Dominant
Sub-mediant
Leading Tone
Tonic
Scale Degree
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
1
Solfege
Do
Re
Mi
Fa
Sol
La
Ti
Do
Example
In The Key of
C Major
C
D
E
F
G
A
B
C
(* Half steps between 3-4 and 7-1 are shaded.  The remaining consecutive intervals are whole steps.)
TRIADS
TRIAD
I
ii
iii
IV
V7
vi
viio
I
Triad
Placement

5
3
R

5
3
1

G
E
C

6
4
2

A
F
D

7
5
3

B
G
E

1
6
4

C
A
F
4
2
7
5
F
D
B
G

3
1
6

E
C
A

4
2
7

F
D
B

5
3
1

G
E
C
Example
In The Key of
C Major
C
dm
em
F
G7
am
Bdim
C
Every Triad has a Root, Third, and Fifth.  The Root is rooted in the scale degree upon which the triad is built. For instance the Root of a IV triad is 4th degree, the 3rd of a IV triad is 6th degree, and the 5th of the IV triad is 1st degree. When applied to the Key of C Major we discover that our IV chord is an F major chord as its root is built upon F (the 4th degree of the C Major scale - The 3rd of this chord is A and the 5th is C.)
Three types of Triads in a Major Key
Triad Classifications
MAJOR TRIADS
These contain a M3 between the Root and 3rd but a m3 between the 3rd and 5th  - resulting in a P5 between Root and 5th
minor Triads
These contain a m3 between the Root and 3rd but a M3 between the 3rd and 5th - resulting in a P5 between Root and 5th
Diminished triad
This contains a m3 between both the Root and 3rd AND the 3rd and 5th - resulting in a diminished 5th between Root and 5th.
Roman numerals
I, IV, V7
ii, iii, vi
viio
Key of C Major
C, F, G7
dm, em, am
b diminished




Interval and Triad Reference
Major Keys
Degree Function
Tonic
Supertonic
Mediant
Sub-dominant
Dominant
Sub-mediant
Leading Tone
Tonic
Scale Degree
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
1
Solfege
Do
Re
Mi
Fa
Sol
La
Ti
Do
Example
In The Key of
F Major
F
G
A
Bb
C
D
E
F
(* Half steps between 3-4 and 7-1 are shaded.  The remaining consecutive intervals are whole steps.)
TRIADS
TRIAD
I
ii
iii
IV
V7
vi
viio
I
Triad
Placement

5
3
R

5
3
1

C
A
F

6
4
2

D
Bb
G

7
5
3

E
C
A

1
6
4

F
D
Bb
4
2
7
5
Bb
G
E
C

3
1
6

A
F
D

4
2
7

Bb
G
E

5
3
1

C
A
F
Example
In The Key of
F Major
F
Gm
Am
Bb
C7
dm
Edim
F
Every Triad has a Root, Third, and Fifth.  The Root is rooted in the scale degree upon which the triad is built. For instance the Root of a IV triad is 4th degree, the 3rd of a IV triad is 6th degree, and the 5th of the IV triad is 1st degree. When applied to the Key of F Major we discover that our IV chord is an Bb major chord as its root is built upon Bb (the 4th degree of the F Major scale - The 3rd of this chord is D and the 5th is F.)
Three types of Triads in a Major Key
Triad Classifications
MAJOR TRIADS
These contain a M3 between the Root and 3rd but a m3 between the 3rd and 5th  - resulting in a P5 between Root and 5th
minor Triads
These contain a m3 between the Root and 3rd but a M3 between the 3rd and 5th - resulting in a P5 between Root and 5th
Diminished triad
This contains a m3 between both the Root and 3rd AND the 3rd and 5th - resulting in a diminished 5th between Root and 5th.
Roman numerals
I, IV, V7
ii, iii, vi
viio
Key of F Major
F, Bb, C7
gm, am, dm
e diminished




Interval and Triad Reference
Major Keys
Degree Function
Tonic
Supertonic
Mediant
Sub-dominant
Dominant
Sub-mediant
Leading Tone
Tonic
Scale Degree
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
1
Solfege
Do
Re
Mi
Fa
Sol
La
Ti
Do
Example
In The Key of
G Major
G
A
B
C
D
E
F#
G
(* Half steps between 3-4 and 7-1 are shaded.  The remaining consecutive intervals are whole steps.)
TRIADS
TRIAD
I
ii
iii
IV
V7
Vi
viio
I
Triad
Placement

5
3
R

5
3
1

D
B
G

6
4
2

E
C
A

7
5
3

F#
D
B

1
6
4

G
E
C
4
2
7
5
C
A
F#
D

3
1
6

B
G
E

4
2
7

C
A
F#

5
3
1

D
B
G
Example
In The Key of
G Major
G
am
bm
C
D7
em
f#dim
G
Every Triad has a Root, Third, and Fifth.  The Root is rooted in the scale degree upon which the triad is built. For instance the Root of a IV triad is 4th degree, the 3rd of a IV triad is 6th degree, and the 5th of the IV triad is 1st degree. When applied to the Key of G Major we discover that our IV chord is a C major chord as its root is built upon C (the 4th degree of the G Major scale - The 3rd of this chord is E and the 5th is G.)
Three types of Triads in a Major Key
Triad Classifications
MAJOR TRIADS
These contain a M3 between the Root and 3rd but a m3 between the 3rd and 5th  - resulting in a P5 between Root and 5th
minor Triads
These contain a m3 between the Root and 3rd but a M3 between the 3rd and 5th - resulting in a P5 between Root and 5th
Diminished triad
This contains a m3 between both the Root and 3rd AND the 3rd and 5th - resulting in a diminished 5th between Root and 5th.
Roman numerals
I, IV, V7
ii, iii, vi
viio
Key of G Major
G, C, D7
am, bm, em
f# diminished




Interval and Triad Reference
Major Keys
Degree Function
Tonic
Supertonic
Mediant
Sub-dominant
Dominant
Sub-mediant
Leading Tone
Tonic
Scale Degree
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
1
Solfege
Do
Re
Mi
Fa
Sol
La
Ti
Do
Example
In The Key of
__ Major
__
__
__
__
__
__
__
__
(* Half steps between 3-4 and 7-1 are shaded.  The remaining consecutive intervals are whole steps.)
TRIADS
TRIAD
I
ii
iii
IV
V7
Vi
viio
I
Triad
Placement

5
3
R

5
3
1



6
4
2



7
5
3



1
6
4


4
2
7
5


3
1
6


4
2
7



5
3
1


Example
In The Key of
__ Major
__
__m
__m
__
__7
__m
__dim
__
Every Triad has a Root, Third, and Fifth.  The Root is rooted in the scale degree upon which the triad is built. For instance the Root of a IV triad is 4th degree, the 3rd of a IV triad is 6th degree, and the 5th of the IV triad is 1st degree. When applied to the Key of G Major we discover that our IV chord is a C major chord as its root is built upon C (the 4th degree of the G Major scale - The 3rd of this chord is E and the 5th is G.)
Three types of Triads in a Major Key

Triad Classifications
MAJOR TRIADS
These contain a M3 between the Root and 3rd but a m3 between the 3rd and 5th  - resulting in a P5 between Root and 5th
minor Triads
These contain a m3 between the Root and 3rd but a M3 between the 3rd and 5th - resulting in a P5 between Root and 5th
Diminished triad
This contains a m3 between both the Root and 3rd AND the 3rd and 5th - resulting in a diminished 5th between Root and 5th.
Roman numerals
I, IV, V7
ii, iii, vi
viio
Key of __ Major