Memorizing vs Learning

Memorizing is a process of repetition whereby the measures are retained.[1]  Learning is a process of finding out what is there in the measures at hand. Paraphrasing may be a part of that process.  Memory then becomes automatic, and will be far more secure than just memorizing notes.

Learning may also be done with hierarchies;[2]chord name, identity, and function.

C         F          G         C

M        M        x          M

I           IV        V         I

The order of the above hierarchy may be changes according to what is more important at the time, but not necessary.  The second line shows the identity of the chords. In traditional theory there is no identifying symbol for the dominant, so ‘x’ is used here.  If ‘V7’ is used then the second line will look like this…

C         F          G         C

M        M        V7       M

I           IV        V         I

But ‘V’ is already used in the function[3]line, and the chart will make no sense. And, if the first line is combined with identities, the chart would look like this…

CM      FM      G7       CM

M        M        x          M

I           IV        V         I

The second line however, takes care of chord identities, and there is still the problem with the identity of the dominant (V) in the second, identity line.  If the dominant (V) is major there is no problem with the identity line…

C         F          G         C

M        M        M        M

I           IV        V         I

This then brings up the issue of the definition of the word ‘dominant’.  In the dictionary there is but one definition; the fifth note of a scale. But there mustbe a second definition.  There isn’t, so one must be created; 1. Dominant: the fifth note of a scale.  2. Dominant: a chord quality made up of the characteristic intervals of a major 3rdand minor 7th, and identified with the symbol, ‘x’.

Ralph Carroll Hedges, B.Ed., B.Mus., M.M.

[1]Memorizing is ‘parroting’.

[2]Hierarchy:a system or organization in which people or groups are ranked one above the other according to status or authority.

[3]Function: the position of a chord within a scale, expressed with Roman numerals.

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