The M3 guitar - The Roadworks

The Roadworks

It is particularly after dark that you find long stretches of road with all but one lane closed. People are working in the middle of the night in order to minimise disruption. It is a dirty job but somebody has got to do it.

Notes, Chords, Progressions


We are all familiar with the look of a piano, and anybody even vaguely familiar with notes and harmony knows that the white keys make up the C major scale. In addition, the note C serves as a kind of anchor, or reference, upon which we have based our musical notation. If you see a flat (b), or a sharp (#), on a piece of sheet music, you know it corresponds to one of the black keys on the piano (there are exceptions to this rule but they are not relevant to the point I want to make in this section). I would like to argue that, being stuck with the fact that the C major scale defines the sharps and the flats, it is more logical to use Ab, or D, as our anchor note. Why? Because the C major scale is symmetric around Ab and D.

I like to think of the twelve notes as being mapped out on a clock with Ab at midnight. The C scale, which is symmetrical around the vertical axis, then read alphabetically clockwise from the top.

In this clock-notation intervals are easily handled. What is the time five hours after 2pm? 7pm. You can work that out very quickly. What is a fourth up from Bb? Eb. Can you work that out just as quickly, or even quicker? If yes, then stick to your own system. Personally, I find the visual translation from times to notes much simpler than learning the relationships between pairs of notes by heart.