# Lesson video

In progress...

Hello, and welcome to your music lesson today, my name is Miss Al-Hanoush and I'm super excited about today's lesson because we're going to be improvising, composing, and writing down our notation once we've composed it, so what are we waiting for? Let's find out what we need in this lesson and then get started with a keyboard warmup.

In today's lesson, you will need a piece of paper, a pencil, your body, and a keyboard, or if you don't have a keyboard, you will need a keyboard app.

I am about to use a free virtual instrument called Virtual Piano, if you would like to join me and use a virtual instrument, please ask your parent or carer to help you find one.

Mine is Virtual Piano, which looks like this, and I can play all of the pentatonic notes on here that we're going to be using today.

You will also need a quiet space to work in today, and you will also need to turn off any apps or notifications that might come through on any electronic devices.

So if you need to pause the video now to go and get yourself ready, and get all the equipment you need, please do so, and then resume once you're done.

Here is the agenda for today's lesson, you're going to begin by warming up on the keyboard with some improvisation skills, you're then going to revisit the tonic and dominant.

You'll then compose balanced question and answer phrases, and end the lesson by notating your composition.

Let's warm up our fingers by improvising some phrases on the keyboard, can you remember where you need to put your right hand fingers? Your thumb needs to go on F, your second finger needs to go on G, your third needs to go on A, and you can rest your other two fingers.

What about your left hand? Your thumb needs to go on D, your second finger needs to go on C, and you can rest the rest of your fingers on the others.

I'm going to play a two bar question in 3/4, I would like you to respond with an answer.

Here's an example, one, two, three.

That's my question, might be my answer.

We're going to do it twice, so I'll play a question, you play the answer, I'll play another question, you play the answer.

Two bars each, here we go.

One, two, three.

One, two, three, four, five, six.

One, two, three, four, five, six.

Well done if you managed to keep that going in time.

Can you remember from lesson six, what we said your answer should end on? Remember, we're in F major.

That's right, it should end on your tonic note, which is F.

This time, when you play your answer, I would like you to try and end it on an F.

Again, two questions, two answers, here we go.

One, two, three.

One, two, three, four, five, six.

One, two, three, four, five, six.

Did you manage to end on F? Well done if you did.

Do you remember what we said you should end your questions on? I did it the first time, but I didn't the second.

We should end our questions on the dominant.

What's the dominant in F major? Well done, if you can remember that it's C.

We're going to play another two questions and two answers.

This time, I'm going to make sure that my questions end on C whilst you make sure that your answers end on F.

Here we go.

One, two, three.

One, two, three, four, five, six.

One, two, three, four, five six.

If I end my question on the dominant, it makes it sound unfinished, a little bit like a question needs an answer.

If you end on the tonic, that makes your answer sound finished, which is what we want, we want a finished answer with a full stop at the end.

Now that you've warmed up with some improvisation skills on the keyboard, you're now going to revisit the tonic and dominant.

Take a look at the keyboard on screen, can you remember from lesson six, which degrees of the scale, the tonic and dominant pitches are? Well done, if you remembered that the tonic is the first degree of the scale, and the dominant is the fifth degree of the scale.

Again, look at my keyboard, which is my tonic pitch? Remember the Roman numerals are there to help.

Brilliant, my tonic pitch is a C, and we know that because the Roman numeral one is underneath it.

If I'm in C, what is my dominant note? So remember dominant is a fifth degree, how would you work it out? Again, well done if you said G, how did you work that out? Well, C is one and our dominant is our fifth, so one, two, three, four, five lands us on G.

Have a look at the keyboard, which is my tonic pitch? Well done if you said D, D's got the Roman numeral of one underneath it, which tells us that it is our tonic.

So if I'm in D, what would my dominant be? Fantastic, if you said A, and how did you work that out? Well if D is one, E would be two, F is three, G would be four, and then A would be our fifth, our dominant.

One more, this time you will need to work out the Roman numerals yourself.

This time, we're in A, what are the tonic and dominant notes? Well done, if you said that the tonic was A.

A would be number one, our tonic, which means that our dominant, count up five, one, two, three, four, five, lands us on E as our dominant.

So why are our tonic and dominant notes important? Well, our dominant note, the fifth degree of the scale, sometimes makes things sound unfinished, and this can be really helpful when we want to create a question.

Questions always need an answer, so they sound unfinished, it's good to end a question on a dominant degree.

Whereas our tonic note is the first degree of the scale, it's our most important notes, and by using it at the end of a phrase, it makes things sound finished.

We end on the tonic degree of the scale, a bit like finishing your question, with an answer with a full stop.

Let's just recap this in the song "Fly Peacock, Fly" that we looked at in lesson six.

As it plays, I would like you to think about, what does phrase one end on, the tonic or the dominant? And what does phrase two end on, the tonic or the dominant? Remember we're in F major pentatonic.

What did you answer? So what does phrase one end on? Here's the ending of phrase one, it ends on a C, and we can remember that with face in the space, F, A, C.

Is C our tonic, or our dominant? It's our dominant, well done, because we're in F major, so count up from F, F, G, A, B, C is our fifth dominant.

And what about phrase two? Here's our last note in phrase two, it's an F, which means it's our tonic, well done.

And that makes this phrase sound really complete, okay, so we have our question that ends on the dominant, and our answer that ends on the tonic.

So what happens if I play a tonic note at the end of phrase one, in "Fly Peacock, Fly", instead of the dominant? And what happens if I end on the dominant instead of the tonic, in the second phrase of "Fly Peacock, Fly"? Have a listen.

Does that sound like it's finished, or does it sound like it needs something else to be added onto that, again? It really needs to be resolved onto our tonic, composers don't generally end phrases on the dominant, unless there's something else about happen.

I'm going to model a question and answer phrase to you, I want you to tell me whether you think this is a good example, or a weaker example, and why.

Was that a good example, or a weak example? What did my question end on? It ended on the tonic.

And what did my answer end on? It ended on the dominant, which made that sound a little bit unfinished, so it was a little bit of a weaker example.

Have a listen to this one, what do you think? Did that sound finished? Not really, again, what did it end on? It ended on this D, so it didn't end on my tonic, and therefore it didn't make my phrase sound completely finished.

Okay, here's the third and final example, is this a strong example, or a weaker example? And why? Did you hear what my question ended on? It was my dominant.

And what about my answer? It ended on the tonic, and therefore, well done, if you said that that was a stronger example of a question and answer phrase.

The last example was the best example, because the answer phrase ended on the tonic, making it sound finished.

Whereas my question ended on the dominant, making it sound like it needed the next step, or an answer.

For your next pause task, on your piece of paper write down the instructions, for how to find the tonic and dominant degrees of a scale.

Can you use your explanation to explain it to somebody in your household, and do they understand? Try testing them on the following scales F, C, and A.

If they get it straight away, well done, your explanations must be really clear.

If they didn't, maybe revisit lesson six and listen to some of my explanation to help you rewrite your instructions.

As an extension task, can you improvise your own question and answer phrases, making sure that your question ends on the dominant and your answer ends on the tonic? What happens if you do it the other way around, what do you notice? Pause the video to complete your task, and then resume once you're finished.

Having revisited the tonic and dominant, you're now going to compose balanced question and answer phrases.

So far, we have been improvising our question and answer melodies.

Improvising means to make it up on the spot, composing is when you actually write the music.

You structure your ideas, and you think about how you will incorporate all of the musical elements.

We are now going to focus on composing our question and answers, rather than improvising them.

Let's revisit "Fly Peacock, Fly" and "Amazing Grace", how many bars is in each phrase of "Fly Peacock, Fly"? Well remembered, it's two bars.

Here's bar one and here's bar two.

And again, here's bar one and here's bar two in our second phrase.

What about in "Amazing Grace"? How many bars is each phrase? Well done, we have a four bar phrase, for each phrase in "Amazing Grace".

We can work that out because our phrase begins on the up beat.

So we have two quavers, which equals one beat, we then have one bar, a second bar, a third bar, and then our phrase ends on our minim here, a two beat note.

So if we add our two beats to our one beat at the beginning, we actually get a four bar phrase, and the same happens here for our second phrase.

So we have one beat here and we add it here to make three beats, to our minim, and we get a four bar phrase.

So what is similar between "Fly Peacock, Fly" and "Amazing Grace", in terms of their phrasing? There is the same number of bars in the question, as there is in the answer, we call this a balanced phrase.

Let's see if we can compose some of our own balanced phrases.

I'm going to play you an example of a question and answer phrase, tell me whether it is a strong example or a weak example, and why.

One, two, three.

Was it a strong example or a weak example? Were my phrases balanced? No, they weren't balanced, so it sounded a little bit awkward and unfinished.

I also stopped halfway through and gave, there, a big pause, which didn't need to be there.

So my phrases weren't balanced, it didn't sound finished.

Did it sound balanced? Nope, my question was longer than my answer.

It also didn't end on my tonic note, so it didn't sound very finished.

Okay, here's another example, tell me whether it's weak or strong, and why.

One, two, three.

That was a strong example, so well done, if you said that, and why? Because it was balanced and I used the tonic note to end my phrase, and I used the dominant note to end my question.

This time, instead of improvising, I'm going to compose my question and answer phrases.

I'm going to think about how I want to begin my questions and how I want to end them.

I want to begin on my tonic note because that is the most important note in my piece.

And my tonic, in this case, is F, because we're in F major pentatonic, so I'm going to begin on an F.

I want my end of my question, to end on a dominant, and I want that to happen because we know that it sounds unfinished, so my dominant is down here.

The notes that I'm going to fill in between, I can have a play with, and see what I think sounds best.

So I'm going to have a go at creating a two bar question.

One, two, three.

It was okay, I'm going to have another go.

I preferred that one, let me play that again.

I'm happy with that, that's my question.

F, G, A, D, C.

That ended on the dominant.

Okay, what about my answer? I know that I want to use the same beginning as my question, because I know it's a strong beginning, and lots of folk music repeats itself, so I'm going to use the same as the beginning of my question.

But I don't want to go to my dominant because I know that my dominant makes it sound unfinished, I want to end my answer on my tonic note to make it sound finished.

So I'm going to use a similar rhythm, I'm going to keep my first three notes the same, but I'm going to play around with the others.

That's quite simple.

That's even better, a bit more interesting.

So now I've got F, G, A, D, F.

Let me try and play that in time with my metronome.

One, two, three.

That works.

Let's see if I can put my question and my answer together.

One, two, three, four, five, six.

That works, okay, they're both balanced phrases, let's put them together one after the other.

So my question and answers have ended up being four bars long each.

One, two, three, four, five, six.

One, two, three, four, five, six.

And there's nothing wrong with that, you can have however many bars you want, as long as they are balanced as a question and an answer.

Let's put that in time with the metronome, one, two, three.

The bits in the middle you can play around with, and decide what you think suits it best.

Remember to make sure that your phrases are balanced, you have the same number of bars in each phrase.

For your next pause task, can you compose your own two question and answer balanced phrases? Remember, for them to be balanced, they must have the same number of bars in each phrase, and don't forget to end your question on the dominant and your answer on the tonic.

Try and use a 3/4 time signature, and if it helps you can use the same rhythms that you use in your question, and in your answer, repeat rhythms, it's fine.

You can also borrow rhythms from the two songs, "Amazing Grace" and "Fly Peacock, Fly", if you like.

If you've got other household members available, you could compose the question, they could compose the answer, or vice versa.

And as an extension, could you start to attempt to write it using stave notation? You can play on your own instrument too.

Pause the video to complete your task and then resume once you're finished.

Now that you have composed some balanced question and answer phrases, we're going to see how you can notate your composition, using the notes on the stave.

For the next part of the lesson, we're going to be notating your compositions.

Now for this, you will need some stave paper, like I have here, where my stave lines are already drawn out for me.

But don't worry if you don't have stave paper, you can easily replicate it by using a ruler and just drawing out five lines, and making sure that the gaps between the lines are the same length.

So I've got my stave paper here, so I'm going to start.

If you're drawing it out, you will need at least two staves, so you can draw those out now and pause the video, and then resume again, once you've got those drawn out, if you like.

I'm going to continue as I've got mine already.

So, I need two staves, so I need one for my question and one for my answer, so I'm going to pick two here.

So I'm going to put question at the top here, and I'm going to put answer at the bottom one here.

And the first thing that I need to do is I need to draw a treble clef, because I know that my right hand has been playing on the keyboard, and my right hand on the keyboard has been playing above C, which is treble clef.

So here's my treble clef, and I'm going to draw one again, for my answer.

And the next thing that follows is what we call our key signature.

Now we've been playing in F major pentatonic, so the key signature actually has a B flat.

So I'm going to draw in my B flat on my middle line, which looks like a tiny B.

Don't worry too much about that, but it's a B flat in the key signature.

The next thing that happens, is our time signature, can you remember what our time signature was? That's right, we've been playing in 3/4, so I'm going to draw a 3/4 on both of these lines.

And now I've got the beginning of my piece of music.

So how long was my answer phrase and how long was my question phrase? Well, both of them were actually four bars long, so I'm going to draw in my bar lines, and I'm going to try and keep these very similar in shape and length.

So there's one, I'm going to draw them on both lines, there's my second, there's my third, and then my fourth, at the end.

So I can now accurately write in my question on my four bars, and I can write in my answer on my four bars.

Now, I remember that my last bar, I actually had a rest in there, and because we're in 3/4, I'm going to draw in a dotted minium rest, in both my question and my answer bars.

They look like little squares with a dot.

Okay, so I've got my dotted minim rests in my last bar.

Now, I know that my question ends on the dominant, and I know that my answer ended on the tonic.

So I know that I started to play them at the, kind of, the second half of bar two, and I know that they then went into bar three.

So when I counted it earlier, I actually have to play, we'll write in two minims, but actually they're tied over, because they lasted for four counts.

And then I need something in here to make this bar 3/4, at the moment it's only two beats, and I didn't play anything after my dominant, so I need to draw in a crotchet rest.

And I know I ended my answer on my tonic, so my tonic in F is F, so I'm going to draw in my F, and I did these for the same length that I did them in my question.

And again, my tie underneath, remember we saw a tie in "Amazing Grace", where the note went over the bar line? Okay, so you can hold the note down for the correct length.

And again, I need something here to make sure that this bar adds up to 3/4, so again, I need my crotchet rest there.

Okay, so now I need to fill in bars one of my question and my answer, and half of bar two there, as well.

So, do you remember when I said about keeping things very, very similar? So your question could be the same as your answer, for the first part, and that's what I did.

So I know that I started my question on a tonic note and it was F, and then I went up in step.

So I played a dotted crotchet, and then I played a quaver G, and then I played a crotchet A.

I then went down in pitch to my D, before landing on my dominant note.

So that was the beginning of my question, now here's the beauty that I kept my answer the same, so that actually is very, very easy for me to then draw in, so I can copy it from my question.

And you can do the same, if you kept the beginning of your question and your answer the same.

Notice how I'm doing this in pencil, as well, just in case I make any mistakes, so you can rub them out if you make mistakes.

So there you have it, there is my question and my answer written out in stave notation.

Don't worry if this takes you a little longer than it's taken me, I've had plenty of practise over the years, it might take you longer, so if it does, that's absolutely fine, don't worry about it.

I suggest using the help sheet in the downloadable resources to make sure that you've got the correct rhythms, and have a listen back to your piece and then try and work it out, get somebody at home to clap the pulse for you, so you can work out how long each of your pitches should be before you write them down.

My last tip is to make sure that you have got three beats in every bar, because we're in 3/4.

So can we add these up? So crotchet, plus my dot here, so that's one and a half.

Plus another half, so that equals two, plus my other crotchet, that's three, so I know that bar's correct in terms of the rhythm.

My next one, I've got a crotchet and a minim, so that, together, adds up to three.

Here I've got a minim and a crotchet rest, so again, that adds up to three.

And I've got my dotted minium rest here, which, again, adds up to three, and it's the same for my answer.

To double check how many beats you've got in the bar, as well, once you've written it down, and if you haven't got the right amount, you might need to go back and rejig it.

For your next pause task, can you notate your own two question and answer balanced phrases? Remember to use a pencil and draw the stave lines, or use manuscript paper.

Don't forget to write your treble clef at the beginning and your key signature.

You need to write in a 3/4 time signature and watch which way the stems go for your note heads.

You also need to make sure that you draw in your bar lines and use the notes from the F major pentatonic.

Once you've done it, if you've got household members that play instruments, can they perform from your sheet music? As an extension, could you create an accompaniment to fit? Or can you read your sheet music and use it to help perform your composition? You could also add expression and articulation, including dynamic markings, to make it even more interesting.

Pause the video to complete your task and resume once you're finished.

As we come to the end of this lesson, let's just recap the agenda.

You began today's lesson by improvising on the keyboard as a warmup, you then revisited the tonic and dominant.

You then composed some balanced question and answer phrases, and ended the lesson by notating your composition.

Wow, you have worked so hard today.

Here's a final pause point for you.

On your piece of paper, can you answer the following question? It was a question that was on the green screen, right at the beginning.

How do composers decide how to end a phrase? Take two minutes to answer the question, pause the video, and then resume, once you're finished, How did you get on? Did you say that when composers were making question phrases, they tend to end them on the dominant, and when they're creating answer phrases, they tend to end them on the tonic? And that's because the dominant makes something sound unfinished, whereas the tonic makes something sound finished.

Hopefully today has given you some ideas of how you can incorporate tonic and dominant notes into your future compositions.

Now we've come to the end of the lesson, don't forget to complete the quiz to show how much you have learnt today.