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"Harry Potter and the Steps of Wholehalf - Part 1"
Hey everybody, welcome to Tonal Trends dot com. This vlog’s called “Harry Potter and the Steps of Wholehalf - Part 1.”
In today’s video we’re going to have some fun by making up Acronyms for the Whole-steps and Half-steps in all 7 of the Diatonic Scales, otherwise known as the ‘modes.’
Real quick, all a “Diatonic Scale” is, is any chain of seven notes from the circle of fifths played root-to-root in scale order. You can sample all the modes by playing the 7 white-note scales starting on each of the 7 white keys on a keyboard.
That’s all I’ll explain for now, but if you want more info about what diatonic means, google the term, and somewhere like Wikipedia or someplace will fill you in.
Okay first off: what is a whole-step, and what is a half-step?
Well, think of it like this: a half-step is putting one of your feet on the next stair, and a whole-step is putting two feet on the next stair. Likewise, a half-step in music is playing one chromatic note up or down, and a whole-step is playing two chromatic notes above or below where you are on the musical staircase of music…ness.
Alright, now that we’re totally “wholes and halves” experts—on to the scale acronyms.
We’ll start with the Major scale steps, since that’s the most popular scale, and, it’s the scale responsible for this vlog’s existence in the first place.
So, back in high school, my friends Paul and Sean came up with this acronym for the Major scale steps. It went like this:
“Why Would Harry Wear White Woolen Hats?”
And I always thought that was a really cool way to remember the intervals between major scale notes—oh by the way, here’s a link to Paul’s youtube channel, it’s got a lot of viral video comedy bits you should watch if you like funny videos:
Anyways, I didn’t really know about the Harry Potter books in high school, but in college I started to read a few, and at the time I was also learning about all these new scales, cause, you know, it was a music college. And then everything just sort of fell into place.
Want to hear what I came up with?
Okay first, here’s another Acronym for the Ionian mode, more commonly referred to as the “Major Scale:”
And for fun, let’s sing them too! The main hitch though, when you try to sing these scale steps is: there’s no word for the note where you already are before you take the first step. So, to solve this problem, we’ll just sing the scale’s name for that particular root note, before we sing the steps.
Alright here we go:
“Ionian AKA Major - When Would Harry Wave Wands? While at Hogwarts.”
Moving on, the next mode, and its acronym, is Dorian--and let me just quick mention these blue and orange underlines, they highlight the steps that are different than their Major and Minor cousins. So like here, we see that Lydian has a one note difference compared to Major, illustrated in the fact that it’s 3rd and 4th steps are flip-floped, or down here, Locrian is similar to Minor, except two of its notes are different, illustrated by the fact that these guys, and these guys are flip-floped.
“Dorian - Wormtail Hides While We Watch Horcruxes Whither.”
The next mode starts on the note E if you’re using a keyboard:
“Phrygian - Hedwig Will Wait, While Harry Writes Well.”
Phrygian, cool. Oh, by the way, in case you’re wondering, it is possible to sing these scale-step acronyms backwards too. It’s just that you end up sounding kind of like Yoda from Star Wars, you know, so like for this one, Phrygian, it’s like:
“Well Writes Harry, While Wait, Will Hedwig, MmMm, Phrygian!”
So yeah, that’s kind of weird, but I think most people think Yoda is cool, so then it should be all right. Okay, next up is Lydian.
“Lydian - Weasley's Wizarding Wheezes Hawks Witchcraft and Wizardry Humors.”
Next up is Mixolydian, which starts on the G of the keyboard.
“Mixolydian - the Whomping Willow Hurts! it Wants to Whack Harry and Weasley.”
Next is the Aeolian, or the Minor scale. Oh, and now that we’re here, I want to say that I don’t have a good explanation, or at least a short explanation, why the Ionian and Aeolian mode scales are the most popular scales, and why they became so popular that they got their own fancy specific names “Major and Minor” and the other tonalities were left out. But, maybe it’s because Ionian and Aeolian start with vowels—you know it’s like “Because they like to say ‘Salsa,’” or something like that.” Or, some people say it’s Bach’s fault, but that’s a whole other thing. Anyways, if you’re interested in that particular rabbit hole, you know what to do: Google search. Okay:
“Aeolian AKA Natural Minor - When Harry Waves Wands His Wrist Whirls.”
Alright, last but not least…well actually, yeah: least, inasmuch as Locrian is by far the least used mode of all time.
I mean, musicians use Locrian about as often as Gryffindors use their critical thinking skills before charging into seemingly heroic situations involving impossible odds and certain doom—that’s how little people use Locrian. Okay, here we go:
“Locrian - Hagrid Will Wash Hippogriffs With Wet Washcloths.”
Okay, sweet, we’re done! Take that Voldemort!!!
Come back later for the next Harry Potter scale steps acronym video, in which we’ll be looking at the other minor scale types, melodic and harmonic, as well as some more exotic scales like the ‘Gypsy’ scale and the ‘Hindu’ scale.
Thanks for watching, please like us on the social media sites, and we’ll see you next time!