Today’s notes contain a mini-music lesson just for you—addressing the concept of tonality.   If you have a piano at home, you might like to print out this email and read it while seated at the keyboard! But first… 

This week, you and your child will be changing bars on the glockenspiel! Locate your “extra” bar which is engraved with a small flat sign. (The flat sign looks like a squished up lower case b.) This is the b-flat bar and will be used to replace the b bar.   A flat  in music notation means to lower the sound by one-half step. 

And now—a little information on tonality as it relates to the glockenspiel and the piano: 

With the regular b bar in place, we have been playing songs in the key of C Major, using the notes c, d, e, f, g, a, b, and c. The C Major tonality consists of pitches beginning and ending on c with a specific order and relationship among those tones as follows: whole, whole, half, whole, whole, whole, half.  

You can relate this to a piano keyboard by considering a half step as the distance from any one key to the very next—either white or black. A whole step is two half steps combined.  If you start on the white key which is just left of the two black keys, you will be in the key of C, and all the white keys are in this key.  That’s a lot of keys! 

With the b-flat bar replacing the b bar, it is now possible to play songs in the key of F Major. The pitches in this key consist of: f, g, a, b-flat, c, d, e, and f.  By again checking the piano keyboard, you will see that the order of half and whole steps remains the same as in C Major; however, the starting pitch has changed, thus requiring the alteration of the b to b-flat.  On the piano, the beginning of this key will start on the white key located just left of the 3 black keys, and the 3rd black key will be played instead of the white key just to the right of it.


Your child will now be able to play “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” on the glockenspiel in the key of F Major. The music is written out on Activity Page 14a.   But the students are so familiar with this song, I’ll BET that they can just figure out the whole song just by singing the song, and using their musical memory as they explore the sounds on the glockenspiel.  We tried in class this week, and and one of the girls said, “… just go down the notes”.  She recognized the “how I wonder what you are” is just playing each key by steps down from C.  That’s when we realized that the regular b key just didn’t sound right.  Right away, Caleb knew they were going to get the extra key they’ve been waiting for.  These students are so quick!  I LOVE the sparkle in their eyes when they discover musical concepts on their own!


If you would like more information on tonality, please feel free to talk with me after class or email me!