How to Practice Music Theory Rudiments 2

Some variations on the exercise to learn pitch-related rudiments.

So you have challenged yourself for a few weeks, and are now capable of doing the music theory rudiments exercise under 5 or even 3 minutes. Great! Let’s turn the difficulty level up a notch.

There are three derivatives based on the original that you can try playing with to keep yourself interested and excited. Each of them incorporates an additional rule into the existing game. The rules are:

  1. Direction.
  2. Interval.
  3. Displacement.

Let’s take a look at what they are.


This one is straightforward. Rather than writing C D E F G A B C, reverse the order, C B A G F E D C.

Does that look any less familiar? Practice until it doesn’t.


This is a major one.

We were writing pitch names consecutively, where notes are arranged by their sequential order within an octave. Now try expanding the gap between each of them.

Write every other pitch names until all seven are written, e.g. C E G B D F A. That looks like a chord in the tertian harmonic language.

What happens if we skip every two or three notes?

Read up on quartal and quintal harmony if you are interested.


So far, we’ve been constructing scales from the tonic, but we don’t need to constrain ourselves from exploring other possibilities. By shifting the note sequence of a scale, we can experiment with other notes being the tonic of that scale.

For example, by shifting sequence of C major scale by one to the left, we get D E F G A B C D. Now we have what’s called a musical mode, and in this case, the D Dorian mode, but the name is not as important as the concept itself.

Because major scales contain seven different pitches, we can build seven different modes from it. They have have different sonic characters, so play with all of them.


As you can see, becoming familiar with the major scale automatically grants us access to more complicated musical concepts, such as chords and modes, we only need to apply a simple variation to understand them. Image what possibilities awaits when we combine several variations together.