Major Minor

About Major Minor Music Mini Course

MajMin IconThe Major Minor Music Mini Course intended to help music humanities students learn the hear the difference between major and minor. It is divided into two primary parts: lessons and trainers. There are seven lessons that provide basic explanations of important concepts related to hearing major and minor. In the lessons, you have the opportunity to practice listening through the use of audio, video and graphical examples. This mini course uses midi generated music and music from a variety of composers and detailed animations and illustrations of musical concepts and terms. Building through a number of intermediary stages, the goal will be to learn to distinguish between pieces written in major and minor keys. The focus will not be on acquiring concepts but on developing listening skills.

The main learning experience will take place in trainers in which you will have the opportunity to practice listening skills. Although each lesson will present the concepts needed to develop that lesson's skills, it will be through practice that the most important learning takes place. In the training environments you will be played a brief example: an interval, a scale, a chord, a cadence, or an excerpt from a piece of music. You will then be asked to identify the example as either major or minor. After your response, you will have the opportunity to hear the example again as many times as you like. A running score will be kept, and you should continue to use the training environment until you feel comfortable with your ability to reliably make accurate identifications. This kind of learning is best done a little at a time; fifteen minutes a day in a training environment over the course of four days will probably do you much more good than an hour all at once.

This mini course will draw on a number of basic musical concepts. Columbia students should familiarize themselves with the Sonic Glossary entries Interval, Third, Octave and Scale before taking this mini course. You don't have to master all of the details, but you should be conversant with the main concepts.

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This project was developed by the Columbia Center for New Media Teaching and Learning (CCNMTL) and the Music Humanities Department at Columbia University.

Mobile Version (v.3.0)
The Major Minor Music Mini Course was adapted for mobile platforms in the summer 2012. This new version utilizes the jQuery Mobile framework, new media files, and HTML5. (Please note that current versions of Firefox do not play MP3 files using HTML5 tags.)

Project Manager: Maurice Matiz
Programmer (summer intern): Gabe Jacobs, (Tufts '15)
Graphics: Marc Raymond

Original Content and Versions:
Columbia University Music Humanities Faculty: Ian Bent, John Ito
CCNMTL Executive Producers: Frank Moretti, Maurice Matiz
CCNMTL Project Manager: Kristen Sosulski
Technology & Interface Design: John Ito, Ben Johnston, Kristen Sosulski
Music, Animations & Illustrations Production: John Ito, Maurice Matiz
Evaluation and Quality Assurance: Daylene Morrell

Release History
Version 3.0 - 8/2012
Version 2.0 - 8/2001
Version 1.0 - 9/1999

Copyright 2001, 2012 The Columbia Center for New Media Teaching and Learning, Columbia University in the City of New York.