Adventist Youth Honors Answer Book/Arts and Crafts/Music (General Conference)

Music (General Conference)
Arts and Crafts
General Conference
Skill Level 1
Year of Introduction: 1929

1. Play or sing a scale and know its composition.


Scales are an important building block of music. They are the basis of melodies and chords. Without knowing your scales, you are like a car mechanic without his tools.

What are scales? A good way to define a scale is to list the following characteristics:

  • A scale is an organized series of pitches
  • A scale utilizes sharps and flats, when necessary
  • A scale consist of a series of notes that differ in sound
  • A scale is linked to the concept of "Keys" in that a song which utilizes a given scale is said to be in that key (For example: "Mary had a little lamb in C major").

A major scale has 8 tones. The (C major scale) is: C-D-E-F-G-A-B-C.

These notes in the major scale form a pattern of steps between notes called whole tones, or semitones. On a piano keyboard semitones are from key to key with no keys in between, whole tones always skip a key with one key in between.

The major scale is made up of a pattern of two whole tones, followed by a semitone, followed by three whole tones, ending with one more semitone.

This illustration shows the difference between whole tones and semitones on a piano keyboard.


Notice how the whole tones skip a key on the keyboard, and semitones do not. Also you can see that two semitones makes up a whole tone. Whole tones and semitones are types of intervals.

The natural minor scale has a whole tone semitone pattern of whole tone, semitone, whole tone, whole tone, semitone, whole tone, whole tone.

Other scales such as melodic minor, harmonic minor, pentatonic, and whole tone have different patterns of whole tones and semitones.

2. Write a scale in both treble and bass clef.


In order to write a scale on your own, you are going to need to study and understand a few musical terms. The following sections will help you better understand the musical theory that makes up a scale.



The word clef is used to describe the symbol at the beginning of the set of five lines on which notes are printed. This symbol tells the player what the notes are going to be within the five lines. In piano music both Treble and Bass clefs are used. Usually the pianists left hand plays the lower notes in the bass clef with his left hand, and the upper notes in the treble clef with his right hand.

This illustration shows a note called middle C. The note drawn in the bass clef is exactly the same note as the one drawn in the treble clef.


The set of five lines on which the notes are drawn is called a staff.

Note Names


The notes on the treble clef have different names for the notes within the lines or on the lines of the staff than the note in the bass clef. These diagrams show the names of the notes in between and on the staff lines for both treble and bass clef.


Notes names can be seen on a piano keyboard as well. The notes played with the black keys on a piano keyboard are named with the note letter plus a symbol to indicate if the note is above or below the note named by a semitone. The   symbol means the note is a semitone above the note name and is called sharp. The   symbol means the note is a semitone lower and is called a flat.


Notice how the black keys can each be named with two names. This is called enharmonic spelling.

Sharps and Flats


Sharps and flats are notated (drawn on the staff) by placing the sharp or flat symbol in front of the note on the staff. This example shows the notes D, E, F , and G.


Scale Root


The note that the scale starts on is called the root note. Below you can see that the first note for the C Major Scale is the note named "C"


Scale Degrees


The word degree in music simply means a number that has been assigned to each note within a scale. In the C major scale below you can see that the scale degree of E is 3, F is 4, and so on.

The scale degree number 1 will not always be assigned to the note "C". It is assigned to the starting note of the scale or key of the piece is composed in. For example a song in the key of "G" would have the scale degree 1 assigned to the note "G".


Based on what you now know about scale degrees, note names, clefs, and using the whole tone / semitone patterns shown above, you should now have enough information to write a scale in both treble and bass cleff.

3. Know a half-tone, a whole tone, a third, a fifth, and an octave.


A half tone is the same as a half step (1/12 of an octave). It is basically the distance of two notes immediately next to each other, such as C to C# and B to C. A whole tone is the same as a whole step. It is the distance of two notes separated by another, such as C to D (C# is in between) and B to C# (C is in between). A third is an interval of three degrees (C and E). A fifth is an interval of five degrees (C and G). An octave is an interval of eight degrees—the same note eight notes higher or lower (Middle C and C).

4. Distinguish a march from a waltz and give the time of each.


'Waltz', or valse from the German term, is a piece of music in triple meter, most often 3/4 but sometimes 3/8 or 6/4. A waltz has a 1.2.3. - 1.2.3. count and (generally) a slow tempo. Waltzes typically have one chord per measure, with the root of the chord as the first note.

Classical composers traditionally supplied music for dancing when required, and Schubert's waltzes were written for household dancing, without any pretense at being art music. However, Chopin's 19 waltzes (five he wrote as a child), along with his mazurkas and polonaises, were clearly not intended to be danced to. They marked the adoption of the waltz and other dance forms as serious composition genres.

Other notable contributions to the waltz genre in classical music include 16 by Brahms (originally for piano duet), and Ravel's Valses nobles et sentimentales for piano and La Valse for orchestra.

The waltz style is found in nearly every kind of European and Euro-American folk music and also in classical music. Although waltzes are often associated with the dance of the same name, not all waltzes were composed as dances: some were written for concert performance.

The waltz had once held so much importance in European music circles that great waltz composers received the honorary title of “Waltz King”. The title came with an accompanying “royal staff”, a decorated silver baton which was passed from musician to musician. Johann Strauss Junior, the most famous “Waltz King”, received the title frequently.

5. What is a quarter note? A half note? A whole note? Draw the symbols of each.


The names of the types of notes come from the fraction of a measure that each note gets in bar of music in four four time. In the 4/4 time signature, the top 4 indicates how many beats are in each bar of music, and the lower 4 indicates that a quarter note gets one beat. Since four quarter notes would fill the entire bar, they are called quarter notes. A half note would get two beats, or ½ of the measure, and a whole note gets 4 beats or the whole measure.

Quarter notes have a solid note head with a stem attached.


Half notes have a hollow note head with a stem attached.


Whole notes have a hollow note head, but no stem at all.


6. Name five great composers and one composition of each, including an oratorio, a piano composition, and a song.


Bach, Johann Sebastian (1685-1750)


He was the youngest son of Johann Ambrosius Bach. When he was ten he was orphaned and went to live with his elder brother Johann Christoph. Bach was more well known when he was alive for being a great organ player than for being a composer.

Bach had three main jobs in his career. His first job was to be organist and composer in the court of the duke of Weimar. This job brought him fame as an organ virtuoso, and during his time in this job he composed much of his keyboard music.

Bach's second job was to provide music to the Prince of Anhalt-Cöthen. Since the prince liked a type of music called chamber music Bach was kept busy composing this type for the prince.

When he was 38, Bach became the cantor for the St. Thomas church in Leipzig. As cantor he got to compose all the music for four churches each week. He also composed music for special occasions such as weddings and funerals. He also picked, trained, and conducted the choirs for all four churches and later took on the job of directing a university musical group that gave regular concerts.

He is considered one of the greatest religious composers in history. He believed that music must serve the Glory of God. One of his most famous works is a prelude piece based on the well known hymn tune “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God”.

Another of Bach's best known works is a series of six concertos called the Brandenburg Concertos. These concertos are interesting in the fact that they feature the entire orchestra section by section instead of one or two solo players.

Bach once wrote - “The aim and final reason of all music should be nothing else but the Glory of God and the refreshment of the spirit”.

Handel, George Frederic (1685-1759)


Handel was born in Halle, Germany. His dad was reasonably well off, and did not think that music was a suitable profession for George. He wanted his son to be a lawyer.

After only one year in university, Handel moved to Hamburg, where he joined the opera orchestra playing violin. He composed his first opera at the age of twenty which was a big hit. He spent the next three years composing opera in Italy where Opera was really popular.

He moved to England after this and took a job as composer of opera music for a company trying to bring Italian opera to England. Even though Handel composed some very good opera music at this job, it never really got as popular in England as it was in Italy so the company failed.

Handel then started composing a type of music called Oratorio. Oratorios started out as sacred opera, but changed by dropping the acting parts, the stage scenery and backgrounds, and the costumes. Oratorios became a large piece of music that told a biblical story. Often these were grand works using an orchestra, large choir, organ, and soloist singers.

Handel's most famous oratorio is called “Messiah”, from which almost everyone can remember the “Hallelujah Chorus”. When Handel had finished that chorus, he tearfully told a servant “I did think I did see all Heaven before me and the Great God Himself!”

Beethoven, Ludwig van (1770-1827)


Beethoven was born in Bonn, Germany. His father and grandfather were both singers at the court of the prince of Cologne. By age eleven and a half he was the assistant organist at the court chapel and by twelve he had published some music.

Beethoven was then shattered to realize that he was loosing his hearing. By 1802 at the age of 32, he had decided to retire, but after a while the will to create music was so strong that Beethoven continued to compose without hearing. He envisioned the musical beauty all the more vividly in his mind since he could not hear it.

His two best know compositions are his Fifth and Ninth Symphonies. The entire fifth symphony is united as a musical idea by the four notes heard at the beginning of the piece. His ninth symphony is known for its ending piece which includes a choir singing “Ode to Joy”.

Chopin, Frédéric François (1810-1849)


Chopin is considered the national composer of Poland, even though he was only half polish. His father was French, but had emigrated to Poland and married Frédéric's mother.

He was taught music in Warsaw, Poland, but left for Paris at the age of 21 and spent the rest of his career there in France.

Chopin is best known as a composer of music for the piano. He is, in fact, called “the poet of the piano”. A piano in a home in Chopin's time was the entertainment center for the family.

His music is known for performing it with the characteristic of tempo-rubato - “borrowed time”. The accompaniment, usually in the left hand, was played in strict time, while above it, the right hand melody might fall behind or hurry ahead a little bit. In either case, the borrowing had to be paid back by the end of the phrase.

Chopin wrote a number of piano pieces called Nocturnes, meaning “Night Music”. He wrote his most well known Nocturne (in C minor) in 1841.

Schubert, Franz (1797 – 1828)


The son of a schoolmaster, he showed an extraordinary childhood aptitude for music, studying the piano, violin, organ, singing and harmony.

Schubert composed symphonies and chamber music, but is best known for composing over six hundred Lieder (German for “songs”). These songs were composed as a vocal solo with piano accompaniment.

Many were written using the words of existing poets and poems in this time period. The musics melody and accompaniment were written with an attempt to portray the themes and ideas of the poetry in music as well.

One of Schubert's famous songs is called der Erlkönig, which is written to an eerie poem by Goethe, based on a legend in which anyone who is touched by the king of the elves will die (der Erlkönig is German for the elf king).

The way that Schubert wrote the music to portray the poem is very interesting. The piano sounds the horses hooves at a gallop while the singer sings the voices of the characters in the poem. This song is often listed as an example of this type of music.

Mozart, Wolfgang Amadeus (1756 - 1791)


Haydn, Joseph (1732 - 1809)


Tchaikovsky, Pyotr Ilyich (1840 - 1893)


Many more composers articles have been written for wikipedia.


The Composers category in Wikipedia lists composers grouped by musical era.

7. Play with or without music or sing from memory 15 hymns (one verse or stanza each) and/or other sacred songs or choruses and list the composer of each.


8. Play or sing from memory one piece of good music other than those used in #7.


9. Do one of the following


For instrumentalists, be able to sight-read and play a moderately difficult piece of music. Explain all signs and terms in it.


Adventist Youth Honors Answer Book/Music/Sight read

For singers, show with baton or arm how to lead a group in singing compositions written in 3/4 and 4/4 time.


Adventist Youth Honors Answer Book/Music/Baton

10. Define orchestra and name at least five instruments in an orchestra.


The modern definition of the word Orchestra tends to refer to the ensemble of mixed instrumentalists playing classical music. When you think of an orchestra, you imagine seventy or eighty or more musicians dressed in black on stage. This was not always the case.

In the musical time period known as Renaissance times (1450–1600) these musical groups not only accompanied vocal music, but played supporting music for drama. Ensembles playing this music were formed from instruments as varied as the harpsichord, viol, lute, recorder, cornett, sackbut, and organ.

The orchestras seen in the Baroque period (1600–1750) began to get bigger. Previous to this, vocal music was the most important music, and instrumental music was less so. The ability of the craftsmen to build instruments had improved to the point that the finest violins ever built were made around this time.

The orchestra of this time centered around the harpsichord. A harpsichord was like the piano of today, except a mechanical pick plucked the strings like a guitar, rather than a hammer hitting the strings like a piano. Violins, violas, cellos, and bass violins provided string sounds. Woodwind instruments like recorders, flutes, bassoons, and oboes, added color to the sound. Trumpets were used in orchestras as well, but were long natural trumpets without the more modern invention of valves. The timpani was the main percussion of the period.

Orchestras of the Baroque period were small by modern standards, numbering only about twenty to thirty players.

The next musical period is called the Classical period (1750–1825). During this period the orchestra grew to include 30-40 players. The brass section grew to include horns and trombones. Woodwinds included piccolos, clarinets, and contra bassoons (bass).

The Romantic musical period (1820–1900) brought new changes to the orchestra and it's instruments. The industrial revolution allowed for technical advances in the fabrication of instruments, especially the brass section with the invention of valved instruments. This allowed composers much more freedom in the parts they could write for all the instruments.

The tuba, bass clarinet, and many percussion instruments were added. This required additional string players to make the orchestra sound balanced. In his Symphony of a Thousand, Mahler had wrote for an orchestra containing one hundred and thirty musicians so it is clear to see with what enthusiasm composers explored the limits of possibility.

A current, professional symphony orchestra usually contains about seventy or eighty instrumentalists selected to fill the four sections of a modern orchestra; Brass, Woodwind, String, and Percussion. This will vary depending on the music being performed.

Brass Instruments








11. Do a biographical sketch on a famous hymn writer and orally present it to a group.


Biographies of some hymn writers can be found at the following links.

Wikipedia Christian Hymnwriters

Cyber Hymnal

Christian Biography Resources