Rapid Skill Development with the Cycle of Thirds

Created by
Max Maxwell

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THE FIRST THREE
STEPS

It is time to summarize your progress.
Below is a list of what you should know and be able to do so far:

 Step One: You MUST be able to recite the Cycle of Thirds both forward and backward as quickly and as easily as you can count from 1 to 10. The whole course depends on your mastery of Focal Point One. Step Two: You MUST know what type of third (Major or minor) is the distance between any two adjacent notes in the Cycle of Thirds. For example, you should be able to quickly name what type of third is the distance between A to C (minor 3rd), or G to B (Major 3rd) and so on. Knowing what type of third exists between each pair of adjacent notes in the Cycle of Thirds is going to be powerfully useful for the rest of the course. You must also be able to apply this knowledge to notes that are sharp or flat. For example, if A to C is a minor 3rd, then so A# to C#, Ab to Cb, Abb to Cbb and A## to C## are also minor 3rds.  You must master this. Step Three: You MUST know how to find any Major or minor 3rd above any note, including when you start with notes that are sharp or flat, or start with notes that are double sharp or double flat. It is not enough to just find them. You must do it so well that it feels easy for you. This means being an expert at converting Major 3rds to minor 3rds and converting minor 3rds to Major 3rds.

To Practice: The best way to practice finding 3rds is to count out a series of ascending 3rds above a given note. Pick a random note and a major or minor 3rd. If you chose to find a Major 3rd above A, that is C#. A Major 3rd above C# is E#. A Major 3rd above E# is G##, a Major 3rd above G## is B##. Keep adding a Major 3rd above until you run into a triple sharp or flat. Then pick a new note and start over. Get to the point that you can do it fast enough that it seems like counting. Use the chart for intervals above a note in the appendix to check your answers.

Do not proceed until you have mastered the first three Focal Points!

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