rudiments of music

Rudiments of Music

Reading a set of music pieces is strange to Shade, she is anxious and very unsettled at music rehearsals when others are reading the dots and flicking the papers.

Having known her instrument so well, that she could perform by intuition and be creative in her display, she is sometimes stucked during orchestra and hymns rehearsals.

The lesson here is that every musician should endeavour to study the rudiments of music, to enhance his/her performance. Rudiments are necessary basics to the knowledge of the theory of music and useful in practical sight-reading of musical notes on the staff.  These rudiments include musical notes and sound, rhythm, timing and duration of notes, accidentals, building of chords, intervals between notes, and dynamics. Rudiments of music are fundamental to creating melodies and block of extensive chords/harmonies.

It is important for the students and performing artistes to understand the transition between the reading of notes and playing of the instruments or vocals by interpreting and analysing the musical sound, pitch, notes, musical terms and signs before playing any music piece.

With the knowledge of the rudiments of music, one would be able to create the music piece and songs, and communicate to the public his/her ideas.

Study Theory and Rudiments of music @TONALITY Music School.

Between Talent and Training

“Wao! That’s an admirable performance. Can you see the dexterity of Ekpeyong on the violin? I had watched him play many times. He plays effortlessly.” Collins said to Tunde. “He is a rare breed. He’s got talent.” Tunde replied. “The guy is damn too good.  He must have spent many hours rehearsing.” Collins said, convincingly. “Collins, this is nothing but talent.” Tunde boldly registers his thoughts. “Man, talent may not be enough.

What I witnessed in Jack’s performance tonight further tells me that his musical prowess is beyond talent.” Collins said. And the argument went on between the duo of Collins and Tunde, who are both music enthusiasts.

Perhaps the argument may be succinctly captured thus: ‘NATURE vs NURTURE’. Take ‘nature’ to be ‘TALENT’ while ‘nurture’ represents ‘TRAINING/HARDWORK’.

Like Collins and Tunde above, many people, throughout the world, have divergent views on what makes one a real and very skillful musician. While some stand with ‘nature’, many others prefer to stick to ‘nurture’.

Let’s delve further into the issue.

Talent is a natural skill or ability for something. A talented person, ordinarily, would possess some, if few, natural endowments needed to carry out specific tasks.  Take a typical ‘talented’ pianist, for instance. He or she may have good ears for sound, longer fingers, etc. With some of these gifts, he/she might reach some heights conveniently, and also with fewer efforts.

Training denotes being prepared for a task or job. With training, a musician (whether or not talented) gains the right techniques of studying and performing music. Training could come in unique forms: formal and informal.

This writer believes that a trainee also indirectly gains discipline as a by-product of training. I took this stand in the light of the fact that in training, the trainee would, under normal conditions, have fashioned out strict practice routines and schedules, besides abiding by the ‘rules of the game.’ These, in some ways, may instill practice discipline, in the trainees’ mind, amongst other values.

Talent is a raw material. And like every raw material, it needs refinement. That refinement is gained through training. An unpolished talent will definitely hit some brick walls in the course of “duties”. That is a limitation. A talented musician who does not get trained and gives ample time for practice may dig the grave of his/her career without even knowing it.

Observation reveals that some talented people don’t give time for practice. They mostly leave their instincts to handle things for them. Resultantly, such people would constantly experience either stagnation or, worse still, retardation.

An untalented but trained and hardworking might, most probably, conveniently, outshine his/her supposed talented counterpart who does not polish his/her natural abilities, through practices and further instructions.

A talented folk, because of his/her endowments, get things done with fewer efforts in comparison with his/her hardworking fellow but not (too) talented counterparts. But if the former works hard and gets trained, he/she will outshine the latter who may only rely on ‘limiting’ instincts.

Many evergreen musicians that we know in today’s Nigeria, apart from being talented, also gained either formal or informal training. Take a look at King Sunny Ade, he was an apprentice with the late comic icon: Moses Adejumo, A.K.A. ‘Baba Sala’. Ebenezer obey too was not a lord to himself, he was, at a time, under the late Fatai Rolling Dollar. Sir Shina Peters once said during an interview that, “as an inexperienced boy, he once had a stint with Chief Commander Ebenezer Obey.”

As you have seen, talent, if not supported with good training and practice, can prove to be the undoing of a would-be or ‘supposed-to-be’ musical prodigy and/or icon.

So, take a cue from the veterans. Nurture your talents very seriously so you can reach your musical peak.

Babajide Ajayi is a trained Pianist, Organist, music theorist, and an Instructor with Tonality Music International.

Choir choral parts harmony

Choir: choral parts/harmony

A choir is a group of people singing together in different parts or harmony.

There are children, adult, women and men choirs singing in low and high pitches. Their rendition could be choral music, Gospel, Highlife, or traditional folk songs, depending on their vision and objectives; and a knowledge of music, composition, and arranging skills.

An ideal choir would have song leaders,  and an advanced choir team will require the service of a qualified Music director.

Vocal music is the music produced by a good number of singers. The songs could be in unison, or in parts (harmony).

Unison- all singers sing the melody of the song, that is the Soprano or the Treble part of the song.

Melody is the tune of a song, the original tune written by the composer.



  1. Soprano-S
  2. Alto-A
  3. Tenor-T
  4. Bass-B

The soprano is the first part of the choral parts or harmony singing.

In contemporary singing (Gospel, Worship, Pop, Raggae, etc),  choirs make use of only the first three parts: SAT.


Example 1: HYMN

HOLY, HOLY, HOLY, LORD GOD ALMIGHTY. Reginald Heber (1783-1826)

D Major

Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty

Early in the morning, our song shall rise to Thee;

Holy, holy, holy, Merciful and Mighty,

God in Three Persons, Blessed Trinity.


Tonic solfa- tune

d: d: m: m: s:-: s:-: l:-: l: l: s:-: m:-:

s: s: s: s: d’:-: t: s: r: s: l:-. s: s:-:-:-:

d: d: m: m: s:-: s:-: l:-. l: l: l: s:-: s:-:

d’:-: s: s: l:-: m:-: f: r: r:-. d: d:-:-:-:



With the aid of a piano, sing the tune of the above hymn.


History of the Violin

History of the Violin

The development of the violin-like instruments could be traced to the 9th and 10th centuries when string instruments were used in music performance.

String instruments are referred to as instruments that are bowed. For example, Lira (lyre) and Fiddle (3 strings). These string instruments had their origin in Central Asia- part of Mongolia, and were subsequently modified in Europe by the Europeans using various crafting method and technique.

History of the Violin

One of the inventors of the violin was Andréa Amati, an Italian and an apprentice under a Lira maker. He was from Cremona in Milan, Italy. He made a violin in the 16th century (1555). Other inventors include the families of Guarneri and Ruggeri; and Antonio Stradivari. The oldest serving was named Charles 1X, after the king of France in 1564.

‘Lira da braccios’ was the name given to those instruments that are placed in between legs and bowed to play them, for example, cello and double bass.

The Strings family

  1. Violin (smallest)
  2. Viola
  3. Cello
  4. Double bass(biggest)

All of them have four strings, similar but of different shapes.



The violin sound is close to human voice-singing. It exists in various sizes: ¼, ½, ¾, 4/4, inches length. We play the violin with a bow. A bow is a slightly curved stick with hair attached to it.

Features of the Violin

  1. The wooden body
  2. Bridge
  3. Fingerboard/fret board
  4. Neck
  5. Scroll
  6. Pegs
  7. F-hole
  8. Tail piece
  9. Fine-tuner adjuster
  10. Strings(4)

Violin Strings

History of the Violin


The strings are tuned by tightening or loosening the pegs as indicated above.



The person who plays the violin is called the violinist. He/she plays some notes on the violin to produce music.

Performing music on the violin requires good skill and concentration. Most of the time, the violinist does not see the fingerboard (which isn’t divided with short iron lines) like the guitar. The player has to use his/her sense of tonality and understanding of notes, scales to being out the tunes.


Violin music genres

The violin can be used in different music genres:

  1. Traditional songs in Celtic-folk songs from Scotland using fiddle.
  2. Irish music
  3. Hungarian music
  4. Country-Western
  5. Blues and Jazz
  6. Classical music
  7. Worship

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Singing and the Use of Songs in Worship

Singing and the Use of Songs in Worship

Singing is a human activity that transcends generations, a process that involves the mechanism of sound and rhythmic production.

Songs composed and written by individuals are borne out of the experience, historical past, present events, and futuristic, reflecting the intention of the composer or the writer.

Majority of the songs have their themes, with a message for the targeted audience. Though, the content and the lyrical composition determine the category of songs.

Every community enjoys a few activities like reciting proverbial words, story-telling, singing, dancing, drama, and sports. Out of all the activities, singing is a predominant factor,  in that,  it enlivens, facilitates, beautified, and makes the message meaningful to the societal events.

During religious festivals and other events around the world, singing is part of the rituals. (We shall discuss this later).


The church as well use songs in worship. Some of our churches are known for singing beautiful and well-arranged melodies. The Apostolic churches, C&S, Celestial church, ECWA, Anglican,  Baptist, and the Catholics sing classical music and indigenous composed songs.

It was said of a church worship service, that ‘music and singing would be the first item on the service programme, and the choir must be ready and prepare to lead the congregation.’


Praise and worship or Praise-worship?

The concept of Praise and worship could be a misleading ‘term’ in the charismatic-Pentecostal tradition. Though other mainline churches have also joined in the Praxis.

The Praise-worship idea was introduced a few years ago as new development to our worship structure and to highlight the difference in stylistic and scriptural approach to singing worship songs in a contemporary way!

It shifted a bit from the Mainline churches’ (Anglican, Methodist, Catholic, Baptist..) and OAIC order of service which encompasses many themes and styles.

‘Worship that is biblical is that praise and adoration which has God as its source and subject. As the sun is the center of our solar system, so God is to be at the center of our adoration and praise…Worship, then, involves both animated praise and speechless prostration.’¹

Worship is all we do!

Worship consists of reading and obedience to scriptures, our Christlike lifestyle, communion, faith and works,  confession of the Triune God of Grace,  to whom we express our love and allegiance to in Praise,  adoration, thanksgiving,  petition, lament, and confession.

It does requires a humble, spiritual-worship leader of biblical and intellectual understanding to lead the people in the worship of God,  through these songs of different themes.

Each song has a meaning and what it stands for. If it can help us to connect with God, it is a worship song. How or when do we apply the song depends on the church worship leader, the pastor, and the worship planning team.

Suggested worship music (Hymns,  choruses and spiritual songs) or arrangement could be:

  1. Call to worship (scripture reading, instrumental music, and short spiritual songs)
  2. Adoration
  3. Confession
  4. Praise

A leader can change the order, to reflect the focus and objective of the service.

The utmost purpose of worship service is that ‘all should meet with God,’ our Father to help and order our steps in the new week,  to receive answers to our requests and have peace in this troubled world as we journey to meet Jesus, our dear Saviour in Eternal glory. Amen.

Songs in worship

Where do we place songs like, I have decided to follow Jesus, Blessed assurance, Wonderful Merciful Saviour, As the deer pants for the water, Praise to the Lord the Almighty, What shall I render unto the Lord?  Are they also referred to as worship service songs?

We don’t hear songs like, ‘All the way to Calvary’ too often. We have replaced such songs with songs that are theologically depleted and can make us jump and feel good, strong beat! That’s what we sometimes refer to as praise/worship songs.

Let every song serves its purpose of telling the truth about the gospel and the God of the Bible and the story of his people through history.

Keep singing!




¹ Extract from:

art of drumming

Art of Drumming 1 : Music Performance

The art of drumming involves the skills displayed by the performer in playing the drums. The person who plays the drum is called a drummer. He/she understands the styles, rhythm, and melody line of the drum.

There are many types of drums with different sounds and pitches.

For example,

  1. Gangan (talking drum)
  2. Iya-ilu (big drum)
  3. Djembe
  4. Omele
  5. Bata.
  6. Kettle drum.


We play the drums with hands or sticks depending on the type of drum. The drum can be used at various occasions to accompany and lead songs as well.

Does the drum talk? Yes, I know of African drums. For example, the Gangan (hour-glass), the talking drum of the Yorubas.

The drummer has an understanding of what he wants to tell his people; a message to pass across to the community or an individual. Without much academics, he rolls out the proverbial statements in various simple and complex rhythms. Only those with deep knowledge of the language and culture would understand!

Rhythms on different local drums could be compared to flowing patterns of many rivers linking the Atlantic Ocean.

The performer sometimes illustrates the classic improvised sound of different pitches on his talking drum (hour-glass), rendering the praises of the Almighty God or the praise-individual. He may have some back-up singers who would echo interpretation in Yoruba language, reminiscing a typical Yoruba talking drum cultural performance!

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God Save the Queen music and lyrics

God Save the Queen (Music and Lyrics)

‘God save the Queen’ is the British National Anthem sung at various Government functions and British Crown dependencies, National events, and Commonwealth meetings, for many decades.

The Anthem takes the title: ‘God save the Queen or God save the King’ depending on the gender of the reigning Monarch (male or female). The Royal anthem is captivating, so lovely with an interesting melody and lyrics.

I have been wondering for few years about the attitude of the football fans during the FA cup finals in the UK; how enthusiastic these football lovers chant the anthem, very emotional from the opening statement to the closing lines.

Having studied in England, I also joined in singing “God save the Queen ’’. I love that phrase since it is part of my duty to pray for the Monarch.

On one of my practice days, I found something interesting-like a soothing effect, within the harmony of the music piece. Therefore, I really took the time to read through the words of the anthem and carefully observed the beautifully crafted lyrics.

Though, the writers of the words and the tune of the exciting anthem were acclaimed to be anonymous. However, reference was made to Henry Carey as the authorship of the lyrics, and the tune was attributed to John Bull. The four-part harmony was made by Frederick Bridge. The anthem was first adopted and performed in 1745.

The harmonies in the 14-bar music were brilliantly arranged with stepwise passing notes, perfect cadences, partial modulation and syncopation of suitable dynamics, it is like the notes were swiftly moving like gallant soldiers on a ceremonial match past or rather, like movement in a chemical reaction!

The more I play the music, the better it sounds-good, with the accompanying bass part. It could be compared to a balanced diet.

Considering a few lines of the anthem:

                                                                ‘The reign of the Queen:

                                                                Gracious and noble Queen

                                                                Victories over enemies;

                                                                Confound their Politics

                                                                  Happy long to reign

The writers, as well as the modern-day singers voiced blessings upon the Queen who is regarded as the defender of the law, and ‘trusting in the Lord our God for her safety and long reign’. Her message does bring hope and encouragement to the people of the Great Kingdom.

Long live Queen Elizabeth: a mother, grandmother, and Great grandmother close to a centurion [100 years] and fulfilling the words of the echoed prayer in the anthem.

No wonder the anthem remains indelible through centuries. Should there be any need for a new anthem, in the future, these super-melodious words on the lips of many people groups, and the Commonwealth of Nations have made a profound impression.

God save the Queen’, reflects the beauty of a quality composition twined in a vision for a progressive society, binding love, prayer, and blessing on God’s chosen leader.

Music: a sweet melody, emanating sound with perfectly blended harmony strikes a chord in the human soul, establishing a deep, thoughtful and peaceful assurance that brightens the moment, and a walk through the future. – OLU Sam



Tonality Music School



Music and Aural Skills Development 1: Tonic Solfa

Exercises on Scales Major Scales: Ionian, Pentatonic scales using tonic solfa will be relevant and help to improve fingering and aural skills.

Play all the exercises, on all the 12 keys.

Repeat the exercise as many times as possible on different rhythms: semibreve-4 beats; minim-2 beats; crotchet-1 beat; Quaver-½ beat and semiquaver beat-¼ beat.


  1. (i) d r m f s

(ii) d m s

(iii) d r m s

(iv) d r f s

(v) d s r s

(vi) dr dm df ds

Play the following in ascending and descending order

  1. (i) d r m f s l t d¹ t l s f m r d

(ii) d r m f s f m r d

(iii) d  r m f s l t d        R.H                           Contrary motion (for keyboard)

d¹ t l s f m r d.         L. H


  1. (i) dr dm df ds dl dt dd¹ / d¹d td ld sd fd md rd  (Quaver)

(ii) dm rf ms fl st ld tr¹ d¹m¹/ m¹d¹ r¹t dl ts lf s mfr md

(iii) drm  rmf  mfs  fsl  slt  ltd¹  td¹r¹  d¹r¹m¹    (Triplets)   →

m¹r¹d¹   r¹d¹t   d¹tl   tls   lsf   sfm  fmr  mrd          ←

(iv) drmf rmfs mfsl fslt sltd    ltd¹r¹   td¹r¹m¹  (Semiquavers)

m¹r¹d¹t¹    r¹d¹tl d¹    tlsf   lsfm   sfmr  fmrd


  1. (i)  dm rs ml sd¹ lr¹ d¹m¹   m¹d¹ r¹l d¹s lm sr md

(ii) ds rl md¹ sr¹ lm d¹s¹   s¹d¹ m¹l r¹s d¹m lr sd

(iii) drm    rms    msl    sld¹    ld¹r¹   d¹r¹m¹    m¹r¹d¹   r¹d¹l   d¹ls    lsm   smr   mrd

(iv) dsms  rlfl dsms   sr¹tr¹

[d¹ – 1st octave    d¹¹ – 2nd octave]


  1. (i) dms rfl  mst  fld¹  str¹  ld¹m¹   t r¹f¹  d¹m¹s¹

s¹m¹d¹   f¹r¹t   m¹d¹l  r¹ts  d¹lf  tsm  lfr  smd


(ii) dmsd¹  rflr¹  mstm¹  fld¹f¹ str¹s¹  ld¹m¹l¹  tr¹f¹t  d¹m¹s¹d¹¹

d¹¹ s¹m¹d¹    t¹f¹r¹t     l¹m¹d¹l   s ¹r¹ts   f¹d¹lf    m¹tsm   r¹lfr   d¹smd


(iii) d m s   m s d¹    s d¹ m¹         m¹ d¹ s   d¹ s m    s m d

fld       ld¹f¹     df¹l¹            l¹f¹d     f¹dl     dlf

ftr       t¹r¹s¹     rst             tsr        srt      rts


how to sing

How to change the tone of your voice forever


how to sing

how to sing

Tips to change the tone of your voice and make it more attractive.

The voice is one of the most important tools to get attention in other people, but we do not always know how to use it.

While perfecting your vocal intonation and your diction can take a lifetime, it is possible to have a beautiful voice in a relatively short period. All you need is a little education and some constant practice.

Develop good habits to talk and sing

Speak louder:

It is important people hear you very clearly when you speak, so raise your voice! If you usually whisper, mumble or talk with your head down, other listeners are more likely to interrupt or ignore you.

However, this does not mean that you have to shout, but you must vary the volume of your voice according to the situation. For example, if you address a large group of people, you will have to speak louder to project your voice.

Speak slower:

Talking very fast could create a wall between you and the audience, because others can find it hard to follow the rhythm or even understand you, and are more likely to be distracted and therefore stop listening.

Therefore, it is important that you lower the rhythm by speaking the words slowly and stopping between each sentence. Thus, you will emphasize what you are saying and you can give yourself a break.

On the other hand, it may not be a good idea to talk too slow. This can be monotonous for your listeners and they may lose patience and become distracted.

The ideal rhythm to speak is approximately between 120 and 160 words per minute.However, if you are giving a speech, it is a good idea to change the speed at which you speak. Talking slower, or faster depending on the speaker helps to emphasize an argument, as well as conveying the feeling of passion and enthusiasm.

Pronounce well:

We could reinterate that speaking clearly is the most important aspect of developing a good speaking voice. Therefore, pay close attention to every word you say to pronounce it completely and correctly.

Make sure you open your mouth wide, relax your lips and keep your tongue and teeth in the correct position when you speak. At first it may feel strange, but if you make a constant effort to pronounce the words correctly, it will soon come naturally to you.

Some words are sometimes mispronounced or not well articulated. There are many reasons for this, such as our cultural accents and what we have heard from people over time.  However, a deep knowledge of words and diction practices could help.

Do breathing exercises:

Deep breathing is key to having a pleasant and intense voice. Most people do not cultivate a good breathing attitude. They sometimes breathe too fast and not very deep. This in turn, affect the way they sing and speak. The result is production of distorted and nasal tone.

Breathing must come from the deep, not the chest, with diaphragm expanding to support the chest bones . To know if you are breathing well, place your hand on the abdomen, just below your last rib. You must feel how your stomach expands. Do not lift up your shoulders when you breathe.

Do breathing exercises by inhaling deeply so that your belly fills with air. Inhale for 5 seconds and exhale for another 5. Get used to breathing with this method, daily and observe your tone.

Long breath, is a when you breath in for a few seconds and hold the breath as long as you could. With this, you fill in your lungs with air(the lubricant), and you would have enough strenght to sustain and power your voice.

Remember that sitting up and standing upright, with your chin up in the right position will make you breathe deeper and your voice will be more easily projected.

Good posture is also necessary to producing a good voice

Try to breathe in before you speak or sing, and at the end of each sentence. If you use this method to breathe deeply, you will have enough air to say the next sentence without intermitent breathing. Your listeners will also get a feel of the smoothness of your voice production.

Smile when you speak:

People will admire you and the content of your speech more favorably if you use a friendly and encouraging tone instead of an aggressive, harsh or monotonous one.

A good way to make your tone of voice more friendly is to smile when you speak or rather be reflective when making an emotional speech. It does not mean that you have to have a wide and exaggerated smile; just curl your lips a little upwards to make your voice sound more attractive.

Additional tips

The jaw and the lips are parts of the resonating box. They should be more relaxed. If your lips and jaw are relaxed and free to move, your voice will sound more natural and less forced or wobbled.

When your vocal cords produce sounds, you should feel vibrations in your chest, back, neck and head. This vibration will create resonance and give your voice an intense sound.

Learn how to become a professional singer and shape your music career at Tonality Music International, Get started today!

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The Story Behind the Song “I HAVE DECIDED TO FOLLOW JESUS”

About 150 years ago, there was a great revival in Wales, England.

As a result of this, many missionaries came from England to northeast India to spread the Gospel.
The region was known as Assam and comprised hundreds of tribes.
The tribal communities were quite primitive and aggressive.
The tribesmen were also called HEAD-HUNTERS because of a social custom which required the male members of the community to collect as many heads as possible.
A man’s strength and ability to protect his wife was assessed by the number of heads he had collected.
Therefore, a youth of marriageable age would try and collect as many heads as possible and hang them on the walls of his house.
The more heads a man had, the more eligible he was considered.
Into this hostile and aggressive community, came a group of Welsh missionaries spreading the message of love, peace, and hope of Jesus Christ.
Naturally, they were not welcomed.
However, One Welsh missionary finally succeeded in converting a man, his wife, and two children.
This man’s faith proved contagious and many villagers began to accept Christianity.
Angry, the village Chief summoned all the villagers.
He then called the family who had first converted, to renounce their faith in public or face execution.
Moved by the Holy Spirit, the man sung his reply,
“I have decided to follow Jesus. No turning back.”
Enraged at the refusal of the man, the Chief ordered his archers to arrow down the two children and they did.
As both boys lay twitching on the floor, the Chief asked, “Will you deny your faith?
You have lost both your children already. You will lose your wife too.”
But the man replied, again singing,
“Though none go with me, still I will follow, No turning back.”
The Chief was beside himself with fury and ordered his wife to be arrowed down and she was.
In a moment, she joined her two children in death.
Now he asked for the last time, “I will give you one more opportunity to deny your faith and live.”
In the face of death the man sung,
“The cross before me, the world behind me. No turning back. No turning back.”
He was shot dead like the rest of his family.
But with their deaths, a miracle took place.
The Chief who had ordered the killings was moved by the faith of the man.
He wondered, “Why should this man, his wife and two children die for a Man who lived in a far-away land, on another continent some 2,000 years ago?
He concluded that “there must be some supernatural power behind the family, and I too want that supernatural power.”
In a spontaneous confession of faith, he declared, “I too belong to Jesus Christ!”
When the crowd heard this from the mouth of their Chief, the whole village accepted Christ as their Lord and Savior.
What have you ever done for Jesus Christ?
Jesus wants you to make that decision to Follow Him today, because tomorrow might be too late.