Time Signatures – An Essential Component to Reading Music

by Tania Gleaves on November 27, 2014

Fractions In Music? Oh No!

Time signatures in music indicate a song’s rhythm. Sometimes called a meter, the time signature tells musicians the number of beats in each measure of music and what kind of note counts as one beat. Written as music, they look like fractions – but fortunately the only math that you need to do upon encountering one of these things is counting!

Click Here And Learn How Time Signatures Work!

The top number in a time signature tells musicians the number of beats in each measure of music and the bottom number tells them the kind of note that counts as one beat. The bottom number can be pretty confusing to understand without an illustration, so we’ll use the time signature: “3/4″ as an example.

The 3/4 meter tells us that there are three beats per measure. It also tells us that the quarter note counts as one beat. A full measure would therefore contain three quarter notes or any combination of notes that when counted together, create three beats. Depending on how advanced your notation is (and how far you are in your music lessons), you’ll notice that there are some rather unique ways to shorten beats or lengthen them past their original count using ties.

A 4/4 time signature tells us that there are four beats per measure and that the quarter note counts as one beat. A full measure in this meter could contain four quarter notes, a whole note, or two half notes.

Understanding Time Signatures – Common Types

Although time signatures can get pretty complicated as your experience with piano music gets more extensive, the most common are 2/4 (popular in polkas or marches), 3/4 (popular in waltzes, minuets, and country/western ballads), and 4/4 (popular in classical and popular music). By the way, the 4/4 time signature is also denote with a “C”-like symbol:

common time signature Time Signatures   An Essential Component to Reading Music

Dupal time meters indicate two beats per measure, and triple time meters indicate three beats per measure. And the more intricate your piano music gets, the more complicated its can meter get.

For example, marches, orchestra music, and theater music often employ the 2/2 time signature. Some of Brahms’ pieces is played to a 4/2 meter while jigs, and some rock music plays to a 6/8 meter. The 12/8 supports the blues and doo-wop styles. Songs that have no time signature at all have what’s called free time.

Unusual But Creative Meters

Things can really get complicated when musicians switch meters in the middle of a song! But that only makes things interesting. Most songs maintain a regular meter throughout their entirety, but it isn’t uncommon for a small section to switch from a 4/4 meter to a 3/4 meter (and then back again).

You can find the meter of the music that you play in the beginning of the song. It should be located right after the song’s key signature or clef. Just remember that when you play, the first beat of a measure’s meter — that is, the first beat of a series of beats — is the one that’s stressed as a way to help the audience identify a steady rhythm.

Click Here And Learn How Time Signatures Work!

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Major Scales For Piano – Essential Keys To Beautiful Music

by Tania Gleaves on November 26, 2014

Of all the music scales, the major scales for piano are the most popular. Most of the music that we hear is a derivative of the major scale and if you listen closely, you can readily identify the eight-note scale in any one of its 15 variations, including its minor scale deviations. Scales are what make playing music a little easier and once you spend a little time practicing them, you’ll be surprised to discover how much easier it is to learn a song. This is because most music (if not all) is made of notes that are dedicated to a particular scale.

Click Here To Familiarize Yourself With The Major Scales For Piano!

A song composed in E minor for example is made of the notes that build the E minor scale. But the simplest scale of all is the C major scale. This is the only major scale that can be played with just the white keys of a piano and it doesn’t require any sharps or flats (black keys). If you can manage to faithfully emulate the tune of the infamous “Do, Re, Mi, Fa, So, La, Ti, Do” vocal exercise, you can manage to play all major scales for piano from any note on the piano regardless of flats and sharps.

The first note on the major scales for piano is better known as the “tonic” note, with the second called the “supertonic,” the third called the “mediant,” the fourth called the “subdominant,” the fifth – the “dominant,” the sixth – the “submediant,” the seventh – the “leading note,” and the last called the “tonic” (again). The difference between the first note of a major scale and the last note is the octave. If you listen carefully, you’ll notice that last tonic is exactly one octave higher than the first tonic.

To play the C major scale on the piano, strike the first C. This is the tonic note of the C major scale. Skip the black key to the right of it and strike the white key. That’s “D” — a whole step from C. Next, hit the white key to the right of the D key. That’s “E.” The next key is the “F” key. Since there isn’t a black key between the E and the F key, “F” is a half step from “E.” Continue playing only the white keys from F to G to A to B to C, the last note of the C major scale. The end result is the C major scale.

Some popular songs played in this scale include:

  • Prelude in C Major by Chopin, Frederic
  • Op.33 Seven Bagatelles by Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Concerto for Piano No.8 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
  • Piano Concerto No. 25 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
  • Lautenkonzert (Lute Concerto) in C Major by Antonio Vivaldi
  • Fantasia In C Major by Franz Joseph Haydn
  • Andante in C Major by Johann Sebastian Bach
  • Invention No. 1 in C Major by Johann Sebastian Bach
  • Menuetto I in C Major by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Here are all 12 Major Scales for Piano:

C Major Scale:

c major scale Major Scales For Piano   Essential Keys To Beautiful Music

G Major Scale:

g major scale Major Scales For Piano   Essential Keys To Beautiful Music

D Major Scale:

d major scale Major Scales For Piano   Essential Keys To Beautiful Music

A Major Scale:

a major scale Major Scales For Piano   Essential Keys To Beautiful Music

E Major Scale:

e major scale Major Scales For Piano   Essential Keys To Beautiful Music

B Major Scale:

b major scale Major Scales For Piano   Essential Keys To Beautiful Music

F# Major Scale:

fs major scale Major Scales For Piano   Essential Keys To Beautiful Music

C# Major Scale:

cs major scale Major Scales For Piano   Essential Keys To Beautiful Music

F Major Scale:

f major scale Major Scales For Piano   Essential Keys To Beautiful Music

Bb Major Scale:

bb major scale Major Scales For Piano   Essential Keys To Beautiful Music

Eb Major Scale:

eb major scale Major Scales For Piano   Essential Keys To Beautiful Music

Ab Major Scale:

ab major scale Major Scales For Piano   Essential Keys To Beautiful Music

Db Major Scale:

db major scale Major Scales For Piano   Essential Keys To Beautiful Music

Gb Major Scale:

gb major scale Major Scales For Piano   Essential Keys To Beautiful Music

Cb Major Scale:

cb major scale Major Scales For Piano   Essential Keys To Beautiful Music

Click Here To Familiarize Yourself With The Major Scales For Piano!

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