Posts tagged as:

how to read music

Key Signatures – A Beginner’s Lesson…

by Tania Gleaves on June 13, 2015

What Determines The Quality And Quantity Of A Song’s Notes

When watching musicians play piano, you may see them refer to a piece of music in the key of “A” or “C.” These letters refer to the key that the music is played in or its key signature. Key signatures are what determines the quality and quantity of a song’s sharps and flats, and if you’ve spent any time playing scales, then you have a pretty good idea of what we’re talking about.

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When you’re asked to play a “C sharp” chord or “G flat” chord for example, you’re being asked to play a group of notes in a particular key. The root key is what determines the remaining keys in a chord and so it is with music. The key signature of a piece of music may be “C sharp” or “G flat” (or any other pitch) and that signature determines the remaining pitches throughout the entire song.

All Key Signatures Contain Sharps And Flats

Now except for the C Major key, all key signatures contain sharps and flats. Because music notation can be rather intricate and confusing — especially in difficult pieces — you won’t see the sharp or flat indicator next to each individual note. This would make sheet music difficult to write and read. Instead, writers use the key signature to indicate the sharps or flats of a note and it’s up to the pianist to know (memorize) those sharps and flats.

Those with Sharps:

  • The sharp in a G key signature is F#.
  • The sharps in a D key signature is F# and C#.
  • In an A key signature, they’re F#, C#, and G#.
  • In the key of E, they’re F#, C#, G#, and D#.
  • F#, C#, G#, D#, A#, and E# are played in an F# key signature
  • In the key of B, F#, C#, G#, D#, A#
  • While the entire group of F#, C#, G#, D#, A#, E#, and B# are played in a C# key signature.

C# Key Signature

C Key Signature example on the Treble Staff…Apply to the same notes on the Bass staff

Those with Flats:

  • The flat in an F key signature is Bb.
  • The flats in a Bb key signature is Bb and Eb.
  • In an Eb key signature, they’re Bb, Eb, and Ab.
  • In the key of Ab, they’re Bb, Eb, Ab, and Db.
  • Bb, Eb, Ab, Db, and Gb are played in an Db key signature
  • While the entire group of Bb, Eb, Ab, Db, Gb, and Cb are played in a Gb key signature.
  • Can you tell what notes the Cb key signature indicates? Pat yourself on the back if you said Bb, Eb, Ab, Db, Gb, Cb, and Fb.

Cb Key Signature

C Key Signature example on the Treble Staff…Apply to the same notes on the Bass staff

Position = Pitch

You can find the key signature of a song near the beginning of its notation — right after the clef. Pay close attention to where the sharp and flat signs are located because their positions indicate the proper tones of particular pitches. If you see a sharp sign in the space where the D note is played, that means that the D key will be a sharp D all throughout a song. If you see a flat sign on the line where the B key is played, that means the B key will be a flat B throughout the song as well. This pattern is of course repeated for each and every note.

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Music Time Signatures – What Are They?

by Tania Gleaves on May 22, 2015

When you start studying piano lessons, you will learn the basic knowledge of music which also includes music time signatures. Time signatures are composed of two numbers in the form of a fraction which tells you the number of notes and the kind of note receiving one beat in each measure. Say what?! That might have been your initial reaction upon reading this definition, believe me, I’ve been there. But don’t worry because I will break down music time signatures for you in an easier to understand manner.

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Music time signatures are commonly found at the beginning of each music sheet. These are the fraction numbers written right after the clef on the first staff. The top number lets you know how many beats there are per measure while the bottom number informs you what kind of note receives one beat. The top numbers can be any number but the bottom numbers always follow 1, 2, 4, 8, or 16. No other numbers can be represented at the bottom except for the aforementioned ones because they represent the five different notes.

If you are a bit confused by this, just imagine the bottom number in the form of a fraction with 1 as its top number. When you read the fractions, you will know right away what kind of note they stand for.

The Bottom Number With Their Corresponding Note Values:

1 – whole note

2 – half note

4 – quarter note

8 – eighth note

16 – sixteenth note

Say for example, a music sheet has 4/4 music time signature, this means that there are 4 beats in a measure and the quarter note gets a beat each time. In the staff, you will find four quarter notes or its corresponding equivalent in one measure. Some of the corresponding equivalents of four quarter notes can be two half notes, one whole note, two quarter notes and four eighths, and a few others more. Your guide for knowing the corresponding equivalents of music time signatures will be the length of duration each note has originally.

4/4 music time signature

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How to Read Music – Definitions to Help You Learn

April 18, 2015

L earning how to read music is like learning another language. It has its own letters, syntax and grammar. Whether you are learning to play the piano through the classic method or the chord method, you’ll have to be familiar with how to read music. A page of music has a lot of symbols and […]

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Music Bar Lines

April 13, 2015

Introducing the Bar In order to represent pitch and tone, music notes need a staff. If you’ll remember from our other lessons, the music staff is a system of five horizontal lines and it provides a foundation for all the beautiful music that we hear. Notes sit on, above, between, and below these lines. But […]

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Learn To Read Music – A Gentle Introduction…

February 24, 2015

Figuring out how to learn to read music may seem intimidating — especially if you’ve never paid any attention to sheet music before. But once you learn the basics, you’ll discover a whole new world that paves a road of confusing symbols with a coat of comfortable, natural, and perfect logic. This article serves as […]

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Music Theory Key Signature – The Basics

February 20, 2015

You have been hearing about the music theory key signature during your first piano lesson but do you know what they are made of? Key signatures are actually one of the basic foundations of playing the piano. These music fundamentals guide you in “tuning” the music pieces you are playing. Music theory key signature can […]

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Piano Music Notes – Hear Them Speak To You

February 17, 2015

Unless you plan to play music by ear, you’ll need to learn how to read sheet music for piano. Sheet music displays the notes of a song and musicians interpret it as if they were reading the words of a speech. It isn’t difficult to read piano music notes once you understand the basic structure […]

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Piano Sheet Music Confidential

January 23, 2015

Piano sheet music has been around since the birth of the piano. It is the diary of the process of the composer. All of the heart and soul of piece lies within the notation of the sheet music. Sheet music can be used to record or to create a musical score. Musicians often use it […]

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The Play Piano Roadmap – Your Journey From Beginner To Advanced

January 17, 2015

Whether you already play piano or want to learn, I’m glad you stumbled across this page. It means there’s one more person out there looking for a better way to add music to his or her life, or perhaps to improve on an already established skill set. Either way, welcome. The good new is, I’ve […]

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Piano Lessons Made Easier – How To Read Music Notes

November 18, 2014

One of the basic lessons of learning to play the piano involves how to read music notes. Reading music notes is like learning your ABC’s. Effectively reading music notes requires you to learn the basic parts of a music sheet; sometimes they call this song sheet. If you look at the music sheet, you will […]

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