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how to read music

Learn To Read Music – A Gentle Introduction…

by Tania Gleaves on March 30, 2014

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 a quick primer for what you’re about to encounter in music notation. And once you’ve finished reading, you’ll discover that it isn’t so intimidating after all!

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The Setting

Every piece of sheet music contains a set of staff lines. Stafftreble clef Learn To Read Music   A Gentle Introduction... lines are groups of five lines and four spaces that hold the notes you’ll see and play. Also known as ledgers, they also hold the Clef symbol which indicates which hand you’ll play with. The Treble Clef (S-Shaped) indicates right hand work while the Bass Clef (C-Shaped) indicates left hand work. To make music legible, notes are separated by bar lines. Bar lines divide notes into measures which also make music legible. It’s much easier to read music that’s separated into parts than it is to read music that isn’t — much like the way it’s easier to read an article that’s separated into paragraphs.

The Music

Earlier we mentioned that staffs hold the notes that you’ll encounter. Notes, which can look like solid and hollow circles, sit right on top of a line or right in the middle of two lines. The placement of these notes corresponds to a particular pitch and each pitch corresponds to a piano key – and more…

Notes not only represent pitch, they also represent rhythm. A solid circled note for example, can represent a quarter or a whole beat while a hollow note can represent two beats or four whole beats at once. If you see a small dot next to a note, it means that note should be played a little longer.

Learn To Read Music Timing

While figuring out how to learn to read music, you’ll see other symbols that teach you when to play the notes we’ve been talking about. If a dot sits next to a quarter note for example, the quarter note (which is normally played for one beat) is then played for two beats. If you see an arc type shape that appears to connect two notes beneath or above it, it indicates that those two notes should be played as one.

Other symbols include rests and time signatures. Some rests look like little black hats whereas time signatures look like fractions. You’ll find a song’s time signature on the first staff. It tells musicians the number of beats that are in each measure and it describes kind of note counts as one beat. You’ll find rests all over the place however and since they’re the only shapes that look like squares, they’re fairly easy to locate. Try to remember that a solid “hat” on the second line of a staff indicates that you should stop playing for four whole beats. Half of a hat on the third line indicates that you should rest for two beats.

Two kinds of rests don’t look like hats at all. They look like lazy W’s (Ws pointing to the left) instead and if you see one, it means you should rest for only one beat.

Get a more thorough lesson on How To read music here

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Music Time Signatures – What Are They?

by Tania Gleaves on March 2, 2014

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.

time signature2 Music Time Signatures   What Are They?

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Piano Sheet Music Confidential

January 30, 2014

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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How to Read Music – Definitions to Help You Learn

January 17, 2014

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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Piano Music Notes – Hear Them Speak To You

January 16, 2014

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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Key Signatures – A Beginner’s Lesson…

January 15, 2014

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 […]

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Music Bar Lines

January 14, 2014

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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Piano Lessons Made Easier – How To Read Music Notes

January 5, 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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The Play Piano Roadmap – Your Journey From Beginner To Advanced

December 4, 2013

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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Music Theory Key Signature – The Basics

September 21, 2013

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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