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Music Notation

Learn To Read Music – A Gentle Introduction…

by Tania Gleaves on 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 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 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 Theory Key Signature – The Basics

by Tania Gleaves on 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 be found at the beginning of every music sheet, other times they can be found in other parts of the music sheet, which all depends on the composer of the music piece. Key signatures are composed of either sharps or flats. At first you might think that they are similar to accidentals but they are totally different.

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Accidentals only require you to play a key in its sharp or flat tune if you see the symbol right before the key. But key signatures require you to play the sharp or flat tune of every key they are embedded on, all throughout the music sheet except when you see the natural symbol before the key. You can see the difference of accidentals and key signatures at the figure below.

accidentals

Key Signature

Another thing you should know about the music theory key signature is the enharmonic equivalents of all the orders of sharps and flats. The orders of sharps and the orders of flats may be written in a different manner and corresponds to different keys but they are all played the same way in the piano.

order of sharps

order of flats

The easiest way to learn the music theory key signature is to memorize the C sharp and the C flat key signatures. C sharp has seven sharps all in all, when you remove the last sharp, you’ll get the next key signature which is F sharp that has only six sharps as its key signature. Keep on doing this until you reach C major, which doesn’t have any sharp in its key signature.

Guide To Mastering Music Theory Key Signature

You can also apply this basic knowledge to the order of flats key signature. When you remove the seventh flat symbol of the C flat key signature, you will get the G flat key signature. The process goes on until you reach the C major which doesn’t have any flats.

Click Here And Refresh Your Memory On Music Theory Key Signatures!

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Key Signatures – A Beginner’s Lesson…

February 10, 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 […]

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Use Sight Reading Music To Your Advantage

February 3, 2015

There are some basic steps on how to develop sight reading music. Sight read music simply means easily reading a music piece and putting it into action right away without exerting much thinking effort because the music flows naturally from your sight to your fingers. This skill can be acquired and enhanced by every pianist […]

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Various Notes

January 27, 2015

Beaming Notes Music beams are lines that seemingly connect a series of various notes. Since they’re thick and horizontal (as opposed to thin and vertical), they’re more noticeable and intimidating to beginners. Rest assured that beams are nothing to fear – even when sheet music is plastered with them. Music beams actually make notation easier […]

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Playing Beginner Piano – An Introduction

January 19, 2015

It isn’t hard at all to learn beginner piano and once you learn the basics, you’ll discover that the rest of your journey is a straightforward process. Learning can be intimidating to people who have no experience with piano music at all, but it can even intimidate musicians who are used to playing a different […]

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Music Bar Lines

December 25, 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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Musically Notes With Dots – Understanding Staccato and Dotted Notes

December 14, 2014

Dotted Notes Dotted notes are the exact opposite of flagged notes. The small flag that follows a note decreases that note’s duration by half, whereas a small dot that follows a note increases that note’s duration by half. A dotted half note would therefore become three quarter notes (one half note equals two quarter notes). […]

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Understanding The Circle of Fifths

December 8, 2014

The circle of fifths, introduced by Johann David Heinichen in 1728, is a visual arrangement of related keys. Although its name gives the impression that it’s a difficult concept to grasp, it’s really just an easy way to remember the number of sharps and flats in a key signature and the major and minor key […]

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Beginner Lessons For Piano – Helpful Tips

November 29, 2014

Beginner lessons for piano will take you far in your quest. But supplementing your lessons with some ‘outside’ or unconventional training will shorten the time it takes to become an expert pianist. It goes without saying that practice makes perfect. However, there are a few additional things that you can do to improve the quality […]

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