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Music Notation

Classical piano music is an enigma in a world full of techno-laden pop slop. A capsule of a bygone era, the music style lives on with ferocious tenacity. The legacy lives on.

Generally speaking the age of this style of music spans between 1750 and 1820.

During this time master composers such as Bach, Beethoven, and Haydn were at the peak of their game. Many liken this age to the golden age of art and literature.

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Classical piano music is a written tradition. Music notation is the preferred correspondence when dealing with the medium. Most other musical styles are passed on through orally or through a recording, while classical piano music must be transcribed and passed along by paper.

This sense of tradition and posterity translates even to how it is played.

The original composers of the genre had specific visions for how and where the music should be performed. The effect of the music was important.

To really appreciate the complexity of classical piano music you experience it live.

No record, CD, or MP3 will ever be able to capture the mood of this style of music as vividly as a live performance. Most people think such a concert is boring. Nothing could be further from the truth. Concertos and solos can be surprisingly stirring, even moving people to tears.

Improvisation is a cornerstone of the genre and even played a part in some of the most famous and revered works of the time. This sense of play and fun can fill a concert hall with action, drama, suspense and joy.

Who knew that listening to a symphony could be as exciting as watching a football game?

Classical music is a rich tapestry of complex relationships. Composers wanted to create a link between the emotional and intellectual content of their work. This happened through musical development where they created many of the musical phrases and devices that we take for granted in the music of today.

Some of the Composers of the Classical Era

Franz Joseph Haydn was considered one of the first most prominent figures of the classical era. He was considered by many to be the father of the symphony. Haydn’s music was bright and had a bit of humor mixed in.

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart is one of the most famous composers of the classical era. He created over 600 compositions for classical piano music and is a standard part of many concerts and symphonies.

Ludwig Van Beethoven is by far the most widely-known and regarded classical composer of all time. He is considered by many to be the first ever “rock-star”. He is responsible for some for some of the most sweeping piano classical music ever written.

Other famous composers from this era are Chopin and Bach. In fact, my favorite classical piece is “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring” by Bach.

To sum it all up, piano classical music has a rich history full of intrigue and has been celebrated by kings, queens, princes and emperors all over the world. Learning to appreciate the genre will give you a better ear for music that can greatly affect your performance as a musician.

Just as a writer gains more skills in his bag of tricks by reading others work, so does the musician who listens to complexly structured music.

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Learn To Read Music – A Gentle Introduction…

by Tania Gleaves on July 10, 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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Use Sight Reading Music To Your Advantage

June 24, 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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Understanding The Circle of Fifths

June 23, 2015

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

June 20, 2015

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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Key Signatures – A Beginner’s Lesson…

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 […]

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Musically Notes With Dots – Understanding Staccato and Dotted Notes

May 27, 2015

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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Music Time Signatures – What Are They?

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 […]

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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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