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music theory

Piano Lessons Made Easier – How To Read Music Notes

by Tania Gleaves on August 24, 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 notice that the notes are embedded on five horizontal lines with spaces in between them. This is called staff. It helps you how to read music notes correctly because each line and space represent different keys on the piano.

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blank staff Piano Lessons Made Easier   How To Read Music Notes

The symbol placed at the beginning of the staff is called clef, which serves as a guide to read the different pitches on the music sheet. There are actually two kinds of clef, one is called the treble clef and the other one is the bass clef.

 Piano Lessons Made Easier   How To Read Music Notes

 Piano Lessons Made Easier   How To Read Music Notes

When both clefs are put together with a vertical line, they form the so-called grand staff. These clefs play a vital role in playing the piano since both treble and bass clef shows you different notes to play together in order to produce the sweet sounding music.

grand staff Piano Lessons Made Easier   How To Read Music Notes

After learning the basic parts of a music sheet, the next agenda we have on how to read music notes is learning the different pitches corresponding to each line and space of the grand staff. The pitches are represented by the first seven letters of the alphabet. As mentioned earlier, these pitches correspond to different keys on your piano.

piano key notes Piano Lessons Made Easier   How To Read Music Notes

Knowing this, how do you know whether you have to play the corresponding key or not? This is where the role of the notes comes in. There are actually five notes you can play. When these notes are placed on the grand staff, you must pay attention where they are positioned and what they look like. These notes represent different symbols which show you the duration of each pitch played.

music note values Piano Lessons Made Easier   How To Read Music Notes

Here is the breakdown of the notes’ different duration:

  • Whole note – receives 4 counts
  • Half note – receives 2 counts
  • Quarter note – receives 1 count
  • Eighth note – receives half a count
  • Sixteenth note – receives quarter a count

How to read music notes is definitely easy once you have mastered all of these basics. The simple illustrations guide you in playing the piano effectively using the basic knowledge of reading music notes. So go ahead and start fumbling with your hands on the piano keys to play your favorite music sheets.

Click Here And Learn How To Read Music Notes The Right Way!

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Understanding The Circle of Fifths

by Tania Gleaves on July 18, 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 relationships.

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Sharps and Flats

If you can imagine a clock for a moment, where each hour represents a particular key, you can identify that key’s sharps and flats. Let’s say that:

  • 12:00 or “0:00” represents the C Major key (or the A Minor key)…
  • 1:00 represents the G Major key (or the E Minor key)…
  • 2:00 represents the D Major key (or the B Minor key)…
  • 3:00 represents the A Major key (or the F# Minor key)…
  • 4:00 represents the E Major key (or the C# Minor key)…
  • 5:00 represents the B Major key (or the G# Minor key)…
  • 6:00 represents the F# Major key (or the Eb Minor key)…
  • 7:00 represents the Db Major key (or the Db Minor key)…
  • 8:00 represents the Ab Major key (or the F Minor key)…
  • 9:00 represents the Eb Major key (or the C Minor key)…
  • 10:00 represents the Bb Major key (or the G Minor key), and
  • 11:00 represents the F Major key (or the D Minor key).

Perfect Fifths

If you’ll notice, each hour (or key) is separated by a perfect fifth (moving clockwise). A perfect fifth is an interval made up of three whole steps and one half step. For example, A perfect fifth above C is G, and a perfect fifth above E is B. This is where the pattern gets its name . It follows a unique pattern on our imaginary clock where:

  • … the perfect fifth of the C Major key is G.
  • … the perfect fifth of the G Major key is D.
  • … the perfect fifth of the D Major key is A.
  • … the perfect fifth of the A Major key is E.
  • … the perfect fifth of the E Major key is B.
  • … the perfect fifth of the B Major key is F#.
  • … the perfect fifth of the F# Major key is C#.
  • … the perfect fifth of the C# Major key is G#.
  • … the perfect fifth of the G# Major key is D#.
  • … the perfect fifth of the D# Major key is A#.
  • … the perfect fifth of the A# Major key is F.
  • … the perfect fifth of the F Major key is C.

This pattern helps us determine the sharps and flats of a signature because they’re always a perfect fifth away (moving clockwise). Just remember that sharps increase in the clockwise direction while flats increase in the counter-clockwise direction (note: when you move counter-clockwise, each hour- or key- is separated by a perfect fourth).

Related Keys

As an example, the C Major and A Minor keys are related because they both lack sharps and flats. Based on the circle of fifths, we discover that a single flat relates the F major key to the D minor key while a single sharp relates the G major key to the E minor key as well. Two flats relate the Bb major key to the G minor key while two sharps relate the D major key to the B minor key too. Three flats relate the Eb major key to the C minor key while three sharps relate the A major key to F# minor key. Starting to see a pattern? The concept is of course easier to understand with a visual.

circle of fifths Understanding The Circle of Fifthscircle of fifths chart

The Enharmonic Notes

The 5:00, 6:00, and 7:00 hours are unique in that they help you identify different notes with the same pitch. These notes are said to be enharmonic to each other:

  • “5:00″ can either be B Major (G# Minor) with five sharps (from the clockwise perspective) or Cb Major (Ab Minor) with seven flats (from the counter-clockwise perspective).
  • “6:00″ can either be F# Major (D# Minor) with six sharps (from the clockwise perspective) or Gb Major (Eb Minor) with six flats (from the counter-clockwise perspective).
  • Lastly, “7:00″ can either be C# Major (A# Minor) with seven sharps (from the clockwise perspective) or Db Major (Bb Minor) with five flats (from the counter-clockwise perspective).

Click Here And Finally Learn What Circle Fifths Are All About!

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Music Bar Lines

July 17, 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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Music Theory Key Signature – The Basics

July 13, 2014

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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Beginner Lessons For Piano – Helpful Tips

July 9, 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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Top 5 Myths About Learning To Play Piano

July 4, 2014

You have to be born with natural ability. As one of the top 5 myths about learning to play piano, this myth may have you condemned before you even start! Everyone and anyone can learn to play piano as long as they exercise the required amount of patience and practice. The piano in fact, is […]

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How to Read Music – Definitions to Help You Learn

July 2, 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 Sheet Music Confidential

June 18, 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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Musically Notes With Dots – Understanding Staccato and Dotted Notes

June 7, 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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Learn To Read Music – A Gentle Introduction…

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 […]

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