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Reading Music Notes
on Tuesday 20 June 2006
by Jeffrey Meier author list print the content item {PDF=create pdf file of the content item^plugin:content.69}
in Songwriting
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Reading music notes look complicated and many people especially kids loose their interest thinking that it is too difficult. On the contrary, at least the basics of reading music can be grasped quite easily with a certain amount of perseverance. Of course it needs a little effort at the inception but once you get used to reading the scores, reading music notes would be as easy as reading any nursery rhymes.

What is a Clef?

A clef is a musical symbol that is placed at the beginning of the staff. It determines the letter names of the lines and spaces. Treble clef and the bass clef are the two main clefs. In most contemporary sheet music you will see the music will be written on either the treble clef staff or the bass clef. The treble clef consists of notes that are higher in pitch than the bass clef. A staff is made up of five horizontal lines and four spaces. The pitches are named after the first seven letters of the English alphabet (A B C D E F G).

How to play different notes:

One should be able to differentiate between the duration of the notes. This is where the importance of the values of notes comes in. Each note may have a specific length on its own. And each kind of note has a different symbol assigned to it. It is important to know the tempo otherwise a small mistake in a count may mess up the whole piece. The different kinds of notes are the whole note, the half note, the quarter note, the eighth note and the sixteenth note.

To play a whole note in the time signature of 4/4 it would have to be played and held for the duration of 4 beats. Half notes in 4/4 time would be held for half of the bar or two of the 4 beats of the bar. Each half note would be played for the duration of half of the bar. Quarter notes in 4/4 time would be held for 1/4 of the length of a bar. The proper way to count quarter notes in 4/4 time is 1 for the 1st quarter note, 2 for the 2nd, 3 for the 3rd and 4 for the 4th. Eighth notes are half the length of quarter notes and the sixteenth notes are half the length of the eighth notes.

The meter is given at the beginning of the staff after the clef. The meter or time signature in a musical piece is indicated by a fraction. The lower number of the fraction tells what kind of note receives one beat. The upper number tells how many beats are in a measure. The majority of the contemporary rock and pop music is written in the 4/4 time signature.

Learning music is fun and can be quite relaxing also. With a little perseverance you can learn any instrument you want. Don’t be intimidated by the symbols of the different notes. Once you learn the basics it won’t take you much time to get to that point when you would be able to play any song by just looking at the notes. So enjoy your journey in music land!


Jeff Meier of Jam727 Enterprises offers a variety of product and information web sites. Learn to read music at http://www.musicnotereading.com and enjoy learning about music.


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