Reading Music

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How to Read Music Note Values

Reading music notes means understanding the value of each note (that is, how long each note lasts) and how notes fit together in sheet music. To know how to read music notes, you'll need to learn the different [more…]

Note Names in the U.S. and U.K.

In the world of music, you may encounter different names for the many notes used. The U.S. and U.K. standard terms differ, but the U.S. names — which were originally translated from the German names for [more…]

Extending Notes with Dots and Ties

All notes have a certain value, indicated by the size and shape of the note, that determines how long a pitch should be held by the voice or an instrument. Sometimes, however, you want to add to the value [more…]

Understanding Simple and Compound Time Signatures

Written music always contains a time signature, which looks like a fraction and is found at the beginning of a piece of music. In the time signature, the upper number represents the number of beats per [more…]

Score a C-note: How to Find C on the Keyboard

The key to playing the keyboard is first knowing where to find C. Look at the black key groupings and find a group of two. The white key just below/to the left of the first black key in the group is the [more…]

How to Explore the Notes on the Keyboard

With C as your anchor or home base on your keyboard, you can identify the rest of the notes. The basic musical language works like the beginning of the alphabet: A, B, C, D, E, F, and G. For music, things [more…]

Size Up the Staff: How to Read Treble and Bass Clef

Long ago, the early music scholars came up with a system of lines and spaces called a staff or stave to represent notes or pitches. Each staff is a grouping of five lines and four spaces. The [more…]

How to Read Quarter Notes, Half Notes, and Whole Notes

In order to play the keyboard, you need to be able to read music. All notes aren’t created equal. If they were, music would be very boring, with no rhythm or interest to get you tapping your toes and nodding [more…]

How to Play Eighth and Sixteenth Notes on Keyboard

You can play a lot of music on the keyboard by using whole, half, and quarter notes. But the rhythm gets even more interesting when you have some notes that play faster than the main beat and when they [more…]

The 5 Basic Chord Types on the Keyboard

Most music uses some basic rules and structures; you can’t just play any group of notes, call it a chord, and sound good. Chords are built on specific note relationships called intervals. [more…]

How to Read Staffs, Clefs, and Notes to Play the Piano or Keyboard

To play the piano or keyboard, you need to know that notes and rests in music are written on what’s called a musical staff. A staff is made of five parallel horizontal lines, containing four spaces between [more…]

How to Read Bar Lines to Play the Piano or Keyboard

If you want to play keyboard or piano, you will need to have a firm grasp of bar lines. In addition to horizontal staff lines, music employs some vertical lines to help you keep track of where you are [more…]

Playing Half Steps and Whole Steps on Piano or Keyboard

In Western music, an octave is broken up into 12 tones called half steps, or semitones. To play the piano or keyboard, you should know that a musical scale [more…]

How to Read Key Signatures to Play the Piano or Keyboard

A key is a set of notes that corresponds to a certain scale. Keys and scales provide a foundation of compatible notes that piano players use to construct melodies and harmonies. Understanding them can [more…]

Playing the Piano or Keyboard: The Circle of Fifths

Lucky for you beginning piano players, there’s a method to the madness of key signatures, an order that starts with no sharps and flats and cycles the ring of keys to all twelve keys. Check out the famous [more…]

Playing the Piano or Keyboard: The Anatomy of a Triad

To be a good piano or keyboard player, you need to understand the anatomy of a triad. Chords begin very simply. Like melodies, chords are based on scales. To make a chord, you select any note and play [more…]

How to Read Chord Symbols to Play the Piano or Keyboard

When learning to play the piano or keyboard, you will likely be somewhat confused by sheet music. When you encounter sheet music or songbooks containing just melodies and lyrics, you usually also get the [more…]

Playing the Piano or Keyboard: All the Key Signatures

If you hope to be a piano or keyboard player, you need to know the key signatures. Here’s a rundown of the major and natural minor key signatures and a couple of octaves’ worth of notes in those keys, [more…]

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