How to Read Music

Lesson #2 - Treble Clef

In this lesson we will learn about the treble clef.

 

VIDEO LESSON

 

THE TREBLE CLEF

This is the treble clef. It is also known as the G clef.

 

THE G LINE

In part, because it resembles the letter G. But more importantly, because it points to and defines the G line on the staff. Notice where the red dot indicates where the treble clef points to the G line. Any note placed on this line will be the pitch G.

 

THE TREBLE CLEF LINES & SPACES

Here are the rest of the notes in the treble clef. The notes are labeled with the first seven letters of the alphabet. We can see the bottom line is E, and as we move up, each space or line moves forward through the seven letters, wraping back around to A after the letter G.

 

FREE POSTER

To understand the bass clef better take a look at the video above and download the free treble clef poster.

Lesson #4 - Piano Keyboard

The piano keyboard consists of 88 keys.

52 are white, called the naturals, and 36 are black, called the enharmonics, or flats and sharps.

The keyboard is arranged in a pattern of 12 notes, with 2 incomplete patterns on each end of the keyboard.

The pattern of 12 has a smaller sub-pattern or groups of 2 and 3 black keys nested inside it.

To find any key on the keyboard we use the black keys to navigate. Let's start by finding the key C.

Locate the group of 2 black keys. Move just to the left and this white key will be C.

Moving to the right the white keys are D E F G A and B.

The pattern repeats over on the next key C.

To help you remember and more easily see this information visually, you can download the free Piano Keyboard Poster.

If you liked this lesson don't forget to sign-up for the free One Minute Music Lesson newsletter. With your subscription you will also receive a free copy of the eBook "How to Read Music" by Leon Harrell.

Lesson #5 - Enharmonics

Enharmonics are also known as flats and sharps in music.

An enharmonic is one pitch that has two different names.

Watch this quick video to help you understand more about enharmonics.

If you liked this lesson don't forget to sign-up for the free One Minute Music Lesson newsletter. With your subscription you will also receive a free copy of the eBook "How to Read Music" by Leon Harrell.

Lesson #7 - Ledger Lines

In this lesson we will learn about ledger lines. A ledger line is a short line added below or above the staff to extend it's range.

Ledger lines are only used when a note is outside the range of the staff. When extending the staff it is best to use no more than 4 ledger lines for easy readability.

When using ledger lines we only want to use them briefly. If a musical passage needs ledger lines for a long time there is usually a better notational solution.

Ledger lines can be used on any staff. When using ledger lines it is important to only use the number of lines needed to show a given pitch. We do not want to put extra ledger lines above or below a pitch, only use enough to show to pitch you want.

If you liked this lesson don't forget to sign-up for the free One Minute Music Lesson newsletter. With your subscription you will also receive a free copy of the eBook "How to Read Music" by Leon Harrell.

Lesson #8 - Alto Clef

DOWNLOAD THE FREE ALTO CLEF POSTER HERE

The alto clef's proper name is the C clef. This is because it's pointer points to middle C.

The C clef is a special clef, because it is a movable clef. Wherever you place the pointer of the C clef that line will be the middle C.

There are 5 possible positions for the C clef, but the most commonly used it the position with the pointer on the middle line, known as the alto clef.

The notes of the clef are from the bottom up, F, G, A, B, C, E, D, F, G.

You can easily remember the lines of the alto clef with the phrase "Fast Ants Can Eat Grass" and the spaces can be remembered with the phrase "Great Big Dragons Fly".

To help you learn and remember the notes of the alto clef here is a FREE ALTO CLEF POSTER DOWNLOAD for you.

If you liked this lesson don't forget to sign-up for the free One Minute Music Lesson newsletter. With your subscription you will also receive a free copy of the eBook "How to Read Music" by Leon Harrell.

Lesson #9 - Rhythmic Values

DOWNLOAD THE FREE RHYTHMIC VALUES POSTER

Rhythm is the systematic arrangement of musical sound in time. In order to show this musicians use musical notation.

Rhythmic values, the individual mathematical time values of rhythm, are shown with notation such as whole, half, quarter, eighth and sixteenth notes. Also there are other possible notational values.

To begin to understand rhythm imagine a circle. A circle is a complete whole. A whole note looks like a circle. A whole note gets 4 beats.

If you divide the circle into 2 parts, you get 2 halves. A half note is half the value of a whole note, 2 beats.

If you divide the whole into 4 equal parts you get quarters. A quarter note is 1/4 the value of a whole note, 1 beat.

If you divide this quarter into 2 halves you get a 1/2 beat for each new note. But this new note is called an eighth note. This is because the value of this note is 1/8 the time value of a whole note. 4 beats divided by 8 parts will equal a 1/2 of a beat.

Finally if you divide the circle, or whole note, into 16 equal parts you will get 1/16 of a beat, called a sixteenth note.

To understand this better take a look at the video above and download the free rhythmic value poster so can visually make the connection with the math.

If you liked this lesson don't forget to sign-up for the free One Minute Music Lesson newsletter. With your subscription you will also receive a free copy of the eBook "How to Read Music" by Leon Harrell.