How To Read Music – A Beginner’s Primers

Music is the art of producing sounds in rhythmic patterns.  It’s a bonus and a big help if you know how to read notes.  By learning how to read notes, you will learn to play a lot of music pieces.  Here are the steps on how you can begin reading notes.

  • Things that you will need.  It will be easier for you to learn how to read music if you have a piano or a keyboard so you can visualize.  You will also use a sheet music, a stool to sit on and reading glasses if you wear any.
  • Sheet music.  With a sheet music in hand, you will identify and try to memorize.  The lines and spaces you see on the sheet music are called the staff.  This where musical notes are written on.  The top staff is has a treble clef while the lower staff has a bass clef.
  • Clef.   The treble or G clef circles on the second line of the staff which stands for the G note.  When you see this, you immediately know that your music will be higher than the C note.  These notes will be played with your right hand.  The bass clef, or F clef symbolizes that the last space on a staff is the F note below the middle C note.  Your left hand will play the lower notes.
  • Time signature.  After the clef, you will notice a math fraction like 4/4 or ¾.  This is called the time signature.  The top number or numerator indicates how many beats there are.  The most commonly used time signature is 4/4, next to it is the ¾, used in country music. 
  • Middle C.  The middle C is indicated by a note head with a special line through it called the ledger line.  If the middle C is below the G clef, you will play it with your right hand.  If you see it above the treble clef, then you will play it with your left hand. 
  • G clef notes.  Notice that there are 5 lines and 4 spaces in a G staff.  Next to the C note is the D note.  It can be found on the space between the C note and the first line starting from the bottom. The next notes found on the lines are E, G, B, D, and F – remember the code:
    • E-very
    • G-ood
    • B-oy
    • D-oes
    • F-ine.

Keep in mind that you should learn to memorize the note as you see it and not by saying this code each time.

Next are the spaces in the treble cleft.  Starting from the bottom, the notes are F, A, C, and E.  The code is FACE.  Remember to memorize the note at sight.  When you play a music piece, you cannot stop to say the code and then continue playing.  That would be really odd and a very bad habit.

It doesn’t matter if the note you are reading has its tail facing up or down, it is still read the same and played with the same beat.

  • Bass clef notes.  Starting from the bottom line are the notes G, B, D, F and A.  The code you can remember is the following:
    • G-ood
    • B-oys
    • D-on’t
    • F-ool
    • A-round.
  • Try not confusing yourself with the notes of the G clef!  Starting from the bottom space are the notes A, C, E and G.  This may stand for A-ll C-ars E-at G-as or simply ACE G.

These are just the basics in learning to read music.  With patience and memorization, you’ll be able to read music and then play music.


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