For beginners, musical sheets may look really foreign, with all the notes and symbols printed in it. All the notes that will be on the upper staff are the notes above middle C and the bottom staff indicates all the notes below middle C. Moving on, once you are familiar with the notes and piano keys, another significant aspect in learning to read music sheets is the tempo of the of the song or the piece. This is a numerical fraction, located on a staff after the treble cleff and bass cleff to indicate the timing. Have you ever heard a really nice song that got you so captivated that you just wish you can play it in the piano right away? Surely, it would be great that even without music sheets, one can play music beautifully and can share his or her own version of the song. I often get asked what the point of the Bass Clef is because its existence just seems to make life harder for no good reason!!
Well, the reason we have the Bass Clef is simple – to make music easier to read by avoiding the use of too many ledger lines. However, Middle C in the Bass Clef goes on a ledger line above the stave so there are loads of notes we can write below Middle C without having to use any ledger lines. If you can learn how to read Treble and Bass Clef then you will make a huge leap forward as a musician.
Learning how to read sheet music for piano can be quite daunting at first because it looks like a series of lots of lines and dots with several random symbols thrown in for good measure. The key thing to remember is that piano music simply uses the basic elements of sheet music – it just has a lot of them because a piano player has 2 hands and a total of 10 fingers and therefore the potential to play a lot of notes at any one time.
It helps to remember this when practicing as you can practice one hand at a time and make significant progress with whichever piece you are wanting to play.
Some contemporary piano music has one stave (usually Treble Clef) for the right hand and chord symbols above or below the staff. Slideshare uses cookies to improve functionality and performance, and to provide you with relevant advertising. 2011 CHRISTMAS MUSIC READING SESSION MONA REJINOChristmas at the Movies Keveren I HL 23519600 12.9916 holiday tunes youll remember from your favorite Christmas movies are featured in this collection of piano solo arrangements. Below you will find a Piano Notes Chart showing the notes on the keyboard and how they relate to the piano staff, plus a link to a free printable notes and keys chart pdf file for you to download. When you look at the chart below, you will notice that the piano staff is actually two staves joined together. To find "middle C," look for the group of two black keys closest to the middle of the keyboard. I have compiled a piano chords chart containing the two most important chords that you will ever learn, the major and minor chord. The reason for this is because each chord is a derivative, or built from, the major chord or minor chord. The Cmaj7 contains the exact same notes as the C Major Chord, with only one additional note. This is just one example of how once you learn major and minors you can then use the foundation of those two chords to start building more difficult and complex chords. There is a whole lot more then just knowing the notes in the printable piano chord chart, such as Fingering, Inversions, and so on. I’m sure most music teachers have taught students how to read music using rhymes at some stage.
This abstract way of thinking about notes is not only the slowest way to get to know musical notation, it is also highly unmusical, with the rhymes having no bearing on musical direction, pitch, or how each note relates to the next. I remember having a six year old who was very musical, practiced insane amounts of unnatural hours every day, and could read music exceptionally well. Theory sheets such as the one on the right are very useful for students to put their alphabet practice into use. I get students to practice in two ways – one, of course, is saying note names as they play.
I have had a few students who have felt that if they don’t know the letter name of the note that they are playing, they think they are “cheating” or not really reading the music, and therefore try to just fumble through unmusically with lots of pauses, disregarding rhythm while they think of each note name in isolation, trying to remember which rhyme it was they needed for which clef. Taking this topic one step further, I then have students who feel if they are getting to know the music well and find that they’re not reading every single note, that again, they are cheating. I would love to know any experiences other teachers have had with students and their reading ventures, or also any other methods of approaching teaching notation and reading note names. So, for me, it’s yes to A-G to and fro, yes to naming notes, and yes to intelligently presented mnemonics. I get kids to recognize EGBDFA in the treble clef starting on the first line in the treble clef and finishing on A (leger line) above the treble staff.
EGBDFA in the bass clef starts on the E (leger line) below the first line and finishes on A (fifth line in bass).
I have always taught Treble Clef is called the G clef & shown them how the clef is art around G. Amy your comment about using the clefs for note reference inspires me to add one of the points I use when teaching note recognition.
My twenty years and hundreds of students have taught me that we all learn things differently. I try to start all my students reading relationships and intervals, but you know what, some of them just can’t make the physical and aural connection. I believe an excellent teacher simply restates the information in creative and interesting ways until the student gets it. I don’t think rhymes, codes or any form of short cut are effective methods to use in music classes.
These methods or techniques tend to cause some confusion, especially when teaching students who were exposed to them from a previous music studio. But I believe that the original way to reading music is most effective and all music teachers should practice doing so.
Our support team consists of music teachers, like you, who also use Music Teacher’s Helper in their own studios. If your not up to speed on making sound with the Arduino read the first two articles in this series. At the end of Part 2 I suggested that you create a function which generates the sound once given a frequency and duration. The ArduinoSound function uses bit-banging to generate sound as described in the previous articles. Generating the desired frequency big-bang style means figuring out what the period or cycle time of the desired frequency is. With this information and Paul’s fregout function as an example, I created the following function. The next calculation is how many cycles of the frequency we need to generate to get our desired duration. Now comes the easy part, we have a for loop which will cycle us though the code the correct number of times for our duration, we only need to toggle the pin correctly. I did find music music in a form that was easy to read, if you knew how to read sheet music. With the notes and durations in hand, I still needed to know the frequencies for each note. I remember playing with a BASIC sound function in the old Color Computer and Commodore 64 days. I’m sure the musically inclined readers have a lot of dislikes with the methods used in the PlaySound function.
Here is a picture of my breadboard and a sound file of it playing Jingle Bells using the code above.
Last time I said this article would be about generating nice sine waves… I wanted to play a melody so I benched the sin output article. The zip file is still linked to, which contains the file from your earlier article.

I know, I went there, did that, took quite some time to make a sound looks nice, timming, notes, etc. Now, another example of music, using an AVR AtTiny45, six channels, wavetable… wonderful result, but of course the author knows about music, it helps a lot. I tried to copy+paste the bits of code from the article but couldn’t get the code to compile. Well, my 5,000 punch cards were never able to produce a toot – the computer center limited the amount of system resources a program could grab.
Basically, you (and the assorted referenced sources) have done more than I did in two years back then. On encoding … there is very much done on that subject and there has always been a big division between codings for analysis and codings for printing music. The staff is composed of horizontal lines where the notes and the symbols are usually written there are also the vertical lines called the bar which divides the staff into sections. To play the C Major scale, start with the thumb, followed by the index finger then middle finger, then at F, the note is numbered once again so you have to tuck your thumb underneath and continue as it is written.
The numerator represents the number of beats per measure while denominator gives the note value for the beat. There are still a lot more to learn, like other symbols, the dynamics and of course the technique but this is a good start.
Playing the piano by ear appears to be a gift, a talent of hearing music once or twice, and then once you have your hands on the keys, the magic begins. If we were to use a Treble Clef (remember, Middle C in the Treble Clef goes on a ledger line below the stave as shown below) then we would have to use loads of ledger lines – this would make the music really difficult to read. Usually (but not always), the top stave is written in the Treble Clef and the bottom stave is written in Bass Clef.
Detailed articulation, dynamics and pedal markings createa thoughtful and thorough performance.
They have the world's largest selection, guaranteed low prices, and great customer service. You know, Every Good Boy Deserves Fruit, FACE, Good Boys Deserve Fudge Always, All Cows Eat Grass – or whatever rhymes you have used. But if I asked her to name a note, or asked her to start from a certain note in the music, she wouldn’t know what I was talking about. I explain the lines and spaces and stepping up goes up the alphabet and coming down goes backwards. I don’t think you can bypass this vital stage in getting acquainted with the notes – please, feel free to correct me if you feel this is wrong. It has taken some effort with a few students to change this old way of approaching reading. It’s fantastic for teaching all sorts of things, and students really enjoy using it during a lesson. Every student has a running composition which we work on when time allows during a lesson, and this enables me to introduce all sorts of music theory points painlessly and with a great deal of lighthearted humour. Just like a language the movement of the notes and its interval perception is the most important thing.
I’ve been teaching piano for nearly 20 years, and never have I seen a more universally successful method for teaching a child to play from sheet music.
I even mentioned that most of the work we done for you by Paul Badger with his freqout function.
To play a musical note, we need to use specific frequencies and play the sound for a specific amount of time. The half period value has already been calculated so we just set the pin High for the half period, then low for the same amount of time. If you only need to make a beep-beep sound or maybe generate sounds with a frequency based on some inputs then you are all set. I did some searching for a simple melody and learned that there are a lot of music file formats.
The table of note frequencies in Paul Badgers freqout did not look like the correct values to me. There are 108 notes and rest in the version of Jingle Bells so I could have just coded up all these calls to my new Sound function.
The function takes two inputs, a character string encoded with music and the output pin to play the sound on. I hope to develop this function into an easy solution for microcontroller hobbyist and I welcome any suggestions for improvement.
There are extra parts on the board for the upcoming DAC article and I put a LED to the output pin so I could see it playing. So next week I hope to cover generating clean sin waves using one or more of the DAC methods described in the first article.
From my short course in sheet music I understand that the # symbol on the ‘f’ line means that all the f notes are sharp.
Really looking forward to the R2R DAC example, which should allow better quality sound output – like sampled audio from .wav files!
The good thing is, there are lots of ways to start understanding music notes from tutorial videos to reading how to articles like this one.
The presence of sharp before a note means that you have to raise a note by one half step while a flat requires you to go down by one half step. To go back to the middle C, follow the numbering and when you reach F, move the middle finger over the thumb and proceed until you press the middle C. Look at the diagram above – this shows what is often referred to as the Grand Staff (the combination of Treble Clef and Bass Clef). The top stave shows the notes that should be played with the right hand, whilst the bottom stave shows the notes to be played by the left hand.
In this case, you would play the tune with your right hand and improvise the chords with your left hand.
Piano arrangements of several of the familiar choruses and arias are presented in this collection, for use as solos or sets. Fingerings outside the noted positions and those indicating a shift in hand position are circled for easy identification. This pattern helps you find your way around the white keys (otherwise the white keys all look the same!). Because of the density of the black keys in the chart, you should be careful not to print these charts too often.You can also lower the density of the printing in your printer settings. I didn’t understand at that stage how she could read music so well without knowing her note names.
Rather than rhymes, becoming so familiar with the alphabet A-G that you can say it just as quickly backwards as forwards is key to getting to know notes.
The answer that I give them is that it is there to serve the purpose of creating the music. You can send custom exercises to the parent’s email and they can work on memorizing those specific notes. I agree that the menmonics don’t really seem to help, so I liked your reminder to work more with alphabet and intervals. Then I show how the treble clef is an old fashioned G, and the bass clef an old fashioned F. It provides a welcome break particularly when focus on the instrument becomes a bit tedious with small children. It will be easy for you to adapt this code to play other music and I hope you will share your code with us in the comments. We divide that by 2 for the half period value which is the time we need to hold the pin low then high to toggle it at the desired frequency. The calculation is easy, we convert the duration value to seconds then divided it by the period or cycle time of our frequency.
Eventually I was able to learn enough of the mysterious language to translate Jingle Bells into a form I could use.

We ultimately need a function very much like the older BASIC Play function for the Arduino . The first switch statement decodes note characters and sets the frequency parameter using constants from the header file. Using separate files (also called modules) makes it easy to reuse these functions in other projects. There is nothing to do in the setup function which leaves the loop function to do all the work. A half step is the very next key, for example raising the middle C by one half step will land you on the black key beside it. To make sure that you are pressing the right keys, search videos about the key of C and listen if it sounds similar to what you are playing.
The notes and rests have corresponding counts or beats.Time signature should also be followed. By learning Treble and Bass Clef you can see the huge range of notes that you will be able to read. There are optional duet accompanimentsfor all of the melodic arrangements for a fuller, richer musical experience.
You will be able to recognize each chord and the shape that it makes on the staff without reading the notes individually or taking the time to study the sheet music. Search through the printer settings and find where you can adjust the quality of the images. Of course, she just knew which note corresponded to which key on the piano, without giving them names, and could follow patterns. Then, all you need is a base point, say middle C for example, and you can figure any other note out from there, going up and down the alphabet. So once the music has served its purpose and you don’t need to read every note, that means that you’ve learned it well and the sheet music is then just a reference point as you need, or to see the bigger picture rather than individual notes. For example, when I see a harmonic C to G, I probably process it as a P5 first and then as C to G.
Mnemonics work well, particularly as I teach guitar and it’s much harder for students to grasp how notes go up and down in steps than it is if they are playing on a piano keyboard. Duration is the time to play the note for in milliseconds, and the output pin is which pin to play the note on.
I wanted a simple, single voice melody, ideally something everyone would recognize and would be available as a set of frequencies and durations. Later I figured out that Paul’s frequencies are multiplied up by 64 so that they can fit into an int and still have sufficient resolution.
I did ultimately find some information on the QBasic Play function but not until after I had created my lesser version.
Really all the extra parts are not necessary, you just need a couple of resistors and a cable to connect so some speakers or your PC. To fix this I could have just changed the frequency for the ‘f’ note but I figured someone would notice that. For beginners, it will be best to follow the numbering since these are intended to make playing easier while for experienced pianist, the finger positions are already suggestive. The material on this site is copyrighted to their respective owners and it is shared for educational purposes only. The white key directly on the left of the two black keys is "C."Black keys can be both sharps or flats. Use a lesser quality printer setting to use less ink.Print out the printable piano chord and leave it with you at the piano.
When we’re teaching music as a language, however, being able to communicate verbally and have the same language is extremely important.
Every week I will give a student one other note to memorise – middle C first, then the bottom line of treble clef, then the top space of bass clef etc. In the early stages, this is just steps (2nds) and skips (3rds), but as new intervals are introduced, rather than solely thinking of each note in isolation, trying to figure out its note name, showing shapes and intervals and how that relates to finger patterns and hand shapes on the piano is much more musical and relevant to understanding direction and phrases. I can see how intervals would work particularly for instruments where the notes are laid out in a line though.
The result is stored in durationCycles which is used by the for loop to control how many cycles we generate.
If you have a suggestion for a better encoding or perhaps a good site to learn about the Play function please comment. This makes it easy to find my place between the string of codes and the actual sheet music.
I did not create a way to distinguish between the normal, sharp or flats with my simple string encoding method.
Notes with different time equivalents can be combined in one measure as long as it conforms with the time signature. Pianists of all ages willenjoy these musically satisfying arrangements that are sophisticated yet accessible.
When you first learn to read, it is necessary to sound out each letter as you figure out the word.
The second number is the note duration and can be 1, 2, 4, or 8 for whole, half, quarter, or eight note. Finally we delay without generating sound for a short time to create a small gap in the sound. I am working on a better encoding scheme, probably based on MIDI note numbers which can be converted to frequencies with some simple math.
As in all the volumes of this superb series, each setting has been crafted by top arrangers to sound gorgeousand professionally polished, yet all the music is quite playable.
Titles: Christmas Waltz • Frosty the Snowman • The Holly and the Ivy • (There’s NoPlace Like) Home for the Holidays • Jingle Bells • Let It Snow! Otherwise, delving into more complex theoretical concepts and keys and scales becomes exceptionally hard as you can’t communicate verbally and be on the same wave length.
Now, we don’t even see individual letters, or even words, but read in sentences, unconscious of each letter. This makes the function a bit easier to use when playing music as you can use this function both for the notes and rests.
It would have been exactly the same to write that string out without the extra quotes and spaces.
As with all books in this series, itincludes a unique lay-flat binding to help keep the music open on the music stand. There are spaces inside the strings to encode rest so those are important, but they are inside the quotes. I find that it is when a student reaching a comfortable point in reading that they have this little panic about not actually being aware of the notes anymore. Titles:Away in a Manger • The Birthday of a King • Ding, Dong, Merrily on High • The Gift • Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas • I’ll Be Home for Christmas • It Came Upon theMidnight Clear • Let It Snow! And it is generally the ones without a great ear or memory and have had to rely on reading heavily in the early days.
For advanced pianists, the right hand or left hand can play either the notes on the upper or lower staff as the music sheets require but for beginners, it is enough to remember that the upper staff is for the right hand while as represented by the treble cleff, the symbol at the beginning of the upper staff while the lower staff is for the left hand, represented by the bass cleff instead. After knowing the notes on the staff, the faster you memorize this, the faster you can concentrate on playing the music. Titles: Believe (from THE POLAR EXPRESS) • The Christmas Waltz • Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas • Ill Be Home forChristmas • Its the Most Wonderful Time of the Year • Let It Snow! Bumble and the Stingers, this rocked-up version ofTchaikovskys NUTCRACKER became even more famous after ELP covered it in the 1970s.

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Comments to «Reading sheet music for piano practice»

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