Learning how to read sheet music is essential if you want play a musical instrument or sing.
If you can play the piano by ear and have no need for sheet music, you’re one of lucky few. Introduction To better understand how to read sheet music, maybe it is best first ask ourselves: What music exactly? Leger lines in the bass clef are much like ledger line in the treble clef.  Middle C exists on a ledger line in the bass clef as well.  Can you find it? In order to understand a key signature as diagrammed in the Circle of Fifths, you'll need to know and understand the musical staff. In the diagram below, we will for this example assume that we are in the key of C because there are no sharps or flats in the key signature (see: Circle of Fifths).
You will have noticed from the picture of a piano keyboard above that every sharp has a corresponding flat. A really simple thing, but you will avoid so many problems if you just remember the symbol goes BEFORE the note!
In music, we use whata€™s called a Semitone and Whole Tone to know the distance between notes. What steps do I have to take if I play a song that's in the key of B flat versus a song that's in C? While I agree with the great answers below, I have to state that the music theory is not actually a rigorous theory but an enumeration of what goes good with what.
Even though you are learning the flute, I think it is worth understanding the piano keyboard, and thinking about key signatures in terms of that.
That melody begins and ends on C; but more generally it 'feels' as if C is the 'home' note.
What we've just done is called transposing - moving a piece of music from one key to another. Twinkle Twinkle doesn't contain the 7th note of the scale, but you can see that the step from A to B is two semitones, and the step from B to C is only one semitone. So - to transpose something from C major to D major, move everything up by one note letter, play F# instead of F, and C# instead of C. When writing music on a stave, it gets messy having to put sharp and flat signs every time a black note is played. It turns out that no two major keys have the same combination of sharps and flats, so a musician will look at those two sharp signs, and say "aha, D major" -- so that notation is called a key signature, because it is an easily recognisable indication of what key we are using. There are more scales too -- but that's a more advanced topic, to be tackled when you're comfortable with these basics. All of this is exactly the same on your flute; it's just not as visually obvious as on a piano keyboard.
A key signature is a bunch of zero or more sharp or flat signs written at the beginning of each line of music (sometimes only the first line). This circle is the circle of fifths, and by following it you'll find out which key signature matches which key: if the key signature has x sharps in it, you go x fifths up from C, and the key for that signature is the major key starting from that note.
If you go up a fifth from A to E and play the E minor scale, you have to raise F to F# but nothing else.


Since C is a minor third below Eb, the key signature for C minor is the same as the one for Eb major, i.e.
Having a C flute just means that when you play a "logical C" (the fingering for C, I guess, I'm not a flutist) then what you hear is also a C. Also in the scope of this question, the meaning of "being centered around a note x" is that the key signature is the one for either x major or x minor. Not the answer you're looking for?Browse other questions tagged theory key-signatures key or ask your own question.
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Here is an overview of the music theory you will need for this class.  See your notes from our January 14th class for additional information. 2) It’s also important for you to know what key your song is in.  We’ll talk about that more later. A sharp (#) indicates that the note is raised to the next highest piano key.  This can be a white key moving to a black key or a white key moving to a white key.
A flat (b) indicates that the note is lowered to the next lowest piano key.  This can be a white key moving to a black key or a white key moving to a white key. Now we’re ready to look at information to help us reach the second goal (list way up at the top of this page).  It’s time to figure out what key our piece of music is in. Sharps and flats occur in a sequence, which makes this all much easier because it is an unbreakable rule. Learning how to play piano by ear and apply it what you see on a keyboard is lot easier if can read notes.
For more practice you can go to the worksheet section of the website to download some practice sheets.
Tablature is another method of documenting a musical piece for guitar that does not use the 5 line staff. However, in some cases you will notice that if a movement of a semitone is between 2 white notes (e.g.
Learning the keys and notes on the piano can be a difficult task for beginners, but using this chart will make the learning process much easier. There are two different kinds of keys on the piano. In one of the first chapters it describes something about key signatures and the circle of fifths and I'm completely lost. Just like the multiplication table, you can either memorize it by studying extensively or you do it over and over and it just sits in. It's worth experimenting with a piano, or an electronic keyboard, or even web app like this one. Just as the C major scale can be played by playing just the names, so can the A minor scale: A, B, C, D, E, F, G, A.
This means that the note you play is the one you hear, in other words, the instrument doesn't transpose. More accurately it means that the x major or minor chord is the "most restful" chord of the piece, and others have more tension.
It does not require the ability to read music or understand the musical staff, but I suggest you spend a little time and master the musical staff.


So my naive advice is that don't pay too much attention before you actually play a piece or two. If we were writing down our version of Twinkle Twinkle in D major, we would write the clef, then a sharp sign each on the F and C lines, then the time signature. Thus, the key signature for D major has two sharps, one at F-position and one at C-position. Conversely, if you want to find out the signature for x major, just start from C and go up or down by fifths until you hit x. This is actually true for every note: to get the key signature for x minor just go a minor third up from x and see what the key signature for that major scale is. In the scope of these questions, this is the difference between C major (which has no flats or sharps) and C minor. You'll eventually see that some pieces always follow certain patterns and then you can read up why this is happening. When we played that part of the melody in C, it stepped from F to E - that's one semitone because there is no black key between F and E.
Count the fifths, note whether you went up or down, and you have the amount of sharps or flats in the signature for x major. Similarly if you have the key signature for x major, go down a minor third from x and you get the minor scale which fits this key signature.
In each clef, the notes represented by the lines and spaces are different because the instrumets playing the music in any given clef have a musical range that centers comfortably within the staff. The notes that they skip, F - A - C - E, are represented by the spaces in between the lines. If you go a fifth below that to Bb you'll see (or rather hear) that the Bb major scale has two lowered notes: B flat and E flat. For example, Bass clef is used for instruments that play primarily in the lower registers and Treble Clef is for instruments that play primarily in the upper registers. The key of F# major has six sharp signs in its key signature and you seldom get more than that.
Going down fifths you get Eb, Ab, Db, and finally Gb with six flat signs in the key of Gb major. As far as I know, every "normal" flute is in C so you don't have to think about this any more.
But Gb is just another name for F# (in equal temperament at least) so the circle has closed.
You'll notice that we have now gone through every 12 notes (one of them even twice) so there's nothing left.



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