How to read music
Clefs are the symbol at the beginning of a piece of music that tells you weather it is for treble or bass instruments. They look like this:
Time signatures tell you how to break up the measures for counting.
Some examples of common time signatures are as follows:
, , , , and
The bottom numbers are what type of note to count in your head 4= quarter note and 8= eighth note.
The top number is how many of the notes there are in a measure.
The time signature is placed after the clef mark.
The most common notes are as follows:
|* Whole note||4 counts per 4/4 measure|
|*Half note||2 counts per 4/4 measure|
|*Quarter note||1 count per 4/4 measure|
|*Eighth note||1/2 count per 4/4 measure|
|*Sixteenth note||1/4 count per 4/4 measure|
Sharps, flats, and naturals
Accidentals Key signature
These last until the end of the measure These last throughout the piece unless otherwise noted
By an accidental or a key change only
A sharp is the note indicated but is one half step higher. #
A flat is the note indicated but is one half step lower. b
A natural cancels any sharp or flat, it still follows the rules of the accidentals and the key signature.
If there are two flats or sharps then you play two half steps (or a whole step) lower or higher.
There are never two naturals for any note.
All graphics on this page were created by Matt.
For more information on reading music visit this page.