How to Read Music: Explained for Guitarists and all Treble Clef instruments

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To begin with we will take a look at how to read the music lines and spaces of the treble clef, especially useful if you play the guitar.

In order to identify the notes on the 5 staff Lines we must first decide on an clef. In this case this will be the Treble Clef

The “TREBLE CLEF”

Now we can look/identify the names of the notes on the 5 lines of the treble clef.

How to read Music/Learning to read music Notation

Next, we will look at the notes in the 4 spaces of the staff lines: F A C E

How to read Music/Learning to read music Notation

If we look at the notation below we will see the C major scale and the names of the different degrees of the scale in order.

How to read Music/Learning to read music Notation

We can now add thirds to the scale notes and notate the “Triads” of the C major scale

How to read Music/Learning to read music Notation

Although we will look at this in another video/blog we can clearly see the time signature. This is 4/4, meaning that there are 4 Quarter note beats to the bar.

How to Read Music/Learn to read music

One last thing to take into consideration is Key Signature. Again we will look at these in detail in the next video, but it is a good idea to be aware of them. They move in the cycle of 5ths. So a fifth up from C major is G major. This has an F# as the key signature. This means that every F note in the key is sharpened. Unless of course there is an natural sign.

Learn to read music/How to read music

So the key signature is for us to acknowledge that specific notes will be sharpened or flattened as we play our way through the music.

PART 2: APPLYING RHYTHMS

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It’s a good idea to watch the video before or along with this part of the lesson as it will emphasise many of the key points.

In the notation diagram below you will see the Whole note called the “Semibreve” this is worth four beats or four 1/4 notes.

How to read music

We will now cut this in half and have two “Minims” or two half notes per semibreve.

How to read music

Now we will have four 1/4 notes called “Crotchets” per Semibreve

How to Read Music

The next rhythmic division is the 1/8th note called a “Quaver”

How to Read Music

They are more commonly grouped and counted like this

How to Read Music

The doubling of the 1/8th note gives us the 16th note called a “Semiquaver”

How to Read Music

Semiquavers [16ths] are more commonly seen and counted like this

How to Read Music
How to Read Music

Lastly we will add “Triplets” to our Basic Rhythms. These are 3 notes played over one 1/4 note beat

How to Read Music

More commonly counted as:

How to Read Music

When setting out to write down music we apply a “Time Signature” in order to acknowledge how many beats there are per bar.

How to Read Music

Here we have “Three” 1/4 note beats per bar

How to Rea Music

Now we have ‘Six Eighth” notes per bar displayed by the 6/8 time signature

How to Read Music

Now let’s apply this to the Scale that we learnt in the previous blog/video “How to read music part 1”

How to Read Music

SYNCOPATION: Syncopated Common Rhythms

Some rhythms are tied as we see below: This makes them syncopated as we start “On” the beat and then accent the “Off-beat”.

How to Read Music

The above rhythm is more commonly written like this:

How to Read Music

SYNCOPATED RHYTHM NUMBER 2:

The other very common syncopated rhythm is this:

How to Read Music

Again, notice the tied notes. This means that the 2nd “On” beat is not played but the “And” Off-Beat is played. It is more commonly written like this:

How to Read Music

Now let’s apply these two common syncopated rhythms to our “Triads” from our previous blog/video lesson on how to read music

The first Rhythm with triad melody:

How to Read Music

The second Rhythm with triad melody:

How to Read Music

Okay, that’s the end of part 2 on “How to Read Music Rhythms and Notation”.

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