Learning a new language can always seem like a daunting task. Especially when reading and understanding the script is involved. Learning to read and write in a new language takes practice and patience but is not an impossible task at all. Reading and writing in a language, helps effectively express the views or opinions, or messages that a person may be trying to convey. In a similar way, music too can be expressed in the written form. Learning to read and write music helps us understand music theory as well as it helps performers understand better what the composer of a certain piece is trying to convey. Just like any other language, initially reading music may seem a bit tricky, but with time and practice, anyone can learn to read music.
Being able to read music quickly and correctly is a skill that helps performers familiarize themselves with a piece of music much faster. Whether it’s the guitar, piano, keyboard, violin, or even the saxophone, reading music is something that musicians all over the world familiarize themselves with. If you are looking to learn well through the course of your online keyboard classes, learning to read the notes for the same is an important skill to start off with. Let us take a look at some of the basics of keyboard notes.
On the keyboard, sets of black and white keys. Each of these keys is denoted a name. There are 12 different notes in music, of which 7 are alphabets. These alphabets are A B C D E F G.
On the keyboard, the white keys are the alphabets whereas the black keys are referred to as sharps and flats.
There is a repeated pattern of 2 and 3 black keys across the keyboard. If you look to wherever there is a set of 2 black keys, the first white key before it is referred to as C.
Once you are able to correctly find the Cs on the keyboard, all the other alphabets are easy to find as well as they are in subsequent order.
Eg. C is the white key before a set of 2 black keys. Hence, the subsequent white keys are D E F G A B C D E F… and so on.
Musical Staff or Stave:
Staff (US) or Stave (UK) are 5 horizontal lines and 4 spaces in between them that each represents a certain note on the keyboard. The 5 lines and 4 spaces are numbered from down to up. Music is written on these lines and spaces and then interpreted and performed by the performer.
The Treble Clef:
There are two main clefs used in music. The treble and bass clefs. These represent different ranges across the keyboard. The treble clef is also known as the G clef. It is used to denote the higher notes in music. Instruments like the flute, violin, etc which have high ranges use the treble clef. For the keyboard, generally, the treble clef is written above and is played by the right hand to play the higher notes on the keyboard.
The lines of the treble clef are: E G B D F
An easy way to remember this would be to remember the sentence Every Good Boy Does Fine. Remember, we count the lines from down to up hence the bottom line is E and the topmost line is F.
The spaces of the treble clef are: F A C E
This is easy to remember as it spells out the word FACE. Again, the bottom space is F whereas the topmost space is E.
The Bass Clef:
The Bass clef is also known as the F clef. It is the clef that is used to denote the lower notes in Music. Instruments having a low range such as the cello, tuba or bassoon use the bass clef. On the keyboard, the bass clef is generally played with the left hand to play the lower notes of the keyboard. It is also important to remember that the right side of the keyboard is the higher side and the left side is the lower side.
The lines of the Bass clef are: G B D F A
An easy way to remember this would be to remember the sentence Go Bring Dollars From America. Remember, we count the lines from down to up hence the bottom line is G and the topmost line is A.
The spaces of the Bass clef are: A C E G
An easy way to remember this would be to remember the sentence All Cows Eat Grass. Remember, we count the spaces from down to up hence the bottom space is A and the topmost space is G.
The way we identify which note needs to be played when is by the notes written on each of these lines and spaces across the treble and bass clefs. There are different types of notes like the whole note, the half note, the quarter note, and so on. These are also referred to as semibreves, minims, crotchets, etc. All notes have a note head. The exact position of the note head tells us which line or space is it denoting and hence which note needs to be played on the keyboard. Except for the whole note, all other notes also have a stem attached to the note head as well. This stem can either go down or up.