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How To Read Music

How to read music. This is a quick guide to help you learn how to read sheet music. First point. Learning how to read sheet music is not hugely difficult.

Music, like English, is a language and once you know the basics it unlocks your ability to learn songs and expand your repetoire and your playing ability.

Just because I've mentioned the words learn and language in the same sentence does not mean you run like mad in the opposite direction!!!!

Looking at a piece of sheet music you might wonder what on earth is going on but we will split it down into the basics to give you a kick start. Once you have the appetite for music you will not want to stop learning how to read music.

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How To Read Sheet Music

We'll start from the beginning and assume you know absolutely nothing about how to read sheet music.

All music is written on a staff or stave. This is five lines in a row as the picture below shows.

Sheet Music

Nothing difficult about that is there? Good. Now we need to know a few things about the staff (stave)

Each line and space on the staff is representative of a note. The notes are allocated to each line and space as follows in the next picture.

Sheet Music

The lines represent the notes (from the bottom up) E,G,B,D,F.

If you want to remember this you can use the saying Every Good Boy Deserves Feeding or make up your own. I can think of one that I can't print!

The spaces inbetween the lines (from the bottom up) represent the notes F,A,C,E.

Seeing as this spells FACE there doesn't seem to be any need to create a phrase to remember them.

The two notes below and above the staff are D and G. (Dolce and Gabbana for all you fashion slaves).

Hopefully there's been nothing too difficult about learning how to read sheet music so far. I hope you will agree that learnig how to read music has, so far, been fairly easy.

Let's Continue To Learn To Read Sheet Music

The staff can be extended beyond it's range and for the sake of the saxophone the range goes from Bb to F.

Most modern saxophones have an F# key as well but we'll not worry about that for now. It's quite unlikely that if you are just learning to play saxophone that you will have hit top F# just yet.

Sheet Music

Ok. So things just got a little more complicated. The shortened bars are the extensions of the staff.

Don't expect to know these off by heart straight away. It takes time and practice to be able to look at a piece of sheet music and know instantly what note to play.

Hopefully you've noticed that the letters repeat themselves. A to G and repeat A to G. These groups of notes are called octaves.

Why? Well, count the letters from A through to the next A and you will note there is eight of them.

Like an octopus has eight legs an octave has eight notes. If someone asks you to take it up and octave you now know that it means to go to the same note eight steps up.

More Learn to Read Music

Sheet Music

So how did you find that? Easy? Not bad? Confusing? If either of the last two is your answer then I suggest you bookmark the page and study it again either now or at a later date.

These are the first steps when you learn to read music. If you don't know them it's unlikely that you will progress smoothly through playing or how to read music.

Remember, there's no rush here. It's not a race. So just slow it down and take your time. Theres no prizes for learning how to read music quicker than anyone else.

Feel ready to learn how to read music a bit more? Great! Click on the links below to take you to the next lessons in how to read music.

Lesson Two Of How To Read Sheet Music - Bars, Treble Clef and Time Signatures

Lesson Three Of Learn To Read Music - Types Of Notes

Lesson Four Of Learn To Read Sheet Music - Sharps, Flats & Naturals

Lesson Five Of Learn To Play Music - Types Of Rests

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