Reading Music

Custom Student Mr. Teacher ENG 1001-04 24 September 2016

Reading Music

Of all the stuffs that people usually deal with ease, reading sheet music is just one of the downfall points. They think that the course is not as easy as ABC. Technically, reading sheet music effectively may certainly be impossible if one wants to learn fast. The course usually takes a lot of time and patience before everything is grasped and practiced. This is probably the reason a lot of music enthusiasts out there seldom know how to read sheet music. Undeniably, playing music is not impossible even if the person is unable to read sheet music. The thought is just similar to those who are able to speak, yet unable to write.

But learning how to read sheet music will allow someone to explore and discover various music theories that are strange to others who just know the basics of music. On top of that, once techniques in reading sheet music are deeply understood, one is no longer limited to play songs that he/she encountered. The course will lead someone to play all types of music, even the foreign ones. Learning to read sheet music is a little complicated (Lux, n. d. ). Thus, we should take it one step at a time. The following are the ways to read sheet music effective and efficiently.

The first lesson in reading sheet music is the study of the staff (Evans, n. d. ). It has five lines and four spaces wherein each corresponds to a single note. The space seen either above or below a certain line represents a note either below or above the scale. The next step a neophyte must learn is to identify the clef and its respective form (Evans, n. d. ). A clef is the first music symbol written over a staff. The clef plays a role that helps indentify which line or space in the staff represents a certain note. A chef is categorized into treble and bass clef.

Each has distinctive characteristics. The former is known as a G-clef, a symbol that is used in writing music for melodic voices like soprano, alto, tenor, and the like. The latter, on the other hand, is known as F-clef, a symbol that is used for low-pitched instruments like bass, bassoons, and among others. Determining the key signature is the subsequent step in reading sheet music (Evands, n. d. ). The term, key signature, refers to a group of symbols that are placed directly to the right portion of the clef before a note is written. Such symbol could be a flat or a sharp.

If the sheet music does not contain so many symbols, its key signature is considered “natural” which means it is neither sharp nor flat. Aside from the determination of key signature, it is important to observe the time signature. Such is usually located in the right portion of a key signature. It consists of two numbers that appear similarly to a fraction. These are top number and button numbers. When the preceding steps are followed well, the next step is to play the notes in relation to its time signature. Since, you are already aware of the lines or spaces that correspond to a note, you may now read the piece from left to right.

It has to be remembered though that the symbols will either stand for notes or rests. The latter means silence. In other words, rests do not assign any pitch for they are placed in always the same position over staff. Types of notes and rests are whole rest, whole note, half rest, half note, quarter rest, quarter note, and a lot more. It is important to know and understand each type. The last important step in learning how to read sheet music is to listen how notes are played together vis-a-vis the sheet music. There may be some loopholes that will come out while playing, but a constant practice makes it perfect.

Learning how to read sheet music is not simply memorizing it. One must understand its basic concepts well enough, see the patterns and apply them. Banking the concepts is something that everyone must do. Without it, real music will not come out. Work Cited Evans, Ashtyn. “How to Read Sheet Music. ” n. d. How To Do Things. 12 April 2009 < http://www. howtodothings. com/hobbies/a2683-how-to-read-sheet-music. html> Lux, Kevin. “Introduction to Reading Music. n. d. DataDragon Information Services. 12 April 2009 < http://datadragon. com/education/reading/>


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  • University/College: University of California

  • Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter

  • Date: 24 September 2016

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