ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

A Basic Guide To Musical Notation

Updated on March 19, 2016

Note symbols and values. Here is a Semibreve (whole note), Minim (half note), Crotchet (quarter note), Quaver (eighth note) and Semi-quaver (sixteenth note).

As you can see above, all notes (on the left) have a note head (the circle at the bottom of the note which is either colored black for the crotchet, quaver, semiquaver and demi-semiquaver or left white for the minims and semibreves). The stem (stick above the note head) determines how long the note should be played for and can also appear inverted (below the note head) to make reading the music easier. In the case of quavers, semiquavers and demi-semiquavers, when more than one of these notes is played one after the other, the notes can be grouped together by adding a beam across the top of the stem (see above).

This symbol is a bass clef

This symbol is a treble clef and the 5 lines on which it occurs is called the stave

Here are the notes of the treble and bass cleffs

Here are four easy rhymes to help you to remember the notes of the treble and bass clefs

Being able to read music very fast, knowing instantly which note needs to be sounded and when is one the trickiest aspects of being a musician. In the early stages there are some rhymes that you can use to help you remember the notes of each clef. For the spaces in the treble clef, there is a 'face' in the space. This is because from bottom to top, the notes between the lines read 'F'-'A'-'C'-'E'. The rhyme for the notes on the lines of this cleff is 'Every Good Boy Deserves Fruit'. This is because the notes from bottom to top read 'E'-'G'-'B'-'D'-'F'. As for the bass clef, the notes with the spaces make up the rhyme 'All Cows Eat Grass' because they read 'A'-'C'-'E'-'G' from bottom to top. Finally, the notes that are on the lines in the bass clef can be remembered by using the rhyme 'Good Boys Deserve Food Always' as they read 'G'-'B'-'D'-'F'-'A'.

Here is an image of the rhymes to help you visualize and remember them

Time signatures and meter basics

All time signatures can be classified in to meters. Depending on how many beats per measure, the meter may be described as duple, triple or quadruple meter. Whenever each of these meters appear with the word 'simple' in front, this means that each of the beats can be broken in to two notes. For example, the time signature 2/4 can be called simple duple meter. It is 'duple' because there are 2 beats per measure and it is 'simple' because each crotchet can be converted in to two quavers. Beats that are in 'compound' meter are divided in to three unlike 'simple' where the beats are divided in to two.

D flat major key signature

Key Signatures

A key signature is a group of all of the accidentals (sharps-# and flats-b) that are found in a scale and it is notated right at the beginning of the score. The purpose of writing a key signature is to save writing all of the accidentals in the music and it also allows you to have an idea of what key the piece is in. As an example we can look at the key signature of Db major. Db major consists of five flats including 'B', 'E', 'A', 'D' and 'G' flat. This key signature would be notated in the way that this image demonstrates.

Here are a few key musical terms with there meanings.

Adagio- Very slow.

Allegro- Quick.

Andante- Rather slow.

Brillante- Brilliant, impressive.

Cantabile- Graceful.

Dolce- Sweet and soft.

Espressivo- With expression.

Forte- Loud.

Grave- Solemn.

Largo- Stately and slow.

Lento- Slow time.

Legato- Smoothly.

Moderato- Moderate time

Prestissimo- Quickly as possible.

Pianissimo- Very Softly.

Rallentando (rall)- Gradually slower.

Staccato- Short, detatched.

(<)Crescendo (cresc)- Gradually louder.

(>)Diminuendo (dim)- Gradually softer.

Here is a very highly rated book which I own and find very useful as it contains lots of detailed information about music theory

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • AlexJ123 profile imageAUTHOR

      Alex 

      2 years ago from Stoke-On-Trent

      Hi MsDora, thanks and you're welcome.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 

      2 years ago from The Caribbean

      Great revision lesson for me. I'm sure that beginners will also find it useful. Thank you.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)