Reading Music Using Solfge
Solfège is the method of reading music that uses do-re-mi-fa-sol-la-ti-do.
Im not very familiar with this method. I know what it is, but I’ve never learned to use it in my piano playing or teaching.
I always thought it was just for singers. But as an adult, I learned that some piano teachers use solfège to teach their students to read music for piano.
One of the benefits of learning solfège is that it helps improve your ability to sight-sing.
Sight-singing means being able to hear the music in your head when you look at the sheet music.
If you can sight-sing when reading music, your ear will be able to help you know which notes to play, and know when youve played a wrong note.
Solfège will be especially useful to you if you want to compose or arrange your own music, because it can help you become very good at identifying the intervals between notes you hear. This can take a lot of the guesswork out of figuring out exactly what pitch you’re hearing.
Reading Music : Tones And Melodies
You are nearly on your way to being able to read music!
For our final lesson, let us take a look at your piano keys!
If you look closely, the same pattern of two black keys surrounded by 3 white keys and then 3 black keys surrounded by 4 white keys are constantly repeated throughout the entire keyboard. The reason behind this is because you only need to learn this 12-key pattern. The same notes simply repeat over and over, just in different octaves. The white keys on your piano are for natural notes and the black keys on your piano are meant for flats and sharps.
The easiest way to learn this is to take a look at a complete diagram of a standard keyboard. Once you have memorized all of these keys and their corresponding notes, it is much easier to move into learning some basic piano chords.
Learn To Read Piano Sheet Music Faster
The greatest gift a piano student can receive is the gift of independence. The ability to choose a song and learn it on your own opens possibilities for a lifetime of enjoyment at the piano. Learning to read piano sheet music is an important part of developing this freedom.
Reading music is one of the most satisfying experiences. The ability to read musical notes from a page and transform it into an expressive, moving piece of music is nothing short of magical. Fortunately, this skill is not difficult to learn. Anyone can learn to read music, if they spend a proper amount of time working on it.
- Fall in love with the music – Learn your favorite songs whether they’re classical, pop, jazz or film music, all at a level that suits you.
- Enjoy interactive piano lessons – Learn with courses that help you master everything from music theory, chords, technique and more.
- Get real-time feedback – Improve your practice with rich feedback as Skoove listens to your playing and highlights what went well and areas for improvement.
Read Also: Piano Chords Songs For Beginners
Learn The Basic Symbols Of Musical Notation
Music is made up of a variety of symbols, the most basic of which are the staff, the clefs, and the notes. All music contains these fundamental components, and to learn how to read music, you must first familiarize yourself with these basics.
The staff consists of five lines and four spaces. Each of those lines and each of those spaces represents a different letter, which in turn represents a note. Sheet music notes, represented by lines and spaces, are named A-G, and the note sequence moves alphabetically up the staff.
There are two main clefs with which to familiarize yourself the first is a treble clef. The treble clef has the ornamental letter G on the far left side. The Gs inner swoop encircles the G line on the staff. The treble clef notates the higher registers of music, so if your instrument has a higher pitch, such as a flute, violin, or saxophone, your sheet music is written in the treble clef. Higher notes on a keyboard also are notated on the treble clef.
We use common mnemonics to remember the note names for the lines and spaces of the treble clef. For lines, we remember EGBDF by the word cue Every Good Boy Does Fine. Similarly, for the spaces, FACE is just like the word face.
A common mnemonic to remember note names for the lines of the bass clef is: GBDFA Good Boys Do Fine Always. And for the spaces: ACEG, All Cows Eat Grass.
Sheet Music Symbols and Notes on a Staff
The Key To Learning Piano Notes
Just as vital to all this as practice and perseverance are the piano notes themselves. And you can find a whole world of those, in all the wonderful musical permutations imaginable, in nkodas collection of piano sheet music.
Whether you want to learn classical or pop, jazz or rock, and whether you want to find some easy playbooks or peruse some mind-blowing concertos, you can do all that and more on the app.
The best advice that can be given to someone who wants to learn to read piano sheet music is: live, breathe and practice it. Find the music that gets you feeling inspired and dont stop playing it. Start your free trial, and your journey, today.
Recommended Reading: Learn To Play Piano At Home
Memorize The Note Values
Learn the difference between whole notes, half notes, and quarter notes. Learn to differentiate between eight, sixteenth, and thirty-second notes, as well.
Just as a reminder, eighth notes are quarter notes with one flag. Sixteenth notes have two. Thirty-second notes have three.
If there are multiple sub-divided notes in a row, theyll be connected by a bar. Eighth notes have one bar, with sixteenth notes having two and thirty-second notes having three. Just list their flags.
So, some easy shorthand for remembering the length of note values is to remember how many flags each sub-divided note gets. Youll easily be able to translate that information for connected notes, as well.
Aside from the other symbols that you would see on the music sheet. The notes are the symbols that denote the specific sound that the instrument should produce. The positioning of each note on the staff will tell you the pitch needed.
But those are not the only things that it indicates. Notes have specific durations and timing that corresponds to the beat of the song. There are varying types of notes that you may encounter as you read through sheet music for piano.
Whole notes tend to have the equivalent of four beats. Half notes have two beats per note. Quarter notes have one note each. Eighth, and Sixteenth notes would denote half a beat and a quarter of a beat.
General Skills Which Support Reading Piano Sheet Music
There are 3 other important skills which impact your speed and success when you learn to read piano music note names. They are rhythm, reading ahead, and playing in different positions on the keyboard. The pianist who recognises rhythm easily has more time to focus on notes and expression.
Reading ahead in music requires you to read the upcoming notes while still playing the current ones. It is common when reading text but takes a bit more practice and awareness when you learn to read piano music. Nevertheless, it is a great and powerful tool to help you read music and memorize the piano keys.
Playing in different positions ensures your fingers dont link a particular music note to a specific finger. Most of the work so far has been in C position. Why not play Morning Awakening for a totally different hand position or try these finger positions exercises.
Read Also: Piano For 2 Year Olds
Reading Meter And Time
A Little History Behind Reading Music Notes
Sheet music is read from left to right. The reasoning behind this is that music began as an exercise most focused on the progression of notes in a scale or mode in a horizontal fashion. When more than one voice was sounded together, they usually sang in unison it was not until the 9th century that musicians became increasingly concerned with vertical harmony and polyphony.
Keyboard instruments, such as the organ, the harpsichord, and ultimately the piano, were instruments developed to satisfy this changing aesthetic and the increased importance of vertical harmonies. They were adapted into a notation that had been developed to address primarily horizontal concerns . This means beginner piano students must learn to think about the music on the page differently from the words on a page.
Recommended Reading: Tyler The Creator Piano Sheet Music
Learning To Read Piano Sheet Music
If you want to learn to read piano notes on sheet music, there are several things you’ll need to learn.
Every note you see on the music staff communicates 3 different things: the pitch, the rhythm, and the articulation.
Pitch refers to what note you should play.
Rhythm refers to how long you should play the note.
Articulation refers to how you should play the note.
This article will explain how to read pitches and some strategies and tools that will help you master them. Then it will explain how to read rhythms, including note values and rest values. Finally it will explain other elements of sheet music that a good musician needs to know how to read.
You Can Play As Many Songs As You Please
The good thing about music sheets is that theyre now available in plenty. That means you can play as many songs as you please, regardless of the type.
Whether youre into blues, classical tunes, country music, or other genres, music sheets can help you step the right foot forward from the very beginning.
As you continue to interact with different music sheets, youll realize that its not only liberating to play the notes but also you develop the confidence to try even more complicated tunes that have quite a number of accidentals quite comfortably.
Also Check: I Can Show You The World Piano
The Mental Flip Strategy: Reading Piano Notes For Beginners
You must flip the orientation of the sheet music in front of you mentally, so you can read the vertical orientation of the notes.
In order to begin to think about and practice this mental flip, there is an extremely helpful strategy you can use. You can actually turn the sheet music so you are reading the notes down the page. Doing so allows you to more easily understand the spacing between the notes and more intuitively grasp where your fingers should be placed on the keys. This technique is also helpful for visualizing the grand staff as a whole and where the octaves on the keyboard are located.
Why Should I Learn How To Read Sheet Music
Knowing how to read piano sheet music allows you to better understand the structures of different pieces of music and how they are put together, which, in turn, gives you a broader understanding of compositions.
The notes, clefs, symbols, lines, and spaces have been around for centuries, just like many spoken languages. Every symbol you see in a piece of piano sheet music represents a different rhythm, pitch, or tempo in a particular song.
There are many musicians out there that will tell you learning how to read piano sheet music isn’t necessary to becoming a great player. While they are certainly right, not learning how to read piano sheet music can limit you in your abilities.
Some of the main reasons musicians look to learn how to read sheet music are:
- Learning how to read music can unlock your expressive side, whether you play piano, guitar, or any other instrument.
- Learning how to read music allows you to more easily play with bands and ensembles.
- Learning how to read music can help you sight read for other instruments, such as woodwinds, brass, or strings.
- Learning how to read music can help you communicate better with other musicians.
Regardless of if your main instrument is piano or not, knowing the basics of how to read music and knowing names of music notes can be helpful for navigating around the keyboard. You’d be surprised how well this kind of knowledge translates to other instruments.
Read Also: Happy Birthday To You Piano Sheet Music
What Are Sharps And Flats
The black keys on the piano keyboard are sharps and flats. Sharps and flats are called accidentals.
Every note on the music staff can be altered to become sharp or flat. A note that is neither sharp nor flat is called natural.
A sharp note is when we move a note up in pitch by one half step. To do this, we play the black key immediately above the note.
A flat note is when we move a note down in pitch by one half step. To do this, we play the black key immediately below the note.
If you compare the 2 diagrams above, you’ll notice that every black key on the piano has 2 names. They can each be considered a flat or a sharp, depending on their musical context.
To complicate matters further, some white keys can also be sharps and flats!
A sharp is one half step above a note, and a flat is one half step below a note, regardless of what colour the keys happen to be on the piano.
There are no black keys between B and C, or between E and F.
So B can become C flat and C can become B sharp. Similarly, E can become F flat and F can become E sharp.
You wont likely encounter these accidentals in the pieces youll learn to play as a beginner, but it is useful to understand how they work in music.
Reading Piano Notes Faster
Once youve come to terms with the basics of reading sheet music, youll be in a position to start working towards being able to comprehend it without thinking.
At that point, reading notes on the stave will come as naturally to you as reading the words in this sentence. You might want to reach this stage simply so that you can glean musical information as fluently as possible, or you might be looking to hone your sight-reading skills, which would allow you to read and play through a piece right there in the moment.
In either case, the more time you spend with sheet music in front of you and keys under your fingers, the quicker that knowledge will become cemented. Practice, practice, practice, and before long itll all be second nature.
There are a few tips and tricks that you can try out, though, which may encourage faster progress, with regard to reading and to the learning process itself. You can read about these in this article on how to read sheet music faster.
So far, weve focused on basic note recognition, a method that forms the foundation of proficient reading for many musicians. But if this is something you struggle to do at pace, particularly when it comes to piano music written across two staves, then it might be worth trying out some alternative methods to supplement your progress.
Read Also: Easy Piano Sheet Music For Beginners
The Bass Clef And Notes In The Bass Clef
The Bass Clef also contains 5 lines and 4 spaces in it, and each of these lines and spaces has a specific note that is located there.
The notes on the 4 spaces are A, C, E, & G.
The notes on the 5 lines are G, B, D, F, & A.
Say the note names on the Spaces going from the bottom to the top several times. Then do the same thing with the notes on the Lines, again going from the bottom to the top.
Now let’s see what they look like together on the Grand Staff.
Diving Into Key Signatures
At this point, we’ve only focused on the key of C Major, which has eight notes on the white keys. The thing is, you can also start major scales on other notes.
However, if you start on note D with the intention of playing D major and simply play the white notes, you won’t end up playing a major scale. Instead, you’ll end up playing a “modal scale” of sorts.
If we start on D and want to play the D major scale, we’ll have to add a sharp on F and a sharp on C.
Key signatures are found to the right of a clef. Here are all of the key signatures that represent major scales.
When you have a key signature, it tells you to play those sharps or flats throughout the piece. This eliminates the need to have sharps and flats on individual notes. As the player or singer, it’s up to you to remember what key you’re in and which sharps and flats you have to play in that key.
The thing to note with key signatures is that there is at least one key for each note in the western scale. In some cases, you’ll find two keys that start on the same note.
For example, the key of Aâis the same thing as the key of G#. The main difference is that the key signature has flats instead of sharps.
Here are the keys that use sharps:
- G Major – One sharp
- Gâ Major – Six Flats
- CâMajor – Seven Flats
It’s also worth noting that each major key has a relative minor key that shares the same number of sharps and flats, though for the purpose of keeping this article simple, we won’t get into that.
Don’t Miss: City Of Stars Piano Music