How to Read Music


Many people think of reading music as something incredibly difficult and taxing that takes years of study. Although as with learning any skill, results are not instant and the more time you spend the better you become, the basics are in fact incredibly easy and most people can learn how to read music in one or two afternoons of study.

Of course the first thing that you need to master when learning this is what the placement of the notes mean. The standard 5 bar scale covers an octave, the lowest line represents E, then as you go up they stand for E, G, B, D, F. There are a number of little rhymes or tricks to remember this order such as Every Good Boy Deserves Favour, or Every Good Boy Does Fine, these are called mnemomics.

So once the first step is out of the way and you are confident that you can see which note corresponds to which position in the notation it is time to move onto the rhythm of the piece. Every composition will have numbers at the beginning of it to tell you which beat to use such as 4/4 or 4 beats for every bar. The symbol and letters are to tell musicians how quickly or slowly to play.

The final piece of the puzzle is what the different shapes of the notes mean, a single note is represented by a single tailed picture called a quaver whereas other ways to play such as playing together or quickly after one another uses different symbols. Filling the notes in black or white shows how hard and the volume of the notes being played.

Although it is impossible to learn how to read music from scratch in a few hours since it is a complicated language, it is surprising how simple the fundamentals that can set you on your way are.