Notes and rests
The notes that you can play on the keyboard above, excluding the chord area, are shown on the staff below.
As you see the white keys are represented by the notes that are placed at and between the lines. Extra lines are drawn for the very low and high notes. You would have a hard time trying to learn all these notes and corresponding keys from memory. For the time being just memorise the 5 notes that are placed at the 5 lines. These are the E, G, B, D and F note. They are pictured in blue here. You should be able to find the key for each of these five notes before you start trying to play songs.
After memorising the 5 notes on the lines you will be able to derive the notes between the lines and the notes below and above the staff. You will know that the note between the lowest and second lowest line is the key between the E and the G. And the note on the second short line below the staff is 4 keys below the E (count only white keys on the keyboard, count both the lines and inbetweens on the staff).
After determining what white key corresponds with a note you must check wether the note should be raised or lowered to a black key. First there is the key in which the song is played that was explained in the previous chapter. But then there are exceptions to this. If a specific note must be raised or lowered this is indicated with a sharp (#) or flat (b) symbol before the note. If a note that should be raised or lowered in this key must be played with the original white key this time (ignoring the key) then this is indicated with a natural () symbol before the note. A sharp, flat or natural placed before a note is also valid for other notes of the same name that follow until the end of a measure. See examples of a sharp, flat and natural note below.
The ways to indicate how long a note is to be played is define as followes:
Full note. 4 beats long. Half note. 2 beats long. Quarter note. 1 beat long
1/8 note. 2 notes in one beat. 1/16 note. 4 notes in one beat. 1/32 note. 8 notes in one beat.
The rests in between the notes are:
Full rest. 4beats. Half rest. 2 beats. Quarter rest. 1 beat. 1/8 rest. 1/16 rest.
Notes and rests can be elongated with 1 or two dots after the note. 1 dot means add 50 % to the lenght. 2 dots, add 75 %.
3 beats instead of 2. 3 and a half beats instead of two.
Back to the note reading homepage