Tuesday, July 28, 2015

TILAP #2: Reading Piano Sheet Music

TILAP: Things I Learned About Piano

I don't remember how well I read music when I first started reading it, but I was pretty good at it by the time I quit going to piano lessons. The reason was because of the hundreds of times I was forced to draw out music notes, five straight horizontal lines, and weird looking symbols over the years -- having to read and play for years helped too. I was taught tons and tons of rules about beats, times for notes, which way to draw lines, how to connect lines, where and when to draw extra vertical lines, etc. Those finer details have been long forgotten, but some of the basic basics stuck. There's a really dumbed down version of the sheet music I spent years reading below -- lots of missing details.

Drew these out hundreds of times by hand

Reading Music: Treble Clef, Bass Clef, Staff, huh?
Sheet music was where I connected all of that A, B, C, D, E, F, G, and Do, Re, Me, Fa, So, La, Ti stuff all together. Oh, and the key for middle-C too.

I was taught about just the treble clef initially, which was the more elaborate squiggly line. Homework was to draw this thing on a staff or five sets of lines over and over and over again. Don't remember what I was taught, but I eventually started from the middle on the correct, second lowest line, and tried to make the rest look right. This kept it simple. The first pieces I played only involved my right hand. Then I moved to the left hand, the bass clef with the simpler loop that started on the second line from the top of the staff. It had two dots for some reason.

Both sets of staves or five lines were then stacked on top of each other with the treble and bass clefs drawn like in the image above. I don't know what the official terminology is, but I started calling the entire five horizontal lines (staff) with the treble clef, the treble clef. I didn't get many complaints and people understood what I meant, so I stuck with it -- the squiggly line was rarely talked about or drawn without the five lines in my experience anyway.

The big revelation for me was that middle-C was sandwiched between the two sets of five lines -- the leftmost circle with the short horizontal line through it above. It didn't have its own, long horizontal line, so a short one had to be drawn in.

That was C. The next circle to the right, just under the upper set of five lines was D, and the circle directly under D sitting on the top of the lower staff was B. Wait a second: C, D, and B. What if I started from the note sitting on the top of the lower staff with the bass clef and moved up one circle at a time: B, C, D. And if I started directly on the top line (so the circle would be cut in half by the line) of the lower staff (bass) and moved to the bottom line of the upper staff (treble): A, B, C, D, E.

That looked familiar. La, Ti, Do, Ri, Me, Fa, So? A, B, C, D, E, F, G?

Smiley Face marks the C Note
From A to G, La to So
I found out that every circle was one of the lower, white colored keys on the keyboard. And I could draw circles directly on, above, or below each line. If there wasn't a long, horizontal line (i.e. I ran out of staff), I could apparently draw my own short line above, below, or through the circle.

G to A and E to F
Starting from the lowest line of the bass clef with the circle on the line (circle cut in half) and moving up, it was G (bottom, line 1), A, B (line 2), C, D (line 3), E, F (line 4), G, and A (top, line 5).

Starting from the lowest line of the treble clef and moving up, it was E (bottom, line 1), F, G (line 2), A, B (line 3), C, D (line 4), E, and F (top, line 5).

I'm not a music expert, especially after a decade of having virtually nothing to do with music. How do I put this nicely: I wouldn't consider any of this stuff to be accurate. Everything was written off the top of my head with no further verification. This was mainly written for my amusement.

TILAP #1: Keyboard Layout
TILAP #2: Reading Piano Sheet Music
TILAP #3: Sharps and Flats

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