Rudiments of Music
The Staff - music is written on a staff that has five lines and four spaces.

The letter names of the lines are E, G, B, D, F. It's easily remembered by the sentence:

    Every  Good  Boy    Does   Fine                 

               E            G             B            D             F


The letter names of the spaces from the bottom up spell FACE.

               F             A            C            E

It's very important to remember the names of the lines and spaces of the staff.

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The Staff is divided into measures by bar lines.

 Clef                 Bar Line        Bar Line       Bar Line  

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Types of Notes - the type of note indicates the duration or how long you let the note ring.

               1               2                  3              4 

1. Whole Note - 4 beats, the whole note is a hollow head and doesn't have a stem.

2. Half Note - 2 beats, the half note has a hollow head and a stem. There are two half notes in the second measure, each one gets 2 beats.

3. Dotted Half Note - 3 beats, the dot placed after any note adds to that note half of its original value.

4. Quarter Note - 1 beat, the quarter note has a solid head and a stem. There are four quarter notes in measure 4, each one gets a beat.

The Rest - a sign indicating to stop a note, for every type of note there is an equivalent rest.

                    1                      2                      3

1. Whole Rest - 4 beats

2. Half Rest - 2 beats

3. Quarter Rest - 1 beat

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Time Signatures - indicate how the measure will be divided into beats, the top number is how many beats are in the measure and the bottom number is what kind of note gets a beat. The following example shows the most basic time signatures.

       1                      2                      3

1. 4/4 time - divides measure into 4 beats.

2. 3/4 time - divides measure into 3 beats.

3. 2/4 time - divides measure into 2 beats.

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How to Read Tab

How to Read Music   Table of Contents

Copyright 2006-2013 Ed Kihm