Did you know ? We offer a chords chart including more than 1000 choard diagrams with photos !
Pinterest T4A Youtube T4A Twitter T4A Facebook T4A

How to read music theory

Need some help ?Help
Save LessonSave
You will find below the main features of music theory in order to read the partitions.

Basics required for this lesson : None
Practice this lesson : None

The staff

It consists of five parallel and equidistant horizontal lines, which are counted from bottom to top. It is on this that we place the music notes to get a partition. The notes are placed either on a line or in a space between two lines.
 

  • The length represents the time it takes
  • The symbols correspond to the notes, defined by their frequency, as follows:

The notes

The music system defines seven note names: C, D, E, F, G, A and B. (corresponding to Do, Ré , Mi , Fa , Sol , La and Si below)

music score

 

The Bar

A piece of music is divided into several parts of equal length called bar. Each bar is separated from the next by a bar line. The double bar indicates the end of the song. The bars are divided into parts of equal length called beats. Their number is indicated at the beginning of the staff by two figures: the first figure indicates the number of beats per bar, the second indicates the length of each beat.

Bar, music therory

 

The note symbols


Notes symbols are used to indicate the length of notes placed on the staff.
 

The Whole note:

whole note

It is the basic unit. It lasts four beats. Each note length is a division of this value.All other note symbols below are a division of this Whole Note.
 

The Half Note

half note

 

A Half Note, as its name suggests, lasts half the beat of a Whole Note which equals to two beats.
 

The Fourth Note

Fourth Note

A Fourth Note, as its name suggests, lasts half the beat of a Half Note, so a quarter of a Whole Note, which equals to one beat.

 

The Eighth Note

The Eighth Note

An Eighth is half of a Fourth, a quarter of a Half or one Eighth of a Whole Note, which means half a beat or a half-beat.

* When there are several successive Eighth Notes, they are tied together with a bar.
 

The Sixteenth Note

The Sixteenth Note

A Sixteenth Note is half of an Eighth or a quarter of a Fourth, or one-eighth of a Half Note or one Sixteenth of a Whole Note or one fourth of a beat.

* When there are several successive Sixteenth Notes, they are tied together with a double bar.
 

The Triplet or Triple eighth

Triple eighth

The Triplet is half of a Sixteenth Note, a quarter of an Eighth Note, one eighth of a Fourth Note, one-sixteenth of a Half Note or one thirty-second of a  Whole Note, which equals to one eighth of a beat.

* When there are several successive Triplets, they are tied together with a triple bar.
 

The Quadruple Eighth

Quadruple Eighth

 

A Quadruple Eighth is half of a Triple Eighth, a quarter of a Sixteenth Note, one eighth of an Eighth Note, sixteenth of a Fourth Note, one thirty-second of a Half Note or sixty-fourth of a Whole Note, which equals to one sixteenth of a beat.

* When there are successive Quadruple Eighths, they are tied together with a four-bar.
 

The different lengths of notes, with their names

Name Value Length compared to the whole note
Whole Note 4 beats 1
Half Note 2 beats 1/2
Quarter Note 1 beats 1/4
Eighth Note 1/2 beats 1/8
Sixteenth Note 1/4 beats 1/16
Triple Eighth 1/8 beats 1/32
Quadruple Eighth 1/16 beats 1/64


Well, we're done with the basics of music theory. This is a very large topic and we could have gone much further, but this is absolutely not the purpose of this lesson. We only speak here about the very minimum to know.

Comments

facebook
Follow us on Facebook!
forum
Need Help? Ask your questions here!
Music is the wine that fills the cup of silence
(Robert Fripp)