Music Sheet by Kelly Sikkema

Music Sheet

Does anybody learn how to read notes on a page today? What is the importance of Music Theory? What is the Circle of Fifths?

It’s very easy to figure out how to read and use tabs for learning cover songs on guitar. Tabs tell you what frets of what strings to press on, hammer on, or pull off on. Tabs sometimes even include what fingers to use. There are also tabs available for wind instruments that indicate which valves to be open or closed and tabs for keyboards that show what keys to press on. Tabs are often accompanied with notes. Tabs are a fast and simple method of learning how to play somebody else’s music. When learning with tabs you need to know how the song goes for the length and force of each note.

Learning music theory is like learning another language. When you’re in Spain, you need to know how to speak Spanish to communicate. When you’re with musicians, you need to know how to speak music to communicate. If you are fortunate enough to have the funds to hire a teacher, or to have the ability to take a music theory class, or to have a friend who is patient enough to teach you, there are many reasons why music theory is good to know.

Jennifer Paterson , Founder & President of California Music Studio:
Music theory is the understanding of written music, and it provides a language for composers and musicians to communicate with each other. Students that understand musical theory can read a page written by a composer hundreds of years ago, and understand what that composer wanted them to play, and how.

Music theory is mostly about how music is written on a page, and how to interpret that written music. This can include understanding what a note is, what a scale is, what a key is, and what accidentals (sharps and flats) are. Composers use written music to communicate which notes should be played, for how long, and in which key.

Music theory also helps guide musicians on how to play written music. Composers use written symbols to communicate how they would like their music played by the musicians. For example, composers can use these symbols to tell musicians to play quiet or loud, or with quick or long notes.

For students that have ever considered learning new instruments or writing music themselves, music theory will be a key piece in their musical journey. Even for students that are happy to play just one instrument, music theory will help them understand how music works and how to play their instrument well. For students that want to play music with other musicians, music theory makes it much easier to understand what their part is, and how to play well with others.

Though some students can find music theory difficult, the music teacher can help pace the theory lessons and make sure not to overwhelm the student. Learning theory at the same time as learning how to play an instrument will also make theory lessons easier to understand. Piano in particular is a great instrument to learn when you are learning music theory, as it allows you to visualize intervals and scales, while also hearing how notes work together.

Circle of Fifths

Wikipedia:
The term ‘fifth’ defines an interval or mathematical ratio which is the closest and most consonant non-octave interval. The circle of fifths is a sequence of pitches or key tonalities, represented as a circle, in which the next pitch is found seven semitones higher than the last. Musicians and composers use the circle of fifths to understand and describe the musical relationships among some selection of those pitches. The circle’s design is helpful in composing and harmonizing melodies, building chords, and modulating to different keys within a composition.

At the top of the circle, the key of C Major has no sharps or flats. Starting from the apex and proceeding clockwise by ascending fifths, the key of G has one sharp, the key of D has 2 sharps, and so on. Similarly, proceeding counterclockwise from the apex by descending fifths, the key of F has one flat, the key of B♭ has 2 flats, and so on. At the bottom of the circle, the sharp and flat keys overlap, showing pairs of enharmonically equivalent key signatures.

Starting at any pitch, ascending by the interval of an equal tempered fifth, one passes all twelve tones clockwise, to return to the beginning pitch class. To pass the twelve tones counterclockwise, it is necessary to ascend by perfect fourths, rather than fifths. (To the ear, the sequence of fourths gives an impression of settling, or resolution.

If you can explain this in easier terms or have additional information, please add your comments.

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4 Comments
  1. Anthony 2 years ago

    cgdaebf#c# thats . minded that this is how you can clearly tell what notes out of each key are sharp or flat in the chord. C is 0 sharps or flats, G is 1 sharp, D has 2 sharps, A has 3 sharps, E has 4 sharps, B has 5 sharps, f# has 6 and c# has 7. We skip F because it simply is the beginning of the order of flats or so in order of counter clock wise will have 1 flat. It also has something to do with simplicity of writing music. There are such things as double sharps marked as x instead of a #. If we were to give F natural a normal number of sharps it would be F, f g a asharp (error because A is already being used in the scale, in a scale the letter can only be used once.) bsharp (this is where one of the errors lay b sharp is not a note because really it skips to c) . It is imposible to write it as this but much simpler to do this. f g a b-flat c d e f.

    To make sense out of this, Music just doesnt work perfectly on paper without having rules that are more like laws. It works pretty near perfect but there is some things that just cannot be done when written and for good reason. For instance remembering this order of notes fcgdaeb or Fat Cats Go Down Alleys Eating Bread. Now you know the second part to finding the notes in each key. This is the order of sharpened notes. So since G has 1 and only sharp that note would be F-sharp. So now you can run through your mind GABCDE!FSHARP!G Easy right? also this is for the best because on musical notation the key signature is found in the beginning of the music. If it shows 1 sharp sign, which will always be on F, than you would know that song is in the key of G. So the music sheet would show a note on F but it has to be played has f #. On a more expansive scale like E which will have 4 sharps. Fat Cat. Goes. Down. FCGD all of these will be sharp in the key of E. EF#G#ABC#D#E.

  2. Anthony Cadondon 2 years ago

    cgdaebf#c# thats . minded that this is how you can clearly tell what notes out of each key are sharp or flat in the chord. C is 0 sharps or flats, G is 1 sharp, D has 2 sharps, A has 3 sharps, E has 4 sharps, B has 5 sharps, f# has 6 and c# has 7. We skip F because it simply is the beginning of the order of flats or so in order of counter clock wise will have 1 flat. It also has something to do with simplicity of writing music. There are such things as double sharps marked as x instead of a #. If we were to give F natural a normal number of sharps it would be F, f g a asharp (error because A is already being used in the scale, in a scale the letter can only be used once.) bsharp (this is where one of the errors lay b sharp is not a note because really it skips to c) . It is imposible to write it as this but much simpler to do this. f g a b-flat c d e f.

    To make sense out of this, Music just doesnt work perfectly on paper without having rules that are more like laws. It works pretty near perfect but there is some things that just cannot be done when written and for good reason. For instance remembering this order of notes fcgdaeb or Fat Cats Go Down Alleys Eating Bread. Now you know the second part to finding the notes in each key. This is the order of sharpened notes. So since G has 1 and only sharp that note would be F-sharp. So now you can run through your mind GABCDE!FSHARP!G Easy right? also this is for the best because on musical notation the key signature is found in the beginning of the music. If it shows 1 sharp sign, which will always be on F, than you would know that song is in the key of G. So the music sheet would show a note on F but it has to be played has f #. On a more expansive scale like E which will have 4 sharps. Fat Cat. Goes. Down. FCGD all of these will be sharp in the key of E. EF#G#ABC#D#E.

  3. Author
    Aaron Reitzes 2 years ago

    Thanks Anthony. That’s good info.

    I’ve also heard this way to remember the order of sharps:

    Father Charles Goes Downstairs And Eats Breakfast.

    Your way is good too:

    Fat Cats Go Down Alleys Eating Bread

    Actually, I like yours better

  4. Uzoma Albert 2 years ago

    I think reading sheet music was the hardest thing but that’s just me, lol.

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