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3.Combine Rhythm & Pitch

The  Book
cover Read Music Now
Read Music Now 
$18.95 plus Shipping & Handling
More than 60 pages of instructional text
and music logically leading you step by step through the development of skills that enable you to read music.
order the book here
Below are a few excerpts from the book
Read Music Now

If you can READ WORDS and TYPE

then you already have the SKILLS you need begin to learn to read sheet music and play a piano or synthesizer.

This book is for all who wanted to learn to read music and thought they couldn't - AND - for all who still want to learn to read music but don't yet know they CAN!

This is NOT "another piano method"

This is a common sense approach to 
learning to read music.
That means READ music - not 
stumble around trying to figure out symbols.
Here are the basics. You can expand beyond this as far as you wish.

It is for kids. It is for adults. 
It is for parents teaching their children.
It is for private or classroom piano keyboard teachers. (teachers' note)
It is for self-taught beginners, young or old.
It is for friends teaching friends, whatever their ages or experiences.

What's covered?
Table of Contents
Getting Started.......................p. 1
White and Black keys
Notes (sounds) and rests (silences)
5-line staff
Beats and Rhythm...................p. 5
Beats, durations and groups of beats
Bar-lines and measures
Counting and feeling beats
Quarter-notes and quarter-rests
Half-notes and half-rests
Meter signatures (time signatures)
Dotted half-note/rest
Dotted quarter-note/rest
Pitch, Melody and Chords........p. 17
Pitch, melody, noteheads and flats on a staff
Note names
Treble clef and bass clef
Combine Rhthm and Pitches....p. 25
Fingering: Left Hand and Right Hand
Intervals: Half-Steps and Whole-Steps
Both hands on one staff
More About Rhythm.................p. 43
Natural Sign
Meter signatures based on triplets
Common time and Cut time
More About Pitch.....................p. 53
Ledger lines
Naturals and sharps
Scales and Keys
Key signatures

If you can READ WORDS and TYPE, then you already have the SKILLS you need to begin to learn to read sheet music and play a piano or synthesizer.
  • Just as we put alphabet letters together to make words, sentences and paragraphs,

  • we put notes and rests together to make rhythms, phrases and melodies.

  • Very simply, music notation LOOKS like it SOUNDS.

  • Your eyes see, your mind thinks, your fingers respond, and your ears hear the result.

  • With practice, these four "thought-actions" begin to occur as nearly ONE thought-action.

  • You can become one of the 2.7% of the population who is able to read music well enough to play simple tunes and/or sing from common church hymnals and popular song folios.
    Reading sheet music is very easy. There are only a few symbols to learn and understand. So here we go!

    But first, you MUST have a piano or synthesizer by your computer, so...go get one.   Portable keyboards can be purchased from many music stores for little more than $100. Got one? OK, let us begin.

    One Octave Keyboard As you look at a piano, organ, synthesizer or accordian keyboard, you see a lot of white keys and black keys. There are really only 12 -- 5 black keys and 7 white keys. The rest are repeated just like the the group of 12 keys in the picture (left).

    Look at the black keys. Notice the group of 2 (left) and the group of 3 (right). 
    All of the 12 keys (notes) have  names. But we will learn those later.

    As you look at the keyboard below, you can see that each 12-key group is identical. Each has 7 white keys and 5 black keys. The lower sounds are toward the left; the higher sounds are toward the right. Notice, again, the groups of 2 and 3 black keys.

    Did you notice that the white keys do not all look alike? There are three different white key shapes.

    Picture of Keyboard

    This keyboard layout helps you see where your fingers go while you are learning to know the keys "by feel."

    Music is written to "look" like it "sounds." Sheet music also shows you which keys to play and when.

    The notation symbols in sheet music show you two things:

    The lines and spaces of the staff are the white keys of your piano keyboard
    Keyboard lines and spaces mark the white keys

    But, how do you know when to play the BLACK keys??

    When the composer or songwriter wants a particular black key played, he/she will write a "flat" sign ON the line or space right in front of the note head.

    notes with flats
    When you see a flat in front of a note head, you don't play the white key shown by the line or space.
    Instead, you play the black key just to the left of that white key.

    (there is more in the book)

    Moving On ........
    Now you have a basic overview of how it works. You don't need to "really KNOW it" yet. The next sections will cover more detail and help it to all make sense. Furthermore, you will be READING  Music.

    Next, you will learn about the two elements (long/short and high/low) separately.
    Then put them together.

    Begin now  with the Beats & Rhythm section.

    Beats & Rhythm -  the LONG and SHORT of music

    Teachers' Note: This approach lays foundation for fluency by introducing a limited number of key elements in logical order so that the most important mental skills are begun first and overlaps of related skills are integrated sequentially.  Certain complexities have been removed from various "traditional approaches" (added  later) to eliminate many causes of early confusions.  The early goal is repetition and fluency over theory and notation knowledge.

    1. No Sharps and natural symbols - only flats are used. This eliminates the early confusion of enharmonics, allowing the notation of all twelve notes to work more as  a "tablature." Every note that should be flat must have a flat sign in front of it. The "accidental through the measure" rule is reserved for later. Flats, rather than sharps, were chosen to allow for a better  "flat key diatonic" look.
    Naturals and sharps are introduced later in the book.

    2. No Key signatures - By using only accidentals,  transpositions and non-tonal materials can be introduced immediately at all 12 transposition levels.  This reinforces aural development and assists in keyboard familiarity.  Interval recognition and identification, at a later time, becomes a more natural outgrowth. Key signatures are briefly introduced later in the book.

    3. Basic Meter Signatures - 2/4, 3/4, and 4/4. No "commom time", "cut time", 6/8 or 2/2 until  later in the book.

    4. Two-Hand Unison -  Czerny knew that few things beat unison playing for developing both coordination and independence of hands and fingers. In this circumstance it also contributes visual reinforcement of pitches at different octaves.

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    These contents Copyright Kenneth W. Davies 1976 and 2001
    Most of this material and the presentation sequence comes from previous material I published in 1976.