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Conservatory-quality online piano lessons from the City of Music, Vienna, Austria

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How to Write Music Notation

reading music

Question: How do you write music notation of songs or hymns? How do you concentrate on musical beats?

– Rozario (India)

Albert’s reply: If you’re new to writing music, you should familiarize yourself with writing music notation by copying simple pieces of music. Notice all the symbols – the clefs, the time signature, key signatures, stem directions, and where they all go.

Secondly, if you’re talking about dictating music, or writing music you hear, that’s a topic that’s as advanced as the music you’re seeking to write down. Start with very simple melodies and don’t worry about the harmony for now.

When you first start out, just try to get the pitches right – deal with rhythm and beats later.

Once you become more skilled, you can do the opposite: write down the rhythm (concentrating first on the downbeats), then filling in the actual notes. Writing music this way will give you an architectural framework that will help you write the music more easily.

In the end, what’s most important is that you develop an integrated set of musical skills. For instance, if your ear training is at the point where you’re able to apply your skill immediately at the piano, you’ll have a much easier time writing music (assuming you know how to read music as well).

Also, if you know the primary rules of music theory, including voice leading and part writing, writing music notation will be considerably easier.

The ultimate goal is to synthesize all your knowledge of music and skills such that all the individual skill sets are integrated in your mind and nervous system. This way the whole will be greater than the sum of its parts!

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