key-notes

Professional Online Music Education

Start Learning Today

How to Read Piano Tabs

Piano tablature notation is designed for simple music, and it’s easy to learn.

Piano tabs are written primarily using letters and numbers. Letters designate the keys to play (as opposed to...

Continue Reading...

Learn Music Notes

This lesson will introduce you to the essentials of music notation. In it, I'll summarize the essentials of the system of notes and how to read them.

Western music is written on a staff that...

Continue Reading...

Ledger Lines

Question: I know the notes are E, F, G, A, B, C, D, E, F, but how do I tell what the note is when it goes over or under the lines?

– Suvannah Nicole (Columbia, Tennessee, USA)

...

Continue Reading...

Piano Note and Length of Stem

Question: Mr. Frantz,

I’m so glad I found your website. It is very professional and beautiful – obviously a lot of work and thought went into it. The video segments on the website are...

Continue Reading...

Quarter Note

A quarter note (also called a crotchet in British English) is a note in traditional Western music notation that is notated with a solid note head and a stem.

Here is a quarter note on a five-line...

Continue Reading...

Reading Ledger Lines

Question: I am having so much trouble reading the part where Schubert departs from the lovely, melodic scenario at the beginning and begins this dark left-hand rolling undertone. I cannot read...

Continue Reading...

Sharp and Flat Together

Question: How do you play a note with both sharp and flat symbols in front of it?

– Richard (Singapore)

Albert’s reply: There shouldn’t be a note with both sharp and flat signs...

Continue Reading...

Sight Reading Methods

Question: What do you think is the best method for training students for sight reading? Somebody said that one of the methods is practicing sight reading… do you have other methods? Thanks....

Continue Reading...

Compound Meter

One of the more confusing aspects of learning to read music for many music students is compound meter. Also called compound time, I’ve seen virtually all music students and even many music...

Continue Reading...

Simple Meter

“Dictionary definitions” of simple meter (also called simple time) tend to be so confusing that they are of very limited use to beginning music students.

I’d therefore like to...

Continue Reading...

Time Signatures

A fundamental component of music rhythm, time signatures display the meter of a piece or section of music.

A time signature is composed of a top number and a bottom number. A common confusion is...

Continue Reading...

Bass Clef

Let’s take a look at the F clef. Here is the symbol:

Whichever line this clef is placed on is the F below middle C. For piano music it’s placed on the fourth line from the bottom:

...

Continue Reading...

Treble Clef

This symbol is called a G clef:

It’s called a G clef because it curls around the note G. Whichever line the G clef is centered on is G. Let’s see it on the staff…

This is a ...

Continue Reading...

What Is Music Notation?

“Music notation” is a contradiction in terms. Music is heard, while notation is seen. Notating music is thus a translation from one sensory modality to another.

Yet in any translation,...

Continue Reading...

Whole Note

A whole note (also called a semibreve in British English) is the longest note typically found in music notation. It is notated with only an open note head (like a half note), without a stem.

Here...

Continue Reading...

Layout of Piano Keys

A piano keyboard may look confusing at first, but the layout of piano keys is actually very simple. While it would be nearly impossible to identify individual keys if all we had were the white...

Continue Reading...

Bach Prelude in C

One of the most popular pieces among piano lovers, Bach’s Prelude in C major (BWV 846) is also a prelude to the Well-Tempered Clavier as a whole. It started out life as an exercise for...

Continue Reading...

Deck the Halls Sheet Music

Question: How do we know which chords to use in Deck the Halls in key of C?

Albert’s reply: I’ve created a simple arrangement and have made the “Deck the Halls” sheet...

Continue Reading...

Piano Practicing and Phrasing

Question: Hello Albert,

I read something you wrote under the heading Piano Practice and subheading Accuracy and quote, “we systematically learn our pieces phrase by phrase….”

...

Continue Reading...

My Practice Routine

Question: Hello Albert,

I often read about practicing on your website, and you write a lot about how to practice efficiently, and how you get the best results. But if someone (like me) tries to...

Continue Reading...

Making Mistakes in Practice

Learning a piece of music successfully requires avoiding mistakes in practice. How we practice is how we learn, and how we learn is how we perform. If we make mistakes in practice, we teach...

Continue Reading...

How to Practice Polyrhythms

Question: What is your advice for playing polyrhythms? For example, simple polyrhythms like triplets against duplets or quadruplets and odd ones (Chopin’s favorite) like 4 notes against 35...

Continue Reading...

How to Learn a Fugue

With their multiplicity of interweaving, interdependent voices perpetually reacting to one another, deceptively appearing in backwards guise, upside-down, rhythmically lengthened or shortened,...

Continue Reading...

Are Editorial Fingerings Compulsory?

Question: Is it essential to play or to require my students to play all indicated fingerings in early advanced pieces, i.e., Chopin’s Fantasie-Impromptu Op. 66, or Mozart’s Fantasia in...

Continue Reading...

Tempo Rubato

Miscellaneous

Question: How do you create a natural and organic rubato? Somebody suggested that I try to practice my melody line separately. I tried it but my rubato sounds unnatural and vomiting. Have I missed...

Continue Reading...