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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 ...

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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,...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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….”

...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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,...

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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...

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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...

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Piano Style

Miscellaneous

Question: I want my piano playing to be more stylish. I know I can play piano well but I’m already tired of listening to my style of playing. How can I improve?

– Grace Daffon (San...

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Piano Playing Skill Levels

Miscellaneous

Question: Hi Albert,

I often see references to piano skill classification, but how does an individual know at what skill level he/she is playing at, if the person isn’t taking structured...

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Famous Piano Players

History is full of famous piano players in all musical genres. This article focuses on the most famous and innovative piano players in classical music history. They are the “Big 5,”...

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Changing Hand Positions Without Looking

Question: I am trying to learn how to move from octave to octave without looking at my hands. For example, I begin with both hands on the keyboard with the thumb #1 finger of both hands on middle...

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Solf├Ęge

Doe, a deer…

Solfège is a system for singing notes. If you’re familiar with the famous Rogers and Hammerstein song “Do-Re-Mi” from The Sound of Music, you already...

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How to Recognize Intervals

Question: Mr. Frantz,

First of all I’d like to thank you for your amazing site. Everything you wrote and explained there has served me considerably.

I am an 18-year-old girl who has decided...

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Essential Ear Training

There is one ear training skill that every musician and every music student, including absolute beginners, must develop. It should be done from the very beginning of music study and is a suitable...

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Chord Ear Training

Question: How can I readily identify any chord when played?

– Timothy (Nigeria)

Albert’s reply: The first step in chord ear training is to learn to identify the basic types of chords,...

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Urtext Editions

Question: In your opinion, which are the best urtext editions with regards to fingering, paper quality, critical commentary, etc.?

Thank you,

– Marcel (Ireland)

Albert’s reply: First,...

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The Entertainer Sheet Music

key-notes is pleased to offer The Entertainer sheet music for free download. Composed in 1902 by ragtime pioneer Scott Joplin, The Entertainer is among the most popular ragtime pieces ever written....

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Out-of-Print Sheet Music

I’d like to share with key-notes readers the best imaginable resource for out-of-print sheet music ever. Its mouthful of a name, the International Music Score Library Project Petrucci Music...

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Mozart Piano Concerto K. 175 Cadenzas

Question: Albert,

Do you know where I might find a written out cadenza for W.A. Mozart’s Concerto No. 5 in D Major, K. 175? I’m aware that Mozart wrote one out for his sister but I am...

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