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How to Read Piano Notes reading music

Learning to read piano notes need not be drudgery! This article will introduce you to the basics of piano music notation.

The first thing you’ll notice when you open up any piano music is almost certainly the grand staff:

The grand staff is composed of two staves, each of them a standard...

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How to Read Piano Tabs reading music

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 the actual notes), while the numbers indicate beats as well as the octave.

Middle C is in the fourth...

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Learn Music Notes reading music

This lesson will allow you to learn music notes by introducing you to music notation. In it, I’ll summarize the essentials of the system of notes and how you can read them.

Western music is written on a staff that consists of five lines:

Staff lines are counted from the bottom:

Notes can...

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Ledger Lines reading music

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)

Albert’s reply: You’re referring to the notes that fit on the treble clef staff. The musical alphabet...

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Piano Note and Length of Stem reading music

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 terrific. You have a comfortable presence in front of a camera and a very pleasant voice and...

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Quarter Note reading music

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 staff:

When writing a quarter note (or any note with a stem), if it is below the middle line, the...

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Reading Ledger Lines reading music

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 those left-hand notes. Can you help?

– Kat (Huntsville, Alabama, USA)

Albert’s reply:...

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Sharp and Flat Together reading music

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 simultaneously – this is a contradiction in terms.

It is possible to have, say, a C-flat and...

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Sight Reading Methods reading music

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.

– Achilles (Malta)

Albert’s reply: By far the best way to learn to sight read is to...

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Compound Meter reading music

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 teachers fail to understand its basics. This lesson will clear up the confusion once and for all.

Any...

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Simple Meter reading music

“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 offer a simplified, more practical definition: Simple meter is any time signature with 4 or less as the...

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Time Signatures reading music

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 that the top number is the number of beats, and the bottom number is the beat unit, but this is only...

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