The Book of Musical Knowledge: The History, Technique, and Appreciation of Music, Together with Lives of the Great Composers, for Music-Lovers, Students and Teachers

By Arthur Elson | Go to book overview

LX
HOW TO READ MUSIC

IN an earlier chapter, the rise of notation was discussed. Here the notation of to-day is described, for the benefit of those who wish to learn to read the notes from the printed page.

The notes on the piano are named by groups of twelve, called octaves. The thirteenth note upward from any given note (counting the given note as one) is called the octave of that note; while the thirteenth note downward from any given note is the octave below it.

On piano and organ keyboards, the groups of twelve adjacent keys consist of five black ones and seven white ones. There is a black key between white ones except for two places in the group. As a result, the five black keys seem grouped in two and in three, with a white key between the black ones in each case.

The white note just below the group of two black keys is known as C. The letters A, B, C, D, E, F, and G are used to name the white keys. The deepest notes are at the left, the highest at the right as one faces the keyboard. Each A is of course the second white note below each C, each D the first white note above the C's, and so on.

Each black key is known either as the sharp of the white key just below it, or the flat of the white key just above it. For writing or printing these notes, a staff of five parallel lines is used. A sign representing a letter (i.e., a note) is put on one of the lines of this staff, to show the position of the note named. This sign is called a clef. Both the lines and the spaces of the staff are used, so the position of a note on one of these lines or spaces will determine what note it is.

Three clefs are used, signifying the F below middle C of the piano, middle C itself, and the G just above middle C.

On full-sized pianos, the lowest note is A. This A, with the B-flat and B just above it, are known as belonging to what is called the

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The Book of Musical Knowledge: The History, Technique, and Appreciation of Music, Together with Lives of the Great Composers, for Music-Lovers, Students and Teachers
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Preface v
  • Contents vii
  • Illustrations xi
  • Part I - The Evolution of Music 1
  • Part I the Evolution of Music 2
  • I - Primitive and Savage Music 3
  • II - Greece and Rome 13
  • III - Early Christian Music 23
  • IV - The Minstrel Knights 31
  • V - The Schools of Counterpoint 42
  • VI - The Harmonic Style 58
  • Part II - The Great Composers 67
  • Part II the Great Composers 68
  • VII - Bach 69
  • VIII - Handel 77
  • IX - Gluck 85
  • X - Haydn 91
  • XI - Mozart 98
  • XII - Beethoven 108
  • XIII - Schubert 120
  • XIV - Weber and Romanticism 128
  • XV - Mendelssohn 135
  • XVI - Schumman 143
  • XVII - Chopin 151
  • XVIII - Italian Opera 158
  • XIX - Cherubini and French Opera 170
  • XX - Berlioz and Other Frenchmen 179
  • XXI - Liszt and His Circle 188
  • Part III - Musical Form 307
  • XXXI - Melody and Appreciation 309
  • XXXII - Figures and Phrases 317
  • XXXIII - The Song-Forms 324
  • XXXIV - The Rondos 331
  • XXXV - The Sonata-Allegro Form 336
  • XXXVI - Other Sonata Movements 341
  • XXXVII - The Orchestral Forms 345
  • XXXVIII Dances and Piano Styles - Dances and Piano Styles 351
  • XXXIX - The Vocal Forms 360
  • XL - The Contrapuntal Forms 366
  • Part IV - The Instruments 376
  • XLI - The Piano and Its Predecessors 377
  • XLII - The Organ 384
  • XLIII - The Voice 391
  • XLIV - The Violin 398
  • XLV - Other Bowed Instruments *
  • XLVI - Plucked-String Instruments 413
  • XLVII - Flute and Piccolo 420
  • XLVIII - Oboe and English Horn *
  • XLIX - The Bassoons 433
  • L the Clarinets 438
  • Li Horns, Trumpets, and Cornets 444
  • Lii Trombones and Tubas 450
  • Liii Instruments of Percussion 456
  • Part V - Special Topics 463
  • LIV - Some Famous Pianists 465
  • LV - Some Famous Singers 474
  • LVI - Violinists and Violin Music 483
  • LVII - Orchestration 491
  • LVIII - Conducting 496
  • Lix Acoustics 503
  • LX - How to Read Music 515
  • LXI - Modern Music 538
  • Appendix 569
  • Index 581
  • Index to Supplementary Chapter 606
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