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