In this article you shall learn:
- The names of the musical notes
- Where to find the notes on keyboard and piano
- Techniques for memorisation of the notes, and for finding them quickly
- Representation of the notes in chord letters and scores
The names of the seven musical notes
To start the study, the first thing you need to do is to learn and memorise the sequence of musical notes. In this sequence, we will find seven simple notes, without any alterations. You will surely have heard of them before:
Do re mi fa sol la ti
If you have not yet memorised this sequence, take some time for this before moving on.
The location of the seven musical notes on the keyboard
The seven basic musical notes are on the white keys of the keyboard or piano:
However, a question lingers. If there are only seven notes, why do keyboards have more than seven keys?
In fact, what happens is that these same seven notes repeat themselves along the other keys, following to the lowest pitched region of the instrument to the region with highest pitch:
This explains why the keys have the same names but different sounds.
And what are the black keys?
The seven musical notes may undergo changes. This means that we can either add or remove a semitone from them. When we do this, they become a flat (if a semitone is removed) or a sharp (if a semitone is added). The symbol used to represent a sharp note is the hash sign (#), while a flat is indicated by a stylized lowercase b, ♭. This means that we have five possible alterations:
Do# or Re♭
Re# or Mi♭
Fa# or Sol♭
Sol# or La♭
La# or Si♭
This means that the back keys are nothing more than the following five alterations:
How to memorize and quickly find the notes on the keyboard or piano
To memorize the notes on the keyboard or piano, you just need to realize that there are two groups of black keys on the keyboard. These groups shall be a reference so that you can find any note you wish:
Take some time to visualize and touch the two groups on your keyboard. Then notice how the note do is always attached to the first key of the first group, and to fa, in the second group.
Practice playing all the do notes on your keyboard, following this model. Then, play all the fa notes.
If you manage to learn the pattern by heart (do is always next to group 1, while fa is always next to group 2), you shall also be able to find the other notes in next to no time.
For example, if you want to find mi, you just need to count two white Keys after do. If you want to find sol, then it will be one after fa;
How are the notes represented?
The notes can be represented through letters or through scores.
In the system of letters, each letter corresponds to one musical note:
As you can see, the letters do not bring any information about the pitch of the note. For this reason, they are usually used to represent chords instead of independent notes.
Score – Sheet music
Each space, and each line on the stave, represents a new note using the instrument:
It is possible to represent all the notes of the instrument, by using the score. The treble clef is normally used to represent the notes from the middle to the right-hand tip, and the bass clef, from the middle to the left-hand tip of the keyboard.