Musical Notation

James Strange
A free video tutorial from James Strange
Teacher, composer, and performer
4.4 instructor rating • 1 course • 1,647 students

Lecture description

Musical sounds are expressed by signs called notes, which by their shape and position indicate the pitch and duration of the sounds.

This lecture will help you to understand how the position and shape of notes define their pitch and duration. We will learn all the note names, durations, and their respective rest values, and also show how they relate to each other. We will also look at how notes can be altered to increase their duration through the use of mechanisms such as ties and dots.

Learn more from the full course

Rapidly Read Music Like a Pro

Learn to read music in 10 easy-to-understand lectures, taking you from beginner to advanced.

01:15:25 of on-demand video • Updated April 2019

  • How to read musical notation, for both Bass Clef and Treble Clef, and decipher pitch based on note placement.
  • How to understand Clefs.
  • How to understand Key signatures.
  • How to understand Time Signatures.
  • How to interpret stave directions such as dynamic changes, accents, tempo instructions, latin direction, etc.
  • How to read rhythms and syncopation from different note and rest values.
  • An understanding of major and minor scales, and how these scales are formed.
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