# Download How to read music like pro PDF

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Page 1

Reading Music: Common Notation

By:
Catherine Schmidt-Jones

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31

Figure 2.4: Note lengths work just like fractions in arithmetic: two half notes or four quarter notes
last the same amount of time as one whole note. Flags are often replaced by beams that connect the
notes into easy-to-read groups.

You may have noticed that some of the eighth notes in Figure 2.4 don't have �ags; instead they have
a beam connecting them to another eighth note. If �agged notes are next to each other, their �ags can
be replaced by beams that connect the notes into easy-to-read groups. The beams may connect notes that
are all in the same beat, or, in some vocal music, they may connect notes that are sung on the same text
syllable. Each note will have the same number of beams as it would have �ags.

Notes with Beams

Figure 2.5: The notes connected with beams are easier to read quickly than the �agged notes. Notice
that each note has the same number of beams as it would have �ags, even if it is connected to a di�erent
type of note. The notes are often (but not always) connected so that each beamed group gets one beat.
This makes the notes easier to read quickly.

You may have also noticed that the note lengths sound like fractions in arithmetic. In fact they work
very much like fractions: two half notes will be equal to (last as long as) one whole note; four eighth notes
will be the same length as one half note; and so on. (For classroom activities relating music to fractions, see
Fractions, Multiples, Beats, and Measures2.)

Example 2.1

2"Fractions, Multiples, Beats, and Measures" <http://cnx.org/content/m11807/latest/>

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32 CHAPTER 2. TIME

Figure 2.6

Exercise 2.1 (Solution on p. 55.)
Draw the missing notes and �ll in the blanks to make each side the same duration (length of time).

Figure 2.7

So how long does each of these notes actually last? That depends on a couple of things. A written note lasts
for a certain amount of time measured in beats (Section 2.3.1: Beats and Measures). To �nd out exactly
how many beats it takes, you must know the time signature (Section 2.3). And to �nd out how long a beat
is, you need to know the tempo (Section 2.6).

Example 2.2

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68 ATTRIBUTIONS

Module: "Duration: Rest Length"
By: Catherine Schmidt-Jones
URL: http://cnx.org/content/m11887/1.5/
Pages: 34-36
Copyright: Catherine Schmidt-Jones
License: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/1.0

Module: "Time Signature"
By: Catherine Schmidt-Jones
URL: http://cnx.org/content/m10956/2.9/
Pages: 36-41
Copyright: Catherine Schmidt-Jones
License: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/1.0

Module: "Pickup Notes and Measures"
By: Catherine Schmidt-Jones
URL: http://cnx.org/content/m12717/1.4/
Pages: 41-43
Copyright: Catherine Schmidt-Jones
License: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

Module: "Dots, Ties, and Borrowed Divisions"
By: Catherine Schmidt-Jones
URL: http://cnx.org/content/m11888/1.6/
Pages: 43-47
Copyright: Catherine Schmidt-Jones
License: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/1.0

Module: "Tempo"
By: Catherine Schmidt-Jones
URL: http://cnx.org/content/m11648/1.6/
Pages: 47-49
Copyright: Catherine Schmidt-Jones
License: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/1.0

Module: "Repeats and Other Musical Road Map Signs"
By: Catherine Schmidt-Jones
URL: http://cnx.org/content/m12805/1.4/
Pages: 50-54
Copyright: Catherine Schmidt-Jones
License: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

Module: "Dynamics and Accents in Music"
By: Catherine Schmidt-Jones
URL: http://cnx.org/content/m11649/1.7/
Pages: 57-60
Copyright: Catherine Schmidt-Jones
License: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/1.0

Module: "Articulation"
By: Catherine Schmidt-Jones
URL: http://cnx.org/content/m11884/1.5/
Pages: 60-64
Copyright: Catherine Schmidt-Jones
License: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/1.0

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Reading Music: Common Notation
This course may be used to introduce or reinforce music-reading skills for someone just learning to play an
instrument, or the individual lessons can be used to expand on basic music-reading knowledge or to look up
any music-notation terms that are still unfamiliar.

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