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Ch 2: Elements of Music Notation

About This Chapter

Use our video lessons and quizzes to learn about the elements of music notation. Learn about the staff and clefs, as well as major and minor key signatures in music.

Elements of Music Notation - Chapter Summary

Do you know the difference between a key and a key signature? Can you read and identify sharp and flat notes in music? You can learn all about these topics related to the elements of music notation through this informative chapter. Through this series of video lessons, you'll learn to differentiate among treble, bass and grand staffs. You'll also learn how to determine minor and major key signatures. Other topics covered in this chapter include:

  • How to read notes on the treble clef and bass clef staffs
  • Using the neutral clef for rhythm
  • Placing key signatures on the grand staff
  • Octave designation and ledger lines
  • Notation symbols, including note head, stem, flag, bar line and measure
  • Reading and identifying sharp and flat notes
  • Nonstandard notation symbols
  • Dynamics in music: piano and forte and why they're important
  • Identifying and interpreting articulation, dynamic and expression symbols and terms

The lessons in this chapter on the elements of music notation were developed by professional educators with experience in the field of music. Each lesson includes a brief, engaging video presentation, along with a written transcript and self-assessment quiz. You can watch the videos and take the quizzes as often as you need, until you feel comfortable with the material. Handy video tags are available if you need to go back and review a certain portion of the lesson.

9 Lessons in Chapter 2: Elements of Music Notation
Music Notation: History & Theory

1. Music Notation: History & Theory

This lesson will introduce you to the Western music notation system, which is used to write down music in countless different styles. Learn about how the system conveys pitch, rhythm, and other core musical concepts.

Musical Notation Symbols: Note Head, Stem & Flag

2. Musical Notation Symbols: Note Head, Stem & Flag

This lesson will introduce you to the musical note and its parts: the notehead, stem, and flag. Learn how these little dots give musicians information about pitch and rhythm, then take a quiz to test your knowledge.

Grand Staff in Music: Symbols & Notation

3. Grand Staff in Music: Symbols & Notation

Do you have trouble with treble? You don't have to! This lesson will teach you all about music's Grand Staff and the clefs it uses, as well as explain the use of notes, rests, ledger lines, and time signatures.

Understanding Lines in Musical Notation

4. Understanding Lines in Musical Notation

Lines are everywhere in the music notation system. This lesson will show you the different types of lines you might encounter - barlines, grouping lines, and ledger lines. Take a quiz when you're ready.

How to Read Notes on the Treble Clef Staff

5. How to Read Notes on the Treble Clef Staff

How do musicians interpret notes on the treble clef staff? What types of instruments play notes that are read in the treble clef staff? Who invented the notation system? Find out in this lesson!

How to Read Notes of the Bass Clef Staff

6. How to Read Notes of the Bass Clef Staff

How do musicians interpret notes on the bass clef staff? What types of instruments play notes that are read in the bass clef staff? How is the bass clef staff different from the treble clef staff? Find out in this lesson!

Sharps and Flats: Reading and Identifying Sharp and Flat Notes in Music

7. Sharps and Flats: Reading and Identifying Sharp and Flat Notes in Music

What do sharp and flat notes look like? How are they different from regular notes? When and where are sharp and flat notes used? Find out in this lesson!

Dynamics in Music: Piano, Forte and Why They Are Important

8. Dynamics in Music: Piano, Forte and Why They Are Important

Dynamics are a way of communicating volume and intensity in music. Piano, forte and other markings help musicians interpret the expressive quality of the music. What do these markings look like? What types of markings exist, and what do they mean? Learn more about dynamics in this lesson!

Interpreting Articulation, Dynamic & Expression Symbols

9. Interpreting Articulation, Dynamic & Expression Symbols

In this lesson, you'll learn about the symbols beyond the notes in sheet music: dynamics, articulations, and character markings which help the performers bring life to the music. You'll also take a quiz when you're done.

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