How to Read Sheet Music Notes

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When reading sheet music notes, the first thing to determine is what clef is being used and whether it is a treble clef or a bass clef. Get familiar with the symbols used to annotate sharps and flats in sheet music with help from an experienced drummer in this free video on reading music.

Part of the Video Series: Drums & Music Theory
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Video Transcript

Let's talk about how to read sheet music notes. Let's assume you've already familiarized yourself with the fact that down here you have a C, and then here you have a C, assuming that we're in the treble clef, and we haven't adjusted our, our bars up or down in any way. The things you're going to want to look at when you're handed sheet music and you have to figure out what notes there are, are number one, what is the clef that we're in? Here, we're in a treble clef. Now, if we had a base clef, like this, these C's would be shifted, it would not be the same. We also are going to want to look at whether we have any sharps notated, or any flats, because if we do, for example, if we have a sharp on the first line here, any notes appearing here would be assumed to be sharp. So as you're playing through, you look here, you just see a note, it's not indicated as being sharp, but because there's a sharp over here, every time it appears, it's sharp. And then lastly, when you're reading sheet music notes, you want to look at the time signature. In this case, we've notated it as four-four, meaning that there's four counts, and each one of those is a quarter note. Now, let's say for example the time signature was six-eight, and six-eight was written there. You have to think about that, because when you read through the sheet music, you're only going to be playing, in this case, six eight notes per bar, which in this case would work out to something like this, not anything we need to worry about for this specific example. So, you want to make sure you know what clef you're in, you want to make sure you know what the time signature is, and you absolutely want to know if any of notes are going to be sharp or flat through out the music.

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