In Association with
Music Made Easy Part II
(A crash course in Music Reading)
The Middle C
Basic Notes on the Bass Staff
Basic Notes on the Treble Staff
Basic Notes on the Grand Staff
Intermediary Notes; Tones and Semitones
Go to Part I
Go to Part III
Go to Part IV
Go to Part V

The Middle "C"

The Note Middle "C" is the most important note of all.
It is the note from where all notes are referenced from.
As we go up;  the notes go up the alphabet as ... D E F G A B C and so on.
As we go down;  the notes go down the alphabet as  ...  B A G F E D  ( this is another clue; just feed the bag or C-BAGFED just in case you can't spell the alphabet backwards)  ... and so on.

(Take note: going up means
you go up from a line to a space above the line and
you go up from a space to a line above the space.
and vice-versa)

The Middle C  is the note that lies on the imaginary line (called ledger line) just bellow the Treble Staff or just above  the Bass Staff and
(written as a quarter note), it looks like this:

The Middle C corresponds to the 2nd string; first fret of your guitar.
On the keyboard/piano you'll find it by first pointing both left and right forefingers at both ends of the keyboard/piano  and running both left and right towards the center until both left and right  meet.
The middle C sounds like this: Click here.

Basic Notes on the Bass Staff:

Now, let us take a look at the notes at the bass Clef. It looks like this:

 The notes on top of this Bass Staff are written with imaginary lines and spaces. Using imaginary lines and spaces,
 you  can put more notes above and bellow the Bass Staff  just follow the sequence CDEFGAB...

These imaginary lines and spaces are called Ledger lines and Ledger spaces.

 Basic Notes on the Treble Staff:

Now, take a look at the notes on the treble clef:

 Basic Notes on the Grand Stave:

Now,  this is just a mix of the Treble and the Bass Staff together; and it looks like this:


 Guide Posts
One of the nice things about reading notes as ABC's is that we are able to read notes more easily by using guide posts.
Guide Posts as the name suggests is simply used as a guide. Just like when we go places we have to use land marks so
we don't get lost in music reading we also use guide posts so we can easily find our way in reading notes.

Here are the guide posts I use. I hope it will be helpful for you.

Treble Staff Guide Posts:
For the treble staff guide posts, I use the word "FACE". These notes are found at the spaces on the treble staff as shown below:

Bass Staff Guide Posts:
For the bass staff guide posts, I use the words ACE Girls or ACE-G. These notes are found on the spaces of the bass staff as shown below:


Intermediary Notes; Tones and Semitones :

Tone - is an interval between two notes having another intermediary note (sharp or flat ;  a sharp or b flat for example) in between.
Semitone - is an interval between two notes having no intermediary note in between.
The interval between B and C ; and E and F are semitones while
the interval between others are tones.

This gives us seven basic notes (C D E F G A B) and  five intermediary notes
or a total of 12 notes.

The basic notes (C D E F G A B)  are the white keys on the piano (or keyboard/organ).

Intermediary notes are the black keys on the piano (or keyboard/organ). They are just variations of the
basic notes ; either flat (half tone or semitone  lower)of the basic note or sharp ( half tone or semitone higher) of the basic note.

These intermediary notes can be written in two ways namely as a sharp or a flat.

Here is a list of intermediary notes (written as sharps or flats). This list will also show  which notes are equal or the same:
C-sharp and D-flat are the same
D-sharp and E-flat are the same
F-sharp and G-flat are the same
G-sharp and A-flat are the same
A-sharp and B-flat are the same

(From this list you can see that we don't have notes between B and C; and also E and F which have semi-tone intervals)
The information bellow is just to complete our subject on Tones and Semi-tones; you can skip it if you don't feel like reading it and go to the NEXT PAGE.

An octave  actually contains a set of these 12 notes and a final note which actually is the first note of
the next octave (also known as the key note).

In formal music theory, however;  there is what they call major scale which is actually
just a sequence of notes with the interval sequences of
TONE, TONE, SEMI-TONE, TONE, TONE, TONE, SEMI-TONE (which we know so well as DO RE MI FA SO LA TI DO notes sequence) with the first and final note called Key note (also known as DO). If we count them all together DO RE MI FA SO LA TI DO;
we can see that there are eight notes (which could be basic notes or a combination of basic notes and intermediary notes depending on what key signature you are in) and this is why they call it OCTAVE from the word "OCTAL" or eight notes.

The key note (which is known as DO)  is actually derived from the name of the key. So if you are in the key of C, your first and final note DO(also known as the key note)  will be the note C; if you are in the key of C-sharp  your first and final note  DO  will be C-sharp and so on. This is why I recommend not reading the notes as DO RE MI because as you can now see the notes DO RE MI does not have a permanent residence in our musical scale. The note DO transfers everytime we shift the key. It can be in the first ledger line bellow the treble staff as note C in the key of C or it can be in the first space of the treble staff as note D in the key of D and so on.

Our consolation here is that this is a tune we all know so well DO RE MI FA SO LA TI DO and  I rememeber our music teacher blowing her her pitch pipe, then singing "ti do re mi fa so la..." (she doesn't start from do because it is in the key of D)  to get the right pitch for the notes we were singing.

However, we can also accomplish the same task in the key of C as C D E F G A B C with the same DO RE MI FA SO LA TI DO tune and its even more simpler since you don't have to know which key signature you are in (you'll always start with C so it's more easy).

If we consider all the notes which have been ignored in the note sequence TONE TONE SEMI-TONE TONE TONE TONE SEMI-TONE there are actually 12 notes in an "Octave" if you don't count the final note since it's actually the first note of the next "Octave".
Now let us go to Part III


If you have any comment on this subject please Write Me.
Thanks to Monica for her great advice.

Rudy Ong

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Easy Music Part V