Author Topic: Learning how to read music  (Read 5503 times)

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SMMeade

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Learning how to read music
« on: Mar 25, 2014, 03:16 am »
I was wondering if anyone had any suggestions on how to learn how to read music- classes, self-taught programs, etc. Not how to call off of it, but literally just understand what sheet music means because I am clueless right now (I know some people say if you know how to count to 8 you're good- but count to 8 off of what? Beats? Is what I think is a beat really a beat? That kind of clueless). My college didn't have a music dept so I didn't have an opportunity to take any music theory classes, and I wanted to see if anyone had any suggestions. I'd love to learn because it seems extremely useful.
(I did use the search bar and found a thread slightly similar but it was more geared toward someone instructing students, so I didn't really understand the suggestions).

SMrose

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Re: Learning how to read music
« Reply #1 on: Mar 25, 2014, 09:04 am »
After years of calling musicals and operas with no musical training, I began taking piano lessons early last year.  It's just once a week and I find learning from someone who teaches music very beneficial. A teacher will give you insight that you can't get trying to learn on your own. The correlation between the notes on the page and the linear layout of the piano keys makes note recognition easier for me. Is there a community college in your area that has a beginning piano course or music classes?  Do you have a friend who reads music that you can meet with on a regular basis and learn from?

MatthewShiner

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Re: Learning how to read music
« Reply #2 on: Mar 25, 2014, 11:27 am »
Learning a musical instrument is probably the easiest way.

I learned a lot for a class called music for dancers . . . which was a lot of tones, beats, terminology . . . as well as how dancers talk to accompanists . . . which was extremely valuable.
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loebtmc

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Re: Learning how to read music
« Reply #3 on: Mar 25, 2014, 12:23 pm »
There are at least three other discussions on this topic you can find if you search - I was going to link them but after the 3rd one my computer had a hiccup - but there is a lot of info already on the boards on this topic if you give a quick look.

bex

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Re: Learning how to read music
« Reply #4 on: Mar 25, 2014, 03:53 pm »
I learned how to read music by taking piano lessons as a kid, and I think piano is probably the easiest instrument to start with if you want to go that route.
I would suggest, though, going to a music store and seeing if they have any beginning piano or music theory books- like "music theory for dummies" or some other kind of self-teaching beginner's guide to music theory. The people at the music store would probably have some good suggestions, as well.
Maybe it's just the way my brain works, but I find music theory sort of soothingly logical. Everything has a meaning, everything has a purpose, and it's all very consistent. I'm a terrible musician but by golly I know my music theory.
You will have to sing for your supper & your mortgage, your dental coverage & your children's shoes, over & over again while people in desk jobs roll their eyes the minute you start to complain. So it's a good thing you like to sing.

kiwitechgirl

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Re: Learning how to read music
« Reply #5 on: May 20, 2014, 01:56 am »
Definitely get a music theory book - I don't know that you need to take piano lessons but theory lessons would be very useful.  I just did a really quick Google of "teach yourself music theory" and found what looks like a pretty great website - www.musictheory.net - could be worth checking out.  I find it hard telling people where to start due to the fact that my mother is a music teacher and taught me to read music at the same time as she taught me to read, so it's something that I've just always done - but that website is pretty good from my quick look at it.

Once you've got the basic idea, it can be really useful to get hold of a hard copy of a piece of music and a recording of it; put the recording on and follow along.  Start out with something simple - piano only probably, and as you get more confident work your way upwards until you're comfortable with a full orchestra score (just don't try and follow Strauss scores first up - something like Mozart is a whole lot easier!).

PSMKay

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Re: Learning how to read music
« Reply #6 on: May 20, 2014, 06:43 am »
Church hymnals are also a great place to start. They're readily available and usually feature four-part harmony. Find the Xmas carols to start, they'll be recognizable. Figure out where the melody is - usually the uppermost set of notes - and then use that as context to start piecing together the harmonies.

SMeustace

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Re: Learning how to read music
« Reply #7 on: Jul 28, 2014, 08:26 am »
How does one reference a section/part in sheet music or beat in sheet music? I've heard someone say they reference it as system/measure/beat or something like that.
"On the first day the lord said....Light cue 1, GO! Then there was light".

SMrose

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Re: Learning how to read music
« Reply #8 on: Jul 28, 2014, 09:01 am »
system/measure/note.  Measures are also numbered per song (in musicals).  In this way, when we're stopped in rehearsal, I can call out, "Let's pick it up with measure 28.  (Conductor/Music Director can find this in the score.) "Cast, that's the beginning of the chorus section (and I'll call out what the first few lyrics are)".

SMeustace

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Re: Learning how to read music
« Reply #9 on: Jul 28, 2014, 11:43 am »
Thank you. Is "system" referring to the staff or clef?
"On the first day the lord said....Light cue 1, GO! Then there was light".

Maribeth

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Re: Learning how to read music
« Reply #10 on: Jul 28, 2014, 11:47 am »
And, when referencing a part of the music on paperwork, Page/System/Measure/Note.

But, (and SMrose touched on this) not everyone has the same page numbers. If you're working on an opera, often the chorus does not receive a full score- they just get the pages that they need. So it helps to say something like:

"Cast, that's the beginning of the chorus section (and I'll call out what the first few lyrics are)".

iamchristuffin

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Re: Learning how to read music
« Reply #11 on: Jul 28, 2014, 11:59 am »
Thank you. Is "system" referring to the staff or clef?

A system is a set of bars/measures in one line on a page. For example, this music (http://www.charliemccarron.com/wp/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/Excitebike-Theme-Sheet-Music-Akito-Nakatsuka.png) has two systems.

And, when referencing a part of the music on paperwork, Page/System/Measure/Note.

But, (and SMrose touched on this) not everyone has the same page numbers. If you're working on an opera, often the chorus does not receive a full score- they just get the pages that they need.

One reason why it's very important at the beginning of rehearsals (or earlier, if possible) to check everyone has the same rehearsal figures. If there are multiple sets of figures (depending on the edition/translation of the score), everyone should go by the Conductor's figures.

C

SMeustace

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Re: Learning how to read music
« Reply #12 on: Jul 28, 2014, 12:50 pm »
The link you sent me, doesn't work.
"On the first day the lord said....Light cue 1, GO! Then there was light".

iamchristuffin

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Re: Learning how to read music
« Reply #13 on: Jul 28, 2014, 01:09 pm »
Sorry! Try this one!

www.charliemccarron.com/wp/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/Excitebike-Theme-Sheet-Music-Akito-Nakatsuka.png

E2A: Possibly obligatory disclaimer: I found this by searching for 'sheet music', and have linked this image purely for illustration purposes. I have no idea if it's copyrighted, but please don't use it for practise or performance without contacting charliemccarron.com
« Last Edit: Jul 28, 2014, 01:12 pm by iamchristuffin »

SMeustace

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Re: Learning how to read music
« Reply #14 on: Jul 28, 2014, 01:29 pm »
Thank you.
"On the first day the lord said....Light cue 1, GO! Then there was light".

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