# N1: Starting to Read Music

## Understand how sheet music notation represents rhythm and pitch

### Define Rhythm and Pitch

What do rhythm and pitch actually mean? Define the words below by dragging the right box to the right place.
• Rhythm
The duration of the notes
• Pitch
How high or how low the notes sound

### How Rhythm is represented on sheet music

• The shape of the note heads and the stems
• Whether the note stems are pointing upwards or downwards
• Where the note is printed on the horizontal lines

Q: What tells us the rhythm (the duration) of these notes?

### How Pitch is represented on sheet music

• The shape of the note heads and the stems
• Whether the note stems are pointing upwards or downwards
• Where the note is printed on the horizontal lines

Q: What tells us the pitch of these notes (i.e. how high or how low the notes sound)?

## Learn how to write the pitch of a note using music notation

### The Stave

#### The STAVE (or STAFF - some people call it a 'staff')The five horizontal lines that you see on every piece of sheet music are necessary for us to be able to understand the pitch. These five horizonal lines are known as the Stave.The notes sit on the stave. They can appear in one of these places: on a line of the stave between the lines of the stave (there are some other places the notes can appear too, but we'll learn those later. These are the ones we need for now).

• The Stem
• The Stave
• The Stand
• The Notation

Q: What do we call the five horizontal lines that you see on every piece of sheet music?

## Learn how to write a rhythm using music notation

### Quarter Notes

#### In a future module, we'll learn about all the different types of note length, and how to write different rhythms in sheet music notation.In this module, we'll just keep it simple and look at how one type of rhythm is written using sheet music notation, so that you know how the system works and what to look out for.This is known as a Quarter Note or a Crotchet. ('Crotchet' is the UK word for it... most people around the world prefer to call it a 'Quarter Note').We measure the music by talking about the number of beats. A beat is literally a regular 'count', as if you were counting numbers in a regular pattern (try saying 1...2...3...4... out loud, evenly).When we make a regular count like that, we can say that we're 'counting the beats'.Every piece of music has its own pattern of musical beats, and this pattern can be very different depending on the style of the music. We'll be exploring beats and rhythm patterns much more deeply in a future module, so for now just be aware that different musical pieces can have different beat patterns.For now, for the purposes of this example, we're just going to say that one quarter note has the same time length as one beat. Let's start with 'a count of four'. That means we'll count four beats (1...2...3...4...), and each quarter note will last for one beat, so every note is the same length.After we've counted 4, we'll play the notes D D A A.Let's do that without the printed letter names. Remember, the position of the notehead on the stave will tell you whether it's D or A. D is just below the lowest line, whereas A is in the second 'space' up from the bottom.Let's try repeating that rhythm:Now let's try it backwards:In the next section, we'll put these notes together to create a piece of music.

• Quarter Note
• Half Note
• Eighth Note

What is the American rhythm name of this note?

• Crotchet
• Quaver
• Minim

What is the British rhythm name of this note?

## Play a short piece from sheet music for the first time

### Traffic Lights with String Names

• Yes, I played it with the right notes!
• I'm struggling with this!

Try playing through this piece of music. You can use the letters under the notes to help you memorise where the notes A and D appear on the lines.

• is the second space up.
• D is just below the bottom line.

### Traffic Lights without String Names

• Yes, I played it with the right notes!
• I'm struggling with this!