How to Read Sheet Music Understanding Rhythmic Notation Quarter Notes
On behalf of Expert Village, I am Eric Williamsand I am here to tell you about reading music. Well now we need to talk about rhythmic notation.Rhythmic notation is a way of signing time values for durations of notes in additionto the pitchers. So far everything has been about what letter name does the note have.What pitch does it possessé Higher, lower or in between. Now that is all good but weneed to know the rhythms that go with these pitches and these notes. Rhythmic notationusually consists of quarter notes, half notes and whole notes at least at the beginningstages. There is a lot more to come but this is designed for beginners. So what we needto understand is what the difference is between
quarter notes, half notes and whole notes.Let me explain. Whenever you try to play rhythmic music and all music has some type of rhythm,you need to be aware of the time signature. That is the series of numbers that is at thebeginning of any piece of music. In this case, we have 44 meter. 44 meter is sometimescalled common time because it is the most popular and most common of all the time signatures.So some publishers will write a letter c in the front instead of 44 because c standsfor common time. That confuses a lot of people over the years because they don't see anynumbers and they don't know what it is supposed to be or they think it means the song is inthe key of c; not so. Anyway if you see that,
it means 44. I prefer seeing the 44 becausepeople don't get as confused that way. Well what does 44 mean. It means that there are4 beats per measure and that the quarter notes is equal to one beat. Okay a quarter notelooks like this. It is a darkened end note on the staff with a stem. In this case, thestem is going up from the right hand side of the note and is going upwards. You willoccasionally see quarter notes that are the stem on the left facing down. That doesn'tchange the value of the quarter note. It is simply a different look but they are the samething. This is a quarter note equal to one beat and this is a quarter note equal to onebeat. It doesn't mean that this is a flat
and this is a sharp. That is another wholething that people sometimes get confused with. Anyway quarter notes are 1, 2, 3, 4; 1 beateach, you stack them up in a row and end up counting 1, 2, 3, 4 and the measure is supposedto have 4 beats in it anyway so that is perfect. We have 4 quarter notes equal to 1 beat each.Put them all together and they equal to 4 beats.