1 Music Alphabet

Introduction

It is virtually impossible to pursue a study of music theory without understanding musical notation. Music notation is the set of symbols a composer uses to communicate his/her chosen sounds and the way these sounds are organized in time. This lesson deals with the notation of pitch as well as dynamics and timbre. The notation of rhythm will be dealt with in the next lesson.

If you play a few notes on the right side of the piano keyboard, then play a few on the left side, the notes on the right side will sound “high” and the notes on the left side will sound “low.” The difference in the sound of musical tones–how high or low they sound–is called pitch.

Music alphabet

Musical pitches are designated by the first seven letters of the alphabet.  Notice that as you go forward through the alphabet the pitch rises; as you go backwards through the alphabet, the pitch descends.

music-alphabet

IMPORTANT SKILL TO MASTER

Be able to recite the musical alphabet backwards with ease:
“G – F – E – D – C – B – A – G – F – E – D – C – B – A – G ,” etc.

This will facilitate you ability to grasp future concepts more quickly (i.e., it will make your life much easier).