Top number tells you HOW MANY BEATS there are per measure
Bottom number tells you WHICH NOTE gets the beat
Example: 2/4 Time= Two beats. Quarter note gets the beat.
Commonly seen time signatures: C= common time (4/4 time), 4/4, 2/4, ¾, 6/8, 3/8, 12/8, 9/8, 5/8, 7/8
Whole note=4 beats in 4/4 time
Dotted half note=3 beats in 4/4 or ¾ time
Half note=2 beats in 4/4, ¾, or 2/4 time
Quarter note=1 beat in 4/4 time
Eighth note= ½ a beat in 4/4, ¾, or 2/4 time
Sixteenth note= ¼ of the beat in 4/4, ¾, or 2/4 time
Tells you how many flats or sharps are in the music.
Example: 3 flats in the key signature means that you are in E-flat major or C minor (I’ll discuss minor scales in the Intermediate section of this site).
BUILDING BLOCKS YOU NEED TO KNOW
H=half step W=whole step
Flats: lower a note by a half step
Sharps: raise a note by a half step
Chromatic scale: made up of half steps
Major scale: ascends W W H W W W H
Example: C-D is a whole step, D-E is a whole step, E-F is a half step, etc.
Arpeggios: broken chords. To play an arpeggio you play the 1st, 3rd, and 5th degrees of the scale.
Example: C Major Scale is: C-D-E-F-G-A-B-C
The C Major Arpeggio is the 1st scale degree (C), third scale degree (E), the fifth scale degree (G), and you can include the octave (C).
Enharmonic Spellings: All notes have more than one name.
Example: C can be called C or B-sharp or D- double flat
The diagram below is called the Circle of Fifths. It is used to see how many flats or how many sharps are in each major scale.
RHYTHMS AND SUBDIVISIONS
The following examples use a slight variation of the Eastman Counting System. The variation is 1-TI-te-ta instead of 1-TA-te-ta for sixteenth notes.
The last line consists of 32nd notes. You probably won’t see these for a while. Have no fear they’re just twice as fast as sixteenths.
In the Eastman Counting System anything that doesn’t land on the main subdivision will be called “ta.”