lessons on how to read and write sheet music


Friday, May 27, 2011

The Basics: Notating Rhythm and Pitch

The practice of transcribing a musical idea onto the page in a most basic form involves two main concepts: rhythm and pitch.

The term “rhythm” refers to the time value or “length” of a note (aka a single musical sound).
The term “pitch” refers to the perceived frequency of a note (how high of low it sounds).

When writing or reading sheet music, we use a variety of symbols to represent musical notes and to indicate the particulars of rhythm and pitch.

The shapes of these written notes define how long they are to be sustained. Their placement on the musical staff (to be discussed in a separate article) indicates their pitch.

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