Basic Music Theory:

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Music Notation Including The Staff : The Notes

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The Notes of Music:

Western music has 12 notes of which 7 are “natural” (“natural sign in music”) notes and 5 are “sharps” or “flats”. These natural ones are named from A through G. Sharps are written with the “#” symbol after the names of the notes less shrill than it where as flats are written with the “b” symbol after the name of the note shriller than it. All the notes barring B and E have sharps. A sharp note is shriller than its natural note but less shrill than the natural note after it. Sharps and flats indicate the same note and are merely two names of the same thing.

The notes are used in cyclical order and each octave below and above are noted by the same sets of notes repeating themselves. Thus “A” of a higher octave is of double the frequency of the present and half of that of the lower though they are all A’s. That is not a problem for the staff notation as these “repeating” note names that are an octave or two apart are written on the staff at different place (see below).

Thus the 12 these notes in order are as follows:

A A# B C C# D D# E F F# G G#


A Ab G Gb F E Eb D Db C B Bb

The series above with the sharps is called the Ascending Chromatic Scale, and the ones with the flats are called the Descending Chromatic Scale.

Here one must remember that,

A# = Bb, C# = Db, D# = Eb, F# = Gb, G# = Ab

Any note that is not accompanied with a # or b is a natural, so,

A = Anatural sign in music , B = Bnatural sign in music, ...... G = Gnatural sign in music

The sharp, flat and natural signs are very fundamental to staff notation.

German connection: One more point is better mentioned here, that in German notations, B is written as H, making the series A H C D E F G A H...This is important as some files available on the net have this “H” in them, especially those in chords.

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Music Notation Including The Staff : The Notes

Comments: 4 comment(s)...have your say!


Hi Arindam, I chanced upon your fabulous website when I was looking for chords and strumming pattern for my favorite song. What a noble work you are doing, GOD bless you man, please accept my heartfelt thanks for just being there. For beginners like me its a lifeline, though your words make sense except I am unable to play songs but I know if I hang in there, I would be able to understand and apply the knowledge gained. I've taken few lessons able to play chords but struggling to play songs, nevertheless your explanations do help but I'm grinding to translate that into harmonies. I'm not giving up yet and would continue with your help.

Arindam Sarkarsaid...

Thankyou Vinsam, for your kind words. As you realise, guitar takes patience. Keep at it as your are going and your problems would lessen in time. If you have any doubts or queries, fell free to write in. :)


Vinsam: Hi Arindam, I need your help. As stated earlier I'm able to play and change chords but when it comes to songs my chords go haywire. No matter how slow I try it doesn't sound good. Could you kindly advise how to go about it may be suggest a method to practise and then try.

Best regards,

Arindam Sarkarsaid...

Hi Vinsam! Firstly check if your guitar is in tune - if not tune it (link below). Now go through this list of common guitar mistakes to find out what you are doing wrong. Make sure you closely listen to the song you want to play several times before attempting to play it. Now all you need is practice and perseverance. Remember that a song =/= chords, its rhythm(strum)+chords. Keep at it and you'll surely master it. Best wishes.

BasicMusicTheory Tip:

Tune your guitar before you start playing.^Top^

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