You can play the piano without learning to read the scores, but it can be a relatively long and labor-intensive process. Learning to read the standard musical notation for the piano will allow you to learn quickly and efficiently the music other people have written.
Once you can read piano scores, a vast repertoire of music is available for you to read and play. Piano music is written on groups of lines called staves, or sticks, and each conjurer has a key that determines the notes to be played. Piano sheet music for beginners usually uses the treble clef. Most piano music uses the F key, too, and so two keys may need to be played simultaneously.
We recommend you to try Pianoforall review
This score is written in treble clef.
– Determine whether the piano score is in treble clef, bass clef, or both. If the score has two staves and clefs to play together, it is often useful for beginners to learn each stave separately, then put the two together later.
– Determine each pitch of the note in the score. The white notes on the piano are named in alphabetical order, by the letters A, B, C, D, E, F and G. On the bars, the notes are represented by circular dots. The note to be played is determined by which line, or space, to conjure the note is placed on.
– Determine whether any of these note pitches are changed by flat (b) or (#) sharps. The black notes on a piano keyboard are usually written in score by adding an accidental – a sharp or flat sign – to one of the notes mentioned above. A hash sign (# of) in front of a note raises the pitch of the note by 1/2 step. On the piano keyboard, this usually means that you want to read the right quarter note immediately. The opposite of a forte is a flat (b), which lowers the pitch of a 1/2 step note. On the keyboard, this usually means that you play the black note to the immediate left.
– Play the notes in order, scrolling visually from left to right as if you were reading text. How quickly or slowly you move through the notes is determined by their notated rhythm. Most music has a regular pulse or beat, similar to the impulse you can feel on your own wrist. How many notes you play in each beat is determined by the note value. Many variations of rhythm are possible, and it is important to keep a regular mental rhythm while playing the piano.
Tips and warnings
In treble clef, the standing wooden lines – from lowest to highest – represent the notes E, G, B, D and F. An acronym to help remember the notes on the treble clef lines is “Every Good Boy deserves fruit.” The spaces in the treble clef – from lowest to highest – are the notes F, A, C and E, defining the word “face.”
In clef F, the upright wooden lines – from lowest to highest – are the notes G, B, D, F and A. An acronym to help remember the notes on the bass clef lines is “Great Big Dog Of Africa.” The spaces on the bass clef staff – lowest to highest – are the notes A, C, E and G. This can be recalled with the acronym “all cows eat grass.”
The piano has two flat notes and two high notes that are not the black keys. E # is the same key as F (because there are no black keys directly to the right of E), and B # is the same as C for the same reason. Cb is the same as B, and Fb is the same as E.
A quarter note (which looks like a black circle with a vertical stem) lasts one beat. A half note (an empty circle with a vertical stem) lasts two beats. A full note (an empty circle without a stem) lasts four beats. If the notes are connected to each other by horizontal lines, then several of these notes fit into a single beat. Two eighth notes (joined by a line) fit evenly into a quarter beat; four notes (16th note joined by two parallel horizontal lines) also fit evenly into a quarter beat.
For beginner piano students, a good piano teacher can be very helpful in explaining how to play sheet music.
Know more: How does Piano work?