If you’ve learned to play an instrument before, then you know that music is a language all its own. For those just getting back into playing piano online, you might be wondering: what are those music symbols in my piano learning app?
Indeed, the need to get reacquainted with the symbols that make up the music notes you follow as you play a song is important. Thankfully, a piano learning app like Clefer makes brushing up on your music terminology and note reading easier, offering easy access to a full glossary of music terms and lessons geared to teaching you note reading. But if you haven’t started your learning journey with Clefer yet, here’s a quick primer on what some of the more common music symbols mean.
As you restart your music education with the help of a piano learning app like Clefer, you’ll quickly remember why the five-line staff (or staves) is the foundation of music notation. The individual lines and spaces denote different music notes depending on the clef used with the staff. Some types of bar lines you’ll find in music notation include single bar lines (separates one measure from another), double bar lines (separates sections within a music piece) and final bar line (signals the end of a musical movement or an entire piece itself).
When you’re using a piano learning app like Clefer, you’ll notice a few key symbols appear often; specifically, clefs. Placed at the beginning of a staff, a clef indicates the pitch a line will have and assigns the key for the accompanying notes. There are two main types of clef:
Treble clef. Also called the G clef due to its resemblance to the letter G, this clef signifies the G note and is typically played by the right hand in piano.
Bass clef. The bass clef is played by the left hand on the piano and is dubbed the F clef for its resemblance to the letter F, indicating the F note.
Other important symbols you’ll see as you use the Clefer piano learning app are music note symbols, which indicate the pitch and duration of a musical sound. Some of the most common notes include:
Whole note. A whole note indicates that a single note should play for an entire four-beat measure.
Half note. A half note indicates that a single note will run for half of a full four-beat measure.
Quarter note. A quarter note means a single note will play for one-quarter of a four-beat measure.
Eighth note. An eighth note indicates a single note should play for an eighth of a four-beat measure.
Sixteenth note. A sixteenth note calls for a single note to play for a sixteenth of a full four-beat measure.
While practicing note reading in your piano learning app, you will notice that some notes are joined by a horizontal or diagonal line, which is called a beam. Beams are used to join consecutive notes into a rhythmic grouping.
Dots also have significance and will follow a music note. A dotted note indicates that there should be an added one-half value to the note’s current duration.
Each note can also have an accompanying symbol that signifies a rest for the length of that note. Because each note has its own symbol for a rest, you can have a whole rest, half rest, quarter rest, eighth rest and sixteenth rest.
While practicing note reading in a piano learning app like Clefer, you’ll see symbols that indicate a rhythmic duration. Called time signatures, these symbols combine information on tempo and time duration to denote the length of each beat and the amount of beats per musical measure. For example, western music commonly uses a time signature of four quarter notes per measure, or 4/4. Because it’s the most frequently used time signature, it is often symbolized by the letter “c” and called “common time”.
Sharp & Flat
As you read the music in your online piano learning app, you will quickly notice that it often includes sharps and flats in many of the musical pieces available for practice. But what do they mean?
A sharp is the hashtag or pound sign symbol that indicates the accompanying note must be played in a higher pitch by a half-step or semitone.
A flat, on the other hand, means the note it appears before is to be played in a lower pitch, also by a half-step or semitone.
Download Clefer for free today and see how learning piano online is helping returning musicians just like you fall in love with piano again!