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You are HERE >> Music : General

Miscellaneous Notes About Music Notation
by Elaine Ernst Schneider and Joanne Mikola
April 4, 2001

The order of writing an opening staff is always the same : Clef first, Key signature second, followed by the Time signature. If there are more than one staffs in the piece of music, the time signature will not reappear unless there is a time change.


Accidentals are signs used in musical notation to indicate note alteration. For Example:

sharp: raises the note half a step
A musical symbol that raises the pitch of a note by one half step.

flat: lowers the note half a step
A musical symbol that lowers the pitch of a note by one half step.

Double Sharp
A musical symbol that raises the pitch of a note by a whole step. 

Double Flat
A musical symbol that lowers the pitch of a note by one whole step.

natural: cancels any previous used accidentals
Cancels any previously used accidentals.

Half Steps
On the piano, the next note up, regardless of colour. Song to aid in remembering: Alexander's Ragtime Band

Whole Steps
On the piano, count up any two notes, regardless of colour. Song to aid remembering: Happy Birthday. 

Enharmonic Spelling
Different spelling of the same note. Examples:
is the same as F
is also an F
Note: In other instruments, such as a viola, G is actually a little higher than A

Click here for a printable copy of  blank sheet music.
Submitted by:  © Elaine Ernst Schneider  is a freelance writer and a teacher. She has been writing since high school and has published articles, songs, and children's work. Presently, Elaine is a curriculum author for Group Publishing and also writes the City Songs column for ezine. 
Send your comments to Elaine here

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