Free Piano Lesson 14a – Accidentals: Sharps

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Free piano lesson about Accidentals: Sharps

Up till now, you have been using only the white notes on your keyboard, or the “easy” notes. Now we’re going to begin using the black keys as we take a look at altered notes, called accidentals. Let’s begin with notes that are slightly raised, called sharps, notated with the “pound key” symbol: #

We usually take into account two sharps in an octave: C sharp and F sharp. In a C octave, these altered notes can be found on the first black note and the third black note.

On this staff, you can work solely on sharped notes.

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Free Piano Lesson 14 – Varying note values

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Varying note values studied in this free piano lesson

Now we’ll try out a little exercise on note values, from eighth notes to whole notes. If you find this exercise too difficult, I can only recommend that you try replacing the notes with numbers to make reading easier. Later on, reading note values will become automatic for you. Try playing this piece at a slow tempo (or speed). Then play it again several times over, increasing the speed each time. Repetition and practice will help you master it! Unfortunately there is no magic formula…

Free Piano Lesson 13 – Half notes and whole notes

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Half notes and whole notes for this free piano lesson

Here are two more note values: half notes and whole notes. It’s simple enough; a half note is worth two quarter notes and lasts for two beats, while a whole note is worth two half notes, or four quarter notes:

1 whole note = 4 beats
1 half note = 2 beats
1 quarter note = 1 beat
1 eighth note = 1/2 a beat

In other words, 1 whole note = 2 half notes = 4 quarter notes = 8 eighth notes
You always need math, even for music!

Now you know the note values most often used in piano music (as well as in music in general).

Free Piano Lesson 12 – Quarter notes and eighth notes

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Quarter notes and eighth notes – Free Piano Lesson

Now that you know about notes, intervals, and octaves, we need to take a moment to discuss note values, or the length of time that each note lasts. As you can imagine, if the notes of a melody were all of the same length, it would be a pretty boring tune! On the following staff, we will study quarter notes and eighth notes. A quarter note lasts for one beat (1), while an eighth note lasts only half as long as a quarter note, or half a beat. To help you understand, you can read the notes and replace the note values with numbers:

-replace the quarter notes with the number 1
-replace the eighth notes with 2

If you listen to a series of eighth notes, you get the impression that the melody is faster. Give the following piece a try.

Your free piano lesson in video :

Free Piano Lesson 11 – Notes an octave higher or lower

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Free Piano Lesson about notes an octave higher or lower

Notes an octave higher or lower are often used in melodies, but also in accompaniments, varying the range of the piece or to serve as bass notes. As a reminder, a note an octave away is the same note played above or below the reference note. To play notes an octave higher or lower, you’ll often use your pinky or your thumb.

Below your free piano lesson in HD video:

Free Piano Lesson 10 – Notes and big intervals

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Free piano lesson about Notes and big intervals

Just as there are small intervals, there are bigger ones that allow us to vary the range of a piece of music, to create jumps and surprises in a melody, to raise or lower a tune, etc. Try the following exercise to learn how to manage these little “jumps.” This is also an excellent exercise for your hands and fingers. As you can see, the larger the intervals, the more you have to stretch your hands and fingers. It’s your turn to play!

Free piano lesson in video:

Free Piano Lesson 9 – Notes and small intervals

A melody is composed of a series of notes that do not necessarily follow in a line—fortunately! A gap between two notes or pitches is called an interval. An interval can be big or small. In this free piano lesson, you will see small intervals between the notes, which are relatively easy to read and play. Later, you will understand the role that intervals play as the building blocks for piano accompaniment chords.  Practice with the notes on the staff.

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Notes and small intervals in this free piano lesson

A piece of advice: never skip a lesson in this course, as you will very likely run into an exercise that is too difficult and lose your motivation!

Free Piano Lesson 8 – Notes at the top and outside of the staff

Now we’ve arrived at the top of the staff, where we’ll find the highest notes. Reading these notes is always trickier than reading lower notes, as there are more horizontal lines underneath them. Dealing with these high notes is one thing, but even more difficult is reading notes located outside of or above the musical staff (a common occurrence).

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Free Piano Lesson with notes at the top and outside of the staff

These very high (or very low) notes are located above (or below) the standard musical staff. To read these notes, we draw little lines under the notes, called ledger lines. Have a look at the third note in the eighth measure. You should be able to read a B. To help you to master these ledger line notes, learn to write them yourself and read them aloud (on this website, you can find unmarked musical staves to help you practice).

This free piano lesson in video:

Free PianoLesson 6 – Notes at the bottom of the staff

We will learn little by little how the notes on the musical staff correspond to the keys on your piano keyboard. Let’s start small and begin with the notes located at the bottom of the staff, from Middle C to F. You may think it seems easy, but you’ll have to learn to read them without stopping to think where to put your fingers. Reading the notes has to be become automatic!

Find below your new free piano exercice and lesson:

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Notes at the bottom of the staff – Free piano lessons

A small reminder: each line on the staff (5 total) corresponds to a note:

Line 1 (at the bottom): E
Line 2: G
Line 3: B
Line 4: D
Line 5 (at the top): F