Sheet music, theory and beyond
When you take a look at a piano music sheet for the first time, all you will see is beautiful written characters which make absolutely no sense to you. And if you are a keen observer, you will notice that there are many types of circles associated with the piano music sheet language. Sheet music belonging to the instrument piano also consists of incomplete circles connected together by one or a collection of lines. Plus there are other symbols which will appear totally strange to you. So what are they all about and what do they mean?

One look at a sheet music might give many the impression that it is beyond them. But that is so not true. Reading sheet music is not just confined to musicians. And after all, musicians are also humans like we are. While it can seem daunting at first piano music sheet is not extremely difficult to read once you know and understand the different types of notes and symbols you are looking at
So one question must be surely arising in your mind! Is there a lot of difference between the piano music sheet and the sheet music of other instruments? Well, to give you some relief, the answer is no. The sheet music of most of the instruments follows a similar structure and pattern. One of the most easily recognizable notes in sheet music is the whole note. It looks like an open circle and will occupy one full measure (the space between two of the vertical bars which are placed at even integrals across the staff. A whole note is one that is held for the full measure of a beat.)

A whole note that falls under different time signatures will not be held for the same length of time however. A whole note in 4/4 time will be held for a full four beats whereas one in 3/4 time will only be held for three beats. So unless specified, a whole note is always considered as a whole note. But there is an exception only in the case of addition of a bit of musical notation.

Next, we discuss about another type of note known as the half note. To find a half note in a piano music sheet, you have to look for a small open circle with a line originating from it from the right. As the name implies this type of note will only be held for half the time that a whole note would be held. You will never see a whole note on the same measure as another note except in very specific time signatures which are the rare exception indeed.

The third type of note seen in a piano music sheet that we discuss here is the quarter note. Each of these notes in a measure is held for one-quarter of a beat. In terms of looks, a quarter note looks similar to a half note with the exception that the circle is complete without any gaps.

The other types of notes in sheet music will be drawn similar to the quarter notes except for one difference. It is this difference which will determine the length of the beat for which the note will be held. Eighth notes for example are joined at the top of their vertical lines by a bar that crosses from one note to the next. It is this single bar at the top that will let you know that the notes are held for one eighth of a beat apiece.

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