|A Few Notes About Musical Notes|
|1.||The Seven Naturals
If you don't count sharps and flats, there are only seven (7, count 'em) notes in the Western musical scale. Never more, never less. Trust me on this. How long should it take to learn seven notes?
|These notes, AKA the natural notes -- cuz
there are no accidentals (sharps or flats), in alphabetical order (also their real order)
Remember "Do, Re, Mi, Fa, So, La, Ti, Do?" Those are the notes -- there are two "Do's," because they're the same note, an octave apart. However, "Do, Re, Mi, Fa, So, La, Ti, Do" can represent any major scale -- another topic -- and so it can have sharps or flats in other keys.
If you're fond of singing the alphabet as you learned it in early childhood, the names of natural notes are in the first line of the song, so just stop there. There are no notes in music named "H, I or J".
By the way, these are also the names of all of the white keys on a piano, organ or any other keyboard.
|2.||Five More Accidentals
Of those seven notes, all are separated by two (2) half-steps -- same as one whole step or whole-note -- except for two -- E/F and B/C -- which are only one half-step apart.
By the way, the half-step tones between the naturals -- except between E/F and B/C -- are called "accidental" notes. Why, I don't know -- it's another term I hardly ever use. They're more commonly called "sharps or flats."
|Aha! So, there are only 5 more notes in
the scale, in the form of sharps and flats, for a total of 12 notes altogether -- ever.
Pretty simple, huh?
By the way, each those five notes can be given either of two names. For example, the same note which is a half-step higher than A can be named "A sharp" or A#, or, since that note is a half-step lower than B, it can also be named "B flat" or Bb. But the note is the same, whichever name is used. Those two same-sounding notes are said to be enharmonic, which is a term you'll hardly ever need to know.
Oh, and these are also the names of all of the black keys on a piano, organ or any other keyboard.
So here -- just so you don't have to map them out for yourself -- are all of the 12 notes ever available
|3.||Gee, 12 Notes Don't Seem Like Much To Work With.|
|Quit whining already. 12 notes will be
plenty. Remember -- while there may only be 12 named notes -- there are many octaves,
and each one is the same as the one above (higher pitched sounds) or the one lower (lower
In fact, a standard tuned guitar has more than 3 octaves, lowest to highest note. It's more than enough to fill your life with learning about them.
|4.||What Does a Guitar Player Need to Know About Notes?|
|At a minimum, you should have memorized the
names of the strings.
Here's a fingerboard graphic with the strings named, and also showing the notes at the 12th fret. Note that the 12th fret notes are identical to the string names. If you play the string without fretting it, then press the string down at the 12th fret and play it again, the pitch is the same -- just higher.
And you need to know the 12 notes and their order. It might be worth your while to learn them on the fingerboard, although it's not critical to having fun playing; it's something you can take your time doing. Here they are, just for the A string. Oh, and the notes start over on the 13th fret, for you fussie types who have noticed that the fingerboard doesn't just stop at fret number 12.
|5.||Go play the guitar or do something else for a while. Otherwise, your brain might melt. If this is new to you, take your time. It'll sink in over time, if you keep practicing and noticing where the notes are.|