How To Read Guitar Sheet Music

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How To Read Guitar Sheet MusicGuitar sheet music is not hard to learn, it’s just seven notes. It’s just that they are written in many ways according to where they appear on the guitar fretboard. As I can’t include images or music fonts in this article, you will need to refer to a book with the music notes written out. A guitar tutor would be good because piano music uses the treble and bass clef whereas the guitar uses just the treble clef.

I have known self-taught guitar players who could play quite well without having learn to read guitar sheet music. But music theory, although it seems dry and uninviting for the novice who just wants to start playing, gives the guitarist a deeper understanding and a better working knowledge of music.

You will notice that the music notes are written on a staff which is five lines that have four spaces between them with a curly letter at the beginning. The letter is a G and the it is known as a treble clef. Guitar music starts at a point below the ledger lines with the note E.

The notes on guitar music are identified by their pitch and their value. The value is the length of time the note is held for. In order to give the notes their values the staff is divided into bars which are sections of definite numbers of beats. The number of beats in each bar is shown at the beginning of the staff next to the treble clef. 4/4 means that each bar has four beats in it, 3/4 means that each bar has three beats. The 4 under the stroke tells us that a quarter note gets one beat. A 2 under the stroke means a half note gets one beat and an 8 means that an eighth note gets one beat.

Also next to the treble clef are symbols that look like “b” or “#”. These symbols show where the sharps and flats, if any, appear. A sharp is a note that is played a semitone higher than usual. So B# is the note B played one fret higher on the guitar neck. So if a sharp symbol appears in the lowest space on the staff, which is where the note F appears, it means that every F in the piece is played one fret higher.

When notes are piled on top of each other, this tells us the notes are played together to form a chord. In the case of the guitar this could mean that the notes are plucked or they could be strummed.

These are the basic facts about a piece of music that you can discover in the musical notation. There is much more fine detail that can be included in guitar sheet music but to go on and explain these would be unnecessary. If you learn the very basics like the names of the notes and where they appear on the guitar fretboard, you will automatically learn much more about music as your interest is triggered by breaking the ice and learning to read music.


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