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Old 07-05-2022, 12:40 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default learn notes

Hey all,

I've been playing keyboards for so many years with bands and as a one man show..
now i got some time to start learning notes but looking for fast and easy methods and not sure where to start. Any suggestions is appreciated

thanks
R
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Old 07-05-2022, 02:00 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Just learning notes isn't very advanced, so I guess you mean music theory? As a musician, you already know the 12 notes I assume?

Since I'm a big fan of Dave Stewart and his work with Hatfield and the North and National Health in particular, I bought his two little books on music writing and composition. The first one is this:



It's pretty good and breaks it down in a simple way, so that's something you can get.

Something else you can do is get some stickers for your keys, like these:



Those little suckers tell you what notes they are and what they look like in standard notation, expressed as quarter notes in the picture above.

Even if you know the notes, which you probably do (?), it can help you become more aware of what notes make up various chords.


The circle of fifths can also be an interesting way to learn a bit about keys and intervals, specifically the fifth. Something that I like about it is it's easy to just print out and place on a piano stand, which is something I did and why I mention it specifically here.



So here, you can see C sharing the space with Am. What this means is if you're playing the keyboard, you can use exactly the same keys and chords to play in the key of C as in the key of Am. If you play the keys/notes C, D, E, F, G, A, B, C on your piano, that's a major C key. If you just start at A instead, it's the minor A key.


C major key




A minor key



.. So even though they contain the same notes, just starting from C will make it sound happy and starting from A will sound sad. Weird, huh?

Treating the letters in the wheel as notes, then going to the right on the wheel, you find the note a 5th above. So C's 5th is a G. These are notes that have nice dynamics and play well together. If you play a single note on a piano, its own note will of course ring out the loudest.. but the second loudest harmonic you will hear buried underneath it is a 5th. Hence, fifths are of special importance, at least in western music.

If you treat the letters in the wheel to mean keys, then the key of C major and the key of G major only differ by one note.


Key of G



Instead of an F (like in the keys of C / Am above), it has an F# (F sharp).

The further away down the wheel you go, the fewer notes are in common - until you start to get close again. F major key is also just a note different from C major.

You can use the circle of fifths for various things, like planning key changes. If you change from C to G, that's gonna be a gentle sort of change. If you change from C to A or E, the effect is going to be more dramatic - perhaps too much so depending on what you're attempting.

And then lastly, there's PLENTY of learning material available for free on youtube and elsewhere. Look up some of these concepts I've mentioned, like the circle of fifth, musical keys, chord structure or intervals or notation and you'll find plenty.
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Last edited by Guybrush; 07-05-2022 at 02:12 AM.
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Old 07-05-2022, 06:08 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Jesus going the wrong way down a one-way system, completely out of control in a camper van with no brakes! THAT is what I call a helpful post!
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Old 07-05-2022, 08:51 AM   #4 (permalink)
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That's pretty incredible, Guybrush. No surprise coming from you, though. Bravo!
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Old 07-06-2022, 01:31 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Why, thank you guys
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Old 07-07-2022, 10:12 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Wish I'd had you around when I was trying (unsuccessfully) to learn to play keys! That sticker thing is a great idea. Now, if only there weren't small creatures nesting between the A and the F# keys on my old synth...
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Old 07-07-2022, 11:11 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Guybrush View Post
Something else you can do is get some stickers for your keys, like these:

I'm sure they can be helpful, but you have to apply them correctly, unlike the person who created the image above

These are correct though, so it would be better for OP to look to them for reference:

Quote:
C major key




A minor key

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Old 07-07-2022, 11:29 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GD View Post
I'm sure they can be helpful, but you have to apply them correctly, unlike the person who created the image above

These are correct though, so it would be better for OP to look to them for reference:
Yes, well spotted. I sometimes wonder if they do it on purpose.

I like recorders and just clicked an ad for cheap recorders the other day and I got this picture:



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Old 07-07-2022, 04:25 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Oh wow

I do not envy people trying to get into music using online as their only/primary source. Exemplary post though, Guybrush
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