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Musical Theory reminder

General Points

In this program, music is written in the classic way: notes are placed on staves and staves are put together into a score, this being the most common representation in the musical world.

We are now going to review the basics. If you are already familiar with musical theory and vocabulary, you can skip this chapter. 

Note: Of course, the whole of music theory cannot be explained here. To go deeper into this field, you are invited to refer to a specialized book on the subject.
A tune is written in a score (the content of your document's main window). A score is divided into a number of staves, each staff representing what is played by a single instrument.

The staff is made of five grouped horizontal lines:


On each staff, notes can be placed. A note defines the sound to be played at a given time by the instrument of the staff. Notes can be placed on or between the lines.

A note, by its appearance and location, defines three parameters:

- Its vertical position defines its pitch. The higher the note is placed, the higher its pitch.

- Its horizontal position defines the time it is played at. Thus, the staff's horizontal axis defines a time scale, passing from left to right. If you place two notes in the same column, they will be played at the same time. This is called a chord.

- The note's shape defines its duration or length. Standard note lengths are predefined in musical notation, each one being twice as long as the next.
Thus, you have:
The whole note or semibreve  is equal to two half notes or minims: , each half note is equal to two quarter notes or crotchets. Each quarter note is equal to two eighth notes or quavers: , and so on with sixteenth notes or semiquavers , 32nd notes or demisemiquavers ...

indicate pauses between notes. Just like notes, they are organized in lengths that decrease by half. Rests are named according to their duration, so you will find a semibreve rest, a minim rest and so on.

Staves are divided into bars, separated by vertical lines placed regularly on the staff. Bars split staves into regular intervals.

Finally, on the left of each staff is a clef. A clef gives several pieces of information:

- Its shape determines where the notes fall on the lines.
Thus, the treble or G clef (upper staff) says that the bottom line corresponds to an E, the space between the two bottom lines to an F, the above line (around which it curls) to a G, and so on for A, B, C, D, E, F, G...
The treble clef symbol is:

With a bass or F clef, the bottom line corresponds to a low-pitched G, and from bottom to top, A, B, C, D, E, F ...
The bass clef symbol is:

- On the right of the clef are two numbers, such as . These indicate the time signature, i.e. the length of each bar. 4/4 means that a bar contains four beats and the value of each beat is a quarter note. Thus the length of the bar is a whole note or two half notes.


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