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
in the musical world.
Musical Theory reminder
We are now going to review the basics. If you
are already familiar with musical theory and vocabulary, you can skip
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.
Of course, the whole of music theory cannot
be explained here. To go deeper into this field, you are invited to
to a specialized book on the subject.
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
- 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
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 ...
Rests 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
a minim rest and so on.
Staves are divided into bars, separated
by vertical lines placed regularly on the staff. Bars split staves into
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
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
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