So far we have learnt the note values for the quaver, crotchet, minim and semibreve. It's time to add some more note values into our portfolio!
If we add a small dot to the right hand side of any note, it means that we should increase the length of the note by 50%.
For example, a minim is worth 2 counts. So if we add a dot to a minim, we increase its length to 3 counts (50% of 2 is 1; then 2+1=3). A dotted minim is held for three counts:
In the same way, if we add a dot to a crotchet, we increase its length to 1.5 counts. (50% of 1 is 0.5; then 1+0.5=1.5). A dotted crotchet is worth 1.5 counts.
It's not very easy to count "one, one-and-a-half, two" etc. when you're counting in music, so we normally just say "and" for the half counts, like this:
Dotted minims fill up a whole bar in 3/4 time. In 4/4 time they are often followed by a crotchet or two quavers. Here are some very common rhythms. Listen and sing along.
Dotted crotchets are often followed by a quaver.
Try singing along to these melodies, with the wood block keeping time for you.
In the previous lesson we found out that each piece has a tonic, which tells us what key a piece is in. For example, in the last tune you sang, the tonic is F, and the key is F major. All of the Bs have flats next to them, because they are B flats.
To save space and make the music look less cluttered, we normally use a symbol called a key signature, right at the beginning of the stave. The key signature is always between the clef and the time signature.
Instead of writing a B flat every time we need one, we simply write a B flat at the beginning of each stave, to remind us that ALL the Bs need to be flat. With a key signature added, the music now looks a lot cleaner!
When you being to sing any piece of music, you first need to check what the key signature is!
If a piece is in C major, there aren't any sharp or flat notes, so we don't need to use a key signature.
If a piece is in G major, the key signature has one sharp - F#.
If a piece is in D major, it has two sharps - F# and C#.
If a piece is in F major, it has one flat - Bb.
If a piece is in Bb major, it has two flats - Bb and Eb.
Key signatures can have up to seven sharps or seven flats, but we won't introduce them all in one go!
Key signatures are very useful for helping you to pitch a note. If you see a key signature of one sharp, you know the key is G major*, so G is the tonic, or first note of the scale. This will help you to find all the other notes more easily when singing!
Before you begin, look at the key signature and work out the key of the melody, then sing the tonic and scale of that key. (You can use the tuning fork on the left hand side of the page to hear the note A.)