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victoria Williams Music Theory

Victoria Williams

LmusTCL BA Mus (Hons) MISM

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Grade 1 Tests

by Victoria Williams

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6. Top G and Eighth Notes

How to Read Music - Level 1 (High Voices)

6. Top G and Eighth Notes Click to view with UK terminologyus


Eighth Notes

We've now covered three types of note length - the whole note (4 counts), the half note (2 counts) and the quarter note (1 count). As you can see, each type of note is worth half (or twice) the next type of note.

The whole note is probably the longest note you will come across in most music (although there is a note called a "double whole" which is worth eight counts, it's rarely seen).

The note which is half the length of a quarter note is the eighth note. An eighth note is worth half a count, or if you prefer, two eighth notes equal one count. 

Eighth notes look like quarter notes in that they have black heads and a tail, but they also have a tail.

The way the tail is written depends on a few things. Eighths can either be written individually, like this:


or joined to other eighths, like this:



When one tail of an eighth note joins together with another note, it means they are both eighth notes. The joining line is called a "beam".

Sing/listen to this short melody, which uses quarter notes and eighth notes. The woodblock keeps a steady beat for you.





Now try to sight sing these melodies. 
















Top G

So far we've learnt all the notes up from middle C to the C an octave higher. Let's add the rest of the notes which fill up the lines and spaces above C.




Earlier, we found the interval of an octave from middle C to C. Try to learn to recognise this interval by sight - an octave leap is always the same size on the page. Octaves always go from a line to a space or vice versa. If you see a leap which goes from a space to a space, or a line to a line, then it can't be an octave. Here are the octave leaps from C to G:




Singing Practice

Now try to sing these short melodies, which use notes up to top G and also use lots of different note lengths! As usual, click the play button to check what you are singing.
















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