Grateful Dead Music Forum

A place to talk about the music of the Grateful Dead 

Musical Theory Abound!!!
 #14501  by pharewellphish
 Tue Mar 27, 2007 7:54 pm
what does 4 flat signs mean at the start of each line to the left of the clef?

and theres a C after that... does that mean something?

and also does anybody know any good websites or books for learning to read notes. I need to learn to sightread by next week for a class

 #14503  by strumminsix
 Tue Mar 27, 2007 8:41 pm
There is a trick to quickly learning what those mean but I can't remember it right now. IIRC, for sharps you take the second sharp and that is the key and for flats you take the last flat and that is the key. But I doubt I'm right it's been years...

Overall the scale on is all regular notes no sharps or flats so the flattened symbols dictate flats to be played.

The "C" means 4/4 timing.

This link might help:

 #14508  by wisedyes
 Wed Mar 28, 2007 4:56 am
Okay, the 4 sharp signs refer to the key of the song. If you find yourself a copy of the Circle of Fifths/ Cycle of Fourths, that will show you which key has how many sharps or flats. The rule of thumb to follow is this - if there are sharp signs, a half step ABOVE the last sharp sign is your key. If there are flat signs, the SECOND TO LAST flat sign is the key. You do need to remember, however, that C Major/ A minor has no sharps or flats, and F Major/ D minor has one flat sign. Four sharps at the beginning, btw, signifies either E Major or C# minor.

The C at the beginning stands for "common time", or straight 4/4 meter.

 #14509  by wisedyes
 Wed Mar 28, 2007 4:59 am
Ooops, you wanted four flats, not sharps. That would be either Ab major or F minor.

 #14551  by pharewellphish
 Wed Mar 28, 2007 8:57 pm
thanks a lot for all the help

so the four flats just refer to the 4 flats in the Ab major compared to cmajor? that makes sense now

so on the staff when a note would be C (in cmaj)its now an Ab?

because this song has a note that would be E in Cmaj(which in Ab would be a C) and then the next note is the same note with a sharp sign before it. which i would guess would be C#. but shoouldnt the C# just be the next spot on the staff?

i dont know if that made sence the way i tried to describe it... but it just looks like C# is in two spots on the bottom of the staff

 #14553  by pharewellphish
 Wed Mar 28, 2007 9:10 pm
is there anyway to put sommething from microsoft paint onto this tread... then i could draw that part and it might make a little more sense[/url]

 #14557  by wisedyes
 Thu Mar 29, 2007 4:57 am
What the sharp or flat signs mean is that in that particular key, the notes that will be written in that line or space will be played as sharps or flats. For example, there are no sharps or flats in C major, therefore no designations at the beginning of the score.

However, let's move up one fifth, to G Major. In G Major, there is one sharped note, F#, so at the beginning of a piece written in G Major, there will be a sharp sign on the F line of the staff. Moving up one more fifth, to the key of D Major, there are two sharps, F# and C#. So, a score in D Major will have sharp signs on the F line and in the C space at the beginning.

This is done so the composer does not have to write in the sharp or flat sign every time that note is played in the piece. It is up to the musician to remember that in the key they are in, all those notes will be played sharp or flat UNLESS otherwise designated as a natural.

 #14588  by pharewellphish
 Thu Mar 29, 2007 2:32 pm
that cleared it up a lot man thanks