Wilbur's Music Tutorial #2
NOTES...Sound and Pitch

NOTES:   indicate what musical sound (or pitch) should be played and how long it should be held. The placement of the note on a line or space on the staff indicates which musical sound (or pitch) should be played. Each line and space has a pitch associated with it, and each pitch is represented by an alphabetic character.
In the following illustration you will see notes arranged on the Grand Staff (both Bass and Treble Clefs). You will also see the alphabetic letter associated with each note and the relative pitch of that note as it relates to the piano keyboard.

Find MIDDLE C above...notice how the Treble Clef goes up from middle C while the Bass Clef notes go down from Middle C.

FLATS and SHARPS:   As previously stated, every note on a line or space on the staff has a pitch. This pitch can be raised or lowered in whole steps by going from one note to the next...OR the pitch can be raised or lowered in half steps by using SHARPS and FLATS.

  • SHARPS are indicated by the "#" sign.
  • A SHARP raises the musical tone by one half step (Ex: from C to C#).
  • FLATS are indicated by the "b" sign.
  • A FLAT lowers the musical tone by one half step (Ex: D to Db)
The notes in the illustration above could be raised or lowered one half tone by using sharps or flats. On a piano...the black keys are used to play these half tones.
NOTE: Two exceptions to always using the black keys to make a note sharp or flat is B and C....and E and F. You'll notice these two white keys are side by side with no black key in between. These 4 notes are the only exception to whole tone increases between notes. For example...E# is F...and Fb is E.

DIATONIC HARMONICA: Here you see the diatonic harmonica with the notes each whole plays. The first note is the BLOW note and the second note is the DRAW note.

In the next example you will which notes on the staff correspond to which hole (blow or draw) in the diatonic harmonica. The Diatonic harmonica is constructed to play whole notes only. It is possible to play flats and sharps on diatonic harmonicas, but this involves an advanced (and somewhat difficult) method known as "bending".
NOTE: This illustration is for a diatonic harmonica in the Key of C.

CHROMATIC HARMONICA: This example shows you the notes on the staff and the corresponding hole (blow or draw) in the chromatic harmonica.

Notice that the chromatic harmonica, like the piano, can play all of the whole notes (with the slide left OUT)...AND play sharped and flatted tones (with the slide pushed IN).

arrow TUTORIAL #1 Music Basics RETURN to HOME PAGE arrow TUTORIAL #3 Rhythm/Tempo