lead sheet for
Now Playing
Triplet Ballad
My original composition "Triplet Ballad" demonstrate the use of eight note
triplets. If as you tap your foot, you say the word merrily on each beat, you
have the feel of an eight note triplet.  The melody ,chords and drum parts are
mostly triplets. The bass part is simple half notes. This song is also an example
of a major rock and roll chord pattern, that was used extensively in the 50's and
60's. All the chords are major key chords. The pattern is I, VIm, IIm, V7.  In
addition, the IV major chord is used in the endings. This gives you every chord
formed on a major scale note or degree except for the 7th degree. I have also
written the melody to include, in the key of C major, every note on the treble
clef. This makes it a teaching song for learning the treble clef notes. We will
begin to learn this song in this free music lesson. The song will play once. You
may have to click on the player below to activate it. Then click  on the play
arrow to hear it again.
Using The Lessons
People that come to these pages through search engines enter on different pages. I
would recommend that to get the full benefit of these music lessons, especially if you are
a beginner,  you visit every page at least once. This is a totally new approach to learning
music. The focus is on "
How Music Works". That page that you miss could be the one
that contains the key information, that you need. These pages are full of music tips and
music info that you probably won't find anywhere else. In the first five free music lessons,
I cover
How Music Works. You need to have studied them to understand the lessons
that follow. You can get to them by clicking on these links, "
Music Is Easy", "Schools Of
Music", "Natural Music Tones", "Sharps And Flats", and "Musics Great Secret" here or in
the navigation bars on the left.
Using This Lesson
When you look at a piece of music, that is musical notation, you get two pieces of
information. From the position of the note on the musical staff you know what note to
play. From the style of the note you know how long to play it. This lesson is going to
focus on knowing what note to play not when to play it. That will be covered in free music
lesson eight "
Timing The Notes".  Musical notation is a very compact way for me to give
you the musical examples that you need to learn how music works. Pictures of keyboards
take a tremendous amount of space and can't  deal with the time aspect of music. In the
first five free music lessons, I introduced a text system which along with keyboard
pictures gave you the timing. If you don't know it, you need to go back and study it, as we
will continue to use it in this lesson. You can get to them by clicking on these links, "
Music
Is Easy", "Schools Of Music", "Natural Music Tones", "Sharps And Flats", and "Musics
Great Secret" here or in the navigation bars on the left. Also you need to have studied
free music lesson six, "
Reading Music Made Easy" as an overview introduction to these
Reading music lessons.
Treble Clef
The staff in our example to the left is called the treble clef staff.  
It is the most important clef for us because it covers the range of
notes that we use for singing. It is the lead sheet clef. It is also
called the G clef. We know we have the treble or G clef when we
see that fancy symbol at the very beginning. The most important
part is the part that circles the second line from the bottom of
the staff. It tells us that this line is the g line. Using both lines
and spaces we go up or down from there following the musical
alphabet. So the space above the g is a and the next line b and
so forth. The space below g is f and the line below that e.
treble clef with natural note names for lines and spaces
Treble clef
Ledger Lines
What do you do when you run out of staff. You increase the
range of notes that are covered with ledger lines. Of course
when you draw these additional  ledger lines you also create
additional ledger spaces. The c one ledger line below the staff
is middle c. Then you have d in the space below the staff
bringing you up to the staff notes. Our four octave keyboard
takes us to the c two ledger lines above the staff. Men
especially can sing below middle c so we would need ledger
lines below middle c to cover the full vocal range. Not
everyone,especially men with low voices, can sing the notes
above the staff.
treble clef with ledger lines lables witn natural note names
Ledger Lines
Bass Clef
To the left we have the bass clef staff. It is also called the f clef
because the two dots are above and below the f line. With
ledger lines we are covering from two octaves below middle c up
to middle c. You can see that the notes on the bass clef are not
in the same place as the notes on the treble clef. They are one
line or one space lower on the bass clef staff. With this bass clef
with ledger lines and the treble clef staff with ledger lines we are
covering the range of our four octave keyboard. The piano and
many instruments exceed this range. Having too many ledger
lines above and below the staff would be very hard to read. You
can put notes on the staff and make a note to play them an
octave higher or lower.
bass clef plus ledger lines labled with natural note names
Bass clef
Grand Staff
Piano arrangements are  written on the grand staff. The grand
staff contains the treble clef and bass clef staffs.  Lets study the
grand staff pictured on the left. It shows where the notes are on
the lines and spaces. Middle c is the note you see that is one
line above the bass clef staff. It is also the note that is one line
below the treble clef staff. They are the same note.  Why do we
need two if they are the same note and why is there so much
space between the two staffs. The melody for songs can go
below middle c.  Then it is written on ledger lines and spaces
below the treble clef, even though it duplicates notes that could
be written in the bass clef.  Also, usually on the piano notes in
the bass clef are played with the left hand and notes in the
treble clef are played with the right hand. So if you had a note
above middle c that you wanted played by the left hand you
would put it on ledger lines and spaces above the bass clef staff
even though you are duplicating notes that could be written in
the treble clef. Of course in  addition to the melody, any other
notes below middle c that you want played by the right hand
would be on ledger lines and spaces below the treble clef.
grand staff plus ledger lines labled with natural note names
A Few AT A Time
We've just looked at a lot of notes. But a particular song only uses a few at a time.
Usually if you know one or two you can count up or down from there. You can always
refer back to this lesson. That's not exactly sight reading but it's good enough for study.
Of course as you keep looking at notes you will begin to learn them. Who knows you may
even develop into a sight reader. But for now just learn the few that you need as you go.
In this lesson, we are going to focus on learning the notes in treble . That is where
melody is written. The lead sheet is a short cut that many musicians use to play songs.
That is written in the treble clef. You only need the base clef to write out arrangements.
We will be putting our major focus on using leed sheets
key signature for the key of C major
Key Signatures
Earlier we talked about playing in different keys. Each key has it's own set of sharps or
flats to put the whole steps and half steps in the right place. How do we know which
ones to play for a particular song? How do we know what key we are in?  We can tell
from the key signature. The sharps and flats for  a key signature are placed just after
the clef sign and just before the time signature. If you need to know more about sharps
and flats go to free music lesson four, "
Sharps And Flats". We will study the time
signature in the next lesson. Below, we have the key signatures for C major, G major
and F major. Of course  C has no sharps or flats. We see the one sharp, for the key of
G on the top f line of the staff. As it is the key signature sharp, it tells us every f in the
song is sharped, not just the ones on the top line. We see the one flat for the key of F
on the b line of the staff. As it is the key signature flat, it tells us every b in a song is
flat, not just the ones on the middle line of the staff. We will look at the key signatures
for the other keys as we need them. But the most important thing you need to know
about a key is how it relates to the major scale. Do for the major scale will always be
the key note. So for the key of C it's c. For the key of G it's g. For the key of F it's f. If
you can play de, re me ect; in any key than you can play your song in any key.
key signature for the key of F major
key signature for the key of G major
Note Relations
If we look at a piece of music as just a bunch of notes, knowing what note to play is
difficult. You see the song in another key and it's just a different bunch of notes. Notes in
any piece of music are related. When we understand how notes are related to the key
and chords, we then understand how they relate to each other. This greatly simplifies
knowing what note to play. As we've said before,
the sounds come from the spaces
between the notes, not the actual notes played.
In this lesson, we will look at lead
sheets of a song, in three different keys, that you have already learned without music
notation. We will begin to use the principle of not just reading music but also
understanding it as we read it. We are going to cover time in the next lesson but for this
song "Some Folks Do" you know the timing because already learned it without music in
free music lesson 1 "
Music Is Easy".
The Rest Of The Story
As we said before, knowing what note to play is only a small part of what you need to
play music by reading it. You also have to play it at the exact right time. Playing the right
note at the right time reading it off the music is not easy. That timing or rhythm of the
melody to the latest popular song that we sing so easily by ear often looks extremely
complex on paper. In the next lesson, free music lesson eight, "
Timing The Notes", we will
continue to expand our knowledge of timing in music.
©2004 - 2009
Grand Staff
What's That Note
Some Folks Do In C
melody notes for
4/4 me, me, me, me; so, -, -, -;

fa, fa, re, -; me, me, do, -;

me, me, me, me; so, -, -, -;

re, fa, me, re; do, -, -, -:
Solfeggio
There are two ways to look at reading music notation. One way would be to just look at
the notes by letter name. Of course you would have to know when to sharp or flat a letter
note up or down a half step. You would have to know how to name your notes by which
line or space they are on the staff. Except for accidental sharps, flats or naturals, which
are right in front of the note, you know what other notes to sharp or flat from the key
signature.  The problem with this approach to reading music is that it gives you no
understanding of the musical principles behind the song. Each different key will have
different letter names for the notes for the same melody. The second way is to
understand notes in terms of solfegio, that is do, re, me, fa, so, la, ti, do. Then you will
know how the notes relate to the key and be able to also work out the harmony. On the
staff and keyboard below, we see what letter notes match up with the universal solfeggio
names in the key of C for "Some Folks Do". But for every other key they will be different
letter names. We will look also look at "Some Folks Do" in the keys of G to understand
the importance of reading music while understanding the notes with the universal note
names of solfeggio. Beside the key of C keyboard, I have the solfeggio tones in the "text
play without music timing system" that you learned in the first five free music lessons.
This is enough for you to play or sing the song. But now lets see if reading music has an
advantage.
Some Folks Do
4/4 me, me, me, me; so, -, -, -;

fa, fa, re, -; me, me, do, -;

me, me, me, me; so, -, -, -;

re, fa, me, re; do, -, -, -:
Some Folks Do
lead sheet for
click on the player to activate
Some Folks Do In G
Below, we have the lead sheet for Some Folks Do" in the key of G. Below that is the song
in solfeggio in our text system and beside that a keyboard showing the notes finger
numbers and the solfeggio tone names. Notice that the only thing that has changed is
the letter name of the notes. You simply place your thumb over g instead of c and play
exactly the same way. The g's are the white key located between the first two black keys
of the group of three black keys. You can play the melody starting on any g. The song
will sound higher or lower than it did in the key of C depending in which g you pick but it
will still be the do, re , me, fa, so of the universal solfeggio scale. The lead sheet ask for
it to be played from g above middle c. The midi sample below is in that range. As we
have learned in the five free music lessons starting with "
Music Is Easy", it's not the letter
names of the notes that make a melody, it's the spaces between the notes. From "Some
Folks Do" in the key of g, we can learn to read some new notes. We already know g, on
the second line of the staff. It's in the fourth measure of our song and notice it is now do
instead of so. In the third measure , we have a in the second space of the staff. It is re in
the key of g. In the first and fourth measures, we have b on the third line of the staff. It is
me in the key of G. In the third measure in third space of the staff, we have c. It is fa in
the key of G. In the second measure, on the fourth line of the staff, we have d. It is so in
the key of G. Practice "Some Folks Do" in the key of G just as you did in the key of C.
Look at the music as you play or sing. In addition to reading notes, the important thing to
learn here is that different letters give you the same melody, in a different key. Reading
music is more than just reading the letter names of the notes. You also have to be aware
of the key you are in and which letters are which solfegio tones. Then you are not just
reading, you are understanding.
When I say we are going to learn to read music, I don't mean full arrangements written on
the grand staff. This type of music reading is difficult. What i am going to show you is how
to use lead sheets. Scroll down to examine the lead sheets below for "Some Folks Do" in
three different keys. The basic lead sheet has the melody written in the treble clef. It has
the treble clef sigh and the time signature at the beginning. As explained above in the
"
Key Signatures" any sharps or flats that a key requires will be in between them. The
top number of the time signature tells you how many beats to a measure  and the bottom
number tell you what type of note gets one beat. For this song it's four beats to a
measure . A quarter note gets one beat. Above the treble clef staff, we have the chord
names. This is what an experienced musician uses to create the harmony or back up for
the song. Below the treble clef staff, we have the words for one or more verses. There
could also be teaching additions. I've put the fingering above the staff and as a verse put
the solfeggio names for the notes below the staff. If you sing the solfeggio names instead
of the verse, you are beginning to learn to sight sing. Sight singing requires that you be
able to look at music and recognize the solfeggio tone for a particular letter name in the
key that the song is in.
The Lead Sheet
notation is free music lesson one, "Music Is Easy". If you haven't done that lesson go
back and do it now. In this lesson, we are going to match up what you should already
know how to play with the music notation. We'll start with the key of C. Where the head of
a note sits on the staff, tells you which note to play. The style of the note, which we will
cover in the next lesson "Timing The Notes", Tells you how long to play it. Now position
your right hand over the keyboard, with your thumb over any c note, as you learned in
free music lesson one. Your thumb and fingers will play the notes c, d, e, f and g. Even
though you can play the melody from any c, it's best to play it form middle c. Middle c will
be of course near the middle of the key board. You will be matching up exactly with the
music notation in the lead sheet below, only if you are playing from middle c, You will
know you are at middle c, if your tones match up exactly with the midi example below of
the "Some Folks Do".
fingers of the left and right hand numbered for keyboard playing
The picture on the left shows the
numbering of the fingers to play
keyboards for the left and right
hand. To play the melody for
"Some Folks Do" in the key of C
position your thumb over any c
note. The c is the white keyboard
note just below the two black
keys.
Playing From The Lead Sheet
Now play the melody of "Some Folks Do" while looking at the notes on the lead sheet
below. Although you can play the melody from any c, it's best if your playing from middle
c, as that matches up exactly with the music notation of the lead sheet. In the first
measure, finger three plays e four times. It's the note on the first line of the staff. In the
nest measure, finger five plays and holds g for four counts. It's the note on the second
line of the staff. In the next measure, finger four plays two f notes for one beat each. It's
the note in the first space of the staff. Then the second finger plays and holds d for two
counts. It's the note in the first space below the staff. In the next measure we have two e
notes, with the third finger for one beat each and finally the note c played with the thumb
or finger one, held for two beats. The c, which is middle c, is on the first ledger line below
the staff. In the first verse, we have covered every note used in this song. The second
verse just uses them again. Play the notes on your keyboard as you read them of your
lead sheet. A second good exercise would be to learn to associate each note with the
solofegio tone. Sing the solfegio tones as you follow along with the notes on the lead
sheet. If you are male, you probably won't be able to sing to the exact pitch. A baritone
would have to sing an octave lower. My free music lesson nine "
Piano, Guitar And Voice"
covers vocal ranges as well as music written for guitar.
click on the player to activate
Triplet Ballad
Even though we are going to cover the time aspect of music in the next lesson, free music
lesson 8, "Timing The Notes" I am going to teach you the timing to this song. Basically we
have a quarter note or one beat note followed by a triplet for most of the song. The only
other types of notes are two half notes or two beat notes in the last measure of the first
ending and a whole note in the last measure of the second ending. You have already
learned how to count all of them except the triplet in the first five free music lessons,
"
Music Is Easy", "Schools Of Music", "Natural Music Tones", "Sharps And Flats", and
"
Musics Great Secret". Click here or in the navigation bars on the left to go to those
lessons. A triplet is three notes on one beat. They are easy to count. Just say the word
merrily with one note to each syllable. Another goal that I had with this song was to teach
you all the natural notes on the treble clef. We cover every note from middle "c" one
ledger line below the staff to high "a" one ledger line above the staff. We can do this
because this type of song can use every note in the major scale. Go to "
Triplet Ballads,
Piano" where you will learn to play two versions of this song on the piano or keyboard.
One version will be straight triplets. The other will use tied triplets. Tied triplets are the key
to learning how to play the shuffle beat.
Supplementary Songs
These free "learning how to read music pages" will give you access to additional
teaching songs. These special links will be here in the Supplementary Songs paragraph
at the top of the pages and in the relevant topic paragraphs on the pages. There will be
links on these Supplementary Songs pages to get you back to these free "learning how
to read music pages". This first link to a song page "
Triplet Ballads, Piano" teaches you
how to play this song on the piano. This song teaches you all the natural notes on the
treble clef, the triplet timing and with tied triplets begins to show you how to play the
shuffle beat. It is a part of this lesson, free music lesson 7, 'What's That Note". The
second link to a song page, "
Shuffle Beat Blues Piano", teaches you how to play the
shuffle beat. It is a part of free music lesson 8, "
Timing The Notes".
natural treble clef notes from one ledger line below and above the staff
Some Folks Do In G
natural treble clef notes on keyboard with letter and solfeggio names in C
Natural Notes On The Treble Clef
In the picture below we I show all the natural notes on the treble clef from middle c one
ledger line below the staff to a one ledger line above the staff. Included is the fingering for
the right hand and the letter names of the notes. These are the notes you would use to
play melody in the key of C major. Below that I show the same notes on the keyboard. I
show letter names, solfegio names and  again the fingering. For reference I've included
the picture of the numbered fingers for keyboard playing.  This exercise covers about one
and one half octaves so you need to learn how to shift your hand up and down the
keyboard. Playing up the keyboard, you play three to four keys and then move your
thumb under your fingers to change hand position. Playing down the keyboard, you play
three to four fingers and then move the third or fourth finger over your thumb to change
hand position. Practice playing the exercise below. I've given you a midi sound sample so
you can hear how it sounds. Learning it will teach you all the natural notes on the treble
clef and get you ready to play the triplet ballad on keyboard.
fingers of the left and right hand numbered for keyboard playing
click on the player to activate
Chords In The Bass Clef
Full piano arrangements are written in the bass and treble clef or on the grand staff.
Since we are playing from lead sheets we don't really need to read the bass clef. We
learn the chords from the keyboard picture and then play them in various rhythms to back
up our melody. All we need on our lead sheet is the chord name. But those chord are
written in the bass clef, so to give you a feel for the bass clef, I've given you a picture of
the simple piano arrangement below in the key of C. I also given you the midi sound
sample of the simple piano arrangement in the key of C. You also have the picture chords
for both the key of C and the key of G.  Try playing the song in C while looking at the lead
sheet. Then shift up or down the keyboard and and play it in G
keyboard or piano inverted G7 chord
keyboard or piano C major chord root position
Switching from C to it's inverted
dominant 7th chord G7 is easy.
Leaving you thumb on g, play f with
your second finger, d with your fourth
finger and move your fifth finger to b.
piano or keyboard inverted D7 chord
piano or keyboard G major chord in root position
Switching from G to it's inverted
dominant 7th chord D7 is easy.
Leaving you thumb on d, play c with
your second finger, a with your fourth
finger and move your fifth finger to f
sharp.
Some Folks Do In The Key Of C
click on the player to activate
Learn to play songs by and in the in the style of
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you might want to get them both.
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