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Note Names
Topic: Theory Subtopic: General Level: Beginner Number of Readers: 73356

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Note Names

The first thing to learn about music theory are the note names. This is because all the other aspects of music theory will make reference to these, and it's important to know them and certain relationships between them.

There are only 12 different notes in western music. Seven of them are:

A B C D E F G

As you can see, they are named according to the first seven letters of the alphabet. As you move to the right, the pitch becomes higher. You may be wondering what comes after G. After G, you repeat the sequence again, starting at A. Thus:

A B C D E F G A B C D E F G A...etc.

Again, as you move to the right, the pitch becomes higher. You may think that once you get to the A, you could say, 'Hey, I'm at the same note as I started'. This is both right and wrong. It _is_ the same note name, and sounds very much the same, but it is an 'octave' higher. Octaves will be discussed later.

We've only looked at seven of the notes. There are five more. These are located in between the some of the existing seven.

A A# B C C# D D# E F F# G G#

The notes with the '#" beside them are called sharps. Any letter name with a sharp beside it is higher than the letter name. For example, A# has a higher pitch than A, but does not have a higher pitch than B. There are notes between every two consecutive letter names EXCEPT

	-between B and C
	-between E and F

If you look at the sequence above, you will notice there are no extra notes between B and C, and E and F.

For some reason, someone decided to make musical note names complicated, so they ended up giving two different names to the same note. This is where 'flats' come into play. Consider the following sequence:

A Bb B C Db D Eb E F Gb G Ab

The notes with the 'b's beside them are called 'flats'. Any letter name with a flat beside it has a lower pitch than the letter name. For example, Ab is lower than A, but Ab is still higher than G. As above, there are no notes between B and C, and E and F.

When the two sequences are compared:

A A# B C C# D D# E F F# G G#
A Bb B C Db D Eb E F Gb G Ab

All the note names underneath one another refer to the same note. So for example, A# is the same note as Bb, and Eb is the same note as D#. Any two notes names that refer to the same note are said to be 'enharmonic'. This system of sharps and flats may seem confusing and maybe useless, but it does have it's purpose, which will be discussed in later lessons.

The things to remember from this lesson are:

1. There are twelve different notes in western music.
2. They are named:

	A A# B C C# D D# E F F# G G#
	A Bb B C Db D Eb E F Gb G Ab

with notes names below one another being enharmonic(referring to the same note)
3. The pitch becomes higher as we move to the right in this sequence.
4. The sequence repeats itself:

	A A# B C C# D D# E F F# G G# A A# B C C# D D# E F F# G G# A....
 		or
	A Bb B C Db D Eb E F Gb G Ab A Bb B C Db D Eb E F Gb G Ab A....

5. There are no extra notes between B and C, and E and F.



Questions
Question posted by Justin Montoya on 2000-06-17
Hi, can you please explain to me what a GHOST note is??? Becusae when I was tryin to play Joe Satriani's Cryin' it says there is a ghost note... and i dont know what that is.. can you please explain it to me by getting back to me ASAP.. thnks, Justin
There are 1 answers to this question. View/Post Answers

Question posted by Unknown on 2000-07-21
never name your goat, oat
There are 9 answers to this question. View/Post Answers

Question posted by joe on 2000-07-27
what are the notes for detuned strings. ex: the A string is at a pitch of C.
There are 1 answers to this question. View/Post Answers

Question posted by chris on 2000-10-14
what are power cords?
There are 4 answers to this question. View/Post Answers

Question posted by jeff bray on 2000-10-23
How do I go about getting lessons,while being lefthanded?
There are 4 answers to this question. View/Post Answers

Question posted by chris on 2000-11-30
what is a ghost note
There are 4 answers to this question. View/Post Answers

Question posted by haha on 2001-05-27
chacha why are you queer ?
There are 1 answers to this question. View/Post Answers

Question posted by Luis on 2001-07-05
When playing a song, and the lead guitarist plays a certain play, not full notes, but single string playing, what lead guitarist do, what are te rules to be able to change from one note to the other?? thnx, sorry if u didnt get my question.
There are 4 answers to this question. View/Post Answers

Question posted by Dale on 2002-05-15
hey could you please send me a chart of all the chords, i would really like one. im just learning how to play guitar and i dont quite know all the chords yet and people tell me that there are alot more out there to know, so if you could send me a chart of all the chords there is to know then that would be really appreciated. thanks Dale
There are 2 answers to this question. View/Post Answers

Question posted by David on 2002-08-27
how do you memorize all the notes on the guitar...what is a good method? ALSO: if you know a scale in the key of "C" does that mean you can easily switch from one key to another...HOW WOULD YOU DO THIS???
There are 3 answers to this question. View/Post Answers

Question posted by David on 2002-08-27
how do you memorize all the notes on the guitar...what is a good method? ALSO: if you know a scale in the key of "C" does that mean you can easily switch from one key to another...HOW WOULD YOU DO THIS???
There are 0 answers to this question. View/Post Answers

Question posted by Martin Ramirez on 2002-11-04
how can i get all the lesson chords in just one page?
There are 0 answers to this question. View/Post Answers

Question posted by Beginner on 2002-12-24
Does anyone know any easy popular modern tunes I could try to help me practise either strumming or fingering (no funny jokes!) on an acoustic guitar? Would also be good to get in touch with other beginner acoustic guitarists . .
There are 2 answers to this question. View/Post Answers

Question posted by ted on 2004-02-16
i need to no how to do the notes like a picture of wher to put ur fingers like how to do a E A B ect...
There are 0 answers to this question. View/Post Answers

Question posted by Jennifer on 2004-06-30
well this is my first time ever even trying to play the guitar and how do you know what fingers to put on what string?
There are 0 answers to this question. View/Post Answers

Question posted by martin on 2004-12-08
what are guitar notes? can you give me all of them?
There are 0 answers to this question. View/Post Answers

Question posted by Saad Tahir on 2005-03-11
Hello plz i wanted to ask which chords shud we start with and secondly could you tell me the chords of ik din aye ga
There are 0 answers to this question. View/Post Answers

Question posted by Jay on 2005-03-20
Where do u put ur fingers when u wanna do Eb
There are 0 answers to this question. View/Post Answers

Question posted by Gabe Horton on 2005-05-17
what does all those notes mean i need to be shown
There are 0 answers to this question. View/Post Answers

Question posted by BANNANA on 2005-09-25
umm.. what bout rock? enough w/ this western!
There are 0 answers to this question. View/Post Answers

Question posted by google pr main on 2006-04-17
hello! http://www.areaseo.com/contacts/ google pr. high your rank, Search Engine Optimization, Professional SEO. From google pr .
There are 0 answers to this question. View/Post Answers

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