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#2299247 - 07/06/14 08:26 PM Three flats?
Gabriellaa Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 06/04/14
Posts: 6
Hey, I am just starting to learn how to read sheet music, theres a few things I don't understand... There is three flats (''bbb'' not exactly like that, but you've probably seen it, so you know what I mean...)I searched for it, and I think it means i'm supposed to play in the key of Eb ? But what does that mean?? Also what does three lines on a note mean?
Thank you...


Could you also recommend me pieces that aren't too hard for a beginner, but something that is beautiful at the same time? Or am i asking for too much? Old Macdonald had a farm isn't exactly something I would like to play :P...


Edited by Gabriellaa (07/06/14 08:32 PM)

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#2299248 - 07/06/14 08:30 PM Re: Three flats? [Re: Gabriellaa]
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11548
Loc: Canada
Can you possible scan it? If you can, include a chunk of the music so we have musical context, and including the key signature.

Theoretically, each flat should lower a note by one semitone, so three flats should be lowering it three semitones.

If you are starting to learn to read sheet music, then you have just picked very complicated music to start with. By any chance, is this popular music? Often people who don't quite understand music theory will patch together what they hear by ear any which way.

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#2299251 - 07/06/14 08:35 PM Re: Three flats? [Re: keystring]
Gabriellaa Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 06/04/14
Posts: 6
The music didn't sound very complicated, plus it is quite slow too, but I guess it might be too hard then...


Here it is: http://www.scribd.com/doc/129052814/Kingdom-Hearts-Dearly-Beloved

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#2299264 - 07/06/14 09:20 PM Re: Three flats? [Re: Gabriellaa]
carojm36 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 04/02/14
Posts: 18
I dunno, I learned a pretty Brian Crain song in Eb, A Simple Life, which is an intermediate pience that makes clever use of the black keys. I think it's easier in Eb than it would be in C.

Also, blues is fun in Eb.

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#2299272 - 07/06/14 09:33 PM Re: Three flats? [Re: Gabriellaa]
Brett Masse Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 03/11/13
Posts: 4
Loc: Canada
Like Keystring, at first I thought you meant there were 3 flats for a single note, not the key signature itself. Triple flats are extremely rare and I have never seen one in my sheet music.

Anyways, I believe that piece is in C minor (relative to Eb) because of the first note being the tonic. Nonetheless, the key signature doesn't necessarily point to how difficult the piece is. In my opinion that piece looks at about a grade 4 or 5 level. It usually takes about a year per grade for adult beginners to reach that level.

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#2299274 - 07/06/14 09:35 PM Re: Three flats? [Re: Gabriellaa]
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
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Ah, I thought you meant 3 flats behind a single note. Yes, it seems to be in Eb major, so you play Eb, Bb, and Ab as your flatted notes. What you call "3 lines" might be the trill symbol as in m. 7.

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#2299281 - 07/06/14 09:47 PM Re: Three flats? [Re: Gabriellaa]
earlofmar Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/21/13
Posts: 1386
Loc: Australia
You will need to learn a bit of basic theory before/or during the learning process of this piece. This Link will take you to free theory youtube clips. The guy is a bit eccentric but if you can see past that I think this is a great starting place.

While learning nursery rhyme pieces may not sound much fun, for the very beginner they can still be enough of a challenge to stimulate enjoyment in the learning process.

The important thing for any beginner is to learn the basics as thoroughly as possible and take a structured approach to learning. This means starting off with preliminary grade pieces and working through grade levels. This is the most efficient way to learn anything which requires you to build on previous lessons. This will lead to a solid foundation from which to tackle more advanced pieces.

This Link will take you to free sheet music site which you may find useful.
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#2299337 - 07/07/14 12:09 AM Re: Three flats? [Re: Gabriellaa]
dmd Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/15/09
Posts: 1775
Loc: Pennsylvania
I would suggest you get a beginner's book for learning to play piano and begin with page 1 and work your way through it carefully. It sounds like you are trying to jump in a level that is way beyond your capabilities. That will not work.

Of course, the best course of action is to get a piano teacher and have he/she get you started in the right direction.

Trust me, just doing things with no direction or course of action will get you nowhere fast.

Good Luck
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My current system: Kawai ES7 + Focal CMS40 Powered Monitors, SennHeiser HD555 Phones, Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 audio interface, Mackie ProFX8 Mixer, Ravenscroft275, True Keys American Grand, Ivory II American Concert D, Steinway Basic, Galaxy Vintage D, True Pianos, Pianoteq, Alicia's Keys

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#2299338 - 07/07/14 12:11 AM Re: Three flats? [Re: Brett Masse]
Polyphonist Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/03/13
Posts: 7463
Loc: New York City
Originally Posted By: Brett Masse
Like Keystring, at first I thought you meant there were 3 flats for a single note, not the key signature itself. Triple flats are extremely rare and I have never seen one in my sheet music.

There are no situations in common practice theory which call for a triple flat. They can very occasionally be found in modern compositions. The triple sharp is rarely seen in common practice, although a few composers have employed them, notably Alkan and Reger. However, in this case, given that the OP seemed to be referring to the key signature rather than an accidental, the piece is not, as one poster has surmised, in C minor, but rather in E flat as the OP correctly guessed. As for the "three lines on a note," I would have guessed out of context at a thirty-second note, but as it is very unlikely that the piece in question contains one, perhaps keystring is correct. Clarification or context in the OP would have been very helpful.
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#2299345 - 07/07/14 12:39 AM Re: Three flats? [Re: Brett Masse]
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11548
Loc: Canada
Originally Posted By: Brett Masse
Anyways, I believe that piece is in C minor (relative to Eb) because of the first note being the tonic.

To get at the key of a piece, there are several things to look for. The V and I chord, and (if we can see the last page) what chord and final note the music ends with - usually with V-I.

With a key signature of 3 flats, we have a choice of Eb major or C minor. A key of C minor would commonly have the chords of Cm, Fm, and G. You would see accidentals for B natural, since the v chord is commonly made major.

Here we see Ab (your C) smile , Bb, and Eb, which are the IV, V, and I chords of Eb major.

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#2299429 - 07/07/14 08:22 AM Re: Three flats? [Re: Gabriellaa]
malkin Online   content
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/18/09
Posts: 2405
Loc: *sigh* Salt Lake City
My guess is that "three lines on a note" might mean ledger lines.
OP could google it, or better yet, google an introduction to music theory.
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#2299479 - 07/07/14 11:34 AM Re: Three flats? [Re: Gabriellaa]
LarryShone Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/01/10
Posts: 770
Loc: Darlington, UK
3 lines on a note, could that mean 3 notes below the lowest on the stave, which would be C?
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#2299501 - 07/07/14 12:45 PM Re: Three flats? [Re: Gabriellaa]
Ragdoll Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/03/12
Posts: 660
Loc: Illinois
I don't see any in the limited preview on the site, but my first thought was that she was describing a 32nd note. I'm probably wrong laugh
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#2299811 - 07/08/14 10:05 AM Re: Three flats? [Re: Gabriellaa]
J.T.1986 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/06/14
Posts: 38
Loc: Toronto, Canada.
i believe, like someone else pointed out. since there are no accidentals the OP was probably refering to the key signature.

nice piece of music though, ive learned the first page laugh lol. use to love the instrumental in highschool lol.

What is interesting to me about this thread is being able to determine if its in Eb or C minor. Im a beginner still and i have not learned to determine which it is.
So what i got is...Usually starts on the tonic, and look for IV&V chords to determine if its major or minor?

Sorry for straying OT :P

JT

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#2299846 - 07/08/14 11:51 AM Re: Three flats? [Re: J.T.1986]
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11548
Loc: Canada
Originally Posted By: J.T.1986

What is interesting to me about this thread is being able to determine if its in Eb or C minor. Im a beginner still and i have not learned to determine which it is.
So what i got is...Usually starts on the tonic, and look for IV&V chords to determine if its major or minor?

Sorry for straying OT :P

JT

Not straying at all. smile

It doesn't always start on the Tonic chord (the person who thought it was in C minor tried to determine by the first melody note).

If your piece is in Eb major, then you will have many V-I chords, and it will usually end with a V-I, therefore Bb or Bb7 and Eb. You may also hear an "Eb feeling" - like it keeps wanting to settle or come home on the Eb chord.

Be aware that music can modulate to different keys, so this is a general outline.

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#2299859 - 07/08/14 12:54 PM Re: Three flats? [Re: Gabriellaa]
Rickster Online   content


Registered: 03/25/06
Posts: 8386
Loc: Georgia, USA
This may not be much help for the OP, but for a long time, (playing mostly by ear), I played mostly in the key of C, F, and G, with F being my favorite singing key, as it seems to match my voice on most songs I like to play and sing.

As of the last couple of years or so, I've been exploring the flats and sharps (black keys) and I'm becoming comfortable playing in the flats and sharps. I especially like F# or Gb, which ever you prefer. A lot of church hymns are written in Ab, Bb, and Eb.

E major, B major and A major are difficult keys in which to play... at least for me.

All the best!

Rick
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#2299879 - 07/08/14 02:00 PM Re: Three flats? [Re: keystring]
Brian Lucas Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/04/11
Posts: 947
Originally Posted By: keystring
Originally Posted By: J.T.1986

What is interesting to me about this thread is being able to determine if its in Eb or C minor. Im a beginner still and i have not learned to determine which it is.
So what i got is...Usually starts on the tonic, and look for IV&V chords to determine if its major or minor?

Sorry for straying OT :P

JT

Not straying at all. smile

It doesn't always start on the Tonic chord (the person who thought it was in C minor tried to determine by the first melody note).

If your piece is in Eb major, then you will have many V-I chords, and it will usually end with a V-I, therefore Bb or Bb7 and Eb. You may also hear an "Eb feeling" - like it keeps wanting to settle or come home on the Eb chord.

Be aware that music can modulate to different keys, so this is a general outline.

The first 3 measures have the chords Ab, Bb and Eb (look at the bass notes). Once you hear the Bb -> Eb (V to I as keystring pointed out) your ear hears this song in the key of Eb. If it were C minor, you would eventually hear the V -> I in that key. The V would be a G chord (major, not minor), so you would see a B natural somewhere. Once you hear that B natural, your ear would hear it as the key of C minor. That's a very simplified explanation, since how long and where the chords are also plays a part in determining key. Hope that helps.

Also keep in mind that some songs stay purposely deceptive, not establishing a solid sounding key right at the beginning.
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#2299933 - 07/08/14 05:05 PM Re: Three flats? [Re: Gabriellaa]
BonnieAtEncore Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 06/18/14
Posts: 3
This piece is centred around the key and the scale notes of E flat major, which starts on E flat, and continues with F, G, A flat, B flat, C, D, E flat etc.. You may have to do a bit of online research to gain a better understanding of basic scales and keys.

Nonetheless, to answer your question above: the group of 3 flats at the very beginning of each staff (or line) indicates here, that ALL B's, E's, AND A's IN THE PIECE ARE TO BE PLAYED AS FLATS. B flat, E flat, and A flat are played on the black note to the left of the original white key. For example, the black key directly to the left of B is B flat.

As for the "3 lines on a note", I believe you are referring to last bass clef note in m. 7. These are ledger lines - short lines that extend the range of notes from the original lines of the staff. What we have here is an F that lies far below the lowest line in the bass clef staff. Including the short line through the note itself, there is actually a total of 4 ledger lines. The note on the lowest line of the staff is G: the 1st ledger line down brings us to E (two notes below G), the 2nd ledger line down brings us to C (two notes below the previous), the 3rd ledger line down brings us to A, and finally the last ledger line on which the note is sitting, brings us finally to F.

I aimed to keep this explanation as concise to your question above as possible. As a 15+ year piano teacher myself, I would recommend that, as a beginner, you may benefit more from starting with some simpler pieces to build-up to one of this level, which I would teach to a student with at least 2 years of piano experience. It never hurts though, to challenge yourself with a harder piece as long as you learn from it!

Best of luck.
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#2300214 - 07/09/14 11:14 AM Re: Three flats? [Re: Gabriellaa]
J.T.1986 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/06/14
Posts: 38
Loc: Toronto, Canada.
Thank you to the above, for your great explanations! I think i will be able to determine the difference now laugh

JT

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#2300455 - 07/09/14 09:39 PM Re: Three flats? [Re: Gabriellaa]
Dave B Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/01/11
Posts: 1890
Loc: Philadelphia area
The notes that have the Flats on them, Bb - Eb - Ab in this case, are played flat from the natural (white key) notes on the staff.

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#2300616 - 07/10/14 08:35 AM Re: Three flats? [Re: Gabriellaa]
WiseBuff Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/03/05
Posts: 796
Loc: Brighton Colorado
The key signatures look obvious after years of playing but at first to a newbie, they are a mystery. My dear friend has been playing for about 6 months. He was over last night and we were looking at music. He's just starting a G major piece with 1 sharp. I explained the simple logic of key signatures but it was tough for him to grasp how it works. Black keys "seem" hard the first time and he's probably thinking too much about all of that and getting frustrated.
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#2300901 - 07/10/14 08:46 PM Re: Three flats? [Re: Gabriellaa]
Dave B Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/01/11
Posts: 1890
Loc: Philadelphia area
There are books with the scales for each key written out. I'm wondering if writing out the scales might help to understand how the key system works??


Edited by Dave B (07/10/14 08:47 PM)

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#2300909 - 07/10/14 09:32 PM Re: Three flats? [Re: Dave B]
earlofmar Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/21/13
Posts: 1386
Loc: Australia
Originally Posted By: Dave B
There are books with the scales for each key written out. I'm wondering if writing out the scales might help to understand how the key system works??


Writing out music always forces us to look more at the detail. I started to do this and was shocked how much I didn't know, so I think this is a great idea.
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#2301039 - 07/11/14 09:46 AM Re: Three flats? [Re: Gabriellaa]
malkin Online   content
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/18/09
Posts: 2405
Loc: *sigh* Salt Lake City
Originally Posted By: Gabriellaa
Three flats?


That's a bad day on a bicycle.
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#2301043 - 07/11/14 09:51 AM Re: Three flats? [Re: Gabriellaa]
fizikisto Online   content
Full Member

Registered: 02/13/12
Posts: 266
Loc: Hernando, MS
malkin

Hahahah! +1
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#2301467 - 07/12/14 10:51 AM Re: Three flats? [Re: Gabriellaa]
JimF Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/08/09
Posts: 1673
Loc: south florida
OP Gabriellaa, it seems, has gotten three flats on her way back to the ABF. bah Nothing but crickets from her for almost a week.

Wish I had a buck for every thread started by a disappearing new player asking for help. Someone at PW came up with an acronym for the phenomenon, but I can't recall it.

Something like NBCS..... (Nothing But Crickets Syndrome)?? grin
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#2301476 - 07/12/14 11:15 AM Re: Three flats? [Re: Gabriellaa]
fizikisto Online   content
Full Member

Registered: 02/13/12
Posts: 266
Loc: Hernando, MS
JimF,
It's a shame that more people don't stick with it, because playing the piano is one of the most fun things one can do in this world (at least I think so smile. I do understand it though. Playing may be fun, learning to play can be less so. It takes countless hours of (often extremely frustrating) practice. It's huge work. Most people just don't have the perseverance, or perhaps in many cases the time or energy, to stick with it.

I don't have kids, but if I did, they would play piano every day (though if they really fell in love with another instrument that would be o.k. instead). Some people say that you shouldn't force kids to play music, but I disagree. To me that's like saying you shouldn't force kids to learn math or english. Oh well, opinions vary. smile

Warm Regards,
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