Magnificent Music!

This week on Year 6’s blog, we have a musical masterclass from Gwen!

Music is actually a form of art! Although you may not be using paint or a pencil to create a masterpiece, you would use sound and melodies. This art form has been around for thousands of years, creating many instruments that we use today. Music is a very diverse subject and can be suitable for everyone to enjoy. Older genres of music, such as classical music, is played in orchestras around the world, other forms of music, for example, jazz or pop, are mostly played in bands or by one person (a soloist). A composer is a person who writes music, anyone can write or play music as long as they know how! Read on to learn more about music and how it is written.

Notes on the stave and in between them.

Notes are the sound you hear in music. When written in sheet music, they are either placed on the stave/staff (the five lines), in between them or off them: the lines over or under the staves are ledger lines. The higher the note is placed on the stave, the higher the note. When playing an instrument, keep in mind how low the instrument can be played. Note names are letters in the alphabet, from A to G, if a higher note is after G, it goes back to A.

Note length.

Notes have different names depending on the length of which they are played, no matter how high or low the note is. Rests (parts where you don’t play) also have different lengths. Beats change depending on the tempo (how fast or slow the piece is); a metronome is frequently used for tempo and bpm (beats per minute) and can be bought or found online.

Bars/measures and time signatures.

Time signatures look similar to a fraction; a time signature is usually split into two equal parts, known as simple time signatures. For musicians, simple time signatures are easy to read and are seen in many pieces of music. A simple time signature is classified when the top number is 2, 3, or 4. The most common time signature is 4/4: this means that there are 4 beats per bar (the top number) and 1/4 of a beat will be played (the bottom number). The number on the bottom can be 1, 2, 4, 8, 16 and so on (double the next number) but we have to know what these numbers represent!

1: semibreve
2: minim
4: crotchet
8: quaver
16: semiquaver


Accidentals are used to temporarily change the pitch of a note: this change only lasts for one bar. They only occur when you want them too. Scales are a line of notes gradually getting higher or lower, they have notes that would be slightly higher or lower, depending on the scale. Any note can be changed with an accidental.

Flat: slightly lowers the note
Natural: puts a note to its normal state if the scale has a flat or sharp
Sharp: slightly makes the note higher

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