Notes

Reading the dictionary from cover to cover won’t make you a great writer. But I’m sure great witers use the dictionary. In the same veign: great athletes manage their heart rate and electrolytes, painters know about different kinds of paint and brushes, and musicians think about music theory.

In western music theory, there are 12 distinct notes. We use the first 7 letters of the alphabet to refer to them. To get from 7 to 12 we additionally use two modifiers that you append to the letter: \(\flat\) (‘flat’) and and \(\sharp\) (‘sharp’). So, \(b\flat\) is pronounced ‘b flat’ and means ‘the note directly below b’. \(b\sharp\) is pronounced ‘b sharp’ and means ‘the note directly above b’.

We draw these notes as dots on a _staff_ which consists of 5 straight horizontal lines. This is just so we don’t have to carry around a ruler to see how high up notes are on the page relative to the other notes. Here are the 12 notes on a staff:

Notice there is no note between \(b\) and \(c\). The same goes for \(e\) and \(f\). I don’t know why that is.

After the \(g\sharp\) on the top, the cycle just repeats itself. If we start on \(c\), the sequence of 12 notes looks like this:

Or if we start on \(g\):

This is all we need for now.