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How to Read Music: Fundamentals of Music Notation Made Easy Paperback – April 25, 1995

4.5 out of 5 stars 48 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From the Inside Flap

A basic primer for anyone without musical training who wishes to learn to read musical scores when singing or taking up an instrument. The book explains how notes are named and written; how to read melody, interpret time signatures, keys, sharps, flats, and naturals; how to read tempo; and how to play chords.

About the Author

Roger Evans, through his many "How to Play "books, has helped nearly half a million readers learn to play an instrument on their own. His other books include "How to Play Guitar, How to Play Piano, "and "How to Read Music."
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 112 pages
  • Publisher: Three Rivers Press (April 25, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0517884380
  • ISBN-13: 978-0517884386
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 0.3 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (48 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #61,292 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Roger Evans has helped nearly half a million readers learn to play an instrument on their own. His other books include How to Play Piano and How to Play Keyboards.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
In the first part, the book covers the basic notation in detail, step by step. Author asks you to do a review and make sure you know all the previous material before attempting musical sight reading exercises. The second part of the book covers the more complex notation found in the classical pieces. It is more fast paced because the author assumes that a reader has accumulated the knowledge from the first part. At the end, there are: a directory of musical signs, a directory of all notes on the piano and guitar, and a short musical dictionary. Very handy reference.

Are there better books on the topic? I do not know. I'm not an expert. In my opinion the book does what it advertises. You'll certainly learn how to read the music. Price is really acceptable. Check out the reviews for other books of Roger Evans. Rather impressive. Then judge for yourself.

I'll give it five stars.
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I was able to see this book in person before purchasing it online. It is easy to read and understand, especially when you wonder if you're too old to learn to read music. I haven't applied the techniques yet, but I understand what I'm reading. I looked through several other books and they were more confusing - keeping in mind that I have never read music.
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Format: Paperback
One definition of "stave" is "a musical staff" (American Heritage Dictionary). Beware of know-it-all critics who happily trash a book based on their limited knowledge of English but who are too lazy to actually pick up a dictionary. What else did they get wrong?
The book fills a niche and I found it quite useful.
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After reading some of the foolish comments by some of the "reviewers", here's the honest truth. This is ONE GREAT LITTLE BOOK! It's amazing that so much can be packed in such a short package, but this one does it. Forget about the staff/stave BS. It's irrelevant. I may say quaver or semiquaver half note or whole note. Who cares? If you are this picky then you shouldn't be learning to read music in the first place. I have been teaching all my student using this and earlier editions for about 10yrs now. NEVER had a complaint.

BTW, I do agree. It's a GREAT lil reference too. Buy it! Own it!
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Format: Paperback
...not so great for trying to learn from scratch! I had been playing the keyboard/piano for years (learning songs by ear and making my own compositions) before I decided that I wanted to give a shot at learning how to read sheet music. Back in '04, this was the first book I got on music notation. The statement on the outside cover about "challenging exercises" is right! This book jumps right in to assuming that the learner will want to spend time pouring over each exercise repeatedly for extended lengths of time before moving onto the next one, without offering assistance in the way of memorization techniques. For instance, in one of the early sections, the author states: "As long as you can remember the name of ONE note, you can work out all the others." This isn't much help, being that the book introduces nearly all the notes at once, in rapid succession; first the ones on the staff, then all the notes above and below the staffs! The only song learned in between is a brief version of Beethoven's "Ode to Joy". Not even E-G-B-D-F (Every Good Boy Does Fine) and G-B-D-F-A (Great Big Dogs Fight Animals) are thrown in as helpful mnemonics for the treble and bass cleff!

Plus, this book only includes eleven practice songs! While covering a myriad of complex areas, there is little chance to practice and whole lot of imformation to memorize for a complete beginner. The attitude of this book is comparable to the situation where you ask someone how to draw something, and they say "Oh, it's easy, you just do this..." and then proceed draw a masterpiece from scratch without telling you anything about method or technique! While claiming that it is "fundamentals of music notation made easy", Evans' book really presents the material in a way which is more frustrating than enlightening.
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By A Customer on August 27, 1999
Format: Paperback
I hate to think of the trees felled for these "popular" exploitations. If you aren't learning to read music as you learn to play your instrument, you've got the wrong primer and the wrong teacher. In any case, a good non-instrumental treatment of this subject for beginners can be found in "The ABC of Music: A Short Practical Guide to the Basics" by Imogen Holst (daughter of the famous composer Gustav Holst). To learn how to write down music--a different thing than learning how to read music--see "The Norton Manual of Music Notation" by George Heussenstamm.
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I ordered this book to place in our elementary library; however, upon reviewing the book, I find that it covers a great deal of information that would be great with a private instructor, but is too difficult for placement in a library for a student to read on their own. It's a very good fundamental book to use with a private music student as a supplement. When I saw that it covered so many aspects of music, such as the C movable clef, I knew that it was beyond self study. I will be using it with my piano students, however, as reinforcement in their lessons.
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