Music 101

Treble clefI’ve been riding high on the sheer joy that is Guitar Hero II (PS2) recently. Now that Psychobilly Freakout is the only remaining song for which a five-star review performance is still eluding me, before unleashing the masochistically feverish hard difficulty setting at least, it’s time for me to get my ass into gear and learn to play a real musical instrument.

Mr Marios TakoushisDithering between piano / keyboard and acoustic / electric guitar, I’ve decided to take a few week’s lessons in each, to see which initially suits me best. Accordingly (Speaking of which, I also find the accordion strangely compelling), I had my first ever piano lesson this weekend. My tutor, Marios, an amiable Greek professional musician with appropriately mad hair, seems like a brilliant choice thus far: I’m sure we’ll get along famously, with only the minimum amount of absolutely necessary knuckle-rapping.

Update 14:35: Just remembered: One of the first puzzling things I discovered is that notes on the bass clef stave are offset from the notes on the treble clef stave by a non-integer number of octaves. Hence, a note which would represent ‘C’ on a treble clef stave is actually an ‘E’ when drawn on a bass clef stave. Presumably there’s a reason for this, but I’ve yet to hear an explanation that sounds like anything other than a wart on the notation. Can any of my multitudinous readers enlighten me?

7 thoughts on “Music 101

  1. Pingback: » Music 101½

  2. People are telling me that the notation isn’t like that for any reason, it just is, and has been since around the 10th century, so deal. Fair enough. Interestingly, it seems that historically, there were a whole slew of clefs, to denote staves with various different offsets. One of these, the sub-bass clef, which looks like a bass-clef but is offset exactly two notes upwards, has exactly the desirable octave offset property that I describe above. However, all these other clefs fell into disuse or minority uses for various reasons, leaving us with the two most commonly-used ones remaining today. A functional equivalent to the sub-bass clef is the octave clef, which looks like a treble-clef decorated with a stylised ‘8’, and is apparently sometimes used to denote tenor parts for vocal choirs.

  3. Thanks Nick. Spelling fixed. I think I need to approve your comments on your first post, after that you’re automatically approved.

  4. Very nice, although his nose is not nearly large enough to be a real Greek. And given that he’s taken an obviously Italian name and Greeked It Up, I’d be careful. He’ll probably go ahead and teach you some Verdi or something before you know what’s happening.

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