music guide

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Squiggly Bits

All over the place in music you'll see strange lines and dots and squiggles but what are they all for? The simple answer is that they give you an indication for the "feel" of the music and, believe it or not, they are there to help you rather than confuse you.

Below is a list of some of these markings but it by no means an exclusive list - they are here more to get you started than anything else.


Acciaccatura / Crushed Note

These are played/sung as quickly as possible before the note it is attached to. The note to which it is attached is played "in-time" so the time taken to play the small note is taken from the note (or the rest before it).



Looking very like the acciaccatura the appogiatura the appoggiatura has a fixed length to the note - it is usually half the length of the note to which it is attched (ignoring and dotted notes). It is always played or sung more strongly than the note to which it is attached.



This is a "shake" on the note which is played or sung by alternating rapidly with the note above the one with the tr on it - so that it sounds like a wobble.



mordent 2This is the sign for playing the note and then the one above it quickly before the note itself. If there is a line through it (see left) then you play the note below it. Either way these are different from the appoggiatura and the acciaccatura in that the time taken to sing or play these notes comes from the note itself rather than the note before it.



When yo see a dot over or under a note you paly/sing it shorter to add impact to those notes



If you see a triangle you must play or sing that note as short as possible (without speeding up of course)

accent 1

Accent 1

This sort of accent above or below a note means that you should put sight pressure on that note (sing it slightly louder), You must play/sing the note for the full length of the note though.

accent 2

Accent 2

Stronger "pressure" is applied to the note - louder than Accent 1 and softer than Accent 3. Yes, I know it's all relavent but you'll get used to it over time! You must play/sing the note for the full length of the note though.


Accent 3

A lot of "pressure" is put on the note - play/sing it much louder but ensure that you give the note its full length and don't start falling into the trap of making it staccato!



No you don't slur all over the notes as if you were drunk! You sing the notes beneath if as a phrase rather than just single notes