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C First Fret- Transposing Instruments

As we continue our musical alphabet, moving downward from the pitch D, we arrive at the pitch C.


On the staff, the note C is written in the third space.


Find string number 2 on your guitar and place the first finger of your fretboard hand just behind fret number 1.


Try to hold the note C first fret.


Practice Measure 1

Measure number 1 contains only a whole note, which rings for four beats. Play measure 1 now and count out loud as the note C rings through four beats.



This note stops sounding at beat number 1 in the next measure, so be sure to let the note ring for its full value.



Transposing Instruments

The pitch that sounds when you play C on the first fret of the guitar is the same pitch that sounds when you play middle C on the piano. The music for the piano however, shows that the note middle C is written on the first ledger line below the staff.


The guitar sounds an octave (8 places ) lower than its written music. So when you play the pitch the pitch C written in the third space on the staff, the guitar sounds out the pitch C an octave lower, which matches the notation for middle C on the piano.


There are many instruments which are transposed; another example is the B flat clarinet. When a B flat clarinet player produces the note C, written on the first ledger line below the staff, the instrument sounds out the pitch B flat, which is one whole step lower in pitch.



To get a B flat clarinet to sound out the pitch C, matching middle C on the piano, a composer wrote the note D for the player.



Can you see why guitar players have an advantage in working their instrument's transposition compared to other transposed instruments?



Even though the guitar sounds an octave lower than its written music, the sounding note shares the same pitch letter name as the written note.


Practice Measure 2

Measure 2 is showing a new rhythm. The quarter note on beat number 1 rings until the dotted half note is played on beat number 2. The dotted half note rings through beats 2,3, and 4, and stops ringing on beat number 1 in the next measure.


Count the beats out loud as you play measure 2


Practice Measure 3

Measure 3 is showing a familiar rhythm. When you play this measure, try your best to play legato. Now we'll remove the measure numbers and change the double barlines to single barlines. Play this line of music from start to finish and try your best to move from one measure to the next without pausing at the barlines. Counting out loud while you play may help with the timing and continuity.


Did you notice that as you approached the end of the piece, the rhythm became dense? At first, only a single note sounded, until measure 2, where two notes sounded in close proximity, then in measure 3, four notes sounded in succession. And even though the tempo remained constant, the change in rhythm suggested that the music was speeding up. Sections of music will sometimes displays a rhythmic character like this line of music and may be clearly heard at a cadence


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