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How to read musical notes: Other symbols

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This page contains some of the symbols you might come across while reading music.

 Sharp. Play the note 1/2 step up.

 Flat. Play the note 1/2 step down.

 Natural. Play the note normally (pay no attention to the key signature).

The above 3 symbols can also appear at the beginning of each line of music affecting the whole line. Also, if they are included in an individual measure, they override each other and carry through ties or slurs.

 Compressed Rests. The number on top specifies how many measures of rest.

 Begin and End. Marks the beginning and ending of a piece.

 Repeat. Play through normally until 2nd symbol, then go back to 1st symbol and play again, this time ignoring 2nd symbol.

 Fermata. Hold the note until cut off.

  Tie. Make each note flow into the next. Do not break them up!

   Crescendo. Gradually louder (this symbol will appear over several notes at once).

  Diminuendo. Gradually softer (this symbol will appear over several notes at once).

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