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Piano Tabs: Learn To Play Yesterday

Jun 2, 2008
In this piano lesson you will learn to read easy piano tab notation. You will also learn to play an easy piano melody with the help of tabs. We will use the popular song Yesterday as an example.

To really learn to read piano sheet music is a goal worth striving for. It will open a world of music waiting to be played by your fingers. However, it will take some time to really master the art of reading sheet music.

Piano tabs are tools that can help you learn melodies fast. They are not a complete substitute for sheet music notation but can be an easy way to learn easy melodies as you develop your sight reading skills.

There is an established system for reading and writing piano tab notation. In this system you will have to learn the names of the white keys on your piano. The first note to find is middle c. This note is located at the middle of a piano keyboard. If you take a closer look at the black keys you will find that they are organized in groups of two or three keys.

The middle c is located immediately to the left of a group of two black keys in the middle of your keyboard. It is sometimes called c4 as it is in the fourth octave of an ordinary piano. On a keyboard with a less number of keys the key at the middle of the keyboard will still be called c4.

What is an octave?

If you start with the note c and play the notes to the right of c you will play a c-major scale. The notes are c d e f g a b. The note that comes after b is the next c. As you can see the next c has the same position to the left of two black keys as the middle c. This c is sometimes called c5 because it is in the fifth octave of a piano or grand.

The notes you play from c to the next c is called an octave. Octave means eight and you have played eight notes when you play from c to the next c. This interval is repeated all over the keyboard. c3 is the c to the left of middle c and so on.

The piano tab notation we will use in this article is a simplified form of the piano tabs used on the Internet. Here are the rules:

1. The white keys we will use are notated with lowercase letters. That is, c d e f g a and b.

2. The octave in which you are to play the notes are indicated with a number. c4 means middle c. If the following notes are in the same octave there will not be any numbers after the notes until you change octave.

3. If you are to play a black key it is indicated with an uppercase letter. C means the black key immediately to the right of c. In ordinary sheet music notation this note is written C#.

Now it is time to try to play the first notes of Yesterday by Beatles with the help of our simple piano tab notation. I will show you the first line of lyrics and below the corresponding melody written with piano tabs.

Yesterday, all my troubles seemed so far away

d4 c c e F G a b c5 b4 a a

Now it looks as though they're here to stay

a4 a g f e d f e e

Oh, I believe in yesterday

d4 c e d a5 c4 e e

Now we have completed the first verse. The second verse have the same melody so we will jump right into the bridge:

Why she had to go I don't know, she wouldn't say

e4 e a b c5 b4 a b a g a e

I said something wrong, now I long for yesterday

e4 e a b c5 b4 a b a g b c5 g4 f e

After this you can complete the melody by playing the verse again. I recommend that you memorize the melody one line at a time. This little piano tab exercise is an introduction to the complete tab notation system you will find on the net.
About the Author
Peter Edvinsson invites you to download your free piano sheet music and piano tabs at http://www.capotastomusic.com
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