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Piano Tabs: Learn To Play White Christmas With Keyboard Tablature

Jun 24, 2008
This piano lesson will help you read piano tab notation or keyboard tablature. You will find that this type of notation is easy to understand even if you cannot read music sheets. As an example we will use the Christmas song White Christmas.

If you do not understand sheet music at all I encourage you to start learning it. Learn just a few notes at a time and give yourself time to commit the names, how they are played and how they look at a music sheet to your long-term memory.

Making this effort will give you great rewards. Knowing how to read and play piano sheet music will give you access to a nearly unlimited amount of music sheets with melodies, piano solos and more.

Piano tabs can be of great help as you work on learning sheet music notation. They are an easy way to learn melodies, chords and other things on your piano.

There are a few different types of piano tab notation on the net. In this article we will use a simplified form of the most common keyboard tablature notation.

In this system you will use the note names of the keys on your piano. The first note we will localize is the note commonly called middle c. Before you can find it we have to take a look at how the black keys are organized.

Looking at the black keys you will find groups with two or three black keys together. Middle c is located in the middle of your keyboard to the left of two black keys.

Middle c is often called c4. Actually, all white keys to the left of two black keys are called c. The number 4 shows that this c is in the fourth octave of a piano keyboard. An octave is the interval from one c to the next c.

The names of the white keys from one c to the next c is c d e f g a b c. The last note c is called c5 because it is one octave higher than c4.

Middle c is called c4 even on a smaller type of keyboard with less number of octaves. The c one octave to the left of c4 is called c3.

The easy piano tablature notation we will use as we learn to play White Christmas has these easy rules:

1. Lowercase letters show the white keys you are to play. For example, c d e f g a b

2. Black keys will be shown by uppercase letters. The note C shows that you are to play the black key to the right of c. Here is an E-major chord written this way: e G b

3. The octave in which you are to play a note is represented by a number after the letter. As mentioned before, the note c4 tells you to play middle c. The note E5 is the black key to the right of e in the octave to the left of middle c. The notes following a note with a number will only have a number when you change octave. Here is the beginning of Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star: c4 c g g a a g

Now it is time to learn White Christmas with the help of piano tab notation. I will write the lyrics and the corresponding tabs below:

I'm dreaming of a white Christmas

e4 f e D e f F g

Remember, the notes following e4 are played in the same octave. The note D is the black key to the right of d. Let's continue:

Just like the ones I used to know

a b c5 d c b4 a g

Where the treetops glisten and children listen

c d e e e a g c c c g

Here is the last line of the first verse:

To hear sleigh bells in the snow

f e f e d c d

Now it is time to play the next verse. It starts the same way as the first verse but ends with a change in the two last lines:

I'm dreaming of a white Christmas

e f e D e f F g

With every Christmas card I write

a b c5 d c b4 a g

May your days be merry and bright

c d e e e a g c5

And may all your Christmases be white

c4 d e e a b3 b b c

In this piano tab notation you will not see the length of the notes but if you try to sing the lyrics as you memorize the tablature lines you will get the rhythm right!
About the Author
Peter Edvinsson invites you to download your free piano tabs and free piano sheet music at http://www.capotastomusic.com
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