Numbers & the Alphabet

October 21, 2016

Mat Creedon



Would you like to know the trick to sight reading?

There is a method used among Jazz players that explains the mysteries of music 

theory in a simple & direct fashion, and this is it.


The alphabet in music is “algebra”, do you remember algebra from maths class at school? Let me jog your memory: 

a + b = c  (Algebra is is the language through which we describe patterns, or replacing the numbers with the alphabet.) Now before you are taught “algebra”, you are taught “numbers”, because without numbers algebra would make little sense. So if we start maths with numbers we should also do the same with music. All of music is just simple maths. 

Here is an example:


C major scale




The Alphabetical is the name of the note, while the number is the distance. In other words the alphabetical is it fixed point while the number is a ruler that measures the distance. Numbers are a much faster way to find the next note. For example: A simple way to understand this is to say the alphabet from A to G out loud as fast as you can. Go on, I will wait...

Fast & easy right?

Now say the the alphabet backwards from G to A just as fast, I will wait.

How was that?

Not as fast, a little more difficult?

Ok now count out loud as fast as you can from 1 to 7 and then backwards from 7 to 1.

Faster & easier than using the alphabet?


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