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Blog #2: Is a Fret a Note?

Updated: Feb 24, 2023

For information about private lessons and questions, please visit me at

Here is the YouTube link to the video that goes with this blog:

Blog #2 The Why and How of Music.

Objectives: • What is a note? • How does the Circle help me?

1. What is a note? A note is single, not plural. Therefore, a singer can sing a single or a series of notes in a row. Note (pitch): the height or depth of a tone. (Accuracy)

Tone: a musical sound. (Quality)

The twelve dots on the Demi-Circle of Music represent all twelve notes in music. We label notes with letters. When the notes sound the same, we use the same letter. However, if the note sounds higher (closer to a woman's voice range) or lower (closer to a man's voice range), we use a different letter. The seven letters used to label the notes are --A, B, C, D, E, F, and G. You may ask, but there are more than seven notes; what happens on the eighth note? The series' eighth note is an octave, and the letter repeats. This repetition is why I chose to use a circle to illustrate the complete notes.

Octave: the distance between one note (like A) and the next note bearing its same name (the next A that's either higher or lower).

Seven dots on your workbook's Natural Note Circle page have letter names, and five do not. The dots with the letter names are natural notes. The blank dots are altered notes. These altered notes are called chromatic.

Chromatic notes (blank dots): The Natural Note Circle is very helpful in visualizing the relationship of a natural note to its chromatic. A chromatic is a note altered by an accidental.

  • Accidental: is a symbol (sharp "#" or flat "b") that indicates the altered note a 1/2 step higher or lower than a natural note.

  • Sharp (#): a sharp sign indicates the altered note 1/2 step higher.

  • Flat (b): a flat sign indicates the altered note 1/2 step lower.

Essential elements: Tonic: the name of the scale. Clockwise: Higher on the Circle Counterclockwise: Lower on the Circle

Whole step = 2 dots Half step = 1 dot

2. How does the Circle help me? Accuracy is key to gaining the confidence necessary to move forward with the why and how of music. By illustrating the placement of the Natural Notes on the Circle, it is very clear where the blank dots are. As a result, the Natural Notes on the Circle makes note recognition and navigation consistent and easy. In turn, that understanding brings accuracy and proficiency.

Let's expand on the note. A single note is called a note. The distance between two notes is called an interval. A group of three or more different notes is called a chord.

A series of notes looked at collectively is called a scale. We will study all of these terms in later blogs.

Today, I will attempt to answer the questions

• What is a fret? • Is a fret a note?

I understand that all the moving pieces can be intimidating with music but be of good cheer. So I am here to answer your questions and help you use them.

A fret is a small metal strip placed on the neck of string instruments (guitar, bass, ukulele, etc.). The purpose of the fret is to assist in shortening the string to a specific length giving us the desired note (pitch). The string's lowest note is at full length (open). Therefore, shortening the string makes the note go higher. When we remove the finger, the string returns to its full length, and the note returns to its original pitch. Instruments with several frets give us a variety of notes.

So, to answer the questions: A fret is a small metal strip on an instrument's fretboard that assists the musician in attaining a specific length on the string. In doing so, the fret helps the musician play the right note. A note is a pleasant sound like that of a voice. So, a fret is not a note, but the fret does help to produce the note. So you be the judge. Maybe a fret is a note. Check this blog's end to understand the fretboard (fret).

For information about private lessons and questions, please visit me at

Here is the YouTube link to the video that goes with this blog: Fretboard: The fretboard is on the neck of the guitar. The neck is the long skinny part sticking out from the guitar's body. The fretboard is where we place our fingers to find the other notes. We push our fingers against the frets (metal wires) embedded into the fretboard. Pushing against the fret, in turn, changes the length of the string. Shortening the string makes the note move higher. As a note moves higher in pitch, it moves clockwise on The Circle through the musical alphabet.

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