What You'll Find on This Site. This site provides free innovative learning materials and sheet music 
for playing the piano, however, the site should NOT be considered a piano course. Our Music Innovators Workshop is basically a research and development project. We have been working for over 20 years to discover and develop easier ways of learning the piano and more effective ways of teaching the piano. The main focus of the research that we are reporting on here is the grand staff notation of piano music and its effects on learning and teaching the piano.

The site reveals, illustrates and provides extended examples of the upgraded format for the traditional grand staff 
that is more user-friendly than the traditional version. The upgraded format is a great deal easier to read, and is also easier to learn. This format was designed for the keyboard, but as it turns out, it is just as useful for any musical instrument and voice.

Please Note: To keep this simple, most references to the Traditional Grand Staff Notation are abbreviated as TN. Most references to the Grand Staff Upgrade notation are abbreviated as GSU.

Direct Links to All Major Sections of this Site


Other Changes in Pitch Notation. There are other pitch notation changes that occur much less frequently, but are useful nevertheless. For sharps and flats on white keys: B#, E#, Fb, and Cb  are notated with the more common natural names: C, F, E, and B. Also, the rare double sharps and double flats, are notated with their enharmonic equivalents - C double # is D; D double flat is C; etc.
How Does This GSU Notation Work?  To begin, we need to observe that this notation is derived from, and resembles the traditional notation (TN). These two formats are compatible. All aspects of the TN are retained in the grand staff upgraded (GSU) notation except the changes to rhythm and pitch notation described below.

A person who knows how to read and play from the TN can make the transition to the GSU format with little or no extra effort. Those who are just learning how to play will find the GSU format much easier to learn and play because there is much less coding to learn (rhythm), and less coding to interpret on the fly (sharps and flats).

The explanations on this page are expanded and illustrated in Unit PG-01 - About the Grand Staff Upgrade that you can view by clicking on the link at the bottom of this page. Recommended reading!

The Two Major Changes in the Upgrade Format. The most noticeable change is in the rhythm. The GSU format shows the rhythm as a timeline. This is done by stretching the notes in the horizontal direction. Once the length of a one-beat note is set at the beginning of a piece, all other notes are made to be proportional in length to that note. A 2-beat note is physically twice as long. A 1/2-beat note is 1/2 as long, and so on. Vertical lines showing the locations of the beats are included on the staff along with the standard measure lines.

This change of rhythm to a timeline format provides a direct logical, visual connection to the sound of the rhythm. It eliminates the complicated rhythm code that is so troublesome for beginners - and some others as well. This change makes it unnecessary to use color (black and white) to distinguish between the half-notes and quarter-notes as is the case with the TN rhythm.

The Change in Pitch Notation. The most important and useful change is in the pitch notation. This change gives every sharp and flat note a unique identifier, instead of having to depend on the key signature code for this information. With this format, the following note colors are used, providing positive identification for every note. Natural notes: white  Flat notes: black  Sharp notes: gray. This is an incredibly simple, but effective, change.

The change in rhythm notation also makes it possible to use colored notes in many other useful ways. Example: the 5FC (5 Finger Colored) versions.
SelectionFile type iconFile nameDescriptionSizeRevisionTimeUser
View Download
IMPORTANT!  132k v. 1 Dec 3, 2018, 1:09 AM John Honeycutt