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When you are a beginner

The best way to learn to play the piano or organ is to take lessons. Tell your teacher that you want to use the KlavarScore notation, and show him/her the course you can download free from this website. This course is made by Ferdinand Beyer (1803-1863), well known in his days as a German pianist and composer and who is known to this day for his elementary piano method, "Vorschule im Klavierspiel", commonly known as “The Beyer Method,” which, in one form or another, serves as the foundation for beginning piano Students in many countries.

Over the years, different editions have addressed certain shortcomings of the Beyer approach. These involve the lack of complete explanations and the limited exposure to difficulties (e.g. Beyer doesn’t show pieces with bass clef notation for the left hand until half way through the book). Most of the difficulties frequently cited are not present in the KlavarScore notation system (e.g. different clefs do not exist because they are not needed). Furthermore, the KlavarScore notation is so easy to learn and to understand, it is much more suitable for self-learning. A simple explanation to the system is provided in the preface of the course titled “KlavarScore Basics Introduction” As other modern editions have done, we have added our own explanatory notes where necessary.

When you have some experience in playing

Maybe you have had lessons, but you struggled with the reading of the standard notation. Maybe you stopped with these lessons, or you’ve been thinking about stopping out of frustration.

Now you have two options:
1 - Convince your teacher to go further with KlavarScore. Many teachers prefer to give lessons with KlavarScore above losing a pupil!
2 - Do it yourself without a teacher.
The training has been set up according to the 100% self-learning principle. The lessons mirror this principle to a large extent. The complete course, supplemented by the Czerny "110 Progressive Exercises Op. 453" contains all the information you need to become an advanced player.


For practicing you can use the exercises and songs in the Additional Pages of this website, and the free sheet music downloadable from this site, in standard sheet (for printing), tablet size (for viewing on a tablet using a sheet music viewer), or Scrolling KlavarScore format (long pdf files for use with the autoscroll option in a sheet music reader app). The notation on the sheet music and the Scrolling KlavarScore is exactly the same. A nice thing about scrolling KlavarScore is that it forces you to keep your tempo. If you find yourself falling behind, you can go back and try again, or slow the scroll speed until you can play it!

On the "sheet music" page of this site (click here) you can find more pieces in different keys and different levels. The difficulty level of the music pieces is indicated by a letter (undercase):

a - Beginners
b - Easy
c - Intermediate
d - Advanced
e - Professional

The score of a number of pieces of the KlavarScore Basic Introduction can be downloaded free in three different versions:

xx_S - Sheet version, suitable to be printed in Letter or A4 size (only PDF reader required)
xx_T - Tablet version, to be used on a tablet or iPad (only PDF reader required)
xx_L - Long version, to be used on your Android cellphone or Apple iPhone, and also on a tablet or iPad  with the MobileSheetsPro app.

We wish you much enjoyment and success with KlavarScore!

KlavarScore Basics Introduction

The first part is a short introduction that will explain you the notation and the signs that are used. Beginners will need all this information and also experienced musicians will need most of it.

The second part is for experienced musicians, they can try to play some easy pieces and will notice that in Klavarscore all the keys are equally easy to read and play.
Beginners could try these pieces, but they can also skip this part and continue with part three.

Part three offers a well-known piece for beginners, this is easy to read and easy to play. Follow the instructions, and make it a habit to count while playing: this is essential!

Part 0ne: the Basics

The keyboard
To the right, you can see a picture of a keyboard. Maybe your keyboard, piano or organ has more or fewer keys, but in principle all keyboards are organized in the same way in that the black keys lie in alternating groups of two and three, the full length of the keyboard. Keep these groups in mind as they are fundamental to the KlavarScore method.

The 'middle C'
We start by finding the note called middle C. This is the white key just on the left of the central group of two black notes near the center of the keyboard. When you have found it you may want to stick a small label on it so you can find it easily.

The Klavar staff
The Klavar staff is based on the look of the keyboard. On the right you can see a picture of part of a keyboard with the middle C indicated. Notice how there are two white keys between alternating groupings of two and three black keys and only one white key between black keys of those groupings. The klavar staff matches this pattern exactly: the black keys of the keyboard are indicated by vertical lines which are also in groups of two and three. The spaces between these lines represent the white keys.

Note that the two lines next to the middle C are dotted. This helps the player to match up the music on the paper with the physical keyboard under his/her fingers. Without this guide the player might play in the wrong place on the keyboard.

When we use the Klavar method we first look at the staff from left to right to find the first notes then read from top downwards to find the notes that follow. If the music is shown on the left of the staff our hands move to the left; if the music moves to the right then our hands move to the right of the keyboard.

For your first exercise just touch, then, play all the groups of two black notes and then the groups of three black notes, up and down the piano, while viewing or visualizing the corresponding lines on a klavar staff. Repeat, starting from the center, the hands going in opposite directions. Now, for a challenge, try doing this exercise without looking at your hands. - have fun!

Names of the notes and keys
The white keys on the keyboard and the notes they represent have fixed names which are the first 7 letters of the alphabet A-B-C-D-E-F-G.
The black keys take their names from the white keys next to them. So you may hear people speaking of D-flat (black key to the left of D) or C-sharp (black key to the right of C) which both refer to the same black key.
On keyboard instruments, such “enharmonic equivalents
notes” as they are called, are played using one and the same key.

Black keys Black notes

You have learned above that the black lines of the klavar staff indicate the black keys. When black (filled) circular note heads appear on these lines, these represent notes that are played using the black keys. Each black note has its own place on the staff, therefore you will never find a black note in the spaces between the black lines.. Find the notes shown on the right, on your own keyboard. Note: If you are familiar with traditional notation, you know that it uses different types of black notes which indicate note duration. However, duration is represented very differently in KlavarScore (more about this later).

The letter C with a line through it refers to the note known as "Middle C" which lies to the left of the Central D. Middle C is also well known in conventional music literature as it is the center of the traditional notation staff. The Klavar staff reflects better the relationship between the notes and the physical layout of the keyboard.

Now that you know some of the basics of the Klavar method you are ready to play your first song.

Big Ben

Now you are going to play the chimes of Big Ben Using only the five black keys.

Start at the top and read downwards in the sequence indicated by the arrows.

You may play the notes with any finger. You may find it convenient to start with finger 4 (the ring finger) of the right hand to play the first note.

Play it again ! This time play the notes on the group of three with the right hand and the note on the group of 2 with your left hand; experiment !

Strike the keys slowly and regularly in groups of four notes, extending the duration of the sound of the fourth note in each group for one more "beat" by holding down the key. Relax when you hold the long note ; there is no need to press the key hard.

Practice several times until you can play freely and fluently and the tune really sounds like the chimes of Big Ben .

White keys, white notes

The white keys of the keyboard are represented on the staff by the spaces between the black lines. Circular white note heads appearing in these spaces represent notes to be played on the white keys in the corresponding position on the keyboard.

Try to find the white notes here indicated on your keyboard. The first example is the note D, between the two dotted lines in the center, just to the right of the "middle C". Be careful not to confuse E and F, and B and C as there is space for 2 notes in the larger spaces where these notes are found.

You can now play the melody given here. Start with the thumb of your right hand. Play with a steady rhythm. Read from top to bottom. As the notes move to the right so your fingers travel to the right; and back again.

If you found them, you can start playing the tune on the white keys, as before when you played the Big-Ben tune. Again read from the top to the bottom.
Start very slowly and attentively. As you practice you will gradually become fluent at reading the music. Your goal is to play all notes one after another without interruptions while viewing the notes on the klavar staff (without looking down at your hand).


The Klavar stave consists of groups of two and three lines corresponding to the black keys on the keyboard. The music is read from top to bottom.
Black keys = black notes, on the lines
White keys = white notes, between the lines.
The Center of the keyboard is indicated by two dotted lines.


The key to fluent playing is practicing; but only in practicing in an effective manner, which means practicing using efficient fingering. To refer to the fingers we have given each finger its own number.



In the exercise on the right some small numbers have been placed on top of some of the notes. These are finger numbers. The number '1' indicates that this note is to be played with the thumb; a '2' means that you play this note with your index finger, a '3' refers to your middle finger and so on.

As a beginner make it a habit to follow the fingering instructions given. When you have gained mastery you may alter the fingering to suit your own hand.

Fingering is given only where necessary to ensure a good hand position, that is why only some of the numbers are given. Play the unnumbered notes with the finger that is already in the correct position to play it.



Sit relaxed
Especially in the beginning, playing the piano is 'exciting'. You will undoubtedly notice this when you get up after half an hour of practice. Without being aware you may have strained your muscles. However, there is no need to do so.. In fact, it does not benefit your playing when you are sitting more or less cramped behind your piano. Therefore, be careful from the very beginning that you are not tensing your muscles unnecessarily. Relax, playing the piano is fun.

Left and right hand indication
Which notes are to be played with which hand? The Klavar method is very clear about this. Each note head has a stem or 'tail'. If the stem of the note points to the right, play the note with your right hand; if the stem points to the left, play the note with your left hand. Notice that the white note heads are below the stem and the black note heads are above the stem.

The correct posture
Good posture is important for a good result. The way you sit at your piano will affect your playing. (Not to mention the impact it has on your back). Try to sit upright at the piano with your back as straight as possible.

In Addition to sitting upright, having your chair at the proper height also has a major influence on your playing. When you place your hands on the keys, your upper arms should extend slightly forward, while your forearms are approximately horizontal.

Use a good piano stool that is adjustable in height and which is sufficiently solid so that you sit behind the piano without wiggling or balancing.

Place your feet left and right next to the pedals. You do not need these pedals for the time being. At most, if you want to make less noise, you can press the left pedal during your performance. This mutes the sound.

For now we will leave the middle and right pedals alone. Suffice it to say that with these pedals you can sustain notes but without the proper technique you will not be able to produce the sound you want. Later in the course you will learn the proper use of these two pedals.

Each piece of music is divided into a number of measures. The example on the right shows a staff with only three measures. A medium thick black line is at the start of each measure while a very thick line occurs at the end of the last measure of the music. The measures themselves are divided into a number of beats or counts with horizontal dotted lines. These are called 'counting lines'. In this three-measure example, the num-bers down the left hand side of the first measure show that there are three beats to each measure.

Measures can also be divided into many other sub-divisions such as 2-beats to the measure, 4-beats, 6-beats, 5-beats etc.

The 3-beat measure
On the right you can see an example of a staff with 3-beats to the measure. There is a note written on the first beat of each measure.

To make sure that the note sounds for the correct duration of three beats it is best to count aloud as you hold the note. Thus:

ONE, two, three; ONE, two, three etc.

Notice that note played on beat ONE, is LOUDER than those on beats two and the three. So speak the word 'ONE' louder than 'two' and 'three', which can be whispered. In a three beat measure the first note is played louder to give a sense of rhythm, as in a waltz thus:

HEAVY-light-light; HEAVY-light-light.

The ability to count in strict time is essential for all musicians; so make counting aloud a regular practice right from the start.

Now play the tune on the right and count at the same time. Note that this exercise is to be played with the right hand only as all the stems of the notes point to the right. Notice that the final note to be played (at the beginning of measure 7) lasts for two measures; so keep the note down while you count the full length of measure number 8.

In a 3-beat measure you count 1-2-3; 1-2-3-; 1-2-3 etc.

With the heavy accent falling on the first beat of each measure.



The 4-beat measure
In a 4-beat piece each measure has four beats.
The heavy accent falls on beat one and there is a medium accent on beat three; with no accents on beats two and four.
So count:

ONE, two, THREE, four;
ONE, two, THREE, four.

HEAVY - light - MEDIUM - light.

In the exercise on the right all the stems point to the left, so this is an exercise for the left hand.

Notice that it contains both black and white notes; so use both black and white keys.

On beat 1 you play the first note; on beat 3 the second note. On beat 2 there is no note written so keep the first note held down so that the note continues to sound until you change the note on beat 3. There should be no silences in the music as it is a continuous melody. Similarly withthe second note, keep the note held down lightly so the note continues to sound until it is time to play note 1 of the measure 2. Continue in this way to the end of the piece. Notice that the final note, on beat 1 of measure 8, lasts for four complete counts.

In a 4-beat measure count:
1-2-3-4; 1-2-3-4 and so on
with a heavy accent on beat 1 and a medium accent on beat 3




The rest or stop sign - v
So far you have learnt to keep each key down until it is time to play the following note. In other words every note ends when the next note begins.  This results in a continuous melody.
However, this is not always the case. Sometimes a note ends before the next note begins and there is a period of silence, called a "rest". To indicate that the note must stop sounding, a v-shaped 'rest' or 'stop' sign is inserted in the path of the note exactly at the point when the silence begins.

Practice playing notes and measures
The music you see on the right uses a 4-beat measure. So count 1-2-3-4, as before. On beat 1 of the first measure play the first note which is an 'A'. On beat 2 release the key by lifting your hand off the keyboard. Play the next key (G) on beat 3 and release it on beat 4 where there is a rest sign.
On the first beat of measure 2 play the black key F# (F-sharp) release it at the rest sign on beat 3; do not release it on beat 2 because there is no rest sign on beat 2, a silence of 2 beats follows.

The exercise on the right also uses a 4-beat measure. The first 4 measures are played by the right hand since the stems point to the right. Play measures 5 to 8 with the left hand, as the note stems point left.

Play the rests as indicated. Keep counting during the rests; do not stop counting just because you release a key.

Although you do not start using your left hand before measure 5 it is advisable to hold it ready over the keys it will play, so that you can play the music without any interruption.

Notice the rest signs in measures 2 ,4 and 8 and pay attention to measure 7: a note of 2 beats duration followed by two notes of 1 beat each.


Every note lasts until it is time for the next note to be played: unless a rest sign "v" indicates that it should stop.








Playing a song with both hands at the same time

The song below is played "hands together"; both hands play at the same time. But, when you are learning a new piece (until you are a more experienced player), do not start practicing with both hands immediately. Instead, start by playing just the right hand so that you learn the melody. Then play just the left hand part. Next, play the piece using both hands in short two measure phrases at a time. When one 2-measure phrase is easy and comfortable to play, go on to the next 2-measure phrase, and so on. Next, join up the 2-measure phrases into 4-measure phrases. Finally join them all together and play the song through from beginning to end.

In the first measure the left hand plays notes that last for two beats, while the right hand plays on every beat. The two hands play their respective notes on beat 1. Continue holding the left hand note down on beat 2 without striking it again, while the right hand plays its second note.

In measure 4 there are two rest signs. Lift both hands and play nothing on the fourth beat. Resume playing on beat 1 of measure 5 without breaking the rhythm - so count regularly throughout the piece.

Auf dem grünen Rasen (German folk song)

You can listen to this song or play along with your Left Hand or Right Hand (4 metronome ticks in advance):

Both hands (you can listen to this song):

Javascript is required for the audio players, but it is not enabled in your browser. You can still download the file:

Left hand only (you play the right hand):

Javascript is required for the audio players, but it is not enabled in your browser. You can still download the file:

Right hand only (you play the left hand):

Javascript is required for the audio players, but it is not enabled in your browser. You can still download the file:

Download the files of this song: audio example of the complete song, Left-Hand/Right-Hand separately and the scores for tablet use, scrolling or printing.

Download the files of "Auf dem grünen Rasen":
Tablet or printing file (A5):                                         Tap Here
Scrolling file (App. needed):                                       Tap Here
Audio example of Both Hands (mp3):                     Tap Here
Audio accompaniment of the Left Hand (mp3):   Tap Here
Audio accompaniment of the Right Hand (mp3): Tap Here

Part two - Experienced musicians

If you are already an experienced musician you might like to try to play some suitable music. Below you will find the famous Lullaby by Bernard Flies in the key of Gb, (formerly attributed, by mistake, to Mozart). You can play it from here or download this song for a bigger image or printing.

Listen to this song (3 metronome ticks in advance):

Javascript is required for the audio players, but it is not enabled in your browser. You can still download the file:

Download this song as audio example of the complete song or Left-Hand/Right-Hand separately and the score for tablet use, scrolling or printing.

Download the files of "Lullaby of Flies":
Tablet or printing file (A5):                                         Tap Here
Scrolling file (App. needed):                                       Tap Here
Audio example of Both Hands (mp3):                     Tap Here
Audio accompaniment of the Left Hand (mp3):   Tap Here
Audio accompaniment of the Right Hand (mp3): Tap Here

If this is your first time playing from KlavarScore sheet music you may have problems finding the right keys and you may think that the white notes should last longer than the black notes (mistaking them for minims and crochets of the standard notation). But persevere and you will soon discover that these difficulties soon disappear. You will have no difficulty reading pieces in any key and you will not be disturbed by clef changes, sharps, flats, naturals, double sharps, double flats etc. After studying a number of pieces like the Lullaby by Flies these will be easy to play at first sight.

Being an experienced musician you do not have to start from the beginning again. You already have a well developed sense of rhythm, good co-ordination, you have mastered fingering and the use of arm weight and have a good "touch". All you lack is sight reading practice. But it will not take long before a new world of music will be open to you; a world without sharps and flats; a world with clear bars and beats and a world in which every note has its own position on the staff.

More music pieces in different keys and different levels can be found on the "sheet-music" page of this site (click here). The difficulty level of the music pieces is indicated by a letter (undercase between brackets).

Part three - Beginners

For the less experienced musicians we will continue this Basic Introduction with a well-known piece in two different keys. In the standard notation it takes a lot of time to learn to read and play in different keys, in Klavarscore all the keys are equally easy to read and play.

Jingle Bells

We start with "Jingle Bells", the "Beginner" or "level (a)" version. This piece consists of two parts, in the keys D Maj and E-flat Maj. To make practising easier we have made a Left Hand and a Right hand audio, so you can practice the other hand.
From the "sheet music" page you can download for free two more versions of this song: level b (Easy) and level c (Intermediate), also in different keys.

Listen to this song:

Javascript is required for the audio players, but it is not enabled in your browser. You can still download the file:

Listen to the Left Hand, you play the Right Hand (4 metronome ticks in advance):

Javascript is required for the audio players, but it is not enabled in your browser. You can still download the file:

Listen to the Right Hand, you play the Left Hand (4 metronome ticks in advance):

Javascript is required for the audio players, but it is not enabled in your browser. You can still download the file:

You can also download the scores and audio examples of this song to use them on your own way:

Download the files of "Jingle Bells":
Tablet or printing file (A5):                                         Tap Here
Scrolling file (App. needed):                                       Tap Here
Audio example of Both Hands (mp3):                     Tap Here
Audio accompaniment of the Left Hand (mp3):   Tap Here
Audio accompaniment of the Right Hand (mp3): Tap Here

Course information

The Klavar Beyer course for piano consists of a total of 109 Lessons. This course can be downloaded  free from this website.

Also available is a course (English language)  of 78 lessons can be downloaded free from the website of the Klavarskribo Foundation in the Netherlands. They also offer this course in the Dutch language.

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