Knowing the piano keys and musical alphabet isn’t enough– you need to know how to read it on a staff, too.
Learn how to read notes on the staff quickly and easily with these little tricks.
The five lines form a staff; there are two sets of five lines joined together by a brace on the left– the whole thing is called the grand staff.
On each staff, there is a symbol.
The treble clef, or G clef, is on top.
The bass clef, or F clef, is on the bottom.
- The treble clef (top) tells you about notes generally above Middle C.
- The bass clef (bottom) tells you about notes generally below Middle C.
Note reading for the two clefs are different, so make sure you look at the clefs before you begin to sight read.
There are line notes and space notes. (See how to read piano keys to get the basic ideas.)
Line notes are skewered through with a line and space notes sit in a space. (Ledger lines should be treated exactly like a part of the staff.)
There are five lines on any staff (not counting ledger lines).
The lowest note is always line 1. The next lowest is space 1, then line 2, space 2, etc.
These little phrases will save you lots of time: there is a different mnemonic for every type of note, which begin at the bottom and move upwards.
(I.e. All space notes in the treble clef have one mnemonic, all lines notes in the bass clef have a different mnemonic.)
Tip: Memorize one clef before the other so you don’t get them mixed up!
Line 2 is the G-Line: any note on that line, surrounded by the large loop, is a G. From there, you can go up one step to A or down to G, and onwards.
- Space Notes: FACE
- Line Notes: Every Good Boy Deserves Fudge
Line 4 is the F-Line: any note on that line, in between the two dots, is an F. Remember this and you can go higher or lower.
- Space Notes: All Cows Eat Grass
- Line Notes: Grizzly Bears Dig For Ants / Good Birds Don’t Fly Away
Here’s the Quick Guide to Accidentals.