How to Learn Notes Easily

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 Clefs

Grand StaffThe 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.

Note Types

How to Read NotesThere 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.

Quick Mnemonics

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!

How to Read Notes

Treble Clef

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

Bass Clef

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.

Get to Expert Level

Get my system for staying motivated and hitting your goals, using proven psychology.

Click here to Download

There are 6 comments below
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

[…] are present in every key but C major (and A natural minor). Learn the names of piano keys and how to read notes before you learn the […]


[…] interpretation of the notes on paper into movement on the instrument. Make sure you know how to read notes properly and find the corresponding keys to the […]

11 years ago

Reached your webblog through Delicious. You know I am subscribing to your rss.

11 years ago
Reply to  Grace Lam

All music is written on a Stave (often lclaed the staff) which has five lines with four spaces between the lines.Each note has its place on one of the lines or in one of the spaces.Music for guitar is written in the treble Clef (also lclaed G clef) It is lclaed the G clef because the note G is written on the second line of the staff which is where the Treble clef mark circle the second line of the stave.As long as you can remember that the note G is position on the second line of the stave you… Read more »

11 years ago
Reply to  Debra

guitar notes for beginners? 10 ionpts?I’m a junior in high school and I started playing guitar when i was a freshman, but,unfortunately, my dad didn’t let me take guitar 2 my second year and I am not taking guitar this year because there wasn’t enought room okay so my problem is that I only remember how to play guitar chords and I forgot how to read the notes like EGBDF and FACE..can someone explain that to me and on which guitar line they go on? thank you very much!!!