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How To Read Music Notes (Part 2) - learn to play piano / keyboard

Notes & Clefs:

The table below displays the different types of notes and clefs. All definitions are located at the end of the page.

How To Read Music Notes (Part 2) - learn to play piano / keyboard

Treble Clef:
When reading sheet music, you will notice that there is a treble clef at the top left hand corner of your music book. The notes along side the treble clef are usually played with your right hand. There are 5 lines and 4 spaces beneath the treble clef, each of these lines and spaces represents a note on the piano. It is important to learn them off by heart. These notes are located to the right of middle C.

Treble Clef Lines - E, G, B, D, F  (Eat Good Bread Dear Father)

Treble Clef Spaces - F, A, C, E   (Face).

Bass Clef:
Beneath the treble clef on sheet music, you will see a second set of lines and spaces with the Bass Clef symbol on the left. This is to make it easier to read. The Bass Clef notes are usually played with your left hand, and are lower in tone than the notes with the Treble Clef. To locate these notes, go one octave down (the next C to the left of middle C), and locate the notes to the right of that note.

Bass Clef Lines - G, B, D, F, A (Good, Bread, Dear, Father, Ate)

Bass Clef Spaces - A, C, E, G, (Alice, Can, Eat, Grapes).

Musicians must learn how to count evenly, to make sure they are playing each note for the correct length of time.

Tip:  To begin you may prefer to write the corresponding notes on your sheet music to help.

Music Terms / Definitions for this page:

Staff: A staff of music is made up of five horizontal lines and four spaces. Each line and space represents a key on the piano. Notes and rests are then placed on the staff.

Clef: A clef is a symbol at the beginning of a staff of music which makes it possible for the player to work out what the notes are. It indicates the pitch of the notes on that staff to be played. The two most common clefs are the Treble Clef and Bass Clef.

Measure: Sheet music is divided into Measures. Each individual Measure lasts for the same time duration, and can consist of a combination of notes and rests. A measure ends where a vertical bar line goes through the staff (horizontal lines) on sheet music.

Note: A note is represented by a sign which tells the musician the duration and pitch of a sound.

Pitch: The specific frequency of a sound. Notes to the right of the keyboard have a higher pitch than the notes to the left.

Time Signature: The time signature, also known as a "meter", tells the musician how many notes are in a measure.

Beat: A beat is the name for a unit of music. Musicians learn to count beats, and play notes for the specified number of beats. Some use a metronome, this device counts out beats, and will tick according to which timing you have set. Counting beats starts when the first note is played.

- How To Read Music Notes » - Parts 1 & 3.
- Learn to Play Piano »

How to quickly print these notes and guidelines: Use your mouse to highlight all of  text that you want to print out.  Then copy/paste that text into a text-only editor on your computer. For example, Notepad, a common text editor included with all versions of Microsoft Windows, and found in Start, All Programs, Accessories. Then click on "File" in the top left corner of the Notepad document, and click on "Print".