Reading Music

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Beats and Measures

Time Signature

Note Value

Dotted Notes and the Tie


Values Shorter Than a Beat

Eighth and Sixteenth Notes

Eighth-Note and Sixteenth-Note Rests


Beat Unit

Simple and Compound Meters

Reading Musical Notes

An Example


Key Signatures

Keyboard Notes

Other Tutorials:




Harmonic Functions

Musical Forms

Related Exercises:

Rhythmic Dictation

Clef Reading

Time Signature

Key Signature Construction

Key Signature Identification

Reading Musical Notes

Now that we know how to read rhythms, how do we then read musical notes?

Notes are written on a staff:


The clef assigns names to the notes. In the following example we show a staff with a treble clef. The treble clef is commonly used for high pitched instruments like the flute and the violin. This clef assigns the note G to the second line. Note how the treble clef shape seems to curl around the second line. All notes written on that line are a G:

Treble Clef

The note written on the space above the G is an A and the one on the following line is a B. As you can see, the notes continue in order (A, B, C, D, E, F, and G) alternating lines and spaces:

Notes on the staff

Using ledger lines we can write notes higher than the G and lower than the D:

Ledger Lines

To help the memorization of notes on the staff it is useful to memorize the names of the notes over the lines and spaces:

Memorizing notes

The notes over the spaces make the word FACE. The notes over the lines can be memorized using the following phrase: Every Good Boy Does Fine.

Practice note reading with our Clef Reading exercise.

Translated by Dan Román, English version revised by Sue Talley

© 2011 J. Rodríguez Alvira

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