Appendices Appendix C Music Reading Tutorial
The music staff is made up of five lines and four spaces.
Notes can be placed either on the lines, or in the spaces. In music, the notes are named with the letters A through G; after G, A repeats. The G clef is the sign you see at the beginning of the line and indicates that the staff is in treble clef. Here are the notes on the G-clef staff.
There's an easy way to remember what note goes where. For the lines, remember “Every Good Boy Does Fine”; for the spaces, remember the word “FACE.”
The staff can be separated by measures, which divide the music into smaller parts. Vertical measure lines break up the flow of the music and make it easier to read. At the end of a piece of music you will find a vertical double-bar line.
At the start of every piece of music you will see a time signature made up of two numbers. The time signature tells you how many beats to play in each measure and how to count them. The most commonly used time signature is 4/4. In music the time signature looks like a fraction without the line to divide it.
The top number informs you how many counts per measure, and the bottom number tells you the type of note that gets counted. In 4/4 time, there are four counts to each measure, and the quarter note receives one count.
Individual notes can have three components: a head, a stem, and a flag.
Each note has a time value that can be determined by its appearance.
This is a whole note, which gets four counts. In 4/4 time, you will see only one whole note per measure, or bar as it's also commonly called.
This is a half note, which gets two counts. You will see two of these in a 4/4 measure.
This is a quarter note, which gets one count. You will see four of these in a 4/4 measure.
This is an eighth note, which gets ½ of a count. You will see eight of these in a 4/4 measure.
This chart shows you how a single measure of 4/4 can be broken up.