Anoteindicates both pitch and also rhythm.Notes space written on a staff. Greater frequency (shorter wavelength) notes space written above lower frequency (longer wavelength) note (i.e. Greater notes space placed over lower ones).A notehead have to be written closely on a staff. A notehead is oval (not round); additionally, it must be neither too huge nor too small, and also is tilted contempt upwards in the direction of the right.A clef suggests which pitches space assigned to the lines and spaces ~ above a staff.Extra lines dubbed ledger lines expand a staff higher or lower.

You are watching: The collection of parallel lines and spaces on which notes are written is called notation.

Western music notation privileges two musical features: pitch and rhythm. Pitches space notated vertically (on the y-axis), while rhythms are notated horizontally (on the x-axis). Western music notation is review left-to-right and also top-to-bottom, like the web page of a book in created English.

Notation of Notes

A note suggests both pitch and rhythm. A composed note is composed of a notehead (either empty or filled in), and optionally can incorporate a stem, beam, or flag (see Rhythmic and also Rest Values). Instance 1 shows an illustration that noteheads, stems, beams, and flags:

Example 1. Noteheads, stems, beams, and also flags.Staff Notation

A employee (plural staves) is vital for send pitch. A staff consists of five horizontal lines, evenly spaced. Instance 2 depicts a staff:

Example 2. A staff.Placing note on a Staff

Noteheads ~ above a line should fill in fifty percent of each room above and also below. Noteheads in a an are should simply touch the lines above and below. Instance 3 shows instances of exactly noteheads, both open and also filled in, both on lines and also in spaces:

Example 3. Correct noteheads, open (white) and filled in (black) both ~ above lines and in spaces.

Example 4 mirrors incorrect noteheads. Together you have the right to see, noteheads have the right to be attracted too small, as well big, or the dorn shape.

Example 4. Incorrect instances of noteheads.

Noteheads need to be oval (not round), and they space tilted slightly upwards towards the right.


When notes are attracted on the lines and also spaces the a staff, those notes represent pitches. Musicians use spatial metaphors to define notes placed on a staff. For example, notes showing up towards the optimal of a employee are stated to it is in “higher” 보다 those appearing towards the bottom that a staff (which are said to be “lower”). Higher notes have actually a much shorter wavelength (and consequently a greater frequency); lower notes have actually a longer wavelength (and in turn a reduced frequency). Such spatial metaphors vary through milieu—i.e. Across cultures and also time periods. Because that example, for some music philosophers in old Greece greater sounding notes were visually placed below lower sounding notes.<1> This is because some ancient Greek music thinkers were most likely most acquainted with string instruments, which incorporate violins, guitars, and harps. Example 5 displayed why this to be the instance for some authors in ancient Greece:

Example 5. Dr. Jacob Tews (Christopher Newport University) explains much more about ancient Greek music notation.

Notes can not convey pitch details if the employee on which they show up does not incorporate a clef. A clef shows which pitches room assigned to the lines and also spaces top top a staff (also see analysis Clefs). The 2 most typically used clefs today are the treble clef and bass clef. Two various other clefs that you may encounter room the alto clef and also the tenor clef. Example 6 shows 4 notes, each inserted after a treble, bass, alto, and also tenor clef:

Example 6. Notes placed after a treble, bass, alto, and also tenor clef.

Higher notes, such together those play by a flute or sung through a soprano, room usually created in treble clef, and lower notes, such as those play by a trombone or sung by a bass, are usually created in bass clef. Alto and also tenor clefs are reasonably rare compared to treble and also bass. However in some cases, alto clef is provided for medium-high notes, and also tenor clef is provided for medium-low notes.

Drawing Clefs

One can attract a treble clef in three an easy steps, as demonstrated in example 7:

Example 7. Drawing a treble clef in 3 steps.

First, attract a slanted upright line that extends slightly above and listed below the staff. Next, attract a half circle that intersects through your slanted heat at the second from optimal line the the staff. Finally, circle roughly the second from bottom heat of the staff. Likewise, one can also draw a base clef in three steps, as shown in example 8:

Example 8. Illustration a base clef in 3 steps.

First, attract a dot on the 2nd from optimal line of the staff. Next, draw a backwards ‘C’ the ends in the bottom an are of the staff, making certain that the top part of the ‘C’ does no extend over the staff. Finally, location two dots to the best of the backwards ‘C’, in the peak two spaces the the staff. One can attract an alto clef in 4 steps, as example 9 shows:

Example 9. Illustration an alto clef in four steps.

First, draw a thick vertical line the spans the staff. Next, attract a diluent vertical line alongside the thicker vertical line. Third, draw two backwards ‘C’s, the very first taking up slightly much less than the top half of the staff and also the 2nd taking up slightly much less than the bottom half of the staff. Finally, affix these backwards ‘C’s v a allude that rests top top the middle line ofthe staff.

A tenor clef is also drawn in 4 steps, as watched in instance 10:

Example 10. Drawing a tenor clef in four steps.

A tenor clef and an alto clef are drawn the same; however, the tenor clef is change up one heat of the staff higher than one alto clef. First, draw a special vertical line that begins on the second from bottom heat of the staff and extends slightly above the staff. Next, attract a diluent vertical line next to the thicker vertical line. Third, draw two backwards ‘C’s, the an initial extending slightly above the top fifty percent of the staff and the second taking increase slightly less than the middle two spaces of the staff. Finally, affix these backwards ‘C’s through a suggest that rests ~ above the 2nd from optimal line that the staff.

Writing Ledger Lines

When notes space too high or short to be created on a staff, little lines are drawn to expand the staff. This extra present are referred to as ledger lines. Instance 11 reflects ledger lines written above and below a staff:

Example 11. Ledger lines, both above and listed below a staff through a bass clef.

Example 12 reflects notes (with stems and beams) attracted on ledger lines, over and below a staff.

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Example 12. Note (with stems and also beams) top top ledger lines, above and listed below a staff through a treble clef.

When composing ledger lines, be certain not to placed in one extra ledger line above or below the keep in mind you room writing. Instance 13 very first shows the correct way of composing notes top top ledger lines, and also the not correct way, with extra ledger lines above and listed below the notes: