How To Read Piano Notes

In this lesson we learn how to read piano notes.

The Staff

When learning how to read piano notes, an important first step is understanding the staff. Music is written on a staff. A staff consists of five lines and four spaces. Here’s an example of a staff.Music staff lines and spaces

Do you see the five lines and four spaces? Great! The lines and spaces are named after the first seven letters of the alphabet, A, B, C, D, E, F and G.

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The Treble Clef

Then we have the treble clef. Take a look at the sign for the treble clef below. It is also known as the G clef. The second line of the treble clef is known as the G line. In fact, many people call the treble clef the G clef because it circles the G line.Treble clef

What are the notes of the treble clef? Here’s a picture showing notes on the treble clef.treble staff, notes

You will notice that the lines are named E G B D F. One way to remember these letters is by the sentence Every Good Boy Deserves Fudge. lol. Some people prefer Every Good Boy Does Fine.

How about the spaces? The spaces spell the word F-A-C-E.

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The Bass Clef

As we learn how to read piano notes, let’s turn to the bass clef. Take a look at the bass clef below.bass clef

The bass clef is also called the F clef. (The fourth line of the bass clef is the F line.) One reason that it is called the F clef is because of the two dots placed on either side of the F line. Once you know this line it is very easy to figure out the other notes of the bass clef.

What are these piano notes?

Here is a picture showing the notes of the bass clef.bass staff

The lines on the bass clef are named G-B-D-F-A. One way to remember these notes is by the sentence Good Boys Do Fine Always. Another popular sentence is Good Boys Deserve Fudge Always.

Let’s now learn the letter names of the spaces in the bass clef. Take a look at the picture below showing the spaces of the bass clef.

They are A-C-E-G. One way to remember these piano note names is by the sentence All Cars Eat Gas.

Ledger Lines

Next in our How To Read Piano Notes lesson we take a look at ledger lines. Ledger lines are short lines placed above and below the musical staff. Here are two examples of ledger lines (on the treble and bass clef). Take a look at the pictures below.Ledger lines on the treble clefLedger lines on the bass clef

The Grand Staff

The grand staff is formed by combining the treble clef and bass clef with an added leger line, middle C. A perpendicular line and bracket (known as a brace) joins the two staves (plural for staff) together.Grand staff

So how do you know what notes to play on the piano and with what hand to play them? Take a look at middle C above. It is at the center of the bass and treble clef. Every note from middle C upwards including the notes on the treble clef is played with the right hand. Every note below middle C and on the bass clef is played with the left hand.

Identifying piano notes on the grand staff

The following diagram shows you how the notes on your piano correspond to the bass and treble clef. Learn how to read piano notes with this piano keyboard picture and grand staff.piano notes

For more lessons on piano notes, go to other piano notes page.

Watch videos on how to read piano notes on the bass and treble clef.

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