Basic Reading Lessons:
The Musical Staff (part 1)

Welcome to the first step in your journey to learn to read music. This is the first in a series of lessons on Basic Reading!

Before we delve into actual note reading, I just want to clarify a few things about the system that you'll be reading music on.

Lets take a look at the Staff, shall we?

Ok. So......

The first thing that you'll notice is that the basic blank staff consists of a few main parts: The Bars and Barlines, the Clef, and the Key and Time Signatures.

The Musical Staff is divided into separate sections (Bars) by vertical lines that are known as Barlines:

Altogether, these individual parts create the basic "Frame" that the notes and various markings and such are placed on to, much like paint on a canvas.

The first main thing that is placed onto the staff, even before notes, is the Clef. The responsibility of the Clef is to provide a reference point for the notes on the staff in relation to one another.

For example, the Bass Clef (Also known as the F Clef) provides a reference point of "F" for the rest of the notes on the Staff.

The Key and Time Signatures are used to give the performer information based upon the Key Center, Tonality and Time feel as it pertains to the musical piece.

Here are a few examples of how Key and Time Signatures are used on the staff:

That's it for this lesson. There is a part two of this lesson that covers some other things that are common to every piece of music, but this part was mainly a primer.

Once you feel like you know this stuff well, head on over to my Next Lesson.

Return to the Reading Music page from the Basic Reading: Part 1 page

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