The Musical Staff


The Musical Staff   Reading between the lines

We begin learning to read sheet music by breaking down the various attributes and notation used. I'll explain each symbol's function and common use individually. Let's start by referring to sample staff illustrated below.


The musical staff is constructed of 5 horizontal lines separated by 4 spaces used for the placing of the symbols of musical notation of the major and minor scaling systems. The staff is divided by vertical lines or bars, also called bar-lines, separating the measures of time in the musical phrases.

The Grand Staff consists of staves (plural) of both the lower and higher pitched voices or instruments and may be two or three stacked staves connected by single or double vertical end bars. It is an example of the multi-staff. Multi-staves (pl) may be stacked by as many as is necessary for the piece of music or up to as many as will fit on the page. Below: Triple grand staff