What is a Music Staff?
A staff is a way to “see” music. The type of note shows the duration, and the position of the note on the lines and spaces shows the pitch. With practice, you can learn songs you’ve never heard before on sight alone.
What are Ledger Lines?
Instruments can play many different notes. To make it easier to “see” those notes without huge, cluttered music staves (more than one staff), musicians use “ledger lines” to show notes higher or lower than the ones you can see on the music staff.
What’s a Bass Clef Staff? What’s a Treble Clef Staff? What’s the Difference?
Sometimes a song will use so many different notes that a single music staff won’t cut it, even with ledger lines. For these songs, musicians may use two separate staves. The bass clef staff is used for the lower notes in a piece, while the treble clef is used for the higher notes. The “middle C” note (the note roughly halfway between the lowest and highest notes on a piano keyboard) is right between the bass clef and treble clef: It’s one ledger line above the bass clef and one below the treble clef. Both of these staves are read at the same time, which requires some practice, but makes it easier for musicians to play a mix of different notes.
What is a Measure?
Measures are stretches of time in music. Measures make it easier to understand songs by breaking them into smaller pieces, usually of the same duration. The vertical lines on a staff mark where one measure ends, and another begins.
What is a Time Signature?
The time signature is a way of organizing music staves. The time signature tells a musician the length of each measure using beats. But to read the time signature, you’ll need to understand rhythm and how long each note lasts.