What are the notes on a sheet of music?

This post covers one of the basics of reading music – the name and pitch (how high or low they are) of notes on a sheet of music. To hear how these different notes sound you can use the Scales Practice app for Android. The app allows you to choose scales with different starting notes, see how these notes appear on a music stave, and then play them so you can hear how they sound.

The music stave

Notes show the pitch of sounds by their position on the music stave. This is a set of five lines and four spaces. These lines and spaces are numbered from the bottom up, and each one represents a different note:

Music Stave 1

The lower down on the stave the notes are written, the lower they sound. The higher up on the stave they are written, the higher they are.

Treble clef

The notes are given letter names between A and G. These are used over and over again as shown below for a keyboard.


The C nearest to the middle of the keyboard is Middle C. As we move up the keyboard to the right from middle C the sounds become higher. These are called Treble notes.

Moving down the keyboard to the left from Middle C the sounds become lower. These are bass notes.

When writing treble notes on a stave we need a Treble Clef at the beginning of the stave as shown below. The notes on the spaces of the treble clef spell out FACE.

The notes on the lines are E G B D F. There are various sayings that people use to remember these notes – a popular one is Every Good boy Does Fine.


Bass Clef

A Bass Clef is used for the notes below middle C. The names of notes on the lines are G B D F A (try Good Birds Don’t Fly Away!). The spaces are A C E G (All Cows Eat Grass).


Ledger Lines

The notes don’t stop at the top line of the staff – they also go above and below it! These appear on smaller lines called ledger lines. They follow the same pattern as notes on the stave.


Now that you have an understanding of what the different notes are called, you can use the Scales Practice Android App to hear how they sound!