Anoteindicates both pitch and also rhythm.Notes space written top top a staff. Higher frequency (shorter wavelength) notes are written over lower frequency (longer wavelength) notes (i.e. Greater notes space placed over lower ones).A notehead need to be written very closely on a staff. A notehead is oval (not round); additionally, it must be neither too big nor as well small, and also is tilted slightly upwards towards the right.A clef suggests which pitches room assigned come the lines and spaces ~ above a staff.Extra lines dubbed ledger lines prolong a staff greater or lower.

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Western music notation privileges 2 musical features: pitch and rhythm. Pitches space notated vertically (on the y-axis), while rhythms are notated horizontally (on the x-axis). Western musical notation is review left-to-right and also top-to-bottom, prefer the web page of a publication in written English.

Notation the Notes

A note indicates both pitch and rhythm. A created note is composed of a notehead (either empty or filled in), and also optionally can incorporate a stem, beam, or flag (see Rhythmic and also Rest Values). Instance 1 mirrors an illustration that noteheads, stems, beams, and also flags:

Example 1. Noteheads, stems, beams, and flags.Staff Notation

A staff (plural staves) is vital for conveying pitch. A staff is composed of five horizontal lines, same spaced. Instance 2 depicts a staff:

Example 2. A staff.Placing notes on a Staff

Noteheads top top a line must fill in half of each space above and below. Noteheads in a room should just touch the lines above and below. Instance 3 shows examples of correct noteheads, both open and also filled in, both on lines and in spaces:

Example 3. Exactly noteheads, open up (white) and filled in (black) both on lines and also in spaces.

Example 4 mirrors incorrect noteheads. Together you can see, noteheads have the right to be drawn too small, also big, or the not correct shape.

Example 4. Incorrect examples of noteheads.

Noteheads should be oval (not round), and they space tilted slightly upwards towards the right.


When note are drawn on the lines and also spaces the a staff, those notes represent pitches. Musicians usage spatial metaphors to explain notes placed on a staff. Because that example, notes showing up towards the optimal of a employee are said to be “higher” than those appearing towards the bottom the a staff (which are stated to it is in “lower”). Higher notes have a shorter wavelength (and consequently a greater frequency); lower notes have actually a longer wavelength (and in turn a reduced frequency). Together spatial metaphors vary through milieu—i.e. Across cultures and time periods. Because that example, for part music philosophers in old Greece greater sounding notes were visually placed below lower sound notes.<1> This is because some ancient Greek music philosophers were likely most familiar with string instruments, which encompass violins, guitars, and harps. Example 5 displayed why this to be the situation for some authors in old Greece:

Example 5. Dr. Jacob Tews (Christopher Newport University) explains an ext about ancient Greek music notation.

Notes can not convey pitch information if the employee on i m sorry they show up does not include a clef. A clef suggests which pitches room assigned come the lines and also spaces ~ above a staff (also see analysis Clefs). The 2 most frequently used clefs today are the treble clef and also bass clef. Two other clefs that you may encounter are the alto clef and the tenor clef. Instance 6 shows four notes, each placed after a treble, bass, alto, and tenor clef:

Example 6. Notes put after a treble, bass, alto, and tenor clef.

Higher notes, such together those played by a flute or sung by a soprano, room usually composed in treble clef, and also lower notes, such together those play by a trombone or sung by a bass, space usually created in base clef. Alto and tenor clefs are relatively rare contrasted to treble and also bass. However in part cases, alto clef is supplied for medium-high notes, and also tenor clef is offered for medium-low notes.

Drawing Clefs

One can draw a treble clef in three simple steps, as demonstrated in instance 7:

Example 7. Illustration a treble clef in three steps.

First, draw a slanted vertical line that extends slightly above and listed below the staff. Next, draw a half circle that intersects v your slanted line at the second from peak line that the staff. Finally, circle around the second from bottom heat of the staff. Likewise, one can additionally draw a base clef in three steps, as shown in instance 8:

Example 8. Illustration a bass clef in three steps.

First, draw a period on the 2nd from top line of the staff. Next, attract a backwards ‘C’ the ends in the bottom space of the staff, making certain that the top component of the ‘C’ does not extend over the staff. Finally, location two dots come the best of the backwards ‘C’, in the height two spaces that the staff. One can attract an alto clef in four steps, as example 9 shows:

Example 9. Illustration an alto clef in four steps.

First, draw a thick vertical line the spans the staff. Next, attract a diluent vertical line beside the thicker vertical line. Third, draw two backwards ‘C’s, the very first taking up slightly less than the top half of the staff and also the second taking increase slightly less than the bottom half of the staff. Finally, connect these backwards ‘C’s through a point that rests top top the middle line ofthe staff.

A tenor clef is likewise drawn in 4 steps, as watched in instance 10:

Example 10. Illustration a tenor clef in four steps.

A tenor clef and also an alto clef are attracted the same; however, the tenor clef is shifted up one heat of the staff greater than an alto clef. First, draw a thick vertical heat that starts on the second from bottom heat of the staff and extends slightly over the staff. Next, attract a thinner vertical line alongside the thicker vertical line. Third, draw two backwards ‘C’s, the very first extending slightly over the top fifty percent of the staff and the second taking increase slightly much less than the center two spaces the the staff. Finally, affix these backwards ‘C’s through a allude that rests on the 2nd from top line of the staff.

Writing Ledger Lines

When notes room too high or low to be composed on a staff, small lines are drawn to extend the staff. This extra currently are referred to as ledger lines. Instance 11 reflects ledger lines written above and listed below a staff:

Example 11. Ledger lines, both above and listed below a staff with a bass clef.

Example 12 mirrors notes (with stems and beams) attracted on ledger lines, above and below a staff.

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Example 12. Note (with stems and also beams) top top ledger lines, over and listed below a staff v a treble clef.

When writing ledger lines, be sure not to placed in an extra ledger line above or listed below the keep in mind you space writing. Instance 13 an initial shows the correct way of composing notes on ledger lines, and also the untrue way, with extra ledger lines over and listed below the notes: