How to Read Music

How to Read Notes

When music is written out, it consists of the following:

  • The Staff – which serves as the framework for written music:
  • Notes – which signify specific pitches that occur within music:
  • music notes

  • Clefs – which tell us the pitches of the notes we see written on the staff:
  • music clefs

  • Rests – which indicate moments of silence within musical passages:
  • A Time Signature – which tells us how many and what kind of notes are in each measure of music:

Learning to read music involves learning about each of those components of musical notation. Then, when they all come together in a passage of music, you’re familiar with the individual elements and can understand what the composer intends by the notes written on the staff.

Of course, each of those individual components is a whole topic unto itself. Learn more about each of them by following the links below. And if you want a very thorough course that will take you from newbie to fluent music reader in 7 days’ time, then check out Read Music Now.

More about the staff, clefs, notes and rests

More about time signatures and rhythms