Designed for the artistic stingray

The Five-line Staff

The Five-line Staff

The five-line staff is where we write/read the actual notes we’re going to play. We use the musical alphabet – A B C D E F G A B C D E F G. On the staff, each line is one note and each space is one note. What note do you think this example is?


example 1


It’s a trick question, because that isn’t really a note. We have to add something called a clef to the start of the staff in order for the lines and spaces to represent a note. One of the most commonly used clefs is Treble Clef. Let’s put a clef on the staff and try to name that same note again.


example 2


Now that we have a Treble Clef on there, the middle line is a B. If you remember the order of the alphabet you can figure out every other note on the staff. 

For example what letter comes after B in the alphabet?


example 3


C! So the space above the middle line would be the note C.


What note comes before B in the alphabet?


example 4


A! So the space below the middle line would be the note A.


(Remember A and G are next to each other in the musical alphabet)

                                                          example 5

Being able to read the five-line staff really comes down to experience and memorization. There are a couple of tricks you can use to memorize the lines and spaces…


 example 6


Using those letters we can make a little saying:

          Every Good Boy Does Fine

Here are a couple of other silly examples:           

          Every Guy’s Bird Deserves Feathers

          Even Giraffes Bite Dirty Flamingos

          Elmo’s Great Big Dinosaur Flies

          Every Good Baby Deserves Fanta


example 7


I like to use a little rhyme to help memorize the spaces: All the notes in a space, F A C E face!


The more you practice reading these lines and spaces, the better you get at it and the faster you can read music. Here is a practice sheet you can print and fill out: