The staff is formed by 5 horizontal lines, forming 4 spaces between them. The musical notes (C, D, E, F, G, A, B) and the different musical signs can be placed either above the lines themselves or in or near the spaces.
The function of the staff is to contain all symbols, notes, sounds and rests. Note that the lines and spaces define the pitch of the sounds, i.e. the tones.
At the beginning of the staff we find the clef. Thanks to it, we will know how to read a score. The most commonly used is the treble clef, which is placed on the second line, counting from the bottom. Precisely on this line the note G will be placed, and from there the other notes are placed.
If the notes C, D, E, F, G, A, B are put in the spaces or lines consecutively, when you reach B, the sequence starts again, depending on the range of the instrument.
The treble clef is widely used by guitarists, while in the case of pianists, the bass clef is the most used. In this case, its root starts on the fourth line from the bottom of the staff. The F note will always go in this line and the other notes in their musical order as usual.
In addition to knowing each of the musical notes, it is necessary to know the rhythm of each of them. The rhythm will be given by the rounds, whites, crotchets, eighth notes…
These figures are formed with a black or white dot and a stick called a stem. Let’s see the duration times according to their characteristics.
Black: a time
White: two strokes
Eighth note: It lasts half the length of the quarter note. They can be drawn together for easy reading.
These three are the most common, but we can also find:
Round: four strokes (no stem)
Sixteenth note: Lasts half the length of an eighth note.
Fuse: It lasts half of the sixteenth note.
Semibreve: Lasts half the length of the fuse.
It should be noted that when drawing the stem, if the point is below the third line, the stem is drawn upwards. If, on the other hand, the point is above the third line, the stem is drawn downwards.
There are many elements that we can find in a staff. All of them are related to each other, in addition to the ones we have mentioned, there are the measures, rests, slurs, dotted notes…which we will come back to in another article. They all relate to each other to encode all the qualities of sound, the raw material of a musical work.
The most important thing is to do exercises of reading staves, to get the necessary fluency and to assimilate concepts.