The Staff and Measures

  • Sound – The source of Sound is Vibration.  Anything that Vibrates produces Sound.
  • Pitch – is a term to describe the Highness or Lowness of a Sound.
  • The Staff (staves for plural) consists of 5 parallel lines which enclose 4 Spaces.  Music Notation is Written on the Staff.
  • Clef – A Clef is a symbol placed at the beginning of the Staff.  The Clef tells what Pitch the notes are on the Staff.  
  • There is a Treble Clef, and Alto Clef, a Bass Clef and a Tenor ClefGuitarists read music that begins with a Treble Clef.

The Staff

  • Time Signature – A Number Notation placed after the Clef on a Staff that consists of Two Numbers one on top of the other.  The two numbers represent two different musical components for each Measure (Bar) on the Staff.  The Top number states how many Beats for each Measure, the Bottom number represents what type of Note Value makes up 1 Beat. In a 4/4 Time Signature, There are 4 Beats Per Measure (the Top Number) and the Quarter Note is the Beat (the bottom number 4 represents Quarter Notes).

Notes on the Staff with Treble Clef (G Clef)

  • Treble Clef – Also called the G Clef, If the Treble Clef is placed at the beginning of the Staff, the Notes on the Staff Pitch are Medium to High Zone.

Common Time Signatures

  • A Time Signature is a Numerical Symbol with two important Measure Rhythm Values.  The Top number states how many Beats Per Measure (Beats Per Bar).  The Bottom number states what kind of Note Value is the Beat.  
  • The Beat is a Countable Musical Pulse that dictates the Rhythm and Tempo of a piece of music.  When a Musician counts out loud before a song: “One Two Three Four!”, that person is counting the Beat.
  • Rhythm – Term that applies to all aspects of time in a piece of music. How short or long a duration of notes is described as Rhythm.
  • Tempo – used to describe how fast or slow the Rhythm of a piece of music is.  Tempo is measured as BPM (Beats Per Minute).

The C Symbol = 4/4 Time Signature "common time"

This Symbol = 2/2 Time Signature "Common Half Time"

  • Bar Lines separate Measures.  
  • Measures are also called “Bars”.  Measures are the spaces between the Bar Lines where notes are placed and represent a segment of time.
  • A Double Bar Line separates to sections of a piece of music.  The sections can have vast differences such as a Tempo change or Key changes.
  • Final Bar Line – A Symbol stating the End of a piece of music. 

Repeat Sign

A Repeat Sign directs the player to repeat the measure (bar).  A Repeat Sign has 2 Dots followed by a Bar Line and then a Thick Bar Line.  Once the measure is repeated, continue to the next measure.  For Example, the picture labeled Repeat Sign Example #1, has a first measure with a repeat sign.  This directs the player to play the first measure twice, then continuing on to the 2nd measure

  • Repeat Sign Example #1 – Play Measure 1 twice before proceeding to Measure 2.
  • Repeat Sign Example #2, the player is directed to play measures 1 and 2, then repeat both measures (1 and 2) then proceed to measure 3.
  • Repeat Sign Example #3,  The Dots face each other.  When the repeat signs face each other, only repeat the measure or measures contained.  The first measure is played, then the 2nd measure is played twice (repeated once) then the 3rd measure is played.

Ledger Lines

  • Ledger Line – Short lines placed above or below the staff.  Ledger Lines show notes above or below the Staff’s range of notes.