5 Line Staff Reading the Staff Reading the five line staff is simple but takes practice. Each line on the staff represents one musical note, and each space on the staff represents one note. So, from bottom to top, the notes read E (on the line) F (in the space) G (on the line) A (in the space) B (on the line) C (in the space) D (on the line) E (in the space). The notes can be brought up half a step by adding a sharp sign (#) or down half a step by adding a flat sign (b). Notes on the staff are represented by musical notes which are shown above if you are viewing full-view mode. They show what note to play and how long to play it. The position vertically on the staff shows what note to play. For instance, if the note is positioned on the very top line of the staff, than the note would be an F. The rhythm is shown by what the note itself looks like. You can use the table below to see which kinds of notes get which kinds of rhythms. If you are viewing the site in full-mode, you can see the notes in order from left to right in the diagram above. Whole Note -- Longest note Half note -- Half of a whole note Quarter note -- A quarter of a whole note, or half of a half note Eighth note -- An eighth of a whole note, or half of a quarter note Sixteenth note -- A sixteenth of a whole note, or half of an eighth note The next important thing about the staff is the time signature. The time signature tells us how many beats there are in a measure and what type of note gets the beat. For instance, if the time signature is 3/4, then there are three beats in the measure (the 3 of the 3/4) and the quarter note gets the beat (the 4 of the 3/4). Another example would be 2/2. This time signature means that there are two beats in a measure and a half note gets one beat. This doesn't mean there are ONLY half notes in the measure, but it does mean that the beats in one measure need to add up to the same number of counts that two half notes would add up to. The most frequently used time signature, 4/4, is often just notated as 'C', or 'common time.'