The Basics of the Staff

STAFF:  Music notes are placed on a series of lines and spaces called the staff. The staff is made up of five lines and four spaces.

Music Staff has 5 Lines & 4 Spaces






LINE & SPACE NOTES: Some notes are placed on the line and some are in the spaces between the lines. Notes with the line through them are line notes.

Line Notes on the Staff






Notes that are in a space between the lines are space notes. Notes at the very top or bottom of the staff are also space notes.

Space Notes on the Staff






The Grand Staff

GRAND STAFF: The grand staff is made up of two joined staves. The top staff is the treble staff and the bottom is the bass staff. The two staves are joined by a brace.

The top of the grand staff is the treble staff. The treble clef sign indicates that the right hand plays the music.

The bottom of the grand staff is the bass staff. The bass clef sign indicates that the left hand plays the music. Putting them together. Voila! The grand staff!

Ledger Line Notes Extend the Range of the Staff


LEDGER LINES:  In order to include more notes on the staff, we see notes on ledger lines (short lines) placed either over or under the staff to extend its range of notes.

Keep in mind there are 88 keys on the piano with a wide range of low to high notes!



  • Staff = 5 lines, 4 spaces
  • Notes on the staff are either placed on a line or in a space
  • Grand staff – houses the treble staff & bass staff
  • Treble clef is played by the right hand
  • Bass clef is played by the left hand
  • Ledger lines extend the staff up or down to include more notes