Pitch - Staff

For many centuries, music was passed from generation to generation purely by aural means. It was a long time before somebody thought about actually writing it down (it's actually a little more complicated than that, but you'll get that in music history). Eventually, somebody (Guido d'Arrezzo) came up with a 4-line staff to enable composers to accurately notate sounds (pitches) for others to perform. Eventually a fifth line was added, resulting in the 5-line staff which remains in use today:

On this staff, pitches and rhythms can be notated (issues regarding the notation of rhythm will be addressed in a separate lesson). First we'll look at how pitches are notated. Notes can be on lines or in spaces in the staff:

To give these notes an actual identity, however, we will need to add a clef that will specify what the names of the lines and spaces will be.


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