The Notes

There are 7 white keys on the piano, and 5 black keys:

  • The White keys are called naturals
  • The Black keys are either Sharps or Flats.
12 keys of the piano

These 12 notes then repeat throughout the keyboard.

For now, let’s start with the Naturals – the white keys only:

C – D – E – F – G – A – B

Note names on piano

How To Write Notes On The Staff

In The Clefs, we’ve learned where the G is on Treble Clef, and where the F is on Bass Clef.

G and F on piano staff

Treble Clef

Starting with Treble Clef, we can work out the notes up from G:

Notes from G up on treble clef

And from G down to Middle C:

notes from G down on treble clef

Bass Clef

Mirroring that in the Bass Clef, we can figure out the notes down from F:

And going up from F to Middle C:

F clef from F up

How To Quickly Recall The Notes

As you may have noticed, it’s not easy figuring out the notes using a single reference point.

Here is the most common way of recalling the notes quickly:

(Note: while this works great for beginners, over time you should be able to read the notes on the staff as quickly as you’re reading this sentence)

Treble Clef

The five notes on the Treble Clef lines are EGBDF


Line notes EGBDF

The notes in the Treble Clef spaces are FACE.


Space notes FACE

Bass Clef

The notes on the Bass Clef lines are GBDFA


Lines notes GBDFA

The notes in the Bass Clef spaces are ACEG


Space notes ACEG

While it’s common to teach the Bass Clef space notes as “All-Cows-Eat-Grass”, we prefer to keep it simpler. In addition, it resembles the Treble Clef’s F-A-C-E and maintains the symmetry:

Line NotesSpace Notes
Treble ClefEvery-Good-Boy-Does-FineFACE
Bass ClefGood-Boys-Do-Fine-AlwaysACE-G

The Middle C

Notice how the Middle Cs in both Clefs are mirroring each other.
In the Treble Clef, the Middle C is below the Bottom line.
In the Bass Clef, it is above the top line.

Middle Cs on Piano Staff