How to memorize musical notes

Written by steven j. miller
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How to memorize musical notes
Memorising the names of the notes makes it possible to write music. (Comstock/Comstock/Getty Images)

Memorisation of the musical notes on a staff comprises the first, basic step in understanding music. Students must learn about the staff system and how the system of notes works in different clefs. Two main clefs, bass and treble, which together form the grand staff, are the basis for all musical notation. Depending on the clef used, notes' names vary, making it necessary to pay attention to the clef at the beginning of the staff system.

Skill level:


  1. 1

    Memorise the system of lines and spaces on the staff. Staff systems have five lines and four spaces. Each line and space gets a different note name. The musical notes move consecutively from line to space in alphabetical order.

  2. 2

    Learn the musical alphabet that starts with A and ends on G. When G is reached, the cycle starts over again at A.

  3. 3

    Create an acronym to memorise the lines of the treble clef. A common acronym is "Each Good Beginner Does Fine." This acronym (EGBDF) will allow you to remember the names of the lines of the treble clef from bottom to top.

  4. 4

    Remember that when you look between the lines of the treble clef you see your "FACE." Each note of the word "face" is a separate space from bottom to top. The bottom note space is F, the second space indicates A, the third note sounds C and the fourth, E.

  5. 5

    Develop an acronym for the lines and spaces of the bass clef. "Good Boys Do Fine Always" creates an acronym that works to memorise the lines. "All Children Eat Groceries" helps to learn the names of the spaces.

Tips and warnings

  • The bass clef looks like a backward-slanted F with two dots on either side of the F line. This fact earns the bass clef the alternate name, F-clef. (Reference 2)
  • The treble clef is a stylised G with a line that wraps around the G line. For this reason, treble clef sometimes receives the name G-clef. (Reference 2)

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