It seems that reading music is becoming a lost art for the artists of today.  Yes computers and technology make everything easier but there is nothing better than picking up an acoustic guitar and some sheet music and playing a song immediately.  Today we have a guest post from Selena Mitchell whose passion for music and its history is unending. Enjoy:


You can’t learn to play the guitar just by watching videos on Youtube. Learning to play is a great skill which requires acquiring the knowledge to read sheet music. This piece will cover the basics of sheet music for beginners and explain it in an easy way.

For writing music staves are used. A staff is a grid on which we use symbols for musical notes or tones. The musical staff has five long horizontal lines with four spaces in between.

Symbols used for musical notes show us specific tones on the musical scale. The name of each particular note is determined by a symbol called a clef. Guitar music is written on the treble clef or G clef. A G clef looks like this:

The music alphabet consists of the first seven letters of the Latin alphabet: A, B, C, D, E, F and G. The notes on the lines of the musical staff on the G clef rise from the lowest to highest in tone and position. It is easy to learn the names of the notes on these lines with the mnemonics Every Good Boy Does Fine. The letter names of the notes in the spaces spell FACE.

Time Signature

A time signature tells you how to count the music. It consists of two numbers in a fraction form. The top number denotes how many beats to count and the bottom number tells you what kind of note is to be counted. For example, a time signature 4/4 means count 4 quarter notes to each bar. The pulse is counted as 1, 2, 3, 4, 1, 2, 3, 4…..


The Beat

The beat ( also called rhythmic value) is the duration of musical tones within each bar indicated by a set of symbols.

Whole note


Half note


Quarter note


Eighth note


Sixteenth note


Thirty-second note


Sixty-fourth note



Symbols are also used for musical silences where we pause. These pauses are called rests. A rest’s duration may vary from a whole note to a six-fourth note.


Rhythm can be defined as a series of pulses expressed in regular time. These beats are indicated on the musical staff. They are joined into bars and graphically shown by vertical marks called bar lines. Rhythm is about how the music feels.

A bar divides one measure from another. Sometimes a measure is also called a bar but it refers to the line itself.

Sharps and Flats

The seven letters mentioned earlier don’t only make up the music alphabet. There are also sharps and flats which fall in between the main notes.  A semitone is the smallest interval between two consecutive notes. To heighten or lower these notes we use symbols like the sharp or flat.  The sharp is simply sharp, the sharp sign raises the note by a semitone. The flat does the opposite and lowers it by a semitone. When these appear individually, they are called accidentals which means they are to be played only for the length of the measure.

These basics will surely help you in reading sheet music but further learning is required to read it effectively. Hope this helps the beginners!

*About The author: Selena is a passionate who is in love with Music. She is currently representing – easiest access to flute and clarinet sheet music

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1 comment

  1. WHOZ

    good job thanks for the refresher