Most music is written on a staff of five parallel lines. Pitch in music is the highness or lowness of a sound, and it is indicated on the staff with notes. The part of the note that indicates pitch is called the notehead. Noteheads are small oval shapes that are written on lines of the staff, or in the spaces between staff lines. There are two types of notehead: closed noteheads and open noteheads.
When writing noteheads in the spaces of the staff, make sure that the notehead is in the center of the space, touching both the line above it and the line below it.
Closed and open noteheads in spaces of the staff:
Noteheads that are on lines need to be centered directly on the appropriate line, so that the top of the notehead is in the middle of the space above it, and the bottom of the notehead is in the middle of the space below it.
Closed and open noteheads on lines of the staff:
Always be neat when writing noteheads. If a notehead is too big or too small, or too high or too low, the musician reading what you have written will not know what to play. Good music notation results in good communication, which results in good music performances.
Here are some common errors to avoid when writing music notes:
Avoid! These noteheads are too small:
Avoid! These noteheads are too big:
Avoid! These noteheads are not centered on the appropriate line or space:
Besides blank staff paper, this site includes instructions on how to draw music notes and symbols. You can learn how to draw notes, ledger lines, clefs, rests, note values, accidentals, time signatures, and other musical symbols.