The staff (stave)
Staff (sing.) / staves (plur.)
Stave (sing.) / staves (plur.)
The staff (stave ) is composed by 5 horizontal lines and by 4 spaces. Staff (stave ) is used to put music notes.
Music notes can be on a line or in a space.
Usage of the staff (stave )
Music notes are reading from left to right, like a book.
Music notes can be written on a line or in a space.
If a note is in a line, next and previous notes will be on spaces.
If a note is on a space, next and previous notes will be on lines.
High-pitched notes are on top of the staff (stave ), and low-pitched notes are on the bottom of the staff (stave ).
If there is no more lines or space to draw music notes, ledger lines are used. Ledger lines will extend the staff (stave ).
note: The word ledger can be spelled leger.
Grand staff / Great stave
The grand staff (Great stave ) is composed by 2 staves joined by a brace and is mainly used for the piano or the harp. The grand staff (Great stave ) increase the range of music notes that can be written.
Example with Twinkle Twinkle Little Star played by a harp:
For more than one instrument, multiple staves are used.
Here is an example of the divertimento K563 from Mozart for violin, viola and cello.
Staff (stave ) for percussion instruments
Some percussion instruments need only one staff (stave ), in this case just one line is needed.
Example with a tambourine:
Staff (stave )for the guitar
A lot of guitarists don't use the 5 lines staff (stave ) but use a 6 lines staff (stave ) instead. There is one line for each string of the instrument, it is called a tablature (TAB), the lowest line represent the lowest string and the highest line represent the highest string.
Staff (stave )for the bass guitar
The bass guitar has only 4 strings, so the tablature is composed by only 4 lines.
Non similar staves usage
Non similar staves can be used simultaneously
In the past, like for Gregorian chants, the staves was very different, with only 4 lines.