On a grand staff there are 10 lines, 5 in the treble and 5 in the bass. There are 8 gaps between the lines, 4 in each staff), but, of course, notes can occur above or below the actual staff lines and the music sometimes "invents" staff lines calld ledger lines, if a note is too high or to low to fit on the normal staff.
That can be pretty overwhelming to deal with when you are starting to read music. There's a dot right there in the middle. Is it A, G, B?
Landmark notes are a helpful way of getting comfortable reading the staff. You pick just a couple notes that you can identify from sight. If a given notehead doesn't appear on one of the lines or spaces that you know, then count up to it or down to it from the closest landmark note.
Common landmark notes are C and G.
* A note between the staffs, either bass or treble, on a single ledger line, is middle C (C4)
* The third space from the bottom of the treble is high C (C5)
* A note above the treble clef on the second ledger line is the C above that, C6
* The second space from the bottom of the bass clef is low C (C3)
* A note below the treble clef on the second ledger line is the C lower than that (C2)
Another way to think about that: two ledger lines at the top, or two ledger lines at the bottom, it's a C!
* If the note is resting on the top line of the treble, it's a G
* If the note is suspended from the bottom line of the bass, it's a G
* G is also the second line of the treble,
* and the 4th space of the bass
EDIT: You don't need to immediately learn every one of the above landmark notes right away. Just learn the ones that actually reside on the staff, plus middle C.
When you start to play pieces that use lots of ledger lines, then add in some landmark notes for ledger lines.
Edited by Whizbang (06/30/13 09:43 AM)
amateur ragtime pianist