Violin Online: Reading Violin Music
How do you read violin music? Learn how with our music reading tips below.
Reading Violin Music
Notation Definition
Seven letters of the alphabet are used to name notes in music:
A, B, C, D, E, F, G
Musical notes are written on and between five parallel lines called a staff.
Treble Clef
treble clef
The Treble clef or G clef is used for violin music. It also is used by the viola and cello when the notes are in a higher range than the tenor and bass clefs.
Alto Clef
alto clef
The Alto clef is the most frequently used clef in viola music. Notice how the clef curves in the middle to point to the note middle C.
Bass Clef
bass clef
The Bass clef (or F clef) is the most frequently used clef in cello music. The two dots surround the line F.
Tenor Clef
tenor clef
The Tenor clef is used for cello music with notes in a range higher than notes found in the bass clef. The middle pointer of this clef points to middle C (the second line from the top of the staff).
notes on lines Notes on the lines Memory tip for notes written on the lines:
use each note as the first letter of the words in the sentence: Every Good Boy Does Fine.
notes in spaces Notes in the spaces
Memory tip for notes written in the spaces: these letters spell the word: F A C E.
notes above staff Notes above the staff
Notes which extend above and below the staff are written on ledger lines & spaces.
notes below staff Notes below the staff
Consecutive letter names of violin notes, beginning with the violin's open G string:

letter names
For more help with violin notes, visit our Violin Fingering Chart
Measures and Repeats
Notation Definition
bars and measures Staffs are divided by bars into measures.
final ending A thick double bar is a final ending and indicates the end of a section of music.
Time Signature
time signature
The top number in a time signature shows the number of beats that are in each measure. The bottom number shows what type of note gets each beat. For example, a time signature of 3/4 indicates each measure contains three quarter notes.
repeat A double bar with two dots is a repeat marking, and indicates the music in between the repeat signs should be repeated.
repeat If there is only one repeat sign with the dots facing to the left, go back to the beginning and play the entire section of music again.
repeat section First and second endings should be played as follows: play the first ending the first time through the music, repeat to the beginning of the section, then skip over the first ending and play the second ending.
D.C. al Fine D.C. al Fine means go back to the beginning, and end at the Fine marking. (D.C. is an abbreviation for “da capo”, and means “from the beginning” and Fine means "end").
D.C. al Coda D.C. al Coda means go back to the beginning of the piece, play to the “Coda” sign: coda, then jump to the Coda section to finish the piece.
D.S. al Fine D.S. al Fine means go back to the sign, fine and end at the Fine marking (D.S. is an abbreviation for “dal segno”, and means “the sign”).


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