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Memorising Piano Notes

Notes represented on the treble staff
Calendar January 6, 2017

Memorising Piano Notes

The piano is one of the easiest musical instruments to learn. That doesn’t mean it’s all a walk in the park, though.

A lot of people find it difficult to read sheet music and memorise the notes represented on the staff. This guide will cover the basics of reading sheet music and provide some helpful tips to memorise the notes.

On a blank sheet of music, you’ll notice there are five lines on the staff. Each line and space in between represents a note. If you have just started learning, it is best to familiarise yourself with the letter names (notes) of the lines and spaces as soon as possible.

Using Acronyms to Remember Notes

We will start with the treble clef, or G clef, which shows you which notes to play with your right hand (above middle C). First, label the white spaces on the staff with F-A-C-E, starting with the first space at the bottom, going up. Then mark the lines with E-G-B-D-F.

Music teachers usually come up with acronyms to help their students memorise this, for example:

  • Spaces = Forks And Chopsticks Everywhere
  • Lines = Every Good Boy Deserves Fruit

Now for the bass clef, or F clef – This displays notes played with the left hand (below middle C). Mark the spaces with A-C-E-G and the lines with G-B-D-F-A.

  • Spaces = All Cows Eat Grass
  • Lines = Good Boys Deserve Fruit Always

Use these acronyms or invent your own ones to help you memorise the notes. In the meantime, you can also write these in pencil below a piece of music you want to learn. Try to practice without them written below the music from time to time to help improve your memory.


Another easy way to remember the notes on the staff is to come up with rhymes. Using the treble staff as an example:

  • FACE is for the space
  • Every Good Boy Does Fine for the lines

Keyboard Memory

Memorising notes this way is all about associating notes on the staff with keys on the piano. Start by memorising how to play a simple piece of music on the piano. Then use the sheet music to find each key on the piano for each note on the sheet music. Play the piece of music while singing the note and looking at its placement on the staff.

Practice this over and over, slowly using more songs that incorporate more notes. This method of associating keys with notes on the staff might be better suited to those with a visual learning style.

Talk to the team at Pianoforte if you have any questions about reading sheet music. We provide a range of piano services to the Sydney area, including piano lessons and piano rentals.