Modern musical notation has its origins in European classical music and is now used throughout the world. This modern style of notation uses a five-line staff. Pitch is indicated by the placement of notes on the staff.
The staff at the top is known as the treble clef and is for notes played on the right hand. The staff at the bottom is known as the base clef and is for notes played on the left hand. On the first line of the treble clef is E followed by the notes G, B, D and F. Notes with a pitch outside of the staff can be represented by ledger lines.
Note duration is an important element of musical notation. The duration of notes is illustrated here:
Dotted notes are also used in musical notation. A dotted note is a note which has a small dot written after it. The first dot increases the value of the original note by half. With every additional dot, the value is progressively halved. For example, a note with one dot has a value of 1.5, a note with two notes 1.75 and a note with three dotes 1.875.
Guido of Arezzo, an Italian of the medieval era, is considered the inventor of modern musical notation. His staff notation replaced an earlier form of notation known as neumatic. Unlike staff notation, neumatic was written on only four lines. Guido of Arezzo was a Benedictine monk who created the most popular system of musical notation in use today.