How to Read Violin Notes

Part of violin on music sheet image by Angel_a from

The violin is a member of the string family that can produce a wide variety of notes and tones. Some violinists learn simply "by ear," meaning that they listen to sounds and songs and imitate them on the violin without reading sheet music. Although this is a valuable talent to possess, learning to read notes for the violin also is important if you want to become a well-rounded musician. Music for the violin is written in standard notation, just like the kind of music that you would see written for the right hand on a piano.

Begin by locating the treble clef.
musical notes and treble clef image by Alyona Burchette from

Locate the treble clef on a sheet of music. The treble clef sits at the beginning of a set of five staff lines. If there are two sets of five staff lines, the treble clef is the upper set.

Learn the notes located on the lines of the treble clef. They are E, G, B, D and F, going from bottom to top. A quick way to remember them is with the phrase "Every Good Boy Does Fine."

Learn the notes located in the spaces of the treble clef. They are F, A, C and E (from bottom to top). Remember the word "FACE" to read these notes quickly.

Learn the notes below the staff. D is directly below the first line. C is below D and has its own ledger line through it. B is below C and has a ledger line above it. A is below B and has a ledger line through it and above it. G is below A and has two ledger lines above it.

Learn the notes above the treble clef. G sits directly on top of the highest line in the treble clef. After that, the notes above G repeat, following the musical alphabet, which consists of A, B, C, D, E, F and G. These notes alternate between resting under or above a ledger line or having a ledger line run directly through the note.

Correlate the notes on the sheet music to the notes located on the violin. The strings of the violin from left to right are G, D, A and E. When you press a string down on the neck of the violin, you raise the pitch. For instance, if you hold the E string down with your index finger near the head of the instrument, you will be playing an F (which occurs right after E in the musical alphabet). Use a finger chart to learn more details about violin fingering (see Resource section).