What is a Staff Paper?

A staff paper, also known as music manuscript paper or sheet music, is composed of horizontal lines or musical staffs with treble clefs located at the left corner. A typical musical staff contains five evenly spaced horizontal parallel lines that run across the page. There are four spaces between the five lines as they play a crucial part when it comes to writing music. The musical notes can be positioned on the lines or spaces on the staff. Aside from the clefs and notes, some other components included in staff are accidentals, a key signature, and various vertically lined up staves when you are writing a piece of music in which several instruments such as piano, violin, acoustic guitar, electric bass, synthesizer, drum set, and many others are supposed to play synchronously.

Sometimes, it is possible to fit multiple systems into a single page of staff paper or music sheet. The number of systems or vertically lined up staves positioned one above the other and all joined by a left bar line, can fit on a page depending on some factors like the number of staves in the system, the number of instruments the music is written for, the physical size of the page, and the size of the staves. For example, large orchestral scores with 10-20 musical staff in a system can often fit one system per page. 

Examples of Staff Papers for Writing Music

A staff paper comes in wide-ranging forms and shapes such as a writing sample PDF, loose leaves, music pads, notebooks, and many other musical composition papers, containing different amounts of musical staff per page. Here are some common examples of staff papers used by music composers, music teachers, and others.

Blank Sheet Music Notebook: This notebook is great for music composition as it fits nicely in a shoulder bag or on a piano stand so you can carry it around whenever and wherever you like to write your music. It is a 100-page wire-bound book, comprised of ten staves per page. It has high-quality balanced pH paper, allowing your musical composition to remain intact for a long period of time. You can search for downloadable and printable blank sheet music in PDF format in different styles such as blank sheet music with six treble clef staffs, blank staff paper with eight treble clef staffs, blank sheet music with six bass clef staves, blank manuscript sheet music with six staffs, blank piano sheet music with four grandstaff systems, staff paper with treble clef and bars, and many others.Staff Music Writing Pad: If you are a music student or someone who needs or wants loose sheets to a notebook, this staff paper pad is bound at the top and comes with handy holes for binders. It offers top-quality music sheets, with clear and well-balanced staff lines and spaces. This is an ideal staff music writing pad for music students, composers, and musicians who prefer loose sheets as pages tear away easily and neatly.Music Theory Staff Paper Notebook: Inspired from Cornell notes and specially curated for all music students and creators, this staff paper notebook integrated multifunctional workspaces to provide users the comfort and freedom to incorporate musical notation with regular note-taking areas in hybrid layouts of musical staves, specified writing spaces, and piano or keyboard graphics, plus inclusions of a study guide, charts and scales, and the grand staff. Thus, it is a must-have item for music theory, music composition, music lessons, and songwriting. Standard Wire-bound Manuscript Paper: It offers 96 music sheets and is comprised of 12 staves per page. If you want to write notes outside of the standard five lines of the staff, it might be hard for you to make additional notes. But this handy wire-bound manuscript paper notebook has thick paper and easily visible staff lines. It lays perfectly flat and is easy to flip through while playing your piano, violin, cello, flute, or any other musical instrument.

Best Apps for Musical Composition

Aside from using blank music pages, staff papers, a graph paper PDF, and pencils, many music composers and musicians nowadays use digital apps to easily convert what they play into notated sheet music such as accurate, clear rhythm and key signatures. Use a software notation program like a PDF editor if you want to get a staff paper and print out almost any kind of music paper. Here is a list of the best new apps that you can use for your musical composition work.

ScoreCloud: It is an innovative and unique music notation app software that enables users to write and share their music compositions and send them to anyone online via email or posting on social media pages such as Facebook, Twitter, TikTok, and Instagram. This app is free for PC and Mac users as amateur composers can simply play or sing their music and records their music and turns them into music notations. They can be printed out into standard sheet music as well. Use ScoreCloud 4 for PC or Mac to create full music arrangements or download, install, and use the ScoreCloud Express app to create sheet music on the go. Hone your music composition skill while using this wonderful app software. Noteflight: It is a digital note-taking app that gives you an all-in-one place to keep all of your notes, plans, research notes, and information to keep in mind and manage in your life at home, at school, or at work. Noteflight: It uses some basic features for free and the premium version of this app software is recommended for professional music composers. Simple to operate and easy to learn, Noteflight has unique features that allow aspiring musicians and music students to write, play and share their music compositions with its global community. Get some inspiration from other composers and musicians as you can view their works on the site as well. This app has a Marketplace where you can sell your musical compositions. Musical Note Pad: Ideal for beginners, this Android app is less complex and advanced as it allows aspiring composers to quickly write simple music scores on their smartphones. It enables you to hear your results immediately as it can play your compositions back for you in one of the more than 128 MIDI instruments that it offers. Also, you can easily zoom the screen out so that you can clearly view your work, making it easy for you to adjust, correct, and write your music notation. Symphony Pro: It lets iPad users use a variety of features essential to create original compositions. It offers them the option to start from scratch or import a MIDI, ABC, or Symphony file so that they can edit them in the app. Get access to different symbols you need for your composition such as dynamic, tempo changes, repeats, and many others.

How to Compose Music Using a Staff Paper

If you are an aspiring composer, amateur musician, or music student, get your musical compositions down in a traditional or digital staff paper or music manuscript paper. Follow the simple steps below so that you can easily notate your music and use a staff paper for your composition.

Step 1: Understand the Music Theory

Take your time to deeply learn and understand the ins and outs of music theory such as the melody, rhythm, harmony, tonal systems, intervals, scales, consonance, dissonance, durational proportions, key signatures, the acoustics of pitch systems, orchestration, electronic sound production, and many others. Have a firm grasp of the basic elements of music theory and other technical components of music to help you become inspired more in composing music.

Step 2: Select the Right Size of Staff Paper

The size of the staff paper varies greatly based on your purpose. For example, use a notebook or a music pad if you are working on simple music theory exercises or simply jotting down musical ideas. If you are planning to use lead sheets, choose standard paper sizes like US-Letter or A4. Avoid using a small, notebook-sized staff paper. Consider how many staves there are on each page. If you are writing a score with multiple instruments, use a staff paper with lots of staves to ensure that there are sufficient staves to cover all the musical instruments or instrument groups in the score.

Step 3: Choose the Appropriate Type of Paper

When choosing the appropriate type of paper, consider the color and thickness of the staff paper. The optimal color choices are cream, off-white, or tan. Matte is much better than gloss. The thicker paper (32-67 lbs.) prevents the staff paper from bending and billowing all over the place which can be hard if you are performing in a live performance or recording in a studio.

Step 4: Use Digital Apps for Musical Composition

Select your preferred app from the aforementioned list of the best apps for musical composition which includes ScoreCloud, Noteflight, Musical Note Pad, and Symphony Pro. Notate and record your song compositions in these apps as these software programs guide you to play or record your original music composition work while they translate it into musical notation.

Step 5: Print Your Music

Print the score you made right away when you click on the printer icon located at the upper left of your screen. Or print when you choose the File and Print options. The print dialog box appears, so use this to customize the settings if you have a specific way you want your music composition to print out. For example, change the direction of the printing, from portrait to landscape if you have a large score that appears to be more readable if it were printed sideways or in landscape direction on the page. Select Layout, then Document Setup, and click the Landscape button. A preview pane will display to enable you to see the overall look of the document. Lastly, click OK to print your music.


What are some examples of staff papers?

Some examples of staff papers are blank sheet music notebooks, staff music writing pads, music theory staff paper notebooks, standard wirebound manuscript papers, staff conceptual framework papers, piano staff papers, and orchestral staff papers.

How music is written on a staff?

The staff consists of a set of five lines and four spaces on which notes are written to identify their pitch or musical sound. 

Why are there five lines on a music staff?

The five lines on a music staff are made because this is the perfect configuration to allow comfort and ease in reading a musical composition. Inserting more than five lines can be confusing to read. 

What are the three staves in music?

The three staves are the score, the top staff assigned to a single instrument or voice for solo, and the bottom two staves as the accompaniment assigned to a keyboard.

How do you arrange the notes in a staff?

When you arrange the notes in a staff, consider that each line and space between the lines depict a particular pitch. Notate musical pitches in staff in a vertical or horizontal way.  If you want higher pitches to be heard or played, write the notes on the top lines and spaces. If you want lower sounds, place the notes on the bottom lines and spaces.

Aspiring music composers, amateur musicians, and music students must learn, practice, and continue to hone their craft so that they can become proficient composers and musicians who are skilled in creating meaningful music. Also, it is integral to be skilled in using various examples of staff papers and a wide array of digital apps for musical composition. Expand your awareness of music theory and use different staff pages with comfort and ease. Discover our diverse selection of sample staff paper templates and other PDF document samples such as a music project proposal, a musician contract, and a music license agreement.