Express Stave by John Keller

My preferred version of Express Stave, is the ‘reverse colour’ version, where the naturals (white keys on a piano) are represented with black note-heads, and the black keys (sharps and flats) have white note-heads. See the following PDF files for illustration:

  • How to read Express Stave
  • Black Key Geography
  • Practice locating the 3 groups of 2s and 4 groups of 3s encompassed by the grand stave.
    Remember, white note-heads mean you play black keys!
    Page 2 shows 3 groups of naturals ABCDEFG.

The following ES guide shows some of its properties, terminology and coding:

Beginner piano method:

Here are the links to this website’s descriptions of the three versions of Express Stave:

Some YouTube tutorials:

Free PDF files of piano music in Express Stave notation (reverse color):

  • Violin Beginners Method
  • Violin Fingerboard Scale Diagrams
  • Original Compositions: