A musical staff represents the time line of musical sound events. It is generally made up of five lines and four spaces. Notes are placed on these line and spaces to inform which pitch should sound. Notes placed on the top or each other would sound in harmony. Notes placed side by side of each other would sound as melody.

The notes on the musical staff indicates how high or how low the pitch will sound. The higher up the note is placed on the musical staff, the higher the pitch will sound. The lower the note is placed on the musical staff, the lower the pitch will sound. If notes are to go higher or lower than the five lines of the musical staff, ledger lines can be used to extend the staff.

A percussion staff may have any number of lines depending on the type of instruments used. Keyboard percussion instruments and most percussion instruments of determinant pitch are usually notated on the musical staff. Instruments of indeterminate pitch may be notated in any number of lines depending on the category it belongs. The three categories are metals, woods and skins. Some categories are subdivided into smaller groups of the same family such as drums, tom toms, wood blocks, tam tams, cow bells and so on. Such instruments, though its pitch is indeterminate, produce different high and low sounds. Each of these instrument, derived of the same family, will be assigned its own line or space on a percussion staff. There are many ways to write for percussion. The important thing to remember is to make the music as easy to read as possible for the percussionist.