Reading The Dots: Treble and Bass Clef

This worksheet accompanies the skill sections from weeks 2 and 3 of the course, which are on the Volume One DVD. This is also covered in more detail in the workbook.

Music can be written down in notation where dots are put on different lines and spaces for different notes. See the diagram below:

Note Names In Notation

I've put the note-names by each note for learning purposes, but normally these wouldn't be shown. You have to know what each note is just from its position. Notice how the notes count upwards by one letter for every line or space. The musical alphabet runs from A to G, and then repeats in a never ending loop.

The top stave (the top 5 lines) has a treble clef at the beginning, which means its lines and spaces correspond to different notes than the bottom stave, which has a bass clef at the start. You will have to pay attention to which clef is used when working out what note each dot represents.

Treble Clef

Bass Clef

The bass clef is normally used for low notes with the left hand, whilst the treble clef is used for high notes with the right hand.

Notice how there is an overlap in the middle of the top diagram, where B, C and D are shown in both clefs. The C here is called middle C because it is in the middle of the piano and it is in the middle between the treble and bass clef. Also notice how, when the 5 lines are not enough, extra little lines (called 'ledger lines') are added to allow extra notes to be written.

The easiest way to remember these notes is to create acronyms (phrases/sayings using first letters to match the notes).

E, G, B, D, F - Treble Clef Lines

Treble Clef Lines: E, G, B, D, F: Every Good Boy Deserves Fun

F, A, C, E - Treble Clef Spaces

Treble Clef Spaces: F, A, C, E: Face

G, B, D, F, A - Bass Clef Lines

Bass Clef Lines: G, B, D, F, A: Great Big Dogs From Africa

A, C, E, G - Bass Clef Spaces

Bass Clef Spaces: A, C, E, G: All Cats Eat Goldfish

Once you've learn all four of these sayings, you will quickly be able to identify any note on the treble and bass clef. Notes on ledger lines can be worked out by counting up or down a letter for every line or space. Before long, you won't need to use the sayings but will immediately know note names just from the position of the dots!

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