Clef Notes

In this lesson series, we will discover the building blocks used in music notation. Like all things new, this may appear difficult at first but before you know it you will have all the knowledge you need to pick up a piece of music and play it.

Clefs

Like writing words on a page, music is written on clefs. Music is represented on 4 different clefs. The type of clef used depends on the type of instrument the music is written for.

Treble Clef

Treble Clef

Bass Clef

Bass Clef

Alto Clef

Alto Clef

Tenor Clef

Tenor Clef

The most frequently used clefs are the treble clef, which is used to represent music written for instruments with a higher pitch, and the bass clef, which is used to represents music written for instruments with a lower pitch.

The treble and bass clefs can be brought together to form the Grand Staff.

Grand Staff

Grand Staff

There are some instruments with a range around middle C, which fit between the bass and treble clefs. In order to avoid using ledger lines, the alto and tenor clefs, also known as the C clefs, are arranged to suit the range of such instruments.

Lets look at the Treble Clef first. The lines represent the following notes:

Treble Clef

The spaces represent the following notes:

Treble Clef

When beginning to memorize these notes, acronyms help quickly identify the note represented for any line or space on the staff.

For the treble clef, the lines represent the notes E-G-B-D-F

The acronym E very G ood B oy D oes F ine is helpful in memorizing this sequence.

The spaces on the treble clef represent the notes F-A-C-E

There is no need for an acronym here as the notes spell the word FACE

Now lets look at the Bass Clef. The lines represent the following notes:

Bass Clef

The spaces represent the following notes:

Bass Clef

For the bass clef, the lines represent the notes G-B-D-F-A

The acronym G reat B ig D ogs F ight A nimals is helpful in memorizing this sequence.

The spaces on the Bass Clef represent the notes A-C-E-G

The acronym A ll C ows E at G rass is helpful in memorizing this sequence.

If you have trouble memorizing these acronyms you can create your own. The acronym is only a tool to help learn the notes on the clef. With practice you will be able to read music without having to refer to these acronyms.

Now lets look at the alto clef. The lines represent the following notes:

Alto Clef

The spaces represent the following notes:

Alto Clef

Now lets look at the tenor clef. The lines represent the following notes:

Tenor Clef

The spaces represent the following notes:

Tenor Clef