The lines of the Stave and Clefs look a lot more daunting than they really are. They are just a way to express whether the notes are high or low or in the middle. They are of course part of the language of music – which at first seems foreign – but once they become familiar you just accept them as quite normal.
Easy Music Theory : The Grand Stave
The best way to understand how written music relates to how the notes sound is to sit at a piano or keyboard and find and identify the notes using the printable below (click the image to download, or click here). Each line and space relates to a note and one step (semitone) up or down on the Stave is one step up or down on the keyboard.
The Stave is the five lines which the notes are written on and between these five lines there are four spaces. There are two Staves (known asThe Grand Stave) one above the other. They are sometimes also referred to as the Staff, depending on where you are in the world! The top one has a Treble Clef, which indicates that all the notes are above middle C (right hand on piano) and the lower one has the Bass Clef, indicating all the notes are lower than middle C (left hand on the piano).
There are also three notes that belong in between the two Staves; middle C (which has it’s own little line through it) the D which lies above it, and the B which lies below. These three notes can be written either at the top of the bass clef stave, or the bottom of the treble clef stave, depending which hand should be playing the note.
Music Note Pneumonic
To help remember which notes are on which lines and spaces, there are some useful rhymes as listed on the sheet above. Print off the sheet and either stick it at the front of your piano book, or mount it onto card. It will become a good friend, expect to refer to it at every lesson. These rhymes alongside all the other exercises help with recall and recognition and gradually you will find you no longer have to work out the notes, but simply know what they are by recognising them. A very satisfying achievement!
For more help with learning to read music check out How To Read Music Made Easy
There are tons of great music note pneumonics around – if you have one that your piano pupils find useful, we would love you to come and share it over on our Facebook page!