Here Comes Treble
Are you tired of watching your friends in envy as they effortlessly read sheet music?
Do you have a stroke every time you attempt to decode the seemingly complicated sheet music symbols?
Your search for a super-easy and user-friendly guide to reading sheet music is over!
While the prospect of deciphering unknown symbols can certainly be daunting, the rewards are well worth it. Who knows? You may even create something beautiful and discover a talent you never knew you had…
To help you on your way, we’ve prepared a guide to teach you to read music like the pros. So let’s start at the very beginning, shall we?
In this article, we are going to look at the clef.
The word “clef” comes from the French word “clé”, meaning “key”. Think of the clef as the key to unlocking the meaning of each note.
The clef is found at the beginning of each line of music and tells you what note to assign to each line of the stave.
Each space and line on the stave represents a different letter, and therefore, a different note, ranging from A to G, with the notes getting higher as they go up the stave.
Here’s a photo of the treble clef and the placement of each note:
However, since staves only have five lines, it’s impossible to represent all the pitches on one stave; some instruments have a very low pitch, whereas others have a higher register. Because of this, there are several clefs, which makes it possible to write music for all types of voices and instruments.
Just as above, each line and space on the bass clef has a note value:
As shown above, there are two main clefs that you will encounter:
The Treble Clef
The treble clef, also known as the “G clef” because it looks like a somewhat pretentious letter G, is used to represent higher registers of music.
You’ll most likely use it if you play an instrument with a higher pitch like the flute, the violin or the saxophone or if you’re a soprano, mezzo-soprano, alto, contralto or tenor (though the notes you read are an octave higher than the notes you sing if you’re a tenor.)
It can be quite difficult to remember the note names for each line, here’s what Jon Fellowes, musician and music journalist for Last Minute Musicians has to say:
“It may sound silly, but there are lots of little rhymes and funny ways to remember the different notes of the clef that can really help at the beginning. For example, I was always taught that the notes in the spaces between the lines of the treble clef spell out FACE, from bottom to top.”
Likewise a helpful way of remembering the line notes is:
Every Good Boy Deserves Football
Hmmm…perhaps not applicable in all circumstances (myself included…)
How about…every good boy deserves food? That’s something I can get behind.
The Bass Clef
The bass clef is also called an F clef because it wraps around the F note on the bass stave.
The bass clef is used to represent lower registers of music so you’ll most likely encounter it if you play an instrument with a lower pitch, like the bassoon, tuba or cello.
Likewise, if you’re a bass or a baritone voice, you’ll use a bass clef.
A useful mnemonic to remember the note names for the lines is:
G B D F A
Good Bikes Don’t Fall Apart
There’s also a good one for the spaces as well:
A C E G
All Cows Eat Grass
Easy to remember, right?
Now you understand what the clefs mean, you should be able to start playing some notes! Why not start with any one of our thousands of pieces of sheet music for beginners on our sheet music app?
You can also access all our sheet music online at jellynote.com.
Whether it be sheet music for piano, violin, voice or any other instrument, we’ve got you covered.