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  • Writer's pictureTom Glasson

Grade 1:5 - Stave and Clefs


We have previously looked at the basics of how music is written, starting with rhythm and pitch. This lessons will continue looking at pitch by showing how the notes we saw in lesson 4 are shown on the stave, and how we know exactly which notes the lines of the stave represent.


Stave and Clefs


To start, here is the stave.


Music Stave

The notes are drawn on the stave, with each line and each space representing one note.


Each note on the stave represents a specific pitch, so in order to know which note each line or space represents, we use a symbol called a clef.


For grade one there are two clefs we need to know, you may recognise these if you’ve seen music, particularly piano music, as it has both.

Treble Clef on Stave

This is called the treble clef, sometimes called the G clef, as it centres around the second line, which in this clef, represents a G.




The clefs represent the notes exactly, so this G is particular, it's the G above middle C* (The note shown on the stave above). There are other G's which would be shown in different places, we will look at this in more detail in just a bit. But remember, the lines and spaces represent notes exactly.


*Middle C is the note we use to orientate where we are exactly, it’s the C in the middle of a keyboard. It is 262 hertz (which is the frequency). This is the same note and frequency on every instrument when it plays middle C.


Bass Clef on Stave

The next clef we need is the bass clef. It is sometimes called the F Clef, because the line it centers around is an F. This is an F below middle C, which is the note shown here.



You may notice that if you put these staves together, they would carry on from each other, with this line missing in between, that line would be middle C.

Treble and Bass Stave linked, with Middle C Between

These are all the notes on the treble stave:

The notes on the treble stave.

Unfortunately, because the two clefs are different, you will have to learn the position of each note on both, they are different and it’s a very common mistake to get them mixed up.


You can see how the notes repeat themselves in order up and down, this represents the different octaves.


The notes of the bass stave.

As a quick way to start learning the notes, or working out which notes are where, the notes on the bass stave are one line or space down from their position on the treble stave (but also two octaves lower), compare the position of the A marked at the bottom of the bass stave with the A marked on the treble stave with the orange arrows. This is just a simple way to work out the notes as you are learning.



If you want to practice any of the techniques in these lessons, download the workbook below, it contains questions for each lesson as well as answers so you can check your progress. See you in the next one!





A Free Gift for you...

Download the Grade 1 Music Theory Workbook - An Introduction to Music Theory for free. The workbook is a written course which teaches you the entire content of Grade 1 music theory from start to finish, it is the full written version of our video course. It contains activities, with answers, to test your knowledge and give you chance to practice what you are learning.


There are 19 sections, covering every topic as well as reference sheets and materials which will come in handy as you study.


Click here to check it out.


Introduction to Music Theory Workbook


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