The Bass Clef and Treble Clef
Lesson Book page 31
- Bass clef
- Treble clef
- The bass clef shows all the notes below Middle C
- The treble clef shows all the notes above Middle C
- Tracking notes on the page without looking at the hands
let's get started
- A key unlocks a door. Or there can be a key to solving a puzzle. The key that unlocks the mystery of how to read music is called a clef, a sign that helps you find the names of the notes.
- Have you heard of a bass drum, or a string bass? These instruments make low sounds.
- On the piano, low sounds are written in the bass clef. (Show the clef.)
- Think of the sounds made by a flute, or a violin. These instruments make high sounds.
- On the piano, high sounds are written in the treble clef. (Show the clef.)
- Together the bass clef and treble clef help you find the names of the notes on the Grand Staff.
A general introduction provides a frame. Details come later.
explore and create
Sing Your Lines and SpacesNow I'll add the clefs to this game. On the treble clef—Point with your finger to the fifth line. On the bass clef—Point with your finger to the first space. (Continue) (See video and download duet)
Let's Change PlacesI'll point and you tell me the clef and which line or space it is.
Ear Detective(Give the student a big bass clef and treble clef.) Turn around (away from the piano). I'll play some sounds. If they're high sounds, hold up the treble clef. If they're low sounds, hold up the bass clef. (Later, you might play some high and low sounds together to see if the student will hold up both clefs!)
Bass means low, treble high.
The student has learned what a staff is, and has also begun to associate the top staff with the right hand and the bottom staff with the left. When the bass and treble clefs are introduced, it's important to associate them with low and high sounds, as well as with hands or note names.
Here, the placement of note names on the staff is only a general orientation, used to show how the seven-letter music alphabet fits across the Grand Staff from bottom to top. Connection of note names with Middle C or with specific clefs follows in the pages to come.