TEACHING Piano Adventures®

The Bass Clef and Treble Clef

Lesson Book page 31

let's get started

  1. 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.
  2. Have you heard of a bass drum, or a string bass? These instruments make low sounds.
  3. On the piano, low sounds are written in the bass clef. (Show the clef.)
  4. Think of the sounds made by a flute, or a violin. These instruments make high sounds.
  5. On the piano, high sounds are written in the treble clef. (Show the clef.)
  6. 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

Bass means low, treble high.

pedagogy pointers

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.

Get the Flash Player to see this player.

see it in action

Teaching Video 30

Bass and treble clefs are related to low and high sounds, not just introduced as symbols to distinguish the upper from the lower staff. Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy are good representatives of each clef, and David has no trouble identifying other high and low "voices" or music examples played in different ranges.

When The Music Alphabet was introduced, the student played these note names across the entire keyboard. David now begins to associate the note names with the bass and treble clefs. Seeing that three complete music alphabets march up and across the Grand Staff gives David a general idea of where these notes are written, as well as where they are found on the keyboard.

Ask Yourself

Dial-up users: Click to play with RealPlayer (low quality)