Reading Music 4

  1. The Bass Clef Staff
  2. The Piano Staff
  3. Quiz - Quiz Answers
  4. Exercises
  5. Lesson Materials

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RM 4.1 - The Bass Clef Staff

If you don't play the keyboard or a bass instrument you do not need to read notation on the Bass Clef Staff. But it is always useful to have at least a basic understanding of this Staff.

The Bass Clef identifies the F line (below Middle C on the keyboard), by the placement of a small dot above and below this line.

The notes on the lines of the Bass Clef staff are, from the bottom to the top line :

G - B - D - F - A

Audio 4.1

To help you memorise these notes I made up this line :

Grisly - Bears - Don't - Fear - Anything.

The notes in the spaces between the lines of the Bass Clef staff are, from the bottom to the top line :

A - C - E - G

Audio 4.2

You can memorise these note with the line :

All - Cows - Eat - Grass.

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RM 4.2 - The Piano Staff

Music for the keyboard is usually written on a Piano staff, which combines the Treble Clef staff and the Bass Clef staff.


The Treble Clef staff is used for the right hand and the Bass Clef staff for the left hand.


The two staffs are joined together by a brace at the left side, and by connecting bar lines (see Lesson 6).

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RM 4.3 - Quiz

  1. Which line line is identified by the Bass Clef ?

  2. Which line is identified by the Treble Clef ?

  3. Which notes occur on the lines of the Bass Clef staff ?

  4. Which notes occur in the spaces between the lines of the Bass Clef staff ?

  5. How are the Treble and Bass Clef staffs connected on the Piano staff ?

  6. Which line of the Great Staff is missing on the Piano Staff ?

  7. Name some instruments for which Bass Clef notation is used.

  8. Identify the following compound intervals.
    The first note is in each case the lowest.

    1. B - C

    2. A - D

    3. C - E

    4. D - D

    5. F - E

    6. G - D


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RM 4.4 - Exercises

mnisi2.gif Rule : Never, never, never write letter names above or below notes on the staffs of exercises, songs or any other sheet music ! ! !

Always use Answer Sheet 1 for writing down letter names.
Print several copies of this page so you have enough for all relevant exercises.

Exercise 4.1
Exercise 4.1 : Draw a Bass Clef* at the start of each staff. Then identify each note.
Record your answers on a copy of Answer Sheet 1.
ANSWERS to Exercise 4.1

* = If you do not use the Bass Clef notation for your instrument, draw a Treble Clef instead and identify all notes of Exercise 4.1 as Treble Clef notes.
ANSWERS to Exercise 4.1 (for Treble Clef Exercise)

Exercise 4.2
Exercise 4.2 : Identify each note in the Table.
Record your answers on a copy of Answer Sheet 2.
Draw a Bass Clef at the start of each staff.
(Notes in red are located on lines, all other notes are in spaces)
ANSWERS to Exercise 4.2

Exercise 4.3 (only if your instrument is usually notated in Bass Clef)
Play the notes of Exercise 4.1 and Exercise 4.2 on your instrument.

  1. First play the notes freely at your own pace.

  2. Then use a Metronome and play each note for 4 beats (Example Ex 4.1).

    (Treble Clef players can play Exercise 4.1 in Treble Clef version.)

On the examples the last note of each line (notes 12, 24, 36, etc.) is played short, to help you back on the right track in case you get lost.

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RM 4.5 - Lesson Materials

ItemSheet MusicMidi Files
General files Manuscript paper
Answer Sheet 1 Answer Sheet 2
Exercises Exercise 4.1 Answers 4.1 Bass Clef
Exercise 4.2 Answers 4.2 Bass Clef
Treble Clef Exercise 4.1 Answers 4.1 C instr. Bb instr. Eb instr.
Metronomes 70 bpm 80 bpm 90 bpm

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