Monday, March 7, 2016

Intro to Writing Music: How To Read Music, Day 4!

Hello everyone,

Hope that you are having a great day today! As you read this post, I am actually working as a piano accompanist for a regional choir adjudication, where the various choirs from the local high schools and middle schools come together to be judged and evaluated. I will be playing with over 40 choirs today and tomorrow, which will be a fun change of pace for me!

Today’s post is the final consecutive post, Day 4, of learning “How to Read Music” in order to write your own. We will cover a few other related topics in some of the articles to come, before launching into “How to Write Your Own Music.” I will be continuing this article series on Fridays, for those of you who are interested in it, but will be featuring other creative activities on future Mondays and Wednesdays. With that information out of the way, let’s jump back into learning about how to read music, specifically notes in the Bass Clef!

Links to Previous Posts in This Series!


The Bass Clef!

Remember that a staff has five lines and four spaces (see image).

Notes in the Bass Clef Staff can be written on spaces or lines! 

Just like the Treble Clef, notes written in the Bass Clef on adjacent lines and spaces are also in alphabetical order when they are going up the staff, and reverse alphabetical order when they are going down the staff, as shown in the example below:

This example starts on the C (C3) eight notes below Middle C (C4) on the piano. 


Returning to the shortcut method for reading music:

If we consider the lines of the Bass Clef, starting with the bottom line - the note G is written on this line. Here are the letter names of all five lines of the Bass Clef:



These letter names are not the same as the Treble Clef lines, so we need a new acronym. Let’s start from the bottom line and go up the staff, we get the following: 

—A— Animals
—F— Fight
—D— Dogs
—B— Big
—G— Great

Easy to remember, right: “Great Big Dogs Fight Animals!”

What about the Bass Clef Spaces? Again, these are different from the Treble Clef spaces. As always, we start from the bottom and move up:


Since that does not spell any word, we need one final acronym here:


Using these two acronyms for the Bass Clef lines and spaces, we can read any note written in the Bass Clef! Here, try to read these notes using the two acronyms; again the answers will be at the bottom of this post:

Recall that I stated that the Bass Clef is also called the “F-Clef?” Well that is because the clef reminds you where the note “F” is in the staff. The symbol is itself an old-style cursive F (imagine that there are two lines connecting to the two dots), and in-between those two dots is the line note “F.

Now you can read all the notes of the Bass Clef! If you would like even more practice at reading your Bass Clef notes then check out this free website:

To get to the Bass Clef notes, click on the settings button in the bottom right. Click on the Bass Clef Staff, then click on the Treble Clef Staff to deselected it. Hit the settings button one last time and you are ready to practice your notes!This is the classic version of this site, the newer version is too complex at this point to be useful, but the classic version is perfect!

Thank you so much reading this part of my series on “How to Read Music.” You are well on your way now to being able to write your own music in the near future. We still have to cover the topics of meter, rhythm, and what about the black notes on the piano? – so look for the next Day of this series on Friday. As always, have a fantastic creative and artistic day!!!

PS. If you have any questions regarding the information provided in this article or would like clarification for any of the above ideas, please don hesitate to ask questions in the comment section below! I am happy to answer all of your questions!  

Bass Clef Notes Answer Key: 1. A, 2. G, 3. G, 4. A, 5. C, 6. E, 7. B, 8. F, 9. D 

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