Bass Clef Notes and Note Names
So, you want to get better at at reading piano notes? The bass clef notes are not very difficult to learn once you learn this simple trick that almost all musicians use to help them memorize them.
The notes of the bass clef are different from the notes in the treble clef. To read musical notes, you have to look at the lines and spaces on the staff.
The staff is the set of lines that the notes sit on. To read the notes, you look at where the note falls on the staff, and this tells you the name of the note.
Each note has a place that it sits on the staff lines. It either sits on a line or a space. This means that it either smashed between two lines, or it has a line running through it.
Before we start looking at the names of the notes let’s take a look at what the bass clef looks like.
The Staff Lines
Both the bass and treble clef are made up of lines
Each clef has five lines and four spaces. Each line and each space represents a different note.
The image below shows the staff lines that the notes fall on.
The two clefs tell us a lot of important information. This blank set of lines tells us the note names, and they also tell us if that note should be played with the right hand or the left hand.
At the beginning of each line of music there is a symbol which shows the clef.
The bass clef symbol looks like a backwards C with two dots.
All of the bass clef notes are to be played with the left hand.
The bass clef can also be called the F clef. This is because if you look closely at the two dots that make up the bass clef symbol, you will see that the two dots fall on an F note.
Where Are Bass Notes
Bass notes normally fall below Middle C. Sometimes the notes come above middle C, but not very often. Middle C is kind of the cut-off
between the two clefs.
Look at the image and you will see that the notes on the bass clef are almost always below Middle C. Middle C is almost always where the bass clef starts.
What if a note is above Middle C, and is still in the Bass Clef......
This just tells us that you have to play that note with the left hand. A lot of times bass clef notes are above Middle C, that means that the right hand is either out of reach or playing other notes.
The lowest note on the Bass Clef is a G. Some songs will have you play lower than this, but this is normally the cut off.
If a note does go below G, just keep going down the musical alphabet. Count each line and space until you reach the note.
Bass Clef Notes
The note that falls on the top line of the bass clef is an A.
Go down to the space below you have a G.
Below the G
is an F.
You can keep going down counting each of the lines and spaces until you find the note you are needing to know.
As you go down the staff, the notes go down the musical alphabet. If you know the top line is an A, you can count down the musical alphabet until you get to the note you want.
This approach works, but it can take forever.
Take a look at the image and see how each note goes up and down the musical alphabet as you move from line to space.
Remember that the musical alphabet is different from the normal alphabet. In musical notation it goes from A through G.
Once you get to G, you start over again at A.
Make sure that when you are trying to find the bass clef notes that you keep this pattern in mind.
Trick To Learning Bass Clef Notes
The way I showed you above is a difficult way of learning bass clef notes. There’s a much quicker way of learning these notes for a beginner.
You can use what’s called a mnemonic phrase to help you remember. A mnemonic phrase is a short sentence that helps you enforce things into the long-term memory.
Good Boys Do Fine Always - Lines
All Cows Eat Grass - Spaces
The first letter in each word tells you the note name from the bottom line or space.
- If the note is on a line: Start with the G on the bottom line, and then go up the lines saying the phrase.
- If your note is on a space: Start with the A on the bottom space and then go up the spaces saying the sentence.
These two sentences are how almost all piano teachers start teaching bass clef notes to beginner students. If you can commit these sentences to memory you will much more quickly be able to identify the bass clef notes.
If you need help memorizing the note names, you can use flash cards. Making flash cards of each note in the clef will help you be able to quickly name the notes. This will help when you are trying to play a piece of music and you need to quickly recall the note name.
There is also a Great App in the Apple Store
you can use if you have an iPod, iPhone, iPad, or any other compatible device called iReadMusic.
It’s like virtual flash cards. There are multiple ways to play; for example they show the note, then you pick the key on the piano.
I try and use this App every now and then to keep myself sharp. It also keeps track of your scores so you can see how much you have improved. It is really a beneficial tool. And it's not that expensive either!
You can also check out Rocket Piano!
They have an amazing piano system that takes you step by step through everything you need to learn how to read music and play the piano.
Click Here to check out Rocket Piano!
Lesson #10 - Sight Reading Go From Bass Clef Notes Back to Lessons
Back to Home Page