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Figure 4-2: 9
The clef. v^>
Part II: Getting Sound Down on Paper
The clef’s sole purpose in life is to tell you the names of the lines and spaces on the staff. If the clef could talk, it would say something like, “For this set of notes the lines and spaces represent these keys.” But how weird is a talking clef?
Music uses several different clefs, but as a keyboard player you’re in luck — you only need to know two of them. Think of it as having a clef for each hand.
Generally, the treble clef (refer to Figure 4-2) signals notes to be played by the right hand. This clef is also called the G clef, for the following two reasons:
( It looks like a stylized G (very stylized).
*s It circles around the second staff line which (not coincidentally) represents the note G.
It’s also possible to think of this clef as a stylized T for “treble,” but don’t quote me on that in any snobbish music circles.
The G line encircled by the treble clef isn’t for just any old G key. It’s the G that is closest to the middle of your keyboard (see Figure 4-3 for a guide). After you’ve found this G, reading the other lines and spaces on the staff is as easy as reciting the alphabet.
Gee, finding the G wasn't too hard
Treble clef G
If you’re close to a keyboard, put a right-hand finger on this G key. (If you’re not close to a keyboard, then refer to the keys you see in Figure 4-3.) The next white key up (to the right) of the G is represented by the next space up on the staff. According to my E-Z Key Finder in Chapter 3, G stands for “Go back to the beginning of the alphabet,” so the next white key on the keyboard and the next space up on the staff correspond to the note A.
Continue up and down the staff and you get the musical notes you see in Figure 4-4.
Chapter 4: Following Horizontal and Vertical Lines
All the lines and spaces on the treble clef stand for different notes.
You may be wondering why none of the black keys is represented by the lines and spaces. Chapter 3 explains that the black keys are sharps and flats. Instead of adding more lines and spaces to show the sharps and flats, a much simpler approach places these sharps and flats on the same lines or spaces as their “root” note but with a little symbol next to the note. So, B-flat sits on the B line with a little flat symbol next to it, as shown in Figure 4-5.
Flats and - Q , —
sharps are ° E>° ^ —
by these B B-flat F F-sharp
Most often, your left hand plays the lower notes on the keyboard, which are also called bass notes. For the record, that’s pronounced like “base,” not like the fish you lied about catching last weekend.
The rules of equality demand that the left hand get its own clef, too. Introducing the bass clef (see Figure 4-6). Like the treble clef, the bass clef surrounds a particular line that represents a particular note — the note F. You can remember the special relationship between the bass clef and the note F by thinking about the following two things:
IJ1 The bass clef looks like a stylized F (use your imagination).
J' The bass clef’s two dots surround the staff line that represents the note F.
You can call the bass clef theF clef, if you like, or think of it as a stylized B — the dots are the humps — for “bass.” Again, you didn’t hear that from me when Professor Uppity asks.
Part II: Getting Sound Dow*it?a|MV
The bass clef.
Don’t think that the bass clef surronds the F just below the treble clef G. It doesn’t! Instead, this F is one set of keys lower on the keyboard (see Figure 4-7).
more than one key.
Bass clef F Middle C Treble clef G
To read the notes on the bass clef, simply start with the F line and travel down, or backwards, and up, or forwards, through the alphabet. Figure 4-8 shows you the notes on the bass clef staff.
Figure 4-8: G B D
The bass is loaded with
of seven --------- n— °
On both the treble and bass staff, notice that the bottom line and top space have the same letter name. Same goes for the bottom space and top line on each staff. Figure 4-9 illustrates my point beautifully.
Chapter 4: Folloping Horizontal and Vertical Linos
Mnemonics help you remember the mnotes
Having trouble remembering the names of the lines and spaces for each staff (and consequently, the notes they represent)? Use a mnemonic, a word or phrase created from the letter names of these lines and spaces, to help you remember.
I like the following mnemonics, but feel free to make up your own. Unless otherwise noted, these mnemonics start on the bottom line of each staff and go up:
Treble clef lines (E-G-B-D-F):
. Traditional (but sexist): Every Good Boy
.j Musical: Every Good Band Draws Fans
Pianistic: Even Gershwin Began (as a) Dummy First
. Culinary: Eating Green Bananas Disgusts Friends
Shameless: Every Good Book (is a) Dummies Favorite