Key Stage 3 Learning Zone - Get Going Reading Music


Music is written on special sets of lines called STAVES. These days most music is written on two sorts of staves:


                    TREBLE CLEF             and                          BASS CLEF





Clefs help musicians write their ideas down. Really it’s the simplest way of writing your ideas down for someone else to follow (or even for you yourself if you’ve forgotten what you were going to play!) First you need to know the NAMES OF THE NOTES ON THE STAVE:



                                                      C  D  E   F       G  A   B  C      D   E   F   G




                                                     E   F   G  A      B  C  D  E       F   G   A    B


(Notice which way round all the notes go, half way up the stave they turn upside down. Well, they’re not really upside down, they’re the right way round, well, what I mean is….erm... well you can see for yourself if you look. You are looking aren’t you?)


It’s probably best to learn the notes of the Treble Clef first. (Unless you play Bass Guitar, or Cello, or Double Bass, or Alpenhorn) To help you do this, musicians, in that helpful, sweet way that they have, have devised mnemonics (words that help you remember stuff) The notes on the lines of the treble clef stave go (from the bottom line to the top):


E (very) G (ood) B (oy)  D (eserves)  F (ootball)


And the notes in the spaces spell FACE. Another way to remember is to keep shouting, wildly “THE MIDDLE LINE IS B”, and “EVERY SPACE AND EVERY LINE IS DIFFERENT”, but only a madman would teach like that….ahem.


Now you’ve seen this, here’s a sad little exercise that everyone asks you to do if you learn an instrument. Take some MANUSCRIPT PAPER (the stuff you write music on) and write notes on the treble clef (draw a clef first!!!!) to spell:


FACE              EGG    CAGE              BED     FAB     AGE    DAD    ARMADILLO


Which is the odd one out and why?


Yeah, that’s right.


Now try to play these little tunes and work out what they say:


                                                                                      Play it to me



                                                                     Play it to me



                                                                                      Play it to me





Now you’ve done them, why not irritate your friends by writing more words on your own bit of manuscript paper?


There’s one more thing. A SHARP sign RAISES a note by a semitone. A FLAT  sign LOWERS a note by a SEMITONE. A NATURAL  puts it back to normal (natural, surprisingly enough)


Listen to the example:




                 A                   A sharp             A natural           A flat


Pick up thy manuscript paper again, and write the following notes:


F          F#        Fb        D         C#       G         Bb        G#       A#       Gb       Db


E          Eb        Db       C         H#


Which is the odd one out and why? Yep. Easy, huh.


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