Note Names and Clefs

Pitch – highness or lowness of a musical sound
Note – a symbol we use to notate pitch

You already know how to use letter names and accidentals to specify pitches (A through G repeating, etc.), and know how to use treble and bass clefs to write down pitches with notes.

Notes 1

Octave Designations

Now we need to be able to tell the difference between an A in the middle of treble clef and the one at the top of bass clef.

Notes 2 Notes 3

The lowest C on the piano is C1 and the highest C is C8. With this information we can fill in the first example with octave designations.

Notes 4

At this point in your career, you need to read both treble and bass clefs fluently. If you are weaker at one of them, now is the time to practice the other clef.

C Clefs

There are two more clefs you should be familiar with: alto and tenor clefs. Both of these clefs are C clefs. That is they determine where C4 (middle C) is on the staff.

Notes 5

Memorize this, and then know what the top and bottom line notes are in each clef. You should be able to figure everything else out quickly from there right now. Your goal is to read these two clefs fluently as well in the future.

Notes 6