Chapter 4. Grand Staff
In this chapter you will learn to read notes, yourself. First, you’ll learn how notes are written for playing piano music. Then I'll explain what smart notes are. You’ll learn to read those notes first. You'll do exercises to learn to read smart notes quickly and flawlessly.
Do you not play piano, but another instrument? Does your instrument only use the F-clef or G-clef? No problem!
- If you use only the F-clef for your instrument, proceed with Chapter 9. F-clef.
- If you use only the G-clef for your instrument, proceed with Chapter 10. G-clef.
- If your instrument also uses the C-clef, then study Chapter 8. C-clef.
Do you also want to learn about scales and chords? Then it is important that you're able to read the piano staff. That means learning to read both the G-clef and the F-clef, regardless of which instrument you play. So in that case, don't skip this chapter!
1. The Grand Staff
When notating music for the piano, two staffs are joined together, one above the other. The upper staff uses the G-clef, the lower staff the F-clef.
The F-clef staff and the G-clef staff dovetail seamlessly with each other, with Middle C in the middle.
2. The smart notes
In order to learn how to read all notes well, it is important to be able to read the smart notes quickly – and flawlessly! In addition, smart notes need to be played rapidly and correctly on the instrument. Study the smart notes carefully, and repeat the relevant exercises a number of times.
1 The first smart note is the F taken from the F-clef.
2 The second smart note is the G taken from the G-clef.
3 The third smart note is Middle C written with the F-clef.
4 The fourth smart note is Middle C written with the G-clef.
5 The fifth smart note is the note on the lowermost line of the F-clef staff: low G.
6 The sixth smart note is the note on the uppermost line of the G-clef staff: high F.
7 The seventh smart note is the C below Middle C. This is placed between the lines.
8 The eighth smart note is the C above Middle C. This is placed between the lines.
Observe which smart notes belong to which piano keys. The smart notes are indicated with a 'X'.
Download and print: smart notes overview.
Note Reading exercise 2a: practise reading smart notes.
Note Reading exercise 2b: practise reading smart notes with time limit.