Master the Treble Clef Notes

Learn to read treble clef notes quickly with clever note identification exercises!

In this lesson you can also print free flash cards to continue practicing by yourself.



The Treble or G Clef

The Treble clef is the symbol that show the notes that are higher pitched. (Treble means high pitch.)

The G or treble clef has gone through many transformations through time. See here how it has changed:

Treble clefs

As you can see, the clef was originally the letter "G", but became stylized into the familiar symbol we use today.

The treble clef is also called the G clef since it "circles" around the line where the note treble G is.

Treble staff with G clef

G is on the second line where the clef makes a swirl.

So, if you know the music alphabet; A,B,C,D,E,F,G forward and backward, and you now know that the treble clef show us G; you actually know all the rest of the notes as well!

Ascending note names go forward in the alphabet, descending are backward.

So the note one step higher than G is... A (since G is the last letter used). The next... B. And so on.

The note one step below G is... F, then E and so on.

Treble clef notes

If you use syllable names (Do, Re, Mi etc) here is a quick translation:

C=Do, D=Re, E=Mi, F=Fa, G=Sol, A=La, B=Si/Ti

Using Mnemonics for Treble Clef Notes

But, of course there are quicker ways of learning the notes on the treble staff. One commonly used technique is using "mnemonics".

Treble Clef Notes on Lines (from bottom up):

Every Good Boy Does Fine

Treble Clef Notes on Spaces (from bottom up):

F,A,C,E

However, even though they are shortcuts that may be useful in some situations, I am not a great fan of these mnemonics to learn note names, because

  • Many countries in the world do not use letter naming of the notes, but use syllable names: Do,Re, Mi, Fa, Sol, La, Si/Ti. So mnemonics like the above doesn't work obviously.
  • I also want my students to immediately associate each note with where to play it on their instrument and prefer them to learn the notes by using "Landmarks" or "Guide Notes". I find this method give better and faster results.

Using Landmark or Guide Notes

When using guide notes to learn the note names, we memorize 5 landmark notes on each staff (treble and bass) on the grand staff:

Landmark notes

Middle C is quickly learned being in the middle.

  • The G clef shows us G and the F clef shows us F.
  • Next notes are on the space "high" C for the treble staff, and "Low" C on the bass staff.
  • Followed by the top line (treble) and the bottom line (bass). Learn them like this: "G clef show G. Top line is F." And reversed: "F clef show F. Bottom line is G."
  • The final landmarks are "very high" C, and "very low" C.

In my studio we practice these landmark or guide notes until memorized, then continue with the notes right next to each, above and below.

I find it's easier to learn much more securely this way, than trying to remember wacky mnemonics (like if it was the cows that were good and the boys that ate grass? :) ).

Learn Faster With Flash Cards

Flash cards are a great tool for learning different music theory concepts.

When using them for drilling note names you should learn to first say the note name, then immediately play the exact pitch on an instrument.

In this way you not only become a better note reader and sight reader, but learn faster and more securely since you use more of your senses (see, say, hear, play).

You'll also learn to associate each note with a specific sound and not just by name.

Free Flashcards With Letter and Syllable Names

Here I have prepared free Treble Clef Notes Flash Cards for you.

The flash card answers have both letter names (A,B,C etc) and syllable names (Do, Re, Mi)!

Print on both sides so that you'll have the answers on the back. Preferably use card stock for best results. Why not try paper with different colors?

Recommended Resources

My favorite music theory flash cards are by Alfred's. You can drill note names, time signatures, music vocabulary and much more. Check them out here: Alfred's Color Coded Flashcards (Amazon).



Comments

Have your say about what you just read! Leave me a comment in the box below.


Get a Free E-book!

Subscribe to our e-zine "The Piano Player", and get occasional updates with tips and tools for beginner piano players. You'll get a free e-book with piano playing tips too!





Piano Quotes

"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover." ~Mark Twain

Have a favorite quote that inspire your piano playing? Please share it here!