Most guitarists fall back on guitar tablature to learn a song. With more and more of that happening, the majority of bands have someone hired to write their lead sheet. Well, I'm going to help you save some money and get some real musical knowledge under your belt with this teaching of the musical staff and the clefs
In This Guide I Will Cover
The Grand Staff
Other Important KnowledgeORIGIN
The musical staff is one of the things that has stayed the same for a very long time. Unlike most things, it has been around from the 12th to the 13th centuries. While at first it only had one line, the staff adapted over time to what we have today: (mainly in France and Europe) five lines. It also has ledger lines which I will ventilate in a later article.
Most people when they hear of staffs (or in Europe staves) they think of the standard treble clef, bass clef, or grand staff. But to your advantage, I will teach you tips and techniques on all of the clefs so you can show off to all of your friends when you get a major record deal and write the lead sheet.
The treble clef is probably the most common clef in all of music. It is probably that way because such a plentiful amount of instruments can play in the range. Such as: violins, guitars, some voice, some cello and bass, and so on. If you notice on the image below, there is a little spiral part of the clef. You can always remember what the note names are by looking into the middle of the spiral part and that line is always the G Line... or you can just memorize them.
Here are some ways that you can memorize the notes on the treble clef:
Every Good Boy Deserves Favor
Every Good Boy Deserves Fudge
Every Good Boy Does Fine
Every Good Bird Does Fly
F A C E
The picture is here.
Now, we are going to chew on some bass clef material. The bass clef is centered on the F Line similar to the way the treble clef is centered on the G Line. You can tell by looking in-between the two dots and that will always be the F line. Or, once again, you can just memorize them with these sayings.
Go Buy Donuts For Al
Great Big Dogs Fly Airplanes
Great Big Dreams For America
Good Boys Do Fine Always
All Cows Eat Grass
All Cars Eat Gas
Alley Cats Eat Garbage
THE GRAND STAFF
The grand staff is a major icon of modern music. With so many people playing piano, anybody with a hint of music knowledge should recognize this.
the grand staff
The grand staff is both the treble clef and the bass combined. This reason is so while playing the piano the bass clef is the left hand and the right hand is the treble clef. But, there are some variables to this. If the notes on the treble clef are too low, (this is the artist's opinion) and they want to keep the notes on that top staff, they can change the treble cleff into a bass cleff. Like this:
Or, you can do it the other way around; switching them to treble clef.
The tenor clef is one of the less known clefs in the art of music. The main reason is because only a handful of instruments play it. Such as the cello, bass, vocal, etc. You could add guitar in there, but it is rarely written in tenor clef because it isn't well known.
You can remember the notes by remembering how it looks like a B and looking to the center of the B and it is the C line. That is why this clef is in the family of C Clefs
There are no standard mnemonics(memorization sayings) for the tenor clef, so feel free to make up your own or whatever works best for you.
The alto clef is probably the least popular clef out of these four clefs(not including the Grand Staff) The reason being is because there is a very sparse amount of instruments that play in this range. Probably the most popular instrument that plays this range is the viola, and previously the viola da gamba. You can remember this clef the same way that you rember the Tenor Clef. Look for the center of the B shape and that line is the C line. This clef is also a member of the C clef family.
There are no standard mnemonics(memorization sayings) for the alto clef, so feel free to make up your own or whatever works best for you.
OTHER HELPFUL INFORMATION
Some other helpful information is that the family of C clefs is virtually unlimited. You can just move the clef around and the center of the B shape will always be the C line. Although most of the moving around has already been done, most of those clefs are no longer used.
If there is anything else that you want to learn with clefs such as baritone and octave clefs, you can always check out the Wikipedia page for clefs.
As you can see, there are more clefs that you now know, (unless, of course, you already knew all of this) and still more for you to explore. (see the Wikipedia Page above)
-Music Theory for Dummies (book)
-All of my many music teachers over the years.