Musical notes are written on a staff. A staff consists of 5 horizontal lines where the notes can be placed. The notes on the treble clef can be on or in between the 5 horizontal lines.
The treble clef is mainly for notes from middle C and higher. So this is for the right hand on the piano. This is, however, not a rule. You can display notes on a treble clef that are lower than middle C. And sometimes, but not often, notes on the treble clef are played with the left hand.
To indicate that the staff we’re reading is in treble clef, we use the next treble clef symbol at the beginning of the staff:
As I said, the notes can be displayed on or in between the lines of the staff. The note on the lowest line is an E. This is the E which is a major 3rd higher than the middle C.
The next note, F, is displayed between the lowest 2 lines of the staff.
The G is on the 2nd line.
In this way we can go on, which gives us all the notes that can be placed on or in between the lines of the staff.
An easy way to remember the notes on the treble clef is by looking at the notes that go in between the lines: they make the word ‘FACE’.
From the ‘FACE’-notes, it’s very easy to deduce all the other notes.
As I mentioned before: the treble clef is for notes from middle C and higher. And it was even possible to display notes lower than middle C. How is this possible when the note on the lowest line is an E? Let’s first put a D on the staff. That’s still easy: just put it under the lowest line.
But how can we put the middle C? The middle C should be again on a line. But we don’t have any lines anymore. Well, you can do that with ledger lines.
A ledger line is a little horizontal line just under or above the staff that you place there where you want your note. The middle C is then displayed as follows:
You can even make the B:
For the A, we need a 2nd ledger line:
You can go on putting extra ledger lines for even lower notes. Now, the next question may arise: till how many ledger lines can you go? Well, officially, you can have as many ledger lines as you want. But, ask yourself: is it still readable? I would say that it’s still possible to read 3 or 4 ledger lines without a too big effort. But sometimes, you see even more ledger lines…
It’s also possible to put ledger lines above the staff to display higher notes. Can you see which note is displayed in the next figure?
Well, I hope you found it on your own…
If not: it’s an E!
As you might have noticed, this is not all:
And now it’s time to do some exercises. Click on the link below to test your knowledge of the notes on the treble clef.
Please tell us what you think of this lesson (and the trick to remember the treble clef notes) by leaving a comment below.