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#1194283 - 05/06/09 06:17 AM Help with notes above and below the staff
SkateAround Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 04/30/09
Posts: 8
I am teaching myself how to play the piano and need some help reading the notes above and below the staff.

How do i determine which notes these are?
if anyone has a website they could link me please do or explain how it works.

Thank you in advance.

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#1194285 - 05/06/09 06:22 AM Re: Help with notes above and below the staff [Re: SkateAround]
izaldu Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/18/08
Posts: 1248
Loc:
teoria.com

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#1194306 - 05/06/09 07:40 AM Re: Help with notes above and below the staff [Re: izaldu]
lilylady Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/17/05
Posts: 4974
Loc: boston north
I'll try to help.

Did you learn the saying FACE for the skips on the page?

Probably for the G clef space notes?

Well, keep that in mind.

Now memorize the little nonword, GBD. Say it fast.

Now say GBD,FACE,GBD,FACE repeatedly and fast until it becomes second nature to you.


To continue:

Notes are written on lines and spaces. They relate to notes on the keyboard.

See notes going from a line to a space to a line to a space on the staff? Those represent notes going from one key to another on the keyboard. STEPS.

Space to space on the staff skips over the line note inbetween. Line to Line skips over the space note.

On the keyboard you also skip over a note.


Back to the GBD,FACE

If you look at a grand staff, the bottom line is G. Follow all the lines from bottom to top, including the middle C leger line and use the saying to ID the notes.

Start on the space below that lower bottom line and use the saying FACE,GBD etc for the space notes from bottom to top.

By now, I hope that you are realizing that all skips on the staff can follow that saying. So no matter where you are on the staff if you think of skips, you can enter the GBDFACE saying!!!


OK - now to landmark notes on the staff.

Middle C

G clef is located on the G line

F clef is located on the F line

3rd space up (in the G clef staff) is C

3rd space down (in the F clef staff) is C

And now to your leger lines.

2 lines up (in the G clef staff) is high C

2 lines down (in the F clef staff) is low C

Learn those last two and you should be able to follow the GBDFACE saying to help ID those other leger line notes!

Hope this helps - it is the way I taught reading notes for years!!!
_________________________
"Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and life to everything."

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#1194344 - 05/06/09 09:05 AM Re: Help with notes above and below the staff [Re: lilylady]
Hrodulf Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/02/09
Posts: 830
Loc: New York City
I can't read ledger lines either. I just write the note names next to the notes I can't read. People should just use 8va instead of ledger lines, seriously!
_________________________
Learning:
Chopin op 55 no 1, op 69 no 1, op 23
Beethoven op 27 no 1 allegro vivace
J.S. Bach wtc book I prelude 10
Debussy reverie
Liszt b minor sonata
Haydn sonata Hoboken xvi:37
Brahms op 116 no 6
Exercises

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#1194349 - 05/06/09 09:13 AM Re: Help with notes above and below the staff [Re: Hrodulf]
rada Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/07/06
Posts: 1124
Loc: pagosa springs,co
Ledger lines are your friends.
rada

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#1194356 - 05/06/09 09:30 AM Re: Help with notes above and below the staff [Re: rada]
sotto voce Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/15/06
Posts: 6163
Loc: Briarcliff Manor, NY, USA
I'm with Hrodulf; 8va is my friend.

Steven
_________________________

"There are two means of refuge from the miseries of life: music and cats."
—Albert Schweitzer

Chopin: Allegro de Concert Op. 46
Schumann: Toccata Op. 7
Fauré: Ballade Op. 19

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#1194361 - 05/06/09 09:36 AM Re: Help with notes above and below the staff [Re: rada]
BruceD Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 17666
Loc: Victoria, BC
Surely there's a difference between "having difficulty reading" and "can't read" ledger lines. If you can write the names of the notes next to the notes, then you have read the note on the ledger line, but it should become second nature with a little bit of practice.

In the same way that one learns the names of the notes that fall on the lines and spaces within the staff, one can also learn the lines and spaces above and below the staff. If necessary, concentrate on learning just one or two at a time, to the point that you'll recognize that
- one line above the treble staff is A
- two lines above the treble staff is C and
- one line below the bass staff is E
- two lines below the bass staff is C.
Once you learn the names of the first three or four ledger lines, the notes that fall in the spaces becomes automatic, doesn't it?

Remember, too, that notes on ledger lines are often the octave of the note above or below; when a passage is in octaves, it shouldn't be necessary to have to stop and figure out the extremem outer note, since the interval of the octave should be easily recognizable.

Admittedly, on the few occasions when a composer will write a note or notes on many ledger lines, it may be necessary to write in the names of those notes on the page, but most of the time that should not be necessary. Moreover, if you are practicing a piece that has several notes on the fourth ledger line above the treble staff, you'll soon remember that that note is a G.

I really don't see what the problem is that can't be solved with a little bit of determination and practice.

Regards,
_________________________
BruceD
- - - - -
Estonia 190 in satin ebony

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#1194510 - 05/06/09 02:09 PM Re: Help with notes above and below the staff [Re: BruceD]
Gyro Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/24/05
Posts: 4533
After many yrs. of lessons as a child, more
than 30 yrs. of playing, and yrs. of work on some
advanced pieces, I still have trouble reading
notes securely. And not just ledger line notes.
Sometimes I can't even read the staff notes
securely. G on the treble can look the
same to me as B, A the same as C, etc. About
the only thing that's guaranteed with me is
middle C.

And ledger line notes, forget it. The only
secure way for me to identify them is by "counting
by 4 lines or 4 spaces." For example, the note
at two ledger lines above the treble is C. Sometimes
I can identify it quickly by virtue of yrs. of
playing, but sometimes I can draw a blank on it, and
then I have to "count 4 lines." If you count
down four lines from any note on a line, then
the next space down is the same note. For example,
the note on two ledger lines above the treble
staff, if you count down four lines, that puts
you on D on the treble staff, and then the next space
down is C, which is the same note. So the note is
a C.

Similarly, the note on two ledger spaces above
the treble, if you count down 4 spaces, that
puts you on C on the treble staff, and then
the next line down is B. So the note is a B.
And so forth.

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#1194613 - 05/06/09 05:08 PM Re: Help with notes above and below the staff [Re: Gyro]
Akira Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/27/07
Posts: 1645
Loc: Los Angeles, CA
I think what you're experiencing is normal. If you're just starting out, you're likely playing/learning songs with "most" of the notes within the ledger lines (i.e. songs for beginners). Virtually all your note recognition, as a result, comes from that frame of reference. Then, all of a sudden, you come across a note that is outside your 'comfort zone' and your brain goes "what the heck is that note, never seen/played that one before?" and then the brain and fingers stumble.

I had (and continue to have, to some extent) the same problem. I think you'll find that when you play more and more pieces (as time goes on) with notes outside your comfort zone, you'll begin to recognize and play them more easily (having come across them before). The more you do, the better you get (which you can say with just about anything). Give it some time. It'll come -- with time and patience (and practice).

Its pretty logical, if you think about it.


Edited by Akira (05/06/09 05:09 PM)

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#1194621 - 05/06/09 05:24 PM Re: Help with notes above and below the staff [Re: Akira]
kennychaffin Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/19/09
Posts: 889
Loc: Aurora, CO
Well like Bruce says, if you can write the note name next to it, you can read it. Reading it quickly and translating that into which key to press in time to the beat is a somewhat different matter. Writing the note name next to the note doesn't help with that either.

Maybe I'm missing something but it's a simple matter to understand that the musical scale is A,B,C,D,E,F,G and it simply repeats above and below following that same pattern. Once you identify a note on the staff like G or F in the appropriate clef and matching it to the appropriate key on the piano then it's just a matter of "counting" to find the note you are trying to learn. Speed and automatic recognition simply take tons of practice and time.
_________________________
Kenny A. Chaffin
Art Gallery - Print Gallery - Poetry
"Strive on with Awareness" - Siddhartha Gautama

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#1194633 - 05/06/09 05:39 PM Re: Help with notes above and below the staff [Re: kennychaffin]
lilylady Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/17/05
Posts: 4974
Loc: boston north
Gyro...

Man, was THAT confusing! No wonder you have trouble

Try some flash cards!!!

Or maybe you need a teacher to guide you?
_________________________
"Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and life to everything."

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#1194699 - 05/06/09 08:06 PM Re: Help with notes above and below the staff [Re: Hrodulf]
Damon Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/22/06
Posts: 5913
Loc: St. Louis area
Originally Posted By: Hrodulf
I can't read ledger lines either. I just write the note names next to the notes I can't read. People should just use 8va instead of ledger lines, seriously!

Many pieces use 8va and still extend to ledger lines. Often you should be able to recognize the space between notes. For instance, you are on the treble clef, top line (F) and the next note is two ledger lines (4 steps) up. That should be a fairly quick calculation to C. If it is part of a chord, then the shape of the note cluster plus the knowledge of the key you are in should help narrow your choices.
_________________________
Prepositions are not words to end sentences with.

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#1194703 - 05/06/09 08:21 PM Re: Help with notes above and below the staff [Re: Gyro]
veem Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/10/09
Posts: 127
Loc: CA, USA
Originally Posted By: Gyro
The only
secure way for me to identify them is by "counting
by 4 lines or 4 spaces." For example, the note
at two ledger lines above the treble is C. Sometimes
I can identify it quickly by virtue of yrs. of
playing, but sometimes I can draw a blank on it, and
then I have to "count 4 lines." If you count
down four lines from any note on a line, then
the next space down is the same note.


That's exactly what I do! I've gotten surprisingly quick at it and after a while started recognizing the notes right way rather than counting lines.

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#1194804 - 05/07/09 12:02 AM Re: Help with notes above and below the staff [Re: veem]
Horwinkle Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/22/08
Posts: 1011
I made this long ago to help me. I kept it by my old piano way back then.

The forum has shrunk the pic so it looks crappy above. So use this link to download the picture full-size: LINK TO PICTURE

The original version only went from C2 to C6, and I learned to read that range without problems. But I still have trouble beyond that range (unless the score shows 8va). So I expanded it 6 notes to the low side and 7 notes on the high side.

I still have trouble with the between-the-staves notes with many ledger lines. Gotta work on that.

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#1194872 - 05/07/09 04:04 AM Re: Help with notes above and below the staff [Re: Horwinkle]
Bhav Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/23/08
Posts: 275
I can read the three lines above treble clef - A C and E, I remember that when you reach the top line of a stave, the notes repeat as they did in the spaces.
'FACE GBD FACE GBD' is a nice new pattern that I will try to learn and memorize as well.

I can read ledger lines below treble clef and above bass clef because my mind knows how to read them as the other stave, also I will next try to memorize that the 3 lines below bass clef are also ACE, it is difficult here because you normally have to read bass lines underneath the stave backwards.

I also find my treble reading skills falling a little as I increase my bass clef skills - I look at treble clef and identify the stave as though it was bass, but I still manage to learn the notes without making any pitch mistakes, its just slowed down by around 20% on treble now after spending weeks and weeks improving my bass reading.

Todays reading target is to try and memorize the bass notes to the third section, and the treble notes to the fourth section of magnetic rag - I learnt a half of each page yesterday - and then I need to spend a few days practicing before learning the bass of the final fourth section, then I just have the ending left to learn and can carry on practicing it without the score. I seem to be fine with learning a whole page of single line notes in a day now if I really concentrate and focus, I would next like to ultimately be able to learn and memorize a whole page of both hands everyday.

Maybe I can try and learn all the remaining notes by the 10th may, and then I can start learning the notes to the next piece while learning both hands together on the current one.

I am currently needing to vastly improve my reading and learning speeds more importantly than my playing ability, which is making steady and gradual progress. Ive put my Hanon book aside for now and am just practicing reading and learning.


Edited by Bhav (05/07/09 04:11 AM)
_________________________
Currently working on:

Joplin -

Maple Leaf Rag (finished)
Magnetic Rag (finished :))
The Entertainer
Stoptime Rag
Pineapple Rag
The Chrysanthemum
Reflection Rag

- Lots of rags to learn frown.

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#1195524 - 05/08/09 09:24 AM Re: Help with notes above and below the staff [Re: Bhav]
nch103 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/06/09
Posts: 72
If you know FACE for the notes on spaces in the right hand....it is FACE again right afterwards but on the lines this time. that helps wth right hand high register ledger line reading.

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#1195571 - 05/08/09 10:36 AM Re: Help with notes above and below the staff [Re: nch103]
John Citron Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/15/05
Posts: 3925
Loc: Haverhill, Massachusetts
A big part of learning to read the notes is knowning them inside and out blindly to a point where you can see them in your sleep.

Way back when I first started lessons, my teacher had me play and say the note names. Eventually we worked on the ledger lines using the same method. Later on she would write out notes on muic paper, and I would have name them.

As I learned more music, part of the learning method was to say the names of the notes as I played them. To this day, I will do this when learning the music, and I have very little problems reading music at all.

Ledger lines that are for notes way up on the staff do present a problem for me now, but that is due to eyesight. For some reason they become really small and at a quick glance, I have a hard time identifying them. So having said this, I find that if I slow things down and take the time to figure out the notes, then the problem is solved. In these situations, once I've figured out the notes, I will write the names next to them so I don't have to fight the ledger lines again.

John
_________________________
Nothing.

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#1195583 - 05/08/09 11:04 AM Re: Help with notes above and below the staff [Re: John Citron]
Tawny Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 01/10/09
Posts: 14
Loc: Vancouver, BC
Have to say, just great info here. Many thanks.

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