Pop Music Theory


29: Treble Staff

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Lesson 29: Treble Staff

We write melodies on the musical staff; this lesson shows how. You need to know your pitch names (Lesson 4: Pitch Names) for this lesson.

The "staff" is a set of five lines:

Each line, and each space between lines, gets its own pitch-letter. So, which pitch-letter goes on which line (or space)? Well, that depends on which clef we use.

The clef is a symbol that we place on the staff to show which letter goes on which line. There are two common clefs, the G clef and the F clef; for now, we'll just use the G clef.

The G clef looks like this:

The G clef is actually a fancy letter G. It's usually placed on the staff like this:

The G clef shows you where to find the "G line": The G line is in the middle of the spiral. Here's the staff again, with the G line colored purple and a "G note" placed on it:


When the G clef is placed on the staff this way, with the G-note on line 2, the clef is called the treble clef and the staff is called the treble staff. The G on line 2 is the G above middle C.

Now that we have this G line as a starting point, we can find the pitch-letters below and above this G, namely F and A, on the spaces below and above the G line:


From here we can keep going up and down, and find the pitch-letters for every line and space on the treble staff. Here they are:


When you understand how to find pitches on the treble staff, go on to Lesson 30: Treble Staff Game to practice and test yourself.

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1: Introduction
2: Teaching Yourself
3: Pitch & Keyboard
4: Pitch Names
5: Letters Game
6: Sharps & Flats
7: Half-Steps
8: Whole-Steps
9: Steps Game
10: Scales
11: Major Scale 1-2-3
12: Major 1-2-3 Games
13: Major Scale 1-5
14: Major 1-5 Games
15: Chords: Major Triads
16: Major Triad Games
17: Minor Triads
18: Minor Triad Games
19: Major Scale 1-8
20: Major Scale Games
21: Scales Above 8
22: What Next
23: Keys
24: Roman Numeral Chords
25: Diatonic Triads
26: Using Diatonics
27: 7th Chords
28: 7ths Games
29: Treble Staff
30: Treble Staff Game
31: Melody: Chord Tones
32: Pitch & Frequency

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