Chapter 4. Grand Staff


In this chapter you will learn to read notes, yourself. First, you’ll learn how notes are written for playing piano music. Then I'll explain what smart notes are. You’ll learn to read those notes first. You'll do exercises to learn to read smart notes quickly and flawlessly.

Do you not play piano, but another instrument? Does your instrument only use the F-clef or G-clef? No problem!

Do you also want to learn about scales and chords? Then it is important that you're able to read the piano staff. That means learning to read both the G-clef and the F-clef, regardless of which instrument you play. So in that case, don't skip this chapter!

1. The Grand Staff


When notating music for the piano, two staffs are joined together, one above the other. The upper staff uses the G-clef, the lower staff the F-clef.


brace The brace joins the G-clef and F-clef staffs together.


The F-clef staff and the G-clef staff dovetail seamlessly with each other, with Middle C in the middle.


2. The smart notes


In order to read all the notes, we first confine ourselves to eight different notes. These notes are divided in ascending order over the grand staff.
These are the 'smart notes'.



In order to learn how to read all notes well, it is important to be able to read the smart notes quickly – and flawlessly! In addition, smart notes need to be played rapidly and correctly on the instrument. Study the smart notes carefully, and repeat the relevant exercises a number of times.


1The first smart note is the F taken from the F-clef.

2The second smart note is the G taken from the G-clef.

3The third smart note is Middle C written with the F-clef.

4The fourth smart note is Middle C written with the G-clef.

5The fifth smart note is the note on the lowermost line of the F-clef staff: low G.

6The sixth smart note is the note on the uppermost line of the G-clef staff: high F.

7The seventh smart note is the C below Middle C. This is placed between the lines.

8The eighth smart note is the C above Middle C. This is placed between the lines.




Observe which smart notes belong to which piano keys. The smart notes are indicated with a 'X'.



Download and print: smart notes overview.

Download smart notes overview

3. Practise


Note Reading exercise 2a: practise reading smart notes.

Note Reading exercise 2b: practise reading smart notes with time limit.

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