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Author Topic: how are staff lines and spaces numbered?  (Read 1909 times)
intoresting
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« on: June 13, 2005, 02:09:02 AM »

I'm trying to learn to read music and I'm wondering how to identify the lines and spaces of the staff with numbers. I did a few google searches and learned that "the five lines are numbered one - five counting from the bottom to the top". But I'm a little confused. Are both the bass and treble clefs numbered this way? (the lowest line being a "one"?) Would the middle C on the treble clef be counted as zero and the lines above be counted 1,2,3,4,5 and so on?  Would middle C on the bass clef be considered "line 6" and would the leger line below the "first" (bottom) line be called "zero" with the one below that counted -1  and the one below that -2 and so on? If someone could illustrate this using dashes and numbers it would be very helpful.  I know youre probably thinking "we identify these lines and spaces with letters not numbers" but its helpful for me to be able to memorize the position of a pitch  on a staff using a number that corresponds to a space or line. For example,  "C5 is the third space on the treble clef".  (If indeed the this is correct.) Can someone help?
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xvimbi
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« Reply #1 on: June 13, 2005, 02:35:28 AM »

There is no specific reason I am aware of that requires to think of lines and spaces in terms of numbers, and it is best not to make a habit of it. Counting is normal for beginners who are not yet comfortable with the staves, but I'd recommend counting in terms of letters, not numbers. Pick a couple of landmarks, e.g. middle-C, the middle lines of the staves (treble=B, bass = D), the C's an octave above and an octave below middle-C and count from those. Over time, you'll fill in the remaining positions, e.g. the spaces (FACE), etc. Remember that going from space to space is an interval of a third, as is going from line to line. Those are called "skips." I find it most useful to think of the spatial relationships within the staves in terms of intervals.
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JP
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« Reply #2 on: June 13, 2005, 04:00:51 AM »

I'm trying to learn to read music and I'm wondering how to identify the lines and spaces of the staff with numbers. I did a few google searches and learned that "the five lines are numbered one - five counting from the bottom to the top". But I'm a little confused. Are both the bass and treble clefs numbered this way? (the lowest line being a "one"?) Would the middle C on the treble clef be counted as zero and the lines above be counted 1,2,3,4,5 and so on?  Would middle C on the bass clef be considered "line 6" and would the leger line below the "first" (bottom) line be called "zero" with the one below that counted -1  and the one below that -2 and so on? If someone could illustrate this using dashes and numbers it would be very helpful.  I know youre probably thinking "we identify these lines and spaces with letters not numbers" but its helpful for me to be able to memorize the position of a pitch  on a staff using a number that corresponds to a space or line. For example,  "C5 is the third space on the treble clef".  (If indeed the this is correct.) Can someone help?

You should go at is in the manner suggested by the previous poster..

To answer your questions :

Treble and bass are both numbered the same way (bottom up).
Middle C in both cases are on ledger lines (extra line).
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quantum
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« Reply #3 on: June 13, 2005, 04:20:17 AM »

Eventually you will want to think of the staff as, just learning a couple more letters in the alphabet. 

For example when you see the letter "T" do you think there are two lines, a horizontal one on top and a vertical one below that bisects the one on top.  Rather, you probably just recognize the letter "T" as a graphical symbol, which is much easier to comprehend. 


For the mean time go with what xvimbi said. 
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Made a Liszt. Need new Handel's for Soler panel & Alkan foil. Will Faure Stein on the way to pick up Mendels' sohn. Josquin get Wolfgangs Schu with Clara. Gone Chopin, I'll be Bach
abell88
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« Reply #4 on: June 13, 2005, 01:26:30 PM »

Quote
Treble and bass are both numbered the same way (bottom up).
Middle C in both cases are on ledger lines (extra line).

And any other leger lines are referred to as: "2nd line below the bass staff", for example.
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Glyptodont
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« Reply #5 on: June 13, 2005, 02:34:18 PM »

Don't mean to give offence, but thought to share something -- actually, my piano teacher's complaint.

Some elementary piano books print a number in the center of each note.  This is supposed to tell the student what the fingering is.

My teacher said that for her is very frustrating -- students don't know the names of notes, but just these numbers. 

So the teacher asks the student, "Play C Sharp."  The student says, "do you mean #1?"

So there can be some real shortcomings to your "numbers" approach.
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bernhard
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« Reply #6 on: June 13, 2005, 02:48:48 PM »

Also, have a look here:

http://pianoforum.net/smf/index.php/topic,2406.msg20820.html#msg20820
(the grand staff)

http://pianoforum.net/smf/index.php/topic,2713.msg23282.html#msg23282
(Teaching bass clef – the full explanation for the grand staff)

http://pianoforum.net/smf/index.php/topic,5090.msg48850.html#msg48850
(the score is tabs for piano)

http://www.pianoforum.net/smf/index.php/topic,6704.msg66349.html#msg66349
(graphic illustration of how the grand staff relates to the piano keys)

Best wishes,
Bernhard.
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Doodle
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« Reply #7 on: June 17, 2005, 04:16:05 PM »

No numbering.

Eventually your mind bridges the gap.  You see a note and your fingers react.  It is much faster than looking at a note, assigning a letter, looking at cooresponding letter on the keyboard, etc. 

I'm suprised nobody has mentioned all the silly acronyms for the lines and spaces.   (although someone did mention FACE)

Treble clef lines - Every Good Boy Does Fine
Treble clef spaces - FACE

Or if you are creative (like my students)
Even George Bush Drives Fast, or perhaps Every Girl Burps Deadly Fire.

Bass Clef lines - George Bush Dances Funky Always
Bass Clef spaces - All Cows Eat Grass

etc.
Doodle

PS.  I think learning how to recognize intervals makes a student a much better sight reader.

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