The word clef is originally descended from a word for “key,” because it provides the key to what notes you are looking at on a page. We’re starting today with Bass clef, which is the clef used for low notes, generally speaking. It looks like this:
Bass clef is also sometimes called the “F” clef, because the two dots center on the F below middle C.
Each line and space is it’s own note name. Many people use mnemonics to memorize the lines or the spaces. For example:
All Cars Eat Gas
Great Big Dogs Find Alligators.
If you have a favorite mnemonic you use, let us know in the comments!
The # (sharp) symbol indicates a note that is raised a half step (from white key to adjacent black on the piano), while the ♭(flat) indicates lowering one half step.
Ideally, you come to associate a visual with a note you sing or a position of your hand on an instrument so quickly that you don’t have to think about it. Sometimes it helps to make flashcards to practice this, especially if you’re just reading music without necessarily playing it. Here are some bass lines to practice naming.