How To Read Music At Lightning Speed: Bass Clef – Part 3


This is the third guide in our series on reading music at lighting speed (Part 1, Part 2). In this guide, we will be learning the final half: Bass clef.

By now, I’m sure you’ve been practicing and can read something like this easily:

If you’re not sure:

Let’s Recap the Treble Clef

From previous lessons, we learnt the treble clef has 5 lines and 4 spaces. And these are labeled as (starting from the first line):

The best way to have this committed to you memory is to look and recite it.

We broke it into groups of:

  • Lines: E – B – F & D – B
  • Space: D -F – A – C – E

Using this framework we already have, we will be approaching the bass clef with ease:

Reading the Bass Clef

1st Group:

Say this out loud:
– First line is G
– Middle line is D
– Last line is A
– 1st ledger is C

As I’ve mentioned before, don’t just say it in your head, you want to say it out to have your brain hear it, and force it to stick.

If you’re comfortable with this grouping, let’s move on:

2nd Grouping

Next is:

We have the next two lines: B and F (Notice that we’re always reading from the bottom up and in chunks, get used to reading this way, it will come in very handy later)

Say this, out loud:
– 2nd line is B
– 4th line is F

Look at it, say it, and visualize it. You want to have it stick without any hesitations.

Got that going? Sweet.

Last Group: The spaces

Now, the easier of all, the spaces:

We now have: A C E G B (Makes me think of ACE of spades in GB [UK’s country code]).

As always, let’s make this sticky, say out loud:
– 1st space is A
– 2nd space is C
– 3rd space is E
– 4th space is G
– 1st ledger is B

Seems like a lot, but the more you practice, the easier it becomes to see and identify these.

Remember, it’s all about saying it loud so your brain identifies with this patterns.

Altogether we have:

Practice reading through this a few times. Not to bad!

How to Make this stick for life!!

In the past two guides I introduce you to Anki. Using Anki we will use some visual aid to remember the Bass clef and the Treble clef.

Here’s how it works:
1. Download this Anki decks.
2. Import them into your Anki

When this is done, it will look like this:

[cta id=”4406″ vid=”0″]

Click through whichever you want to practice and continue going though this.

I recommend doing this everyday — to get good at reading you have to read often enough.

Bonus tip: Crash Course on Sight Singing and Ear Training

One of the best practice for ear training((This means being able to hear and identify tones)) is being able to read and sing pitches.

So far, I’ve been asking you to read the pitches as E, F D, etc. Another way to train your eyes and ear is to sing those pitches with solfège.

You might have heard it before:

Do, Re, Mi, Fah, Sol, La, Ti

In western music, we deal with these 7 tones and they can are read in a few ways:

Number 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
English A B C D E F G
Italian (Solfège) do re mi fa sol la ti

And what happens after 7? It repeats. ABCDEFG ABC, we only go from A – G

For example, if we start from C, a very common way to start, it will look like this:

Number 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
English C D E F G A B
Italian (solfège) do re mi fa sol la ti

Notice that the English names is all that changed, the 1 and the do still remains the same. When you want to sing the pitches, it helps to think in this terms.

The starting C, D, or another that is the “1” or “do” will be the key of the song. It’s the starting pitch that all others will reference.

Let’s use our example from the first piece in this guide:

Now, trying reading the pitches as numbers or the solfeggi. Even make up your own combination with the do – ti.

Let’s try another example with a familiar tone (don’t worry too much about any of the other stuff, focus on the pitches):

Can you tell what song that is? Hope you played it and sang along.

Now get to practicing.

[cta id=”4406″ vid=”0″]

By Dele

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