The Grand Staff

The Grand Staff (also known as the Grand Stave) is basically just 2 staves joined together, with an invisible line in between them!

If you haven't already learned the order of notes on the staves please Click here for the Learn To Read Music page.

The Staves

There are two staves which make up the Grand Staff. The top stave uses the Treble Clef to identify notes and the bottom stave uses the Bass Clef.

Click the links above to learn more about the treble or bass clefs, or Click here to learn more about clefs and how they affect the notes on a stave.


The lines of the grand staff

First we look at the lines in the top stave. This is the treble clef (also called the G clef) stave. Click here for more information on the treble clef

notes on the lines of the g clef


These are the first five letters of the pattern E G B D F from the bottom line to the top line. As long as you know the order of letters and to begin on E, you can always work out a note by starting from the bottom line and working through the sequence of letters.




notes on the lines of the f clef

The lines on the bottom staff also follow the same sequence of letters, but for the bottom staff we begin on G. So the lines of the bottom staff are G B D F A





Test yourself

Once you have learned the lines click here for a short online test to see if you know them as well as you think you do! Remember to count from the bottom to the top of a stave. As long as you know the order of the letters and which is the bottom line you should be fine! You have 90 seconds to complete the test. Good luck!


The Spaces

The spaces on both staves also follow the pattern!

notes in the spaces of the g clef



The spaces on the top staff begin on F in the sequence and because there are 4 spaces the spaces are F A C E, so the spaces in the top staff are easy to remember because they spell FACE




notes in the spaces of the f clef

The spaces on the bottom staff begin on A in the sequence and because there are 4 spaces the spaces are A C E G.




Test yourself

Once you have learned the lines, click here for a short online test to see if you know them as well as you think you do! Remember to count from the bottom to the top of a stave. As long as you know the order of the letters and which is the bottom line you should be fine! You have 90 seconds to complete the test. Good luck!


The invisible line

There is an invisible line running through the middle of both staves! Although it is made up of two staves of five lines, the Grand Staff actually has 11 lines. You may have heard of middle C. Many people assume this is the note in the middle of the piano - well...it depends on how many keys your piano has as to whether it is or not. Middle C is the closest C to the middle of the piano, but Middle C is also the note in the middle of the Grand Staff

The staves below shows the notes on the lines and spaces including the invisible middle line (marked in red).

pitches on the lines of the grand staff

This shows all the notes on the grand staff from the bottom line of the bass clef to the top line of the treble clef, including the middle C line. You can now see the letter pattern is followed right from the bottom to the top.
G B D F A C E G B D F

pitches in the spaces of the grand staff

This shows all the notes on the grand staff from the bottom space of the bass clef to the top space of the treble clef, including the B and D either side of the middle C line. You can now see the letter pattern is followed right from the bottom to the top.
A C E G B D F A C E


Putting the notes on the staves

Music notes are slightly squashed circles that are either on a line or in a space.

When a note is on a line,
the line runs through the middle of the note.

When a note is in a space
it is directly in between the lines, touching both.
Here are the notes on the lines and spaces.

notes on the lines of the grand staff
notes in the spaces of the grand staff
grand staff note a



This note is on the A line in the bass clef - therefore it is A!



grand staff note b

This note is on the B line in the treble clef - therefore it is B!




Once you are confident you understand how the Staff works and can name the notes Click here to take a short quiz on the notes of the Grand Staff. This quiz is not timed so take your time and get every answer correct. Read the lines or spaces from the bottom of the staff to help your learning and memory, as well as get the correct answer! Good luck!


New Book Now Available!

essential music theory book learn to read music

For more help check out my new theory book Essential Music Theory: Learn To Read And Appreciate Music Vol. 1 available for iPad and Mac OS. The beauty of this book is that it doesn't just contain enless written examples. It contains audio and video files that support the theory, so you can actually hear musical examples that help you understand the concepts. Volume 1 is for complete beginners and teaches you to read music from scratch through ABRSM Grade 1 and Grade 2 theory. Volumes 2 and 3 coming soon! For more information click on the button below to go to the iBookstore and see more about Essential Music Theory: Learn To Read And Appreciate Music Vol. 1.


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