Year 5 Music

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The Treble Clef

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Musical pitches are named after the first seven letters of the alphabet: A B C D E F G. Each line and each space on the stave corresponds with one of these letters.

Do you see how the letters repeat themselves as you go from low to high? At the bottom of the stave, just below the bottom line, is D. Then you move up to E, F and G. But there’s no H. Instead the letters start again, with A. How can you remember which letters go in which positions on the stave? Here’s one way. Notice that the letters that are located on the lines from bottom to top are E, G, B, D and F. You can remember these letters by memorising this sentence: ‘Every good boy deserves favour’.

Another way to remember which letters go where on the stave is to look at the treble clef. The treble clef is the fancy, curly symbol located at the beginning of the music. The treble clef is also known as the G clef because the innermost circle of the clef circles around the line that stands for G. If you remember this, you can figure out all the other pitches above and below G.

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The lowest note shown on the music above is D. What would happen if the composer wanted to write a note one note lower than D? He or she would just draw a short line segment below the stave and place the note on the line segment. This particular note actually has a special name. It is called middle C, because the key that sounds this note is located close to the middle of a piano keyboard.

The music for ‘Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star’ begins and ends at middle C. See if you can identify the other notes in the first few bars of the song by letter.

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This activity is adapted from pages 181-182 of What Your Year 5 Child Needs to Know.