Music Theory Education


8. The Grand Staff and Ledger Lines

8. the grand staff and ledger lines

Grade 1. lesson 8 the grand staff and ledger lines

Many musicians will not use the grand staff, due to their music being written with just one staff. This is true for most instruments, like the Clarinet, Trumpet, Violin and many more.
But if you play piano, you will be familiar with the grand staff, from your very early lessons.

The Grand Staff (Stave)


 The Grand Staff and Ledger lines


When you look at the Grand Staff (Stave) it becomes easy to see how
the seven letters just keep repeating over and over.

Look at the letter 'A' in the 1st space of the Bass Staff (Stave), then see
the next letter 'A' is up on the 5th line of the Bass Staff (Stave).

If you count the space 'A to the line A' you will find it covers eight places.

A B C D E F G A this is called an 'Octave'

any eight notes from any letter to the next same letter name is an Octave.


On the diagram above you will find four G's, starting with the G placed on
bass line 1. follow through to the very top of the treble to the G sitting above
the treble line 5. The full Grand Staff (Stave) holds three octaves.


music theory lessons grade one

Music Theory Lessons Grade 1

containing 18 detailed Lessons

This book contains all the information for the Grand Staff and Ledger Lines
required for grade one examination, set in lesson 8 of this book.

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Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music

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Finding Middle C using Ledger Lines

You can write music notes on short lines, either above or below
the Treble or Bass Staff (Stave).

These short additional lines are called ledger lines

It is on a Ledger Line where you will find the note

Middle C.


Middle C music note on a ledger line


Middle C below the Treble Staff (Stave)


Middle C on Bass Staff (Stave)


When using ledger lines, each note must have its own line.


Middle C's on Ledger lines correctMiddle C's on Ledger line wrong

Always make sure you draw your ledger lines straight, and the
same distance apart as the lines of the Staff (Stave).


draw ledger lines straight


When you draw a note sitting above the top line, or below the bottom line of the staff (stave)

NEVERdraw a line above or underneath the note.


See examples below


no line over or under music notes


More than one ledger line above or below the staff (stave) can be used to hold
additional notes, you will not be required to do so in Grade 1.
Only the ledger line which holds Middle C for this grade.



The Grand Staff and Ledger Lines



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