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Lesson 4: Ledger Lines
By Debbie Ridpath Ohi - 06/04/2007 - 10:53 AM EDT

So I imagine your treble clef cards are all dog-eared with diligent practice by now, and you can all easily recognize notes on any line or space in the treble clef.

If you're still having trouble memorizing the lines, several creative readers have sent in their own suggestions to use instead of "Every Good Boy Deserves Fudge". Jeanette Woodley suggests "Every Good Band Deserves Fans", a sentiment with which I'm sure we all wholeheartedly agree. I like that much better than the fudge saying.

Jeffrey Freedman sent in the gastonomically adventurous "Eat Good Bring Dog Food". While the culinary value of this suggestion is questionable, it's definitely memorable. Thanks to both Jeanette and Jeffrey for their ideas!

To review, we've now learned how to name all the notes from the E on the lowest line in the treble clef to the F on the top line of the treble clef:

Every note on a line or space in the treble clef, by the way, represents a white key on the piano keyboard:

No need to memorize this (save that for when you take keyboard lessons); I just thought you'd be interested.

As you practiced your treble clef cards, the more astute of you may have been wondering:

What about notes above or below the treble clef?

A good question. Take a look at the note F on the top line of the treble clef, for example:

One note higher than F, of course, is G:

The top G isn't a part of the "Every Good Band Deserves Fans" saying, which only refers to the names of the lines in the treble clef, and the "Good" refers to the second line G. You'll just have to learn to quickly recognize the fact that the note just above the top F line is G. I've provided these new notes on some more flashcards to help you with the learning process.

Similarly, the note just below the bottom E line is D:

But what about notes that go even higher or lower? How are they annotated? The magic answer lies in using:

Ledger Lines

A ledger line is a small line like this:

A note on the first ledger line above the treble clef is an A:

A note on the first ledger line below the treble clef is a C:

I'm sure you're all eager to start learning these new notes, so here are some more flashcards for you:

Next time, we take a look at the BASS CLEF.

Book Review: You've Got Rhythm

You've Got Rhythm: Read Music Better By Feeling The Beat
By Anna Dembska and Joan Harkness
Flying Leap Music, 2002

This book is a fun adult introduction to meter, metric accents, and other rhythm concepts through clapping exercises. The concepts are explained in ordinary English and with enthusiasm; no dry technical talk here. The book covers everything from a basic explanation of what meter and simple rhythm symbols to covering more advanced topics like shifting meter and duples in compound meter. A handy glossary is provided at the back.

You can order this book through Amazon.

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