Music Notation Theory
Reading Bass Clef Notes

Are you ready for more music notation theory? This lesson will teach you how to read notes in the bass clef (notes played for now with your left hand.

Fingering numbers: The fingers of your left hand are numbered 1-5, starting with your thumb.

I strongly recommend that you master the material in Reading Treble Clef Notes before proceeding with this music notation theory lesson. If you just want to review, the link opens in a new window.

OK let us begin!

This is how the bass clef notes look on the staff:

Here are the first eight Bass clef notes that you will learn to play on your keyboard. The name of the note is written above each note.

This is how they look on the keyboard. The bottom (on the left) "C" in this case is the next "C" down (to the left) of middle "C" (the "C" in the middle of your keyboard).

You will use the same fingering that you used to play the C Major Scale with your left hand.

Here is an exercise for you to try. remember to use the C major scale left hand fingering

Click on the right arrow of the player to hear it.

As you practice these notes, say the name of the note OUT LOUD so that you get not only the location but the name of the note firmly in your memory.

When you are ready, here is an exercise for you. Try to play along. Put your 5th finger on the "F" in the fourth measure on the way up. On the way down, your thumb on "G" in the tenth measure.

Easy, right? Before the next music-notation-theory exercise, we need to review note values and counting. You may have learned some of this in grade school music classes.

See the 2 numbers at the beginning? That is called the time signature The top number tells you how many counts in each measure. (measures are the little box-like divisions of the staff. So the top number 4 says that all of the notes in each measure have to add up to 4 counts. Here is a table of notes and their values:

This will become clearer as you hear the next exercise. Practice in this manner: 1) Play and say the note names 2) Play and count out loud. Your 5th finger goes on the first of the new half notes.

Now you are ready to find some simple music books and practice your reading!

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