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Reading piano music is a learned skill, and to help you remember the names of the lines and spaces for each staff and the notes they represent, try a mnemonic — a word or phrase created from the letter names of these lines and spaces.

You can use the following mnemonics, but feel free to make up your own. Unless otherwise noted, these mnemonics start on the bottom line of each staff and go up:

  • Treble clef lines (E-G-B-D-F):

    • Traditional: Every Good Boy Does Fine

    • Musical: Every Good Band Draws Fans

    • Pianistic: Even Gershwin Began (as a) Dummy First

    • Culinary: Eating Green Bananas Disgusts Friends

    • Shameless: Every Good Book (is a) Dummies Favorite

  • Treble clef spaces (F-A-C-E):

    • Traditional: FACE (like the one holding your nose)

    • Musical: Forks And Chopsticks Everywhere

    • Laundry (start with top space): Eventually Colors Always Fade

  • Bass clef lines (G-B-D-F-A):

    • Recreational: Good Bikes Don’t Fall Apart

    • Animal: Great Big Dogs Fight Animals

    • Musical: Great Beethoven’s Deafness Frustrated All

    • Musical: Grandpa Bach Did Fugues A lot

    • Painful: Giving Blood Doesn’t Feel Agreeable

  • Bass clef spaces (A-C-E-G):

    • Musical: American Composers Envy Gershwin

    • Animal: All Cows Eat Grass

    • Revenge (start with top space): Get Even, Call Avon

Read enough of these mnemonics and you’ll be hard-pressed to forget them. Of course, if you do happen to forget these helpful tools, simply find the line encircled by the clef and move up or down the alphabet from there.

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