Same Pitch – Different Clef

Ultimate Music Theory Same Pitch in a Different Clef

Have you ever wondered how to help a Student understand why a note can be written at the Same Pitch in a Different Clef?  This concept can be tricky for Students, so we are going to make this easier.

Let's start by reviewing the terms:

Pitch:  How high or low a note sounds at.

Clef:  The Symbol written at the beginning of a Staff to establish the pitch of the notes.  (Treble, Bass, Alto C and Tenor C are 4 examples of a Clef.)

To write a note at the Same Pitch in a Different Clef, there are 3 steps.

Same Pitch in a Different Clef - Step #1

The first step is to identify the given note.

When identifying a note, remember that note names are always written with a Capital (Upper Case) Letter.

For Students who struggle with understanding how the same note can be written in different Clefs, it can help if you identify the note and the exact pitch using the Piano Key Numbers.

In my Blog on Piano Key Numbers, we learned that each note or key on the piano can also be identified by a specific pitch "number".  The piano has a range of 88 keys, beginning with A0 (A zero) and B0 (B zero) followed by 7 octaves from C1 (C one) to C8 (C eight).  Middle C is identified as C4 (C four).

Using the Piano Key Numbers to identify the specific pitch is very helpful for Students.  Although the concept of identifying Pitch using numbers is not introduced until the LEVEL 4 Supplemental Workbook, it is an easy concept to explain to Students (and it is fun!).

Ultimate Music Theory Same Pitch in a different clef

So-La and Ti-Do are the Ultimate Music Theory "mascots" that support Teachers and Students to learn and explore music.  They are a key part of the Ultimate Music Theory Beginner A, B, C Workbook Series.  You can even purchase your very own So-La and Ti-Do Soft Plushies for your Studio.  I cannot count the number of Teachers who have contacted me to exclaim how excited their Students are when they are able to use So-La and Ti-Do in their Studios.  You can read more (and get more ideas) in the So-La and Ti-Do Blog!

One game that I play with my Students to help them understand Pitch is "So-La Says".   In this game, the Teacher says (for example) "So-La Says sit on C2".  The Student then "sits" So-La on the keyboard so that she is sitting on C2 - the second C from the bottom of the keyboard.  We then sing "So-La Sits on C2" in a lower pitched voice.  Matching our voices with the pitch of the note/key is important for Students to see and hear that pitch.  (Remember, it doesn't have to be sung in "perfect pitch"!  Just have fun!)

Same Pitch in a Different Clef - Step #2

Step #2 is to identify the Clef (the Staff) that the given note is written in.

For Students in Prep 1 Rudiments up to Intermediate Rudiments, notes will only be written in the Treble Clef (Treble Staff) and in the Bass Clef (Bass Staff).

In Advanced Rudiments, the Alto C Clef (Alto C Staff or Alto Staff) and the Tenor C Clef (Tenor C Staff or Tenor Staff) are added.

When rewriting a note in a Different (or Alternate) Clef:

  • A note in the Treble Clef will be rewritten in the Bass Clef;
  • A note in the Bass Clef will be rewritten in the Treble Clef;
  • A note in the Alto C Clef will be rewritten in the Tenor C Clef;
  • A note in the Tenor C Clef will be rewritten in the Alto C Clef.

Remember to read the instructions just in case you are to rewrite the note into a specific different or alternate Clef (especially for notes in the Alto and Tenor Clefs).

Ultimate Music Theory Same Pitch in a Different Clef - Same E

Same Pitch in a Different Clef - Step #3

Step #3 is to simply rewrite the note at the Same Pitch in a Different Clef!

Then take the Theory Book to the piano.  Play the first (given) note on the piano (at the correct pitch).  Play the second (the rewritten note) on the piano (at the correct pitch).  These 2 notes will be the Same Note on the piano keyboard!

Same Pitch in a Different Clef - Pop Quiz!

It's Pop Quiz Time!  Rewrite each of the following notes at the Same Pitch in a Different Clef.  If the note is in the Treble Clef, the different (alternate) clef will be in the Bass Clef.  If the note is in the Bass Clef, the different (alternate) clef will be in the Treble Clef.

Ultimate Music Theory Same Pitch in a Different Clef Pop Quiz

Before I give you the answers, take your work to the Piano Keyboard and PLAY each note!

I do find that it is easier if I have my Students play the notes in the Treble Staff with their Right Hand and the notes in the Bass Staff with their Left Hand.  This reinforces the "Different Clef" (or "Alternate Staff") as each note is played with a different hand.

Ultimate Music Theory Same Pitch in a Different Clef Pop Quiz Answers

The most important Tip that I can give you to support Students understanding how to rewrite the Same Pitch in a Different Clef is to PLAY the notes!

Theory is not meant to only be completed away from the Piano.  Students who play what they see (or play what they write) are definitely more apt to understand and remember the concepts.

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Keep on Learning... With a Smile and a Song!

Shelagh McKibbon-U'Ren

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