The Grand Staff
It is very important that you understand the grand staff. But to understand the grand staff, you must also know the two most popular clefs, treble and bass clef.
Treble clef is known as the G clef. This because the curved line at the bottom of the staff is wrapped around the second line, which is G. This clef is typically played by the higher pitched instruments. If you look to the picture labeled Treble Clef Notes Chart to the right, you will see that the chart starts with A and goes up to C. Depending on the instrument, the pitches can extend higher and lower by using ledger lines (as seen with the notes that are not on the continuous lines and spaces on the staff), but for now we will focus mainly on the notes on the staff. It's very likely that when you were in your elementary music class you learned Every Good Boy Deserves Fudge. This is the common mnemonic used for memorizing the note names on the lines of the treble clef which are E, G, B, D, F. I'm sure you've also learned that to memorize the spaces you only have to remember FACE. It is important to memorize all note names on and off a staff so you can easily recognize them while analyzing music.
Bass clef is known as the F clef because the two dots are on either side of the 4th line which is the note F. The bass clef is used with low pitched instruments. Just like Treble clef, the specific instrument being used can extend the pitches in either direction. If you look at the chart labeled Bass Clef Notes Chart, you will see it start at C below the staff and go to E above the staff. Also just like treble clef, there are common mnemonics to memorize the note names in the lines and spaces. One mnemonic for memorizing the lines is Grizzly Bears Don't Fly Airplanes. This stands for the note names G, B, D, F, A. For the lines, you can use the mnemonic that is All Cows Eat Grass for the note names A, C, E, G.
Now for the grand staff. The grand staff uses both treble and bass clef and is most commonly associated with keyboard music. It is important to be able to read keyboard music, whether it is in solo music or the keyboard is accompanying, because the keyboard is usually playing the chords which tells you what is happening harmonically in the music. To the right is a chart labeled The Grand Staff. Just like the charts above, the pitches can extend higher or lower than what is shown on the chart. What is the most important to know is the term Middle C. This means the middle C that is in between the staff. It is commonly found under the brand name on a keyboard. On the grand staff it is the middle line between the treble and bass clef. Understanding the grand staff will make learning piano and analyzing music significantly easier.
The C Clefs
The C clefs are less common in beginning music but are important to know for down the road. A C clef can be placed anywhere on the staff to specify middle C. The image to the left shows multiple C clefs. Middle C is located wherever the clef dips in in the middle. Notice, middle C is always located on a line.
Alto clef is used for the viola and occasionally the trombone. It specifies middle C as the third line.
The tenor clef specifies the fourth line as middle C. It is often used for the upper ranges of cello , bassoon, and trombone.
Soprano, mezzo soprano, and baritone are very rarely used.