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Ledger Lines and Landmarks

Posted by Robert Thomas on July 19th, 2009

For notes beyond the range of the five-line staff or the grand staff, small line segments called Ledger (also spelled Leger) Lines are added above the staff, so that higher or lower notes may be written. These ledger lines serve as temporary extensions of the staff. When making ledger lines, one must be careful that the spaces within the ledger lines (including the space between the first ledger line and the staff) are the same size as the spaces within the staff. When there is more than one ledger line, be careful to place the additional lines directly over or under one another. Ledger lines are the same thickness as staff lines, and are slightly longer than the width of a note head — they should extend clearly beyond each side of the note head. The note is placed on the last ledger line or in the space beyond the last ledger line. A ledger line is never used beyond a note. A straightedge should always be used when drawing ledger lines.

9th Post Ledger Lines Image

Three “landmarks” using ledger lines are High C (the C two ledger lines above the Treble Clef), Middle C (the C between the Treble and Bass Clefs), and Low C (the C two ledger lines below the Bass Clef). Memorizing these notes greatly facilitates reading of notes on ledger lines both above and below Treble and Bass Clefs.

9th Post Landmark Cs Image

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