Ledger lines ad infinitum

December 11, 2006 at 04:14 AM · I've started learning Wagner's Albumblatt and the only problem is that there are so many ledger lines that it starts to look as though the staff has ten lines B's start to look like G's because of the background--any tricks from the kids in nosebleed territory. The chromaticism doesn't lend itself to knowing how it goes you really have to decipher the text until it's memorized.

Replies (9)

December 11, 2006 at 02:55 PM · Write in the note names above the "nosebleed" notes that are giving you trouble - no shame in this!

December 11, 2006 at 06:05 PM · You can think about the third ledger line above the staff as the beginning of a new treble-clef staff two octaves higher. Sightreading practice from some of the Haydn quartets is good, also the 6th and 7th position material from the Sevcik positions book.

December 11, 2006 at 06:34 PM · Who hoo--thank you Peter!!!

December 11, 2006 at 07:54 PM · Ahh.. yet another reason I'mn glad to be a violist.... we just transpose to treble clef!

December 11, 2006 at 09:06 PM · Amanda, wait until you play the viola part in the 13th Shostakovich quartet. Talk about nosebleed territory...

December 11, 2006 at 11:03 PM · :( That doesn't sound like fun...

December 12, 2006 at 06:44 AM · Quite the contrary! It's one of the coolest pieces out there.

December 12, 2006 at 07:42 AM · The way I learnt to learn really high notes, was just to try and remember what it looks like. I don't really have to count the ledger lines when I see a high note (sometimes I do if I'm not sure) but I just see how high it is and identify it's "appearance" (X number of ledger lines, but without counting) and then I know what to play.

In other words, I recognize the note sortof like I would recognize a person.

The way I managed to do this was just playing lots of orchestra music with very high notes. Eventually it sinks in! You can take any piece you like with very high notes in it (or maybe transpose a piece you like one octave higher for the challenge) and read it over and over until you can read the notes properly.

Also, once I have identified the starting high note, generally I just use a system of relativity (not to be confused with the theory of relativity :P) to work out what the next note is. If the first high note is a B, and the next note is clearly one note higher than that, then it is obviously a C! So you only really need to identify the first high note.

This is my crazy method, anyway...

December 12, 2006 at 12:42 PM · Notes that are on lines are in spaces an octave higher, and vice versa. I.E. the B played with 4th finger on the e string in 1st position is on a space. An octave higher it's on a line. It always helps me if I'm ever in doubt about any of the notes.

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