great stave

The piano's two-part great stave.
A systemic barline connects the top and bottom staves in piano music. Image © Brandy Kraemer

Definition of Great Stave:

The great stave is the two-part staff used in piano music, consisting of the treble staff on top and the bass staff on the bottom. It may also refer to the three-part organ staff, which has an extra bass staff for foot pedaling.

Great stave* is used primarily in the U.K., while grand staff is used in the U.S. The variations grand stave and great staff may also be used.

* The British English “stave” is synonymous with the American staff; “staves” is the plural form for both.

Also Known As:

  • grand staff (U.S.)
  • accollatura (It)
  • accolade (Fr)
  • Akkolade; Klaviersystem (Ger)

More Musical Symbols & Commands:

How to Read Sheet Music:

See the notes on the treble and bass staves, as well as their ledger lines, and learn mnemonic devices to help you remember them.

Key signatures take some time to memorize. Whether you want to identify one or learn how to write one on the staff, this interactive and quick key signature finder will help.

 ● Tempo Commands Organized By Speed
Resource for the most common tempo terms in Italian, French, and German, organized by their BPM (beats per minute).

 ● How to Read Piano Fingering
Little numbers are sometimes written next to the notes on the staff to help you sort out which fingers you should use on which keys. Fingering is frequently found in beginner notation, but is also seen alongside difficult passages in more advanced sheet music.

Beginner Piano Lessons
 ▪  Notes of the Piano Keys
 ▪  Left Hand Piano Fingering
 ▪  How to Count Triplets

Getting Started on Keyboard Instruments
 ▪  Playing Piano vs. Electric Keyboard
 ▪  How to Sit at the Piano
 ▪  Tips for Finding the Right Piano Teacher
 ▪  Musical Keyboard Comparison Guide

Forming Piano Chords
 ▪  Essential Piano Chord Fingering
 ▪  Left Hand Chords With Fingering
 ▪  Comparing Major & Minor Chords
 ▪  Diminished Chords & Dissonance
 ▪  Different Types of Arpeggiated Chords

Piano Care & Maintenance
 ▪  How to Clean Your Piano
 ▪  Signs of Piano Damage
 ▪  When To Tune Your Piano