I am a beginner player of piano and can usually get answers as the questions arise however, this one stumps me and discussions don;t seem to address this situation. There is only one piano and no vocals for this.

I can follow measures 1 - 7 but at the end of 7 and for 8 - 12 there are two treble clefs and eventually the piece restores the bass clef.

I have added the note letters of the keys and the flatted noted are in lower case. I see that I made one or two errors but that is not the question.

When I reach the double treble clef (measures 8-12), what notes is the left hand playing? Are they one octave below there the right hand is playing? upper

If I am correct, then why do I see discussion that they "are exactly the same"? This suggests to me that both hands are playing in the same territory on the piano and it makes no sense. It is just too crowded. On the other hand, I see nothing that says that they are in separate locations on the keyboard.

So, What's the scoop. An octave separated?Copeland

  • 3
    Questions very similar to this have been posted recently on this site. Wonder why they don't show up in 'related'.
    – Tim
    Feb 9, 2016 at 8:23
  • Bach's piece that is often called "Toccatta and Fugue" has both hands playing the exact same note and crossing over each other, so many composers don't worry about crowding. That's the performers concern. "Leyenda" by Asturias has a similar situation on piano (it's most famous as a guitar transcription though). Feb 9, 2016 at 11:49
  • 2
    While there are lots of posts asking about a grand staff with two treble or two bass clefs, the "too crowded" comment is something new, so I'll answer that. The reason that it seems that way is that there are several places (bars 8 and 9) where the left hand has to play the note just played by the right hand and vice versa. That creates technical problems that you have to solve. One trick is to play the right hand legato, and the left hand a bit more detached to fit in the repeated notes.
    – BobRodes
    Feb 10, 2016 at 6:21
  • The marked duplicate is not one, as it features an 8va marking. Reopening
    – user28
    Feb 11, 2016 at 22:08
  • 1
    Yes, both hands are in the same territory, and this is why they share a clef. It's a convenience used to avoid lots of ledger lines in the bass clef and very common. .
    – PeterJ
    Jan 6, 2019 at 14:02

3 Answers 3


Uh, no, those are two proper treble clefs and there is no reason you should not be playing both parts at the written pitch with both hands. There is no such thing as "too crowded" for polyphonic play. You should be glad that you don't have to interpret two parts in one hand (which often happens with Bach keyboard music): it's much easier to maintain two consistent lines on two separate hands than on one. Take a look at measure 9-10: there the left hand has a legato line. Try playing this with a single hand: a legato line while maintaining another melody line a sixth or so upwards. And then play only the lower line in legato, and the upper line, using the same hand, in portato.

Once you can appreciate how hard that is, you can start working on the first Fugue of the well-tempered clavier. You say you are a beginner playing the piano: music intended for beginners tends to be easier to play than music intended for accomplished soloists. Appreciate the difference while it lasts.


To play the "too crowded" 16th notes in bars 8 and 9, hold down the pedal and play them with a sort of long staccato ("detached" is a term you will see). This will give the key in the right hand time to reset before the left hand has to play it. (I may be wrong, but I suspect it's these two sets of notes that are throwing you off.)


Learning to play (but also trying to play some things outside the course book) I was finding myself confused by the same thing (in case Ravel's Sonatine, the slow theme( of course), at "Rall a Tempo en Dehors"). Also a double reble clef. Same question with me, same octave or one lower? But apparently (sneaky ;-)) the bass clef was restored at this point. Here's a video playing your piece. Maybe this is of use.

  • 2
    I know it's a typo, but I think we should adopt the term reble clef.
    – user13034
    Jan 5, 2019 at 21:45

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.