As A total novice I'm attempting to play the look of love by Bacharach. I have the music in front of me and I notice a Treble Clef above the Grand Staff.

I quickly Google this and find it is the melody and the part the singer will use. I notice its's a series of single notes.

I then look at the Grand Staff and see that it is full of chords wit the odd single note.

  1. Going through this top Clef I quickly can make it the notes and recognize the song quite easily. Why does the main body seem different to it?

  2. I notice in the time signature that there are chords and slurs what are they telling me? chord

  3. Is it ok for me just to learn to play the top clef as I haven't learned any chords yet or should I be trying to attempt the main body and leave it till I've learned some chords?

3 Answers 3


One question at a time, please!

  1. Of course the top line (treble clef usually) will only have one note at a time - it's difficult to sing more! So this line is, as you say, the melody line, which portrays exactly what the singer is expected to sing. You can merely play that line of music on an instrument, and it will sound like the tune - because it is the tune (albeit at a different pitch on some instruments, but that's a different story for another time).

Usually, the lower two lines contain all the accompaniment needed to sing/play over. I say usually, as sometimes the melody itslef is still played in that middle line - although if a vocalist is singing, s/he won't want that same melody bashed out - but usually, all the harmonies, bass line, fill-ins etc. are included.

That's it for no. 1. Please post a screenshot to explain no.2. And no.3? Yes, certainly. It'll sound rather bare, but that's what it is - only part of the jigsaw.

  • Number 2 I've realised this actually isn't the signature but a chord? can someone tell me what the dots are?
    – Brian M
    Apr 25, 2020 at 7:48
  • 1
    There's no time sig., and no slurs. The lines are ties from the previous bar.
    – Tim
    Apr 25, 2020 at 7:56

"Is it ok" questions make little sense if you don't specify an objective you want or need to meet.

It won't do in an entrance exam. You are not likely to get standing ovations for it from an audience, either. If you want to play the melody to a music recognition system, it might actually be the better option compared to the full score.

If you want to prompt a singing pupil for their line, it might make sense to just do the melody line in the right hand at first, and once they got it, the full score, possibly ultimately even omitting the melody line that the singer is supposed to provide themselves.

  1. It would be rather boring if the piano just copied exactly the tune that the singer is singing. So it may have some more complex features added to the melody.
  2. There isn't a time signature there. Presumably that was on the first line. It's got a key signature (F major or D minor), and some ties, presumably to the previous line as Tim says.
  3. As a beginner, it's very common to start on just the treble clef. Once you are happy with that, try the bass clef. Then finally put the two together.

PS. The dots tell you that each dotted note is one-and-a-half times as long as normal.

  • D minor........
    – Tim
    Apr 25, 2020 at 17:27

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