What notes do you play on standard piano score?

I notice that people here refer to a “normal” bass notation/score and that it is lower than piano score. I don’t know what a “normal” bass score is and wonder where to see one. How is it different from a bass clef piano score? Also, the singers in my group hand out sheet music for piano which has the bass clef and which mostly chords. Do I play the lowest note which should be the root note (forget about inversions)? Seems logical but my logic doesn’t always work out in real life. Any clarification or resources?

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Piano can go as low as a bass and if the piece is typically played without a bass it may very well be in the same register. It’s probably going to depend on the genre you’re covering, but in gospel/hymns the bass almost always follows the melody of the vocals. You probably can’t go wrong with straight 4s or 8s and Root/upper or lowers 5ths with some walking
Edit: whenever you have inversions or slash chords, always play the key on the right of the slash on bass

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The sheet music you will get for a bass is notated an octave higher than it would be on a piano grand staff. The bass guitar starts at E1 for the open E string, but this is notated at E2 for its lowest note on a bass score. So, for a piano score, you need to realize that the notes are an octave higher than you would normally think on a bass score.

One problem that you might run in to, though, is that the bass part of a piano score is usually not the bassline of the song, but rather a different arrangement for piano.


What is the group, Paula?

If you’re working with vocal parts, generally speaking - if you play the lowest note in the bass clef on your bass, it will work great.

If you’re working from a piano score, it can be trickier, and it can be easier to just play the root note of the chord that the piano is outlining. That takes a lot more know how to analyze and figure out.

Not sure if this helps the scenario, but if you take a photo and post it, I could give better help.


This is also true for guitar, of course. In short, guitar and bass imply the notation of “lower octave” since it would basically be written every time.


Thank you everybody. I have followed your clues and see that I do have music that has a treble clef melody noted, no chords and then a treble clef and bass clef staffs with chords and single notes. So what I must be looking at is the vocal and piano notation. So I plan to look at the bass clef chords and the few single notes to suggest a bass line and generally use the lowest note of the bass clef chord. That would make sense and given whatever key, I could figure out the chord progression and find root notes. It’s not easy to teach yourself music! I appreciate being able to ask basic questions here. Let me know if I’m off the track.