I was perusing the Musescore master palette and came across this triangle shaped clef called the Schäffer clef. Schäffer clef

Doing a Google search for it only returned stuff like a website for browsing the Standard Music Font Layout and other websites about standardized music notation / encoding. Nothing about this particular symbols actual usage.

  • 1
    Interesting. I am not sure what it indicates, but I am guessing it has to do with 20th century composer Pierre Schaeffer. He was a pioneer of alternative/graphic notations systems, so it definitely seems like something he would use.
    – Peter
    Commented Dec 13, 2020 at 4:51
  • What version of MuseScore? I just looked in 3.5.2, and that clef wasn't in the master palette.
    – Aaron
    Commented Dec 13, 2020 at 5:40
  • There are four different "Schäffer clefs" listed in the Standard Music Font Layout specification, but still hunting for what they mean.
    – Aaron
    Commented Dec 13, 2020 at 6:06
  • Dolmetsch doesn't help either.
    – Tim
    Commented Dec 13, 2020 at 9:47
  • qdoc.tips/smufl-pdf-free.html Commented Dec 13, 2020 at 10:57

2 Answers 2


This clef is attributed to Bogusław Schaeffer, who used it synonymously with the traditional treble and bass clefs, according to the staff line on which it was placed: that is, placed on the second line from the bottom, it's a treble (G) clef; placed on the second line from the top, it's a bass (F) clef.

Schaffer clef used for treble and bass clefs
(Image Source: Google Books search result in Karkoschka)

It is one of a set of four clefs presented in the book Notation in New Music by Erhard Karkoschka (Praeger, 1972: page 24). The other three are

  • an unfilled, left-pointing arrow used to indicate the previous clef during a clef change;
  • the filled, right arrow above the unfilled left, indicating a switch from treble clef to bass clef;
  • the filled, right arrow below the unfilled left, indicating a switch from bass clef to treble.

The four Schäffer clefs

The clefs are described in Karkoschka's "Notation in new music" as being used by the Polish composer Bogusław Schäffer. He uses a filled (black) right-pointing triangle, with its apex positioned on the appropriate staff line, e.g. on the second staff line from the bottom for a G clef (treble), and on the fourth staff line from the bottom for an F clef (bass). When he changes clef, he uses an unfilled (white) left-pointing triangle, with its apex positioned on the appropriate staff line to indicate the old clef, and a filled right-pointing triangle indicating the new clef. (SOURCE)


Bogusław Julien Schaeffer (also Schäffer) (6 June 1929 – 1 July 2019) was a Polish composer, musicologist, and graphic artist, a member of the avantgarde "Cracow Group" of Polish composers alongside Krzysztof Penderecki and others.


So this triangle clef must be a modern notation and graphic product by this artist.

Schaeffer, Bogusław. Introduction to Composition. Ed. Ludomira Stawowy & Stefan Ehrenkreutz. Trans. Jerzy Zawadzki. Krakow: PWM Edition (1976)

Added specification of locations for font-specific metadata to be installed on Windows, OS X, and Linux, to aid consuming applications in the identification of SMuFL-compliant fonts. Added recommendation that characters in ranges that will typically be drawn using runs of text (e.g. time signature digits, octave line labels, figured bass, and function theory symbols) should have appropriate non-zero side bearings. Reworked the triangular clefs in the Clefs range between U+E06F and U+E072 to match the descriptions given of their use by Schäffer in Karkoschka’s book. This involved changing the names and descriptions of these glyphs as follows: U+E06F was cClefTriangular, now schaefferClef ; U+E070 was fClefTriangular, now schaefferPreviousClef ; U+E071 was cClefTriangularToFClef , now schaefferGClefToFClef ; U+E072 was fClefTriangularToCClef , now schaefferFClefToGClef . Added z-style quarter (crotchet) rest to the Rests range.



In a dissertation Schaeffer is quoted:

(1976), pp.60-61:

“Within traditional conventions of composition, notation is frequently substituted for composition; one composes not only with the help of notation but often simply thanks to it. In new music the composer must tear himself away from this convention and consequently from the notation.”


  • 1
    While I recognize, that this is too long for a comment, it does not seem to qualify for an answer. Are the italics intended to mark a quote?
    – guidot
    Commented Dec 13, 2020 at 12:41
  • yes, it copied from the link. It says the triangle is a clef introduced in Karkoschka's book: probably Notation in New Music: A Critical Guide to Interpretation and RealisationTranslated from the German by Ruth Koenig by KARKOSCHKA, Erhard abebooks.com/book-search/title/notation-new-music/author/… Commented Dec 13, 2020 at 14:30

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