If I write a Euphonium part that implies more melodic stuff that is more high in the register, can I use a 3rd or 4th line C clef for this Euphonium instead of using the bass clef or should I always use the Bass clef?

This melodic lines may use a lot of extra lines above the staff so, shouldn't be more correct and easier to read if I use a 4th line C clef? (which I read somewhere It is called the tenor clef I think).

  • No idea about how easy it is to reach that note, since C clef is nearly meaningless due to its variable position; use tenor clef or alto clef depending on its placement. None is appropriate for euphonium, most likely are transposed violin clef or untransposed bass clef depending on country.
    – guidot
    Commented Apr 26, 2019 at 21:41
  • Most British brass.band players would expect the treble clef, transposed so if the dots say C then it sounds as concert pitch B flat. Orchestral players may expect the bass clef at concert pitch
    – kiwiron
    Commented Apr 27, 2019 at 7:44
  • (I posted the previous comment prematurely) the question is what notes require lots of ledger lines?
    – kiwiron
    Commented Apr 27, 2019 at 7:46

2 Answers 2


In my opinion, an experienced euphonium player should be able to read tenor clef. It's expected of trombone players, and plenty of euphonium plays also play trombone music, so they should have spent the time learning tenor clef.

And if you're writing something that's this high so consistently, I'm assuming it's written for a more advanced player. Ergo, tenor clef should be a fine notational choice.

Alternatively, you can always go the 8va route and just write it one octave lower in the bass clef.


UK tradition brass band euphonium players expect treble-clef parts that treat the instrument as a Bb transposing instrument. So a written treble clef middle C is performed as an open note (no valves) and sounds a concert Bb a ninth below middle C.

The advantage as far as writing higher-sounding parts is that instead of writing a bass-clef Bb, which is second line up on the bass clef stave, you'd write treble clef middle C, which is first ledger line below the stave.

Treble clef parts like this mean you can exploit the euphonium's considerable range without needing to use other clefs or many ledger lines.

In my experience (UK-based) I've yet to meet a euphonium player who didn't read treble clef transposing parts. Bass-clef reading euph players do exist, but they're rarer. If you find a trombonist who doubles on euph you can give them concert pitch or transposed parts using any clef you like and they'll be able to do the mental gymnastics to play the correct pitch.

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.