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Questions tagged [clefs]

A clef (from French: clef “key”) is a musical symbol used to indicate the set of pitches of written notes.

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Why are there two ways of expressing the octave treble clef which indicates to perform the piece an octave lower?

Why is it that there are two ways of writing the octave lower treble clef? Is there some sort of history behind this or are they used in different circumstances or something?
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1answer
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Untuned Percussion Clef

G clef (usually treble), F clef (usually bass) and very movable C clef (alto/tenor) are all very definable, as are the dots contained within. Look at untuned percussion music, though, and there's ...
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Are there any clefs other than treble, bass, tenor, and alto? [duplicate]

For most of my life, I've thought that treble and bass were the only musical clefs. Then I learned about the alto and tenor clefs. I've found articles online saying that these 4 clefs are the only ...
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Why have a clef change right after a previous clef?

I came across this section in Mozart's piano sonata no. It shows a clef change at the start of the measure, but the bass clef is shown right before it. Why would this be needed if the measure uses ...
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Three Treble Clefs

What does it mean when there is a layout like this, and each has a treble clef. There is no bass clef. How is this played?
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Why are clefs associated with reference notes G, F and C?

Why don't we see, for example, a clef with a stylised symbol representing an A, B, D or an E? What's so special about G, F and C? Who decided to use them and why?
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Where was the D clef used?

I recently came across this score by Henry Work called "Grandfather's Clock". And i was a bit confused at first regarding this clef in the chorus. It seems to be a D clef. I was wondering if this ...
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1answer
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Was alto in the past lower in pitch than where they are today?

I wonder why alto clefs are so low that they doesn't seem to match the range of alto(female low voice). Why did J.S. Bach use alto clef so much for the middle part of his fugue? Is it because alto was ...
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1answer
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Problem with a tie

Why is MuseScore not creating the last tree notes in the bass clef. See the picture. Every time I try to put a quarter note above the half note it disappears.
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Bass clef in piano scores, why?

I am a drummer, I do not play any melodic instrument, though I happen to read some piano scores, and I am wondering what was the idea behind using the bass clef for the left hand part. From what I ...
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5answers
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Why are double staff pieces of music not properly aligned for Middle C?

I am a guitar, flute and (a long time ago) bassoon player. I can play a few things on a keyboard, badly, in short: I know how it all works. I'm trying to help teach my wife to play a harp. It has a ...
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Alto clef makes so much sense; why isn't it used more often

I play guitar and trombone. This question does not concern me, but why don't more instruments with a wider range of notes (e.g. pianos) use alto clef? With C on the middle line, it makes so much sense....
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Extra note in lilypond mensural layout with petrucci-f4

I'm trying to set some 16th century music. The mensural style overrides do a pretty good job of matching the original notation, but an extra c' appears at the beginning of the staff when I call \clef ...
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1answer
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What clef was first?

Adding up to my previous question, what clef was first and why? I guess there should be answers somewhere out there but I can't find them.
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Using Key signature but scale is going out onto ledger lines [duplicate]

I am working through my grade 1 theory book and am a little confused on a question. I have learnt that you either use key signatures or accidentals when writing out a scale. Not both. The question I ...
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1answer
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When did voice parts start using treble clef?

Parts for soprano, alto and tenor voices used to be written with the corresponding variant of movable C clef. When did the transition to treble (G) clef happen, and what drove the change -- composers,...
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Why do we need different clefs?

Besides reducing the needs of using ledger lines and making the score easier to read, are there any other reasons?
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Which instrument (generally) has to read the largest number of clefs?

I recently had a (light-hearted) argument with a violin-playing friend, I play the trombone and we were discussing which instrument is more difficult to play. We talked about the relative difficulty ...
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1answer
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How to compose for male falsetto?

I'm writing a musical theatre piece and I want one of the male character's parts to be sung completely in falsetto, but I have no idea what clef to write it in. Would I write it in treble clef or ...
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1answer
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Clef between a beam? proper notation?

Is that F Clef between the beam of those two notes in the 3rd bar proper notation? if so, what does it mean? I'm guessing it's the same as the G Clef that precedes it, so that the next note would be C ...
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Piano: grand staff with two treble clefs. Where to place hands?

I'm very new at playing the piano and would love to play an easy version of Clair de lune. Please see the sheet below. I get stuck right at the very beginning. I think I have figured out that '...
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3answers
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Does a key signature remain the same after a clef change?

Does a key signature stay the same after a clef change? I have provided an example; it is in the second staff of the lower system as indicated by the blue arrow.
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Bass clef changed to treble clef in the middle of the music sheet [duplicate]

If the bass clef changes to treble clef in the music sheet, would you read the bottom treble clef as the bass clef notes or treble clef notes?
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Is it fair to say the treble clef is optimized for piano?

When playing the piano, I find that staff notation with the treble clef makes sense. However when moving to string instruments, specifically the guitar and violin (in my case), I find the notation a ...
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Piano with two treble clefs and 8va on grand staff

How do you play the notes in the red square? On the upper staff, the lower chord is G but the note in the lower section is also G. Do you just ignore it?
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Grand Staff using the Bass Clef and Treble Alto-Tenor Clef

Does anybody have any additional information regarding the origins and usage of the Treble Alto-Tenor Clef symbol? I found it in the late Gardner Read's book on Music Notation, and beyond that - ...
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How can I learn to read bass clef score more naturally?

I hadn't read music for about 20 years, after doing a little classical guitar as a young child, and recently started learning piano. I was pleasantly surprised to find that reading music on the treble ...
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Are there more than 2 Clefs?

Are the treble and bass clef, as used in normal piano score, the only clefs around? Or are there others that have lost popularity, or are used in special cases, etc?
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Small clefs on score

I have small bass and treble clefs on the piece I'm learning. This picture shows two lines where these small clefs appear. Please, could someone explain what they mean. Update: I appreciate the ...
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Clefs for saxophone playing

Is alto saxophone music written for ordinary treble and bass clefs?
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4answers
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Bass and treble clef brass parts

As a euphonium player I have often wondered, why are treble clef parts written for a Bb insturment, and bass clef parts written for a concert C instrument? I understand why different instruments have ...
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4answers
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Why are there transposing instruments that transpose by octave?

Some instruments (for example the guitar, the bass guitar, and the xylophone) have written music in a typical clef, however the note written and the note played are an octave lower or higher depending ...
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Why is the bass clef indicated twice on the same line in this Bartok piece?

Here's an excerpt from the piece Chromatic Invention from Bartok's Mikrokosmos, volume 3, page 39. I don't get why at the end of the lower line the bass clef indication is repeated. Is this "for ...
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Horn clefs across two staves

I am not a horn player, but I do have a bit of knowledge about them. Horn parts can be written in the G or F clefs, right? Is it common practice to put the first horn stave (horns 1 and 3) in the G ...
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Is there a Relative Pitch Clef?

To start out: I am more-or-less familiar with all the standard musical clef notations, including F, C, and G clefs; as well as the fact that clefs can be movable (tenor clef, french violin clef...) ...
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Mnemonics for note names and positions in the clef

I learned to read sheet music as a member of my schools choirs, 7th grade through senior year, some 28 years ago, but I can't remember which goes where or what order they go. I remember Every Good ...
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Do the F clef and G clef always reside on the same line?

I'm learning to play piano and have started reading sheet music. As far as I have seen the G-clef and F-clef are always on the same lines. Is this always the case? So will the middle line of the ...
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In piano music notation how are notes distributed between the staves?

I recently stumbled across a piece of music for the piano that confused me a little. The first image is how I found the score, the second is how I rearranged it myself. How I usually find pieces, ...
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Octave clef: common usage?

I ran across a set of interesting images under "octave clef" at http://www.dolmetsch.com/musictheory14.htm . Since this qualified as my "learn something new every day," I just wondered if other ...
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Placement of F# on Alto Clef

For the past four or so years now, I have been playing the Viola. Y'all know what that means: Alto clef. Up until just a few weeks ago, I have always seen an F# displayed in a key signature like this: ...
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6answers
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Why transpose at the octave?

If an instrument has a range too high or too low for composers to easily write its music on bass or treble clef, the music may be written either an octave higher or an octave lower than it sounds, in ...
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2answers
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Notating tenor vocal parts with 8va G-clef in Sibelius 6

I might be slightly off-topic here, but this is the closest StackExchange site I could find to my topic, so here goes... I recieved a sibelius file with a choir arrangement from a friend. Now, I want ...
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When did keyboard partitions start to use the G-clef for the upper staff ?

When you look at very old sheetmusic (for harpsichord or organ), you see that the upper staff has a C-clef, first line. The lower one is the familiar bass F-clef, fourth line. Why and when did the ...