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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2 answers
574 views

8va or clef change?

I've been transcribing music on and off for a few years now as a hobby and noticed while reading someone else's sheets that they have heaps of clef changes midway through the piece. It sort of blew my ...
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7 votes
2 answers
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Why aren't octave clefs used in piano notation?

It's not uncommon to find piano music where the left hand plays primarily in octave 1, or the right hand in octave 6 (i.e. below the staff of a bass clef or above the staff of a treble clef). This ...
0 votes
2 answers
207 views

The Grand Staff Revealed?

This is a long explanation (with a question at the end), but I hope it might help some struggling students. I'm embarrassed that I always shunned reading music. I first learned music a lifetime ago by ...
10 votes
2 answers
529 views

Which clef is used for the tenors here? [duplicate]

In modern typesetting, tenors usually have an F clef (or an octaving C clef, with the 8 indicated or omitted). Consider following clef from Bellini's Norma (p. 125): It looks like an (octaving) G ...
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9 votes
2 answers
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Notating a note sustained over clef change

I found this very interesting notation in Wiklund's first piano concerto, final bars of movement 1 (the transcription for two pianos): See the final left-hand bars: the low E is sustained over a clef ...
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3 votes
3 answers
284 views

Why is the usual clef for guitar G clef?

Analyzing by two parameters, polyphony and range, music written for guitar should use two clefs, G and F. Usually, solo guitar has a polyphonic expression. Writing two melodies in a single stave could ...
9 votes
2 answers
971 views

Treble Clef with optional 8 va bassa?

What is a treble clef with 8 in parentheses used for? My software (MuseScore 3.x) ignores it (as if it were a treble without any 8). What is the point of this clef? Is it for transposing instruments? ...
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How do I play two bass clefs sharing piano keys? [duplicate]

I have some sheet music for the song Mad World. Part way though the treble clef on the grand staff changes to bass, which is fine, but a few bars later I hit a snag. In bar 7 both hands are given the ...
4 votes
5 answers
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When should tenor clef be used?

There are several instruments that have music written for them primarily in bass clef, but commonly change to tenor clef for a higher passages. In particular, I am interested in: Bassoon Trombone ...
4 votes
2 answers
733 views

How to notate a phrase than goes up and down several octaves

I have several bars of sixteenth notes that span quite a large range on the keyboard, and also go up and down the length of four octaves on the keyboard quite rapidly. I am not sure about how best to ...
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3 votes
1 answer
201 views

Where can I find music written in baritone and mezzo-soprano clefs?

I use C clefs as tools for transposition, and while it's relatively easy to find music written in alto, tenor, and soprano clefs, I've never found a consistent source for music in baritone and mezzo-...
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1 vote
2 answers
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How do I reasonably deal with a clef change?

I am currently trying to transpose some notes from singing to the cello. The Cello uses the bass clef, and because it is one of the many instruments which also uses concert pitch as stated in this ...
1 vote
0 answers
46 views

Bach Invention 1 BWV 772 Bar 13 same note simultaneously in both staves, play only one? [duplicate]

I'm learning Bach's Invention 1 BWV 772. Bar 13 has the same note E in both staves simultaneously. Should I only use right hand to play it? (I saw some past questions about both staves having the same ...
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22 votes
7 answers
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Is there a legitimate reason why a C-Clef could ever be used in piano music?

I'm working on a composition that I can't help but to use the C-Clef because it renders neater on paper. This one switched to treble clef twice. But this would be a mess with bass clef and treble clef ...
6 votes
1 answer
594 views

Two different clefs at the start of a piece on the same hand

I am looking at the intro for the "Piano collections" of Nobuo Uematsu's Final Fantasy VI Terra's theme, which starts like this . The right hand is pretty straight forward, but the first bar ...
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1 vote
1 answer
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What are the pitches in this donso ngoni tuning?

Please see the image below depicting the donso ngoni. I'm bad at identifying notes from clefs. But if I'm giving a try to guess the notes I think in the key of A: it is A - B - D - E - G - A. Is that ...
12 votes
2 answers
649 views

What is the Schäffer Clef?

I was perusing the Musescore master palette and came across this triangle shaped clef called the Schäffer clef. Doing a Google search for it only returned stuff like a website for browsing the ...
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0 votes
1 answer
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What does it mean when a chord in the bass-clef bar is marked with a treble clef and what is the extent of applying that notation.This is piano music [duplicate]

There is a treble clef next to a chord in the bass-clef bar near the end of a piece of music I'm trying to learn. I don't know how to interpret it. Should I play just this one chord as if it were on ...
4 votes
1 answer
274 views

Clef of the lower staff does not look right in Lilypond, how to fix?

I am trying to engrave a pipa piece using Lilypond 2.20 on Ubuntu 20.04. The first several notes render like this: What do not look right: Clef in the lower part does not start with a bass symbol, ...
6 votes
2 answers
1k views

How can I read these cross staff notes?

I'm aware of notes crossing clefs, but I've never seen it being used like this before. For the record, the song is in 4/4.
4 votes
4 answers
258 views

Where should I put the bass clef? Before or after the repeat sign?

So I'm in the middle of writing the second movement of a duo sonata for Violin and Cello. The cello goes into the tenor register for a decent amount of time, thus me writing the tenor clef. But where ...
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14 votes
5 answers
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Identifying bass notes on piano with strange clef

I'm not musician, I'm old man and I would like to hear again some specific music. I have the sheet music and I bought a piano. I was reading this Wikipedia article and would like to identify the notes ...
9 votes
7 answers
2k views

Is it common to mix multiple clefs on the same sheet?

One of my Facebook friends posted this sheet I was shocked by the quantity of clefs being used. Moreover, they aren't placed at the same vertical position (which I assume changes the reference points ...
6 votes
3 answers
2k views

What clef is this? (Baroque, Vivaldi)

What is this clef in Vivaldi RV281? This is the only source of the concerto is available ( at least without buying it, which is the manuscript). The piece did have a few weird clefs like an octave ...
4 votes
2 answers
191 views

Why the F clef and G clef? [duplicate]

We understand that the bass clef is called the F clef, while the treble is called the G clef. It's to do with where the strange signs are on each staff. But why those notes in particular?
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4 answers
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Is the bass clef the same thing as a question mark? How are they related?

Why does the bass clef look like a question mark?
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6 votes
1 answer
386 views

Clef for the organ pedals

What type of bass clef is used for the organ pedals: regular bass clef, or 8va bassa?
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3 answers
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Need help reading this music sheet

Complete newbie here, i've been handed this piece of music and im not completely sure how to read it. Can someone tell me how to read this piece and what is says? i know it looks simple but im not ...
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2 votes
5 answers
316 views

Unnecessary and confusing bass clef in Mozart's Fantasia in D minor, Why?

I just played Mozart's Fantasia in D minor and I noticed at the Allegretto section in D major, an unnecessary and confusing bass clef. So I looked on IMSLP to see if any of the editions of Mozart's ...
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9 votes
6 answers
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Can the treble clef be used instead of the bass clef in piano music?

I have been learning the piano for a few months now and I am having trouble learning the bass clef. I have played other instruments that use the treble clef so I know it well. Can the bass clef be ...
3 votes
6 answers
880 views

Exercises to internalise bass clef?

I can read the treble clef because I learned it as a kid for guitar and school music lessons, but I've only been introduced to bass clef as an adult singing tenor and trying to pick up piano and bass. ...
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4 votes
5 answers
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C Clef Showing Middle C on the Second Space: Printing Error, or Obscure Clef?

A friend of mine asked me for help on their theory assignment. Number 8 on the worksheet asked the student to write a certain scale with what appeared to be a standard alto clef, except that the point ...
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6 votes
3 answers
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How should I write this passage to make it the most readable?

Been writing something and was wondering how I should notate these measures to ensure readability. These three ideas are floating around in my head but if anyone else has input please send it my way.
0 votes
5 answers
154 views

Switching the Clef Positions

Ok, so, basically, I wanted to play this song called Heaven's Lullaby by BigRicePiano on YouTube. The issue was that he had no tutorial. Thankfully, someone named LightPiano made a Synthesia tutorial ...
2 votes
1 answer
119 views

When are the historical landmarks in the evolution of the bass (F) clef?

I found this image on the web showing the evolution of the bass (F) clef but there's no date or source for each instance. Can anyone provide the approximate date of these changes?
9 votes
2 answers
664 views

Bracket symbol added to G clef

What does the symbol mean that is added to the clef in the Tenor voice in Poulenc’s Mass in G Major? It has a similar shape to an old C clef, but it is added to the existing G clef.
2 votes
1 answer
93 views

How to play clef changes in Jupiter, the Bringer of Jollity? (F Horn)

I've played horn for 8 years as a student through middle and high school and rarely come across the bass clef, except maybe twice when playing Sonata op. 10. When it comes to this piece (Jupiter, ...
5 votes
2 answers
247 views

Is it OK to use 3rd/4th line C clef for euphonium?

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 ...
-2 votes
2 answers
373 views

What are all the existing clefs? [duplicate]

I am asking this question out of sheer curiosity. What are all the existing clefs? What is the clef's most used range?
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2 votes
1 answer
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When was todays music notation standard of the grand staff first adapted into common practice? Some time in the 17th century?

When did the treble and bass clefs used together become common practice for music notation?
5 votes
7 answers
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Mnemonics for Tenor Clef

I've been transcribing orchestral arrangements into MuseScore, and have encountered my first Tenor Clef. I searched online for "Tenor Clef Mnemonic" and other help-with-tenor-clef queries, with no ...
2 votes
2 answers
2k views

Clefs used for pitched percussion

I know that unpitched percussion instruments use the percussion/neutral clef. However, I was wondering what clefs are used for pitched percussion instruments. Are treble, tenor, alto and bass clef all ...
2 votes
2 answers
488 views

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?
3 votes
1 answer
269 views

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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3 votes
2 answers
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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 ...
4 votes
2 answers
717 views

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?
28 votes
8 answers
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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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14 votes
7 answers
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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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3 votes
1 answer
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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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