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Why use different clefs?

22 July, 2019 - 10:18
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Music is easier to read and write if most of the notes fall on the staff and few ledger lines have to be used.

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Figure 1.10 Same notes written in treble and bass clef
These scores show the same notes written in treble and in bass clef. The staff with fewer ledger lines is easier to read and write. 

The G indicated by the treble clef is the G above middle C, while the F indicated by the bass clef is the F below middle C. (C clef indicates middle C.) So treble clef and bass clef together cover many of the notes that are in the range of human voices and of most instruments. Voices and instruments with higher ranges usually learn to read treble clef, while voices and instruments with lower ranges usually learn to read bass clef. Instruments with ranges that do not fall comfortably into either bass or treble clef may use a C clef or may be transposing instruments.

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Figure 1.11 Middle C is above the bass clef and below the treble clef. So together these two clefs cover much of the range of most voices and instruments. 

Exercise 1.1

Write the name of each note below the note on each staff in the following staff.


Exercise 1.2

Choose a clef in which you need to practice recognizing notes above and below the staff. Write the clef sign at the beginning of the staff, and then write the correct note names below each note.


Exercise 1.3

Below gives more exercises to help you memorize whichever clef you are learning. You may print these exercises as a PDF worksheet if you like.