Have you ever wondered what the intricate symbols in front of music are? You have probably seen them. There are actually a few different symbols. They are called Clefs.
-Clef is a French term for ‘key’.
-A clef indicates the pitch of the note heads on the Staff (the 5 ledger lines on your sheet music).
In the picture below I have included the three clefs used in string orchestras.
So why are there different clefs you may ask....
I am glad you asked! It is for different ranges. The violin for instance is tuned in a higher range, the viola is in a middle range, and the cello and double bass are in lower ranges.
-The Treble Clef is also called the G Clef:
its circular swirl encircles the G above middle C on the piano.
-The Alto Clef is also called the C Clef:
its two curves meet at middle C.
-The Bass Cleff is also called the F Clef:
its two dots encircle F below middle C.
The different clefs help the notation to remain more centralized within the staff.
Middle C or C4 in scientific pitch notation is the 4th C on a standard 88 key piano keyboard.
On the piano, two clefs are used on every page of sheet music. This is called the grand staff.
The Treble Clef and the Bass Cleff are combined with a brace. The Treble Clef indicates all of the notes the right hand plays and the Bass Cleff indicates all of the left hand notes.
This was a lot of information. But don't be overwhelmed.
If you are a violinist, all you need to know is the Treble Clef.
Lucky you! Remember that the swirl encircles the G and you are all set!
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