All about clefs - treble, bass, alto, tenor

Treble Clef

The Treble Clef is the most commonly used clef today. It is a G-clef. Sometimes the term G-clef is used as another name for the Treble Clef.

The Treble Clef is used by many instruments, including flute, violin, clarinet, horns and trumplets.

For piano and other keyboard instruments, as well as the harp, the Treble Clef is the upper stave of the grand staff (or grand stave). The bottom part is the Bass Clef.

For vocalists, the Treble Clef is used for soprano, mezzo-soprano, alto, contralto and tenor voices.

Bass Clef

The terms F-clef and Bass Clef are sometimes used interchangeably.

Instruments that use the bass clef include the bass guitar, double bass, cello, euphonium, bassoon, contrabassoon, trombone, baritone horn, tuba, and timpani.

The Bass Clef is used for the baritone and bass voices.

For piano music, the Bass Clef is the bottom clef of the grand stave for harp, piano and other keyboard instruments. The top clef of the grand stave is the Treble Clef.

Alto Clef

The Alto Clef is a C-clef and is sometimes called the viola clef. Middle C is placed on the third line of the staff.

Musical instruments that often use the Alto Clef include the viola, viola da gamba, alto trombone and the mandola.

The Alto Clef is sometimes called the countertenor clef and is sometimes used for the countertenor voice.

Tenor Clef

The Tenor Clef is a C-clef. It places Middle C on the fourth line of the staff.

The Tenor Clef is used for the upper ranges of many instruments, including the bassoon, cello, double bass, euphonium and trombone.