Baritone clef

The baritone clef determines the position of the F note on the staff united states of america (stave united kingdom):

F note position in baritone clef

From this reference, all others music notes will be placed before and after the F note:

Note positions in baritone clef

Below are more music notes in baritone clef and some music notes with ledger lines:

Note positions in baritone clef with ledger lines

When is the baritone clef used?

Nowadays, the baritone clef is only used for transposition, it is used by orchestra conductors and by some players who need to transpose.

This clef was used in the past for keyboard music, like for the harpsichord, here is an example of a manuscript from the Bauyn manuscript with the work Courante for harpsichord by François Couperin (1668 - 1733) (source).

Courante for harpsichord by François Couperin (1668 - 1733)

Examples of the use of the baritone clef

Baritone clef for orchestra conductors

Orchestra conductors must read music notes in baritone key to transpose some scores in real pitch. Here is an example of an alto flute in G. If the conductor wants to read the score of the alto flute in concert pitch (in C), he must read the score with a baritone clef to transpose at sight:

Baritone clef to transpose alto flute at sight

Baritone clef for horn players

Nowadays, french horn instruments are in F, but sometimes they must use the baritone clef to read score that was written in C (written for the natural horn).

Here is an example with horn score in C from the Great Mass in C minor by Mozart:

Horn in C, Great Mass in C minor

Modern horn players must read this score with a baritone clef to transpose from C to F, what a hard work!

How to draw a baritone clef

How to draw a baritone clef

Draw a dot on the third line.

How to draw a baritone clef

Draw a curve clockwise.

How to draw a baritone clef

Draw two dots around the third line.

Key signatures in baritone clef

Here are positions of flats and sharps in the key signature on the staff with a baritone clef:

positions of flats and sharps on the staff with a baritone clef

Evolution of the F-clef symbol

In the book A history of music by Charles Villiers Stanford and Cecil Forsyth, a representation of the evolution of the F-clef symbol is exposed (source):

Evolution of the F-clef symbol

Learn to read baritone clef

Here is a game to learn baritone clef notes:

Find all my music theory games by clicking this link music theory games
music theory games

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