Music theory > Pitch of sounds > Clefs

Clefs

Clef is a french word which means Key. Clef is the first element you will see on the staff united states of america (stave united kingdom), clefs are symbols which indicate the names of the music notes.

Blank staff and staff with a clef

Clefs indicate the names of the music notes on the staff united states of america (stave united kingdom)

Different clefs indicate the names of the music notes on the staff united states of america (stave united kingdom), because a music note on the first line of the staff united states of america (stave united kingdom) is not always the E note, we will see it later.

There is three kinds of clef:

- The treble clef (G-clef)
- F-clefs
- C-clefs

There are:

One kind of G-clef
Two kinds of F-clefs
Four kinds of C-clefs

Most common clefs are the treble clef (G-clef) and the Bass clef (one of the two kind of F-clefs)

Treble clef (G-clef)F-clefsC-clefs
treble clefF-clefC-clef

Treble clef (G-clef)

Read the article about Treble clef (G-clef)

F-clefs

Read the article about F-clefs

C-clefs

Read the article about C-clefs

Which clefs for which instruments?

In mostcases, instruments use only one clef, but when sounds become too low or too high, others clefs can be used.
For the piano, the harp and other polyphonic instruments, two clefs are used (Treble clef and bass clef, most cases)

Instruments in treble clef (G-clef)


The treble clef is principally used by:

- Piano, harp, harpsichord, organ, accordion (right hand)
- Oboe, flute, clarinet
- Horn, trumpet, euphonium, saxhorn
- Violin
- Guitar

Instruments in Bass clef


The bass clef (F-clef on the fourth line of the staff united states of america / stave united kingdom) is principally used by:

- Piano, harp, harpsichord, organ, accordion (right hand and foot for the organ)
- Bassoon and fagot
- Trombone, tuba, euphonium, saxhorn
- Cello, double bass

Instruments in Alto clef


The Alto clef (C-clef on the third line of the staff united states of america / stave united kingdom) are principally used by:

- Viola


Others articles from this category:

Treble clef (G-clef)

Treble clef (G-clef)

Article about the treble clef (G-clef). Description and usage of the treble clef and how to draw it. All you want to know about the treble clef. Read more about...

F-clefs

F-clefs

Article about the F clefs. Description and usage of the F-clefs and how to draw them: Learn how to use the bass clef and the baritone clef Read more about...

C-clefs

C-clefs

Article about the C clefs. Description and usage of the C-clefs and how to draw them: Learn how to use the soprano clef, the mezzo-soprano clef, the tenor clef and the alto clef. Read more about...

Relation between clefs

Relation between clefs

Learn the relation between all the clefs and know why. The most important relation is the relation between treble clef and bass clef. The C below the staff (stave) in treble key is the same note that the C above the staff (stave) in bass clef. Read more about...

Octaves clefs

Octaves clefs

Article about Octaves clefs. Octave clefs are used to write music notes that will sound an octave lower or an octave higher. Learn how to use them. Read more about...


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