What Is The Treble Clef?, Introduction to the Treble Clef and It's Relationship to Guitar
Mar 7 2013, 06:17 PM
Theory Instructor
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From: Manchester UK
What is the Treble Clef?

As guitarists, we know how important the Treble Clef is when learning how to read, write and understand music on our instruments.

Because of the range of the guitar, we will probably go our entire lives and only read music on the Treble Clef, while other instruments such as bass stick to the Bass Clef, and the piano uses both clefs to read and write music.

The Treble Clef sign can be seen on the left hand side of the staff below, the “S” like shape which denounces that this clef is in the Treble Range.

When you see that symbol on the left side of a staff of music, you know that you are reading the Treble Clef, and that the notes will be lined up as such.

Here, you can see the basic range of the Treble Clef from the “Middle C” note one line below the staff, up to the A that is one line above the staff.

When the treble clef is on the left side of any staff of music, then these notes will always line up in the same order, making it easier to read music written in this clef as the notes are always in the same place.

For now just learn to recognize the Treble Clef sign and the general range of the notes, as we will explore the exact notes in this range, including sharps and flats, in upcoming lessons.

Middle C Note

One tricky thing about the Treble Clef and the guitar, is that the “middle C” note that is often used to divide the Treble and Bass Clefs, as that note is right between the two, is not technically in the same spot on the guitar as it is for other instruments such as the piano.

Here is what I mean:

You can see that Middle C on the piano is written on the line below the staff of the Treble Clef, but on the guitar if you played that note it would sound an octave lower.

Because of the range of the guitar, the Middle C sounding note, the one in the piano side, is actually played an octave higher to sound in the same register.

This is one of the quirks of the guitar, it is written in Treble Clef as that is the best range and easiest clef for reading. But, the guitar always sounds one-octave lower than the note being played.

This means that if you played two notes on the guitar and piano at the same time, say Middle C, the guitar would always sound one-octave lower than the piano, but the notes would look the same on the staff.

Not a huge deal, but an important aspect of the instrument to know as you move forward, especially if you begin writing and arranging music for other instruments, you might be surprised if you write a middle C for a keyboard player and it sounds an octave higher than what you played on your guitar when you wrote it!

So, there’s a short intro to the Treble Clef, the staff that we read when playing music on the guitar.

Check it out and if you have any questions or comments, please post them in the thread below.

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Mar 7 2013, 06:23 PM
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Cool stuff!

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Mar 7 2013, 09:03 PM
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It's also called the 'G' clef because 1) it's a fancy, archaic, script G and because the 'curly Q' surrounds the G line in the staff. Actually, it denotes the line that will be G in the staff.

*You can occasionally, especially if you play a lot of classical orchestral music and/or study music theory at university, see the curly Q encircling a different line. For example when the G clef is placed on the first line of the staff (E), it is called the French clef or French violin clef. Now that line is G and everything shifts accordingly. Thankfully, as guitarists we will never see this.

OT, don't look if you don't get what I just wrote ...
Spoiler:

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This post has been edited by klasaine: Mar 7 2013, 09:04 PM
Mar 7 2013, 10:36 PM
Theory Instructor
Posts: 888
Joined: 8-January 13
From: Manchester UK
QUOTE (TreyDeschamp @ Mar 7 2013, 05:23 PM)
Cool stuff!

Thanks, more articles like this to come!

You are at GuitarMasterClass.net

Don't miss today's free lick. Plus all our lessons are packed with free content!

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