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Grade 4 Music concept Lesson 11: ClefsBy now you should currently know about two clefs - the treble clef and the base clef. Because that grade 4 theory, you also need to know the alto clef.

What is a clef?

A clef is a price we write at the left hand next of every stave, to display you which note lie on i m sorry lines. The clef identifies one line v one note, and also then you can work the end all the other notes native that beginning point.

The treble clef curls roughly the line whereby we uncover G above middle C:


It"s additionally known together the G clef because that this reason.

The bass clef has actually two dots either next of the line whereby we find F listed below middle C.


It"s additionally known as the F clef.

Why carry out we have different clefs?

Instruments (and voices) which space high-pitched usage the treble clef. Lower tools use the base clef, since the note they play are complicated to write utilizing the treble clef - us would need to write a huge number of ledger present in order to present the note at the best pitch.

Using a different clef makes it easier for the player to review the music.

Many years ago, there were lots of different clefs in use - much more than today. Many of this clefs have become obsolete, but one of these, the alto clef, is still offered by one instrument - the viola.

The range of the viola is in between the treble and bass clefs.

The viola offers the alto clef, so the the notes it uses deserve to be written through a minimum the ledger lines.

The alto clef

The alto clef is a form of C clef. It"s a clef which speak you wherein middle C is situated on the stave. (It"s no the just C clef - over there is another one referred to as the "tenor clef". You"ll learn around the tenor clef in ~ grade 5.)

The alto clef looks prefer this:


It"s fairly fancy, isn"t it! That"s the printed version. Once you attract one by hand, you deserve to simplify it a bit. Here"s a hand-drawn alto clef:


You need to draw one vertical line, then one more with two arms. The two arms have to go either side of the middle line that the stave, like this:


And here"s ours handwritten one:


The two arms walk either side of the middle line due to the fact that that line is middle C.

So, the middle line is middle C - that"s fairly easy come remember we hope! The next space up will certainly be D, and the an are below is B. To job-related out the other notes, just start at the center line/middle C and also count up or down.


Questions around the alto clef

In the grade four exam you will certainly be tested on the alto clef in a selection of ways. You can have to usage it to

name or create out notes,work out or create intervals,name or compose out triads,write out crucial signatures andtranspose notes composed using other clefs.

Notes, intervals and also triads

Do these concerns in exactly the same way as you would for the treble and bass clef. Most grade 4 college student (those who are not viola players) can"t review the alto clef really quickly - that doesn"t issue though. Locate the center line and then work-related out the letter names of the notes and pencil castle in, and work the end your answers in the common way.

Here"s a triad question, for example:

Write the called triad as presented by the an essential signature:


The key signature has actually 5 flats, for this reason it have to be Db major. (Remember you have the right to look at the last however one level in the vital signature to occupational out the key!)The tonic triad will have the notes Db, F and also Ab.Find the center line - that"s C. Db need to be in the following space. Create in the Db:
Complete the triad by adding notes in the following two spaces:
Don"t forget to raise the third of a dominant chord in a minor an essential by a semitone (half step)! (E.g. The dominant chord in A minor is Emajor, E-G#-B).

Key signatures in the alto clef

Key signatures should be written carefully at all times, yet especially when you"re utilizing a less familiar clef. Below are the location of the sharps and also flats in every of the key signatures you require to recognize for this grade:



It"s not very complicated to discover these. Just remember these two tips:

The line/space you should start top top is betweenwhere the lies in the treble and also bass clef
The Bb is top top the middle line in the treble clef, and the 2nd line in the base clef. In the alto clef it sits in the an are between this two.The pattern of up/down is the same as because that the treble and also bass clefs:
Compare the three clefs: the an initial sharp is composed high, the next is low, climate high, climate low, climate lower. The flats also follow a constant pattern.

Transposing right into a new clef

In the grade four exam you might be asked to demonstrate your alto clef an abilities by transposing a couple of notes indigenous the treble or bass clefs.

Rewrite these keep in mind so that they sound the same however using the alto clef. Psychic to encompass the an essential signature.


Start by composing in the vital signature (see above):


Next, look at the an initial note. Identify it through name, and decide even if it is it"s over or listed below middle C.

In our instance the first note is middle C#.

Find middle C ~ above the alto clef stave, and also then count up/down to find the position of the note.

Our instance will start appropriate on the middle line:

Watch out for stem direction - periodically it will must change!

Fill in the rest of the notes, and include any accidentals as necessary. Accidentals simply need to be duplicated over - they won"t adjust at all.

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Notice how we had actually to adjust the stem direction of the D# and also F# (the 3rd and 4th notes).

That"s it!

Viola photo via"Bratsche" by just plain invoice - own work. Licensed under publicly Domain via Wikimedia Commons -