Muze Online: Lesson 10 

Bass Clef 

So far, we have used the treble clef to plot out our notes. The treble clef has a wide pitch range, encompassing most of the notes in the range of higher voices, but what do we do if we want to indicate lower notes? If we want to write a melody for a male voice? Then we must use the bass clef. 

 

The bass clef looks like this:

Bass clef .png

I use an acronym to remember the names of the spaces, starting from the bottom: All Cows Eat Grass.

An acronym for the lines is: Good Boys Don't Fool Around

The bass clef can be used in conjunction with the treble clef to cover the full range of the human voice. As seen below, the bass clef is always positioned underneath the treble clef since it depicts lower pitches than the treble clef. Piano music commonly uses both clefs to demonstrate the left hand (on the bass clef) and the right hand (the treble clef).

bass clef image .png

As you can see from the diagram to the right, Middle C is encompassed by both clefs. For the treble clef, Middle C is found on the first ledger line below the stave. For the bass clef, Middle C is found on the first ledger line above the stave. We call this note ‘Middle C’ because it is in the middle of the keyboard. When combining the clefs there is little reason to use ledger lines below the treble clef because these notes can be written on the bass clef instead. Similarly, there is little reason to use ledger lines above the bass clef because these notes can be written on the treble clef. Using fewer ledger lines makes the music easier to read, which is always our ultimate goal.

blank staves.png

This sign: shows that the two clefs are to be played at the same time. If left out, it would look like the clefs are not joined, suggesting that the musician should first play in treble clef and then in bass clef for the next line of music. It is important that we don’t miss this sign out. 

Tasks: 

  1. Have a go at writing out a few bass clef symbols (start with your pencil on the F line and begin by swirling round in a clockwise direction to finish just below the original dot in the A gap. Don’t forget the two dots!

  2. Write out a C major scale lasting 2 octaves, beginning on the second ledger line below the bass clef. 

  3. Finally, write out a treble clef and a bass clef together,