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victoria Williams Music Theory

Victoria Williams

LmusTCL BA Mus (Hons) MISM

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Next UK ABRSM Online Theory Exams Grades 6-8:
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2. Bass Clef

Grade One Music Theory - Lesson 2: Clefs

Suitable for:  ABRSM Grade 1   Trinity Grade 1   GCSE   AP Music Theory Beginners 


Bass Clef

FrenchtubaWe have already learned about our first clef, the treble clef.

For most low-pitched music, (where most of it is lower than middle C), we use the bass clef.

The bass clef looks like this:Bass clef symbol - music theory

The two dots of the bass clef are placed either side of the line where we can find the note F, so it's also known as the F clef.

The bass clef is used by many low-pitched instruments, such as the tuba (pictured), bassoon, and double bass. It's also the default clef for the left hand in piano music, and the bass voice.

This is the first F below middle C. 

Listen to F in the bass clef


Note Names

We can work out the other notes just like we did with the treble clef. Here are the notes on the lines:

Listen to the notes on the lines in the bass clef


And here are the notes in the spaces:

Listen to the notes in the spaces in the bass clef


The note above B is middle C. It's useful to be able to write middle C in both clefs. We use a small line for it to sit on, just like we did in the treble clef (but in the bass clef it is above the stave):

Middle C, Bass clef


Remember that in the treble clef, middle C is below the stave:




"Frenchtuba" image by Hidekazu Okayama - PROJECT EUPHONIUM (Hidekazu Okayama). Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons - 


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