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Author Topic: The alto clef  (Read 4075 times)
pianoplayjl
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« on: February 08, 2012, 11:26:21 AM »

While reading through a theory workbook in advance I came across this section about clefs and this one is unfamiliar. I still don't understand even though I read through the explanations a few times. Can some one please explain how it relates to the treble or bass clef, and how to transpose the clef? Is there a a rule i.e. transpose the note down a fifth to treble etc? I don't understand. I appreciate yoru explanations of any sort.

JL
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keyboardclass
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« Reply #1 on: February 08, 2012, 11:37:58 AM »

Basically the line that the arrow is on becomes middle C.  The treble can also be called the G clef as its wrapping around the second line makes that line a G.  The bass wraps around the fourth line making it F.
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drkilroy
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« Reply #2 on: February 08, 2012, 11:49:00 AM »

The alto clef is a C clef which, in this case, means that the middle C is on the third line on the staff. If you want to transpose the alto clef to treble clef, you should transpose note down a seventh, though I actually find it easier to raise a note a second and get a note written an octave higher. Wink

For example, there is an "F-sharp" above "middle C" (as if it was written in treble clef) note in the alto clef. You transpose the note a second higher - you get a G-sharp above middle C. The real note is the G sharp below middle C.

Best regards, Dr
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pianoplayjl
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« Reply #3 on: February 09, 2012, 02:12:16 AM »

I think I understand a bit. Thank you both for your help. I might have to read it several times to absorb the peices of information.

JL
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gvans
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« Reply #4 on: February 09, 2012, 03:23:25 AM »

These clefs are used, mostly, by strings, especially viola and cello parts, sometimes by the French horn (see the Brahms horn trio). If you have to play one of these parts on the piano, say to fill in for a missing cellist, just relate everything back to the middle C indicated by the arrow, as the diagram shows. It gets easier with practice, like everything. Just when you've got the part figured out, though, the cellist shows usually up and you're back to playing familiar bass and treble clefs.
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pianoplayjl
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« Reply #5 on: February 09, 2012, 09:40:28 AM »

These clefs are used, mostly, by strings, especially viola and cello parts, sometimes by the French horn (see the Brahms horn trio). If you have to play one of these parts on the piano, say to fill in for a missing cellist, just relate everything back to the middle C indicated by the arrow, as the diagram shows. It gets easier with practice, like everything. Just when you've got the part figured out, though, the cellist shows usually up and you're back to playing familiar bass and treble clefs.

You've just made the understanding of the diagram a little easier for me. Thank you.

JL
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quantum
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« Reply #6 on: February 09, 2012, 10:04:54 AM »

An example of C clef use:  Notice at the beginning the original C clefts are noted.  The score has been rewritten in Treble and Bass clefs. 
<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1TavBr-ZjXc" target="_blank">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1TavBr-ZjXc</a>

An example of C clef use throughout the music:

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZaIHx1cGkM8" target="_blank">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZaIHx1cGkM8</a>
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pianoplayjl
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« Reply #7 on: February 09, 2012, 10:48:05 AM »

An example of C clef use:  Notice at the beginning the original C clefts are noted.  The score has been rewritten in Treble and Bass clefs. 
<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1TavBr-ZjXc" target="_blank">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1TavBr-ZjXc</a>

An example of C clef use throughout the music:

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZaIHx1cGkM8" target="_blank">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZaIHx1cGkM8</a>

Thanks for the video, but it is so confusing. I am perplexed. Please help me!!!!Clefs are too hard for my understanding. Help.

JL
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nystul
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« Reply #8 on: February 09, 2012, 06:49:26 PM »

The clefs started out as letter names written on the lines, and then those letters got fancier.  They look fancy but the idea is really simple.  Where everything comes together in the middle of the C clef, that is your middle C.  Whatever line that is becomes middle C.  The line below that will be the A line that you normally see at the top of the bass staff.  The line above it will be the E line that you normally see at the bottom of the treble staff.  And so on.
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pianoplayjl
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« Reply #9 on: February 09, 2012, 09:14:05 PM »

The clefs started out as letter names written on the lines, and then those letters got fancier.  They look fancy but the idea is really simple.  Where everything comes together in the middle of the C clef, that is your middle C.  Whatever line that is becomes middle C.  The line below that will be the A line that you normally see at the top of the bass staff.  The line above it will be the E line that you normally see at the bottom of the treble staff.  And so on.


Spot on, Nystul. Exactly what I am looking for and arguably the best explanationo out of the whole thread. Thank you for explaining. 

JL
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ajspiano
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« Reply #10 on: February 10, 2012, 01:52:11 AM »

Yes, the C clef.. as opposed to the G clef (treble) centered on the 2nd line.. or F clef (bass) centered on the 4th line..   ..if that helps at all..

in theory, if you positioned the treble clef on the next line up the 3rd line would be G (rather than B). Not that you're likely to ever see that..  I've never seen the treble or bass clefs positioned in different places the way the C clef can be.
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keyboardclass
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« Reply #11 on: February 10, 2012, 09:48:52 AM »

If you really want to have fun play some Bach in the original - mostly he used the soprano clef for the RH.  The treble clef was also known in his day as the violin clef.  Paris prefered RH violin clef so two printings were often done.
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keypeg
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« Reply #12 on: February 12, 2012, 07:19:04 PM »

It helped me to understand how all the clefs relate to middle C.  The treble clef shows G above middle C, and the bass clef shows F below middle C.  The "C clefs" all show middle C.  So if for some reason I have to transpose music that is written in the treble clef to a C clef, I just ask myself what that note is.  For example, the bottom line note in the treble clef is E above middle C.  So in a C clef, I find middle C (what it points to) and then find E above middle C.  That's my note.

The reason for all the clefs is because of the range of instruments.  Otherwise you would have an uncountable number of ledger lines, or have to write 8va......... all over the place.
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pianoplayjl
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« Reply #13 on: February 13, 2012, 04:07:21 AM »

I got it. No need to post again otherwise my mind would be jumbled up again! Grin
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keypeg
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« Reply #14 on: February 13, 2012, 09:55:30 PM »

I got it. No need to post again otherwise my mind would be jumbled up again! Grin
Oh, I understand that feeling.   Grin  You get an explanation.  You get it.  The person explains more.  Demonstrates more.  Explains more.  It goes poof.  Confetti all over the place.  Roll Eyes
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