Treble clef (G-clef) - Music theory (2024)

The treble clef is certainly the most used clef, it determines the position of the G note on the staff Treble clef (G-clef) - Music theory (1) (stave Treble clef (G-clef) - Music theory (2)).

Treble clef (G-clef) - Music theory (3)

From this reference, all others music notes will be placed before and after the G note.

Treble clef (G-clef) - Music theory (4)

Below are more music notes in treble clef and some music notes with ledger lines:

Treble clef (G-clef) - Music theory (5)

What instruments use the treble clef?

Here are some instruments using the treble clef (G-clef):

String instruments:
- Violin
- Cello for the high notes.
- Harp for the right hand
- Guitar
- Ukulele
- Mandoline

Woodwinds instruments:
- Flute
- Recorder
- Clarinets (all clarinets of the clarinet family, even bass clarinet)
- Oboe.
- Saxophones (all saxophones)

Brass instruments:
- Horn
- Trumpet
- Cornet
- Euphonium
- Saxhorn.

Keyboard instruments:
- For the right hand of the piano, the organ, the accordion and the harpsichord.

Percussion instruments:
- Vibraphone
- Xylophone

Voices:
- soprano voice
- Alto voice

Octave treble clefs

An octave treble clef is a normal treble clef with the number 8 printed above or below:

- If the number 8 is below the clef, then all the music notes will be performed one octave lower.
- If the number 8 is above the clef, then all the music notes will be performed one octave higher.

In the following example, all C notes have the same pitch:

Treble clef (G-clef) - Music theory (6)

How to draw a treble clef

Treble clef (G-clef) - Music theory (7)Draw a dot on the 2nd line
Treble clef (G-clef) - Music theory (8)Draw a semi circle clockwise
Treble clef (G-clef) - Music theory (9)Draw a line beyond the staff
Treble clef (G-clef) - Music theory (10)Draw a vertical line
Treble clef (G-clef) - Music theory (11)Draw the final hook clockwise

Here is how to draw a treble clef:

Treble clef (G-clef) - Music theory (12)

You will notice that computer software draw treble clef like this:

Treble clef (G-clef) - Music theory (13)

And you will notice that there is no dot on the second line, I really don't know why.

Treble clef in the grand staff Treble clef (G-clef) - Music theory (14) (great stave Treble clef (G-clef) - Music theory (15))

The treble clef in use in the grand staff, like for the piano all most of keyboard instruments. The grand staff is a combination of one treble clef staff and one bass clef staff. Most of the time, the treble clef staff is played by the right hand, and the bass clef staff is played by the left hand.

Example of a treble clef in a grand staff in a famous work: Frédéric Chopin's Nocturne opus 27 n°2 in D flat major:

Treble clef (G-clef) - Music theory (16)

(Royalty free sound sample performed by pianist Samson François in 1964, Creative Commons Zero 1.0 license, source)

Dear readers, if you have examples of manuscripts or scores with this special G-clef, don't hesitate to let me know, contact me please. [/p]

G-clef or treble clef?

G-clef is a synonym for treble clef.

Relation between treble clef and bass clef


The relation between treble clef and bass clef is very simple: The C note below the staff in treble clef is the same music note that the C note above the staff in bass clef.

Treble clef (G-clef) - Music theory (17)

Evolution of the treble clef symbol

In the book A history of music by Charles Villiers Stanford and Cecil Forsyth, a representation of evolution of the G-clef is exposed (source):

Treble clef (G-clef) - Music theory (18)

Key signatures in treble clef

The key signature are different depending on the clef used, because the position of sharps and flats depends on the position of the note. Here is the position of sharps and flats for a key signature with a treble clef:

Treble clef (G-clef) - Music theory (19)

Funny tricks to recognize music note positions with a treble clef

With a treble clef staff, the music notes on lines are E G B D F and you can remember them with the phrase Every Good Boy Does Fine

Treble clef (G-clef) - Music theory (20)

An with a treble clef staff, the music notes in space are F A C E and you can remember them with the word FACE

Treble clef (G-clef) - Music theory (21)

Another kind of G-clef, the French violin clef

This clef is no longer used, but it was in the 17th and 18th century, and particularly for the violin in French music. This G-clef is the equivalent of the bass clef transposed up two octaves.

The French violin clef indicates the position of the G note as being placed on the first line of the staff:

Treble clef (G-clef) - Music theory (22)

learn to read treble clef with fun

[p]With this game, you will learn to read treble clef with fun:

Test your knowledge



The treble clef set the position of the:

The treble clef set the position of the G note on the staff

  • A note
  • B note
  • C note
  • D note
  • E note
  • F note
  • G note



What does the number 8 written above the treble clef do?

All music notes will sound one octave higher with a treble clef with an upper 8.

  • one octave lower
  • one octave higher
  • nothing else matters



What does the number 8 written below the treble clef do?

All music notes will sound one octave lower with a 8 below the treble clef.

  • one octave lower
  • one octave higher
  • nothing else matters
Treble clef (G-clef) - Music theory (2024)
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