What is a violin clef used for?


Clefs are characters at the beginning of each line that define the absolute pitch of the notes. There are three basic forms: C, F and G keys. There are different variations of each of these basic forms, depending on where in the system of lines the key is written.

G key

Its beginning marks the position of the tone "g1".
Treble clef:
French treble clef:

F key

Its beginning marks the position of the tone "f".
Baritone key:
Bass clef:
Sub bass key:

C key

Its middle marks the position of the tone "c1".

The most famous of all keys is the treble clef. It is the most widely used clef ever. It is used especially with melody instruments and songs. The bass clef is used for lower tones, e.g. bass instruments or the left hand of the piano. The Alt key is also used quite often. All other keys are rarely encountered.

Why different clefs?

If you look at the variety of clefs available, the question arises, why do you need so many different clefs? Well, most of them just arose historically. In the past everyone made their own soup with their own clef. Today the great variety has shrunk, of the various F and G clefs only treble clefs and bass clefs can be found and the C clefs are slowly becoming fewer and fewer. However, you need at least two different clefs, because the range of notes that can be represented is simply very limited by 5 staves. Low notes in the treble clef would have an illegible number of auxiliary lines or would have to be constantly octaved. The opposite is true for the high notes in the bass clef.


Even if the octave symbols seem to have little to do with the clef, I would like to explain them here because the use of them has the same reason as the use of the clefs: particularly high or low notes (related to the respective clef) would need too many guidelines . After all, no musician has so much time to count and recalculate the guidelines every time.

Octaving simply means playing the note an octave higher or lower.
Octavings are indicated by 8va which stands for the Italian "ottava". Also just that 8 is to be found. Something like is also used for the octave downwards 8vb or 8va bassa uses what stands for "ottava bassa" (= octave lower). What is decisive, however, is that the symbol is placed under the notes. For the octave up, the symbol is above the notes.

The octave signs can apply to a single note, but also to longer passages with many notes. All notes enclosed by the dashed line are octaves. Instead of the dashed line, the word loco indicate the end of the octave.

Is above (or below) the notes coll'8va or even just c.o. this means that the octave is to be played in addition to the notated notes (collĀ“ ottava = with octave).
15ma and 15mb stand for raising or lowering the tone by two octaves.

Octaving clef

Octave clefs are a combination of octaves and clefs :-) Here, one (or two) octave (s) lower or higher is played in the entire piece of music. This is particularly useful for instruments that sound lower or higher than normally noted. In the case of sheet music for acoustic guitar, for example, one often finds a treble clef with the 8 underneath.
Here some examples:

Page created: 2000/2001, last change: August 30, 2007