1.55 clef

ES: clave, I: chiave, F: clé, clef, D: Schlüssel, Notenschlüssel, NL: sleutel, DK: nøgle, S: klav, FI: avain, nuottiavain.

The clef indicates which lines of the staff correspond to which pitches. The three clef symbols in common use are:

[image of music]

Imagine a large staff of 11 lines centered on middle C, sometimes called a ‘grand staff’, with the bottom line representing low G and the top line high F:

[image of music]

Staves of five lines are usually used, and the clef superimposed on them indicates which five lines have been selected from this grand staff. For example, the treble or G clef indicates that the top five lines have been selected:

[image of music]

The ‘curl’ of the G clef is centered on the line that represents the pitch G.

In the same way, the bass or F clef indicates that the bottom five lines have been selected from the grand staff, and the alto or C clef indicates the middle five lines have been selected. This relationship is shown below, where the notes show an arpeggio on a C major chord.

[image of music]

See also

C clef, F clef, G clef.

LilyPond — Music Glossary v2.22.1 (stable-branch).