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Theory Lesson 4: The Bass Clef

We need to know about one other clef. The bass clef, and is used for low notes.

The bass clef began life as a fancy letter F and its two dots surround line 4 of the staff to show that this is the line for F below middle C:

Notice that the four spaces from the bottom up are A, C, E, and G. like with treble clef, a catchy saying can help you remember this, such as All Cars Eat Gas.

Once again all of the other notes fit in order around F. So, G is in the space above F, A is on the next line up and so on:

The bass clef is used for music sung by men with low voices and for instruments that mainly play low notes, such as the bassoon, the tuba, the double bass, and the bass guitar.

We have seen that there are two ways of writing middle C – on a ledger line above a bass staff or on a ledger line below a treble staff. In fact, middle C fits between the two staffs, which is why it is called middle C. here are both ways of writing middle C, along with all the notes we have learned:

Notice how the treble clef takes over from the bass clef as the notes gradually get higher.

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