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Posted By: davaofthekeys Why is the Bass Clef in F and not G? - 01/06/08 08:58 PM
I probably should know this since I´m a pianist, but I recently turned teacher and have to answer to stuff now, and I just cant figure it out, is there a good reason why the bass clef is in F and not just a lower G, like the treble clef? Wouldnt it make more sense and be easier to read for young students? Any ideas are welcome:-)
Posted By: Morodiene Re: Why is the Bass Clef in F and not G? - 01/06/08 09:25 PM
I think the answer lies in how music notation developed. Originally, they started out with what I think was an early version of Tenor clef, then as the music grew to become polyphonic (starting with parallel organum and such) in order to accommodate different vocal ranges. The clef was placed in an area where most of the notes used in that voice type would lie. It makes no sense to piano or keyboard instruments, but since they didn't really kick off until early Baroque, after the notation had already been around a while, it stuck that way.
Posted By: pianobuff Re: Why is the Bass Clef in F and not G? - 01/06/08 09:44 PM
To me the answer might be that you have middle C smack dab in the middle of both clefs (as well as on the keyboard.) If you go five steps up your at G (dominant of C.) If you go down five steps you are at F (sub-dominanant of C.) C is tonic.

It is symetric this way and makes mathematical sense when thinking Circle of Fifths. Remember the piano is a C instrument.

This is my reasoning anyways on why.

One other thing the bass is not in F, it is just called the F clef because of where the clef sign symbol is located on the staff (the two dots go around the line that F sits on.) Same with the treble clef sign, its tail swirls around the line that G sits on, thus calling it the G Clef.

It would look quite awkward to have the bass clef sign go where the lower G is or it would be impossible to have it go where the high bass G is because it is a space note.
Posted By: keystring Re: Why is the Bass Clef in F and not G? - 01/06/08 09:54 PM
It's also symmetrical to the eye. G with its curlicue wrapping around the line hugs the first line in from the staff up from middle C, and F targets the first line in from the staff down from middle C. You're looking straight up and down from middle C at the first available line which isn't the outer edge of the staff, like two bull's eyes.
Posted By: lilylady Re: Why is the Bass Clef in F and not G? - 01/06/08 09:56 PM
I will try to explain.

Picture in your mine or draw a LARGE staff.

It will have the 5 lines of the Treble clef, one long line in the middle that will later become the smaller leger line, 'Middle C', and 5 lines of the Bass clef. So 11 lines in all. All equidistant from each other.

That would be hard to read notes from, yes?


To help make reading easier, separate this large staff into two staffs of 5 -
the top 5 lines and the bottom 5 lines become separated making a small 'leger' line to denote the Middle C.

That makes things easier to read.

All notes going up from Middle C become the Teble clef. All notes going down from Middle C become the Bass Clef.

Each staff has a set of names according to their interval or distance from Middle C.

The reason we call them G clef or F clef is because that is the name which falls on 2 lines UP or 2 lines DOWN from Middle C.

Two line up from middle c is G
Two lines down from middle c is F

===========================================

I tend to think of reading music by intervals and relationships:

Middle C is on a line. Each Line going up is a Skip. An actual SKIP of a note on the keyboard.

Line, line, line, line, line, named notes are: E, G, B, D, F. These are the names of line notes on the G clef (treble) staff.

Like wise lines going down from Middle C are: A, F, D, B, G. The names of the notes of F clef. However, we usually memorize these as notes from bottom to top - G B D F A.

IF ONE CONTINUES FROM LINE TO LINE OR SPACE TO SPACE FROM WHERE EVER, going up, - It continues the saying:

G B D, F A C E, G B D, F A C E.

No matter where you start! Try it!

I will be happy to elaborate further if one asks.

LL
Posted By: Harmosis Re: Why is the Bass Clef in F and not G? - 01/06/08 10:12 PM
Further to Morodiene's point, if you look at old, square notation of plainchant, you can see the C clef, indicating the position of middle C, and the F clef, indicating F a 5th below. Since the F clef was used for the human bass voice, it would seem quite logical to eventually use it for any bass voice, instrumental or otherwise. Of course, it makes perfect sense for our modern grand staff as well.
Posted By: TromboneAl Re: Why is the Bass Clef in F and not G? - 01/06/08 10:50 PM
Regardless of the explanations for why it's so, think for a moment of the benefit of having two G clefs instead of one G and one F.

Every new piano student would have half as many notes to learn. That is a substantial difference.

So the new grand staff has two ledger lines between the clefs instead of one, who cares?
2 cents worth - Pianobuff hit a home run (to mix metaphors), and the G marks the g line on the g clef. Yes, it is a G. Look at old fashion music, back when they still made a G rather than the stylized G of today. Ditto the F clef. For those of us over 60, and perhaps our English brethren, we used to make capital Fs somewhat like the F sign of today.

Once you grasp the concept that the grand staff is nothing more than an 11 eleven line staff, with the middle line pulled out, and the two halves then "pulled apart" slightly, you should never again have problems with the grand staff.
Posted By: Morodiene Re: Why is the Bass Clef in F and not G? - 01/07/08 01:29 AM
Quote
Originally posted by TromboneAl:
Regardless of the explanations for why it's so, think for a moment of the benefit of having two G clefs instead of one G and one F.

Every new piano student would have half as many notes to learn. That is a substantial difference.

So the new grand staff has two ledger lines between the clefs instead of one, who cares?
Great. And as soon as you get the entire music world to go with you on this, I'll come on board too :p laugh .
Posted By: currawong Re: Why is the Bass Clef in F and not G? - 01/07/08 01:52 AM
Quote
Originally posted by John v.d.Brook:
Once you grasp the concept that the grand staff is nothing more than an 11 eleven line staff, with the middle line pulled out, and the two halves then "pulled apart" slightly, you should never again have problems with the grand staff.
Spot on! And if you ever have the desire to play the viola, the alto clef fits neatly in the exact centre of the grand staff and you won't have any problems with that either!
Posted By: Gyro Re: Why is the Bass Clef in F and not G? - 01/07/08 03:45 PM
I believe that this is to emphasize that
the staffs are not some kind of symmetric
system. For example, the second line from
the bottom on the treble is G, and the
second line from the top is D, but the second
line from the top on the bass is F and
the second line from the bottom is B. Thus,
there is no symmetry and you have to learn
the notes by rote. If you try to read
the bass like the treble you'l get f___.
That's why it's called the "F" clef.
Thanks everybody for your elaborate answers! Now I can explain better to students the logic of the different clefs, without resorting to the worst reply, "just because it is so". But I´ll keep checking the thread for more feedback.
David, when I begin to teach the grand staff, I have the kids put on their immagination cap and pretend that they are living in old Italy 500 years ago (and show them some prints of elegant outfits).

We're singing a bunch a neat tunes, but we want to share them with friends in the next town over. How can we write these tunes out and send them by stage coach to our friends?

I take a blank piece of paper and a magic marker and then sing baa baa black sheep or some other familiar tune. We make black marks across the page, going up or down by the amount the tone changes. For long notes, we make long strokes, for short notes, we make short strokes.

Then I wonder out loud if it wouldn't be easier to read if we just drew some lines across the page, so our friends could see very easily where they should be singing.

From there, I sing a G tone and say, why don't we make that this note here (we're starting on middle C), and draw a letter G where the cross bar on the bottom falls on the G line. Then we fancy it up a bit. Ditto with the F. In 10 minutes of fun role playing, we've "Invented" the grand staff.

Then I wrap up with a "Guess what?" This is exactly what happened 500 years ago, and everyone thought it so brilliant, that we've just stuck with it.

The kids now have ownership of the idea, and totally understand the concept. While learning to read it fluently still takes a while, they are not fighting it or trying to reinvent the wheel.

John
I played the viola as a middle school student. I had troubles with upper register intonations on my violin. Think it was that I heard pure intervals better than well-tempered intervals. I would always be sharp in 4th position or higher. But I preferred the fiddle and still play it occasionally.
Posted By: pianobuff Re: Why is the Bass Clef in F and not G? - 01/08/08 02:06 AM
Quote
Originally posted by Gyro:
I believe that this is to emphasize that
the staffs are not some kind of symmetric
system. For example, the second line from
the bottom on the treble is G, and the
second line from the top is D, but the second
line from the top on the bass is F and
the second line from the bottom is B. Thus,
there is no symmetry and you have to learn
the notes by rote. If you try to read
the bass like the treble you'l get f___.
That's why it's called the "F" clef.
But it is symetric if you think of it as a mirror image with C being in the middle. Five steps down and five steps up dictate what clef your in and why it is called F clef and G clef.

The question is why the treble and bass clefs are also called G clef and F clef.

I do like your cleverness when it comes to why the bass clef is called the "F" clef, but really it is only a Giant Ladder (the grand staff and it ledger lines) with C being in the middle.
If you turned your music sideways, enlarged it so the lines and spaces were big enough to line up with the piano keys everything would make perfect sense because every note would line up with it's own line or space..
You could also keep the music straight up and down and tip your piano on it's side but that might not be such a good idea.
Posted By: pianojerome Re: Why is the Bass Clef in F and not G? - 01/08/08 02:25 AM
So, a bass singer reads bass clef -- just one clef at a time, no grand staff.

And there were bass singers long before there were pianists.

So, why for a bass singer would the bass clef center on F?


A soprano singer reads treble clef -- just one clef at a time, no grand staff, no symmetries, no sideways keyboards.

And there were soprano singers long before there were pianists.

So, why for a soprano singer would the treble clef center on G?
Posted By: pianobuff Re: Why is the Bass Clef in F and not G? - 01/08/08 02:35 AM
Sam,

I think it is because (and forgive me, I do not have my music dictionary handy) but I think it is because there are also mezzo sopranos, altos, tenors, baritone and basses, which make up a larger range like the size of the grand staff, with again C being in the middle.

Now that I'm thinking about it, perhaps the keyboard and/or harp and the notation of pitches using a grand staff was designed by the ranges of the human voice.
Posted By: currawong Re: Why is the Bass Clef in F and not G? - 01/08/08 02:46 AM
It's actually to simplify things that so few clefs are now used. In Bach's time the soprano would have been reading from a soprano clef (a C clef which marked the bottom line as middle C). Many clefs were used primarily to keep the notes within the range of the staff, or put another way, to avoid ledger lines. This is why viola music is largely written in the alto clef - because its commonly used range fits within the notes on the stave indicated by the alto clef.

But as to the "why is the treble clef a G clef" -
A G clef indicates the position of G
An F clef (different shape) indicates the position of F
A C clef (different shape again) indicates the position of C

As far as I understand it, all were once moveable. Now it's only the C clef which has more than one position (for tenor and alto clef positions). Certain clef positions that weren't used much were dropped, and what we have is basically what was left, by virtue of being the most commonly used.
The real question is not so much "why is the treble clef a G clef?" (answer = because the treble clef sign is a sign which indicates the position of G - that's what it IS) but "why didn't other clef positions like the soprano clef survive?" And I don't think anyone would really want a situation where each voice type had its own clef, would they? Though I'm sure we could have got used to it if we'd had to smile .
Posted By: TromboneAl Re: Why is the Bass Clef in F and not G? - 01/23/08 09:32 PM
Here\'s a post in my blog that's relevant to this.
Posted By: currawong Re: Why is the Bass Clef in F and not G? - 01/23/08 10:09 PM
This idea was proposed by someone a few months ago and there was a bit of spirited discussion. It got the thumbs down, for various reasons - I don't have time to search for it now, but you might be interested in doing so to see what was said. I recall that it was those who played a single stave instrument and then started the piano who were particularly keen on the idea as they found learning a new clef a challenge. (I don't think the original proposer is still around.)
Posted By: TromboneAl Re: Why is the Bass Clef in F and not G? - 01/25/08 03:21 PM
Thanks, Curra. I haven't been able to find it since there aren't any distinctive words to search for. Remember any particular and unusual words that happened to be used in the discussion?
Posted By: playadom Re: Why is the Bass Clef in F and not G? - 01/25/08 03:38 PM
Quote
Originally posted by TromboneAl:
Here\'s a post in my blog that's relevant to this.
In this you state:
Also, I suspect that your performance would always be a little better if you can avoid that extra processing step.

This is ridiculous. I've read music that uses two treble clefs, and I find it just a little harder! There is no extra processing. That only exists if one is unable to do so correctly. You shouldn't 'convert' the bass clef to treble as an extra step. This is like what happens with not-quite-fluent speakers of a language. They can't think well in the language, and have to add the 'extra step' of translating back and forth to their more comfortable language.
Posted By: currawong Re: Why is the Bass Clef in F and not G? - 01/26/08 03:18 AM
Quote
Originally posted by playadom:
I've read music that uses two treble clefs, and I find it just a little harder! There is no extra processing. That only exists if one is unable to do so correctly. You shouldn't 'convert' the bass clef to treble as an extra step.
I tend to agree here. With the proposed system there would be another step for me, too = so that's a G? WHICH G?

And Al, I can't seem to remember whether the thread started with the idea, or whether it came towards the end of a discussion about something else. I'll have another look myself.
It wouldn't make sense to have a bass cleff in G
The treble and bass cleff together form the grand staff which is nothing but the specular image of the piano keyboard.

All the notes follow logically so that below the C you have the B in the keyboard and below the treble middle C you have the higher bass B.

Imagine if the bass cleff was in G.
Then you would have a B below C in the keyboard but a G below C in the sheet. That would be unbelievably confusing.

In truth the problem is not that a bass cleff in F cause students to have to learn more notes but that the teachers insist in teaching the treble cleff and the bass cleff as separated cleefs rather than teaching the grand staff as the perfect rapresentation of the piano keys.

If you move on note by note on the grand staff and at the same time move on note by note on the keyboard you find yourself always at the same note both in the sheet and the piano. Change the cleff and this absolute simmetry would be screwed and would make piano playing way way harder and less intuitive.

In fact it would make sightreading impossible since sightreading is more about recognizing intervals by distances than recognizing notes for their position.
Posted By: currawong Re: Why is the Bass Clef in F and not G? - 01/26/08 04:48 AM
Quote
Originally posted by TromboneAl:
Thanks, Curra. I haven't been able to find it since there aren't any distinctive words to search for. Remember any particular and unusual words that happened to be used in the discussion?
Found it, Al.
There were 4 threads, called Proposal for a new piano music notation (-, 2, 3, 4) in the Pianist Corner (which is why I couldn't find it here) and the poster was donaldsauter. I don't know how to do links, but that should be enough. The first thread started in May07, and the 4th was in July07.
Posted By: TromboneAl Re: Why is the Bass Clef in F and not G? - 01/26/08 07:14 PM
I defer to you guys, since you a probably much better readers than I. Perhaps you can help me understand your objections.

Quote

The treble and bass clef together form the grand staff which is nothing but the specular image of the piano keyboard....If you move on note by note on the grand staff and at the same time move on note by note on the keyboard you find yourself always at the same note both in the sheet and the piano. Change the clef and this absolute symmetry would be screwed and would make piano playing way way harder and less intuitive....All the notes follow logically so that below the C you have the B in the keyboard and below the treble middle C you have the higher bass B.
Take a look at this image.
[Linked Image]

You'll see that the notes still form a specular image of the keyboard. The proposed system has all the characteristics you talk about. I realize in going over your objection that I didn't make the organization clear.

Quote
Imagine if the bass cleff was in G.
Then you would have a B below C in the keyboard but a G below C in the sheet. That would be unbelievably confusing.
That is not true. I'm sorry if I didn't make it clear how the new clef works.

Quote
In fact it would make sightreading impossible since sightreading is more about recognizing intervals by distances than recognizing notes for their position.
There is no change in intervals. Sight-reading would not be impossible, just as it is not impossible when reading two treble clefs (e.g. in duets).

Quote
With the proposed system there would be another step for me, too = so that's a G? WHICH G?
When you see a G on the treble clef, which G is it? You know which one it is, because you know you are looking at the treble clef. There is no difference with the proposed system. When you see a G on the "smart clef" (the proposed replacement for the bass clef), you know which one it is, because you know you are looking at the smart clef. Nothing is changed in this regard.

Quote
I've read music that uses two treble clefs, and I find it just a little harder!
Me too, especially at first, but it's just because I'm used to interpreting notes as bass clef notes for the lower staff. But it's only a little harder, I'll bet that in a week I'd be used to it.
Posted By: TromboneAl Re: Why is the Bass Clef in F and not G? - 01/26/08 07:41 PM
Quote
Found it, Al.
Thanks for finding that. He made a lot of the same arguments, and his web page is uncannily like mine. I guess there isn't much point in rehashing this. I'm surprised at the emotional nature of the objections, but I guess music is an emotional thing.
Posted By: keystring Re: Why is the Bass Clef in F and not G? - 01/26/08 08:56 PM
I'm curious - How does the proposed bass-G-clef work with the range of voices and instruments? How high up on the leger lines does a tenor climb if his voice is in the bass clef but starting one line higher?
Posted By: Morodiene Re: Why is the Bass Clef in F and not G? - 01/26/08 08:59 PM
Keystring, you forget the tenor clef, which was really the first clef created. The others came about later to accommodate the varying ranges.
Quote
Originally posted by TromboneAl:
I defer to you guys, since you a probably much better readers than I. Perhaps you can help me understand your objections.

Quote

The treble and bass clef together form the grand staff which is nothing but the specular image of the piano keyboard....If you move on note by note on the grand staff and at the same time move on note by note on the keyboard you find yourself always at the same note both in the sheet and the piano. Change the clef and this absolute symmetry would be screwed and would make piano playing way way harder and less intuitive....All the notes follow logically so that below the C you have the B in the keyboard and below the treble middle C you have the higher bass B.
Take a look at this image.
[Linked Image]

You'll see that the notes still form a specular image of the keyboard. The proposed system has all the characteristics you talk about. I realize in going over your objection that I didn't make the organization clear.
I see what you mean now.
Nevertheless this would increase the room between the two clefs making reading a bit harder.
In fact in sight-reading training it becomes often clear how the fact that there's only one extra line between the treble and the bass cleff makes reading a lot easier and more intuitive.
Posted By: keystring Re: Why is the Bass Clef in F and not G? - 01/27/08 02:30 AM
Quote
Keystring, you forget the tenor clef, which was really the first clef created
No, I haven't forgotten. What we have hear is a proposed new bass clef, a "bass G" clef on the grand staff. In the existing grand staff, if the tenor voice is placed in the bass clef as it often is, the highest note being about G above middle C still looks normal on the leger line. How would it look being bumped one line up? Or if in closed score?
Quote
Originally posted by TromboneAl:
Here\'s a post in my blog that's relevant to this.
Great idea, Al! A slam-dunk no-brainer if I ever heard one!!! Some guy tried to propose the same thing once,

http://www.geocities.com/donaldsauter/piano-notation.htm

but Piano World blew a collective gasket. (Search the forums for "notation proposal".)

Donald Sauter (easy to remember name - it's symmetric around the blank)
Posted By: Chris H. Re: Why is the Bass Clef in F and not G? - 01/29/08 09:51 AM
Quote
Originally posted by davaofthekeys:
I probably should know this since I´m a pianist, but I recently turned teacher and have to answer to stuff now, and I just cant figure it out, is there a good reason why the bass clef is in F and not just a lower G, like the treble clef? Wouldnt it make more sense and be easier to read for young students? Any ideas are welcome:-)
I must admit I have not read all of this thread but it seems to me that you have answered your own question here. The G clef is also called the 'treble' clef which means high, and the F clef is the 'bass' clef meaning low. So the treble (G) clef should not be used to show low notes.

If you want to know about the history and origins of the three clefs used today then just google search the word 'clef'. I am sure you will find a good enough explanation. In short the clefs are designed to fit the ranges of orchestral instruments without the excessive use of leger lines. So the idea of having 5 notes floating about between the treble and 'lower treble?' stave would make things much harder for pianists.

If some people spent half as much time learning the bass clef as they do trying to find an alternative then they would see that there is no problem to fix. In fact as an adult I would not want to admit that I could not learn the position of 9 notes despite the fact that they run in alphabetical order and I have a dirty great F clef for reference.

Invent a new grand staff if you must (you won't be the first to try) but you will find it does not improve your reading one bit. By the time you have gone through all your scores and trancribed the bass into your new 'low G' clef you will be able to recognise those bass clef notes easily anyway. The interesting thing is that when you put your new manuscript on the stand you will find it no easier to play.

If you want to explain it to children then simply tell them that treble is high and bass is low. I never seem to have problems with this.
Posted By: btb Re: Why is the Bass Clef in F and not G? - 01/29/08 03:52 PM
ChrisH has written off the likelihood of anyone discovering a grand staff to set the kindling alight.

But here's a grand staff with a constant C datum that knocks spots of the universal notation format ... see web page link.

web page

The bold horizontal lines register the repeating locations of all the keyboard Cs with Middle C dead centre ... all 12 basic notes enjoy identical settings between the bold C lines ... by making space for all the notes ... sharps and
flats are eliminated ... the lines mark off the octave range into 6 WHOLE-tones including C, D, E, F#, Ab and Bb ... and the half-tones
C#, Db, F, G, A, B.

The antiquated alphabetic note-names have long since given way to a familiar numerical series ... the 5-minute divisions on a clock-face provide a ready model ...the WHOLE-tones are numbered 60, 10, 20, 30, 40, 50 (to match the even stack of lines) with the Cs on the hour at 60 ... while the half-tones fill in the gaps with notes 05, 15, 25, 35, 45, 55 .

Here's hoping a Computer Age whizz-kid or two might pick up on the hyper-vision staff bonanza ... the old guard are likely to distance
themselves from the nutty concept ... can just hear the howls of umbrage!!
Posted By: Chris H. Re: Why is the Bass Clef in F and not G? - 01/30/08 08:16 AM
When all my music is re-printed using your 37 line stave I had better get a bigger shelf!
Posted By: apollo33 Re: Why is the Bass Clef in F and not G? - 01/30/08 08:15 PM
Can someone please tell me where to find this piano music where the 2 staves only have one ledger line between them, making them continuous? I don't seem to have any.

+1 for shifting the bass clef so e.g. the bottom line of each staff is an E.

I also don't buy this argument that learning 2 different staves should be as easy as one, as if there's something that really sets them apart and prevents any confusion. I think the fact remains that if you see 5 lines and a note on them, you can't know what that note is without further processing the clef symbol way off to the left. This should be obvious given a previous mentioning of having the treble clef for both hands; maybe you're used to reading the bottom line for your left hand as a G, and now you have to remember that it's no longer a G but an E.

Sorry for arguing on only my second post. I'm just trying to learn the piano and the clefs are annoying me! smile
Posted By: TromboneAl Re: Why is the Bass Clef in F and not G? - 01/30/08 10:52 PM
You've got the idea, Apollo8.

Imagine you go to a country where on even number days, people speak English, and on odd days they speak Finnish. They've been doing it all their lives, and it's easy for them.

When someone suggests that they choose one language to speak, they say this:

"If you just spend the time to learn both languages, you'll realize there's no problem. I sure wouldn't want to admit that I couldn't learn a foreign language. Our system has a wonderful symmetry to it."
Posted By: Akira Re: Why is the Bass Clef in F and not G? - 01/30/08 11:03 PM
Posted By: btb Re: Why is the Bass Clef in F and not G? - 01/31/08 07:37 AM
How refreshing to find a newcomer to the piano asking for a printed stave which does not distort the placing of the two staves ... leaving Middle C on a single ledger line between the two.

But will he find what he’s looking for ... we’ve got so used to the distortion of two separate staves ... that we’ve bunged up the enlarged cavity with extraneous info relating to dynamics, crescendos, diminuendos, clef overflows, tempo, moods, etc. ... WITHOUT BATTING AN EYELID.

No wonder newcomers battle to read the two staves at the same time.

We are all under the illusion that the space between staves is necessary ... presumably to allow the note patterns of the two hands to be clearly separated ... but what a cop-out ... all quality music is a duet between hands ... the two roles are distinct entities and don’t need any
artificial separation .

The reason for the separation of the two staves around an isolated Middle C is, as we all know ... to avoid the confusion of having to read
too many lines ... 5 and 5 has proved as much as we can handle.

In sharing (many moons ago) the same sense of confusion as Apollo33 ... the chromatic stave shown below, with a constant C datum, gave access
to playing the full library of keyboard masterpieces ... the bonanza of no more adjustments for sharps and flats has made sight-reading a magic carpet ride ... learn ONE STAVE ... treble and bass IDENTICAL.

web page
Posted By: Chris H. Re: Why is the Bass Clef in F and not G? - 01/31/08 03:45 PM
Quote
Originally posted by apollo33:
Can someone please tell me where to find this piano music where the 2 staves only have one ledger line between them, making them continuous? I don't seem to have any.
Absolutely. Any conventional score you buy works like this. In conventional notation there is just one ledger line between the staves and the grand staff is continuous.

If you use the proposed 'smart' clef you need two ledger lines between the staves. The clefs we use today were designed to minimise the use of ledger lines. That makes the smart clef stave less effective IMO.

The problem comes with thinking that the staves are two different, unrelated things. They are not. This is where the analogy of separate languages is useless. The grand staff is just one language. You have to take it as a whole in order to see the patterns. The confusion comes when people are shown just 5 lines to begin with. The stave should never be introduced in this way. Don’t think of treble (G) and bass (F) clef as being different, they just mark out two points of reference on the grand staff.

If you really wish to create your own smart stave and feel that you must have the note E on the bottom line then take a pencil and ruler and add it underneath the bass stave. This might make you feel better but it will not improve your reading at all. The funny thing is that all those who claim the need for 'another way' are perfectly capable of reading the stave as it is. Btb likes to complain about sharps and flats but even he can locate F# on the page and on the piano just as easily as the rest of us.

Unfortunately, newcomers to music might be drawn into his 'magic carpet ride' theory because they know no better. But beware, the further down the 'smart clef' road you go the more difficult you will find things when you HAVE to read conventional notation in order to play the music you like. Apollo33 asked where he can find 'smart clef' music for piano. I did not see any response to this. We have asked btb many times for examples of repertoire using the chromatic stave. So far nothing has materialised.
Posted By: Chris H. Re: Why is the Bass Clef in F and not G? - 01/31/08 07:27 PM
Quote
Originally posted by TromboneAl:

Imagine you go to a country where on even number days, people speak English, and on odd days they speak Finnish. They've been doing it all their lives, and it's easy for them.

When someone suggests that they choose one language to speak, they say this:

"If you just spend the time to learn both languages, you'll realize there's no problem. I sure wouldn't want to admit that I couldn't learn a foreign language. Our system has a wonderful symmetry to it."
Or......

Imagine you go to a country where everyone speaks Finnish every day of the week. It is their language and works just fine. But you can't be bothered to learn Finnish because it looks complicated. Do you then expect them to change their language to suit you?

In any case, you can't compare learning the positions of 9 notes on the bass stave with learning a foreign language. If you want to simplify it further then just learn the 4 notes in the spaces and work up or down from that.
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