Talk:Clef

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Merge[edit]

I've taken a stab at integrating all the clef atricles here, as per the discussion on Talk:treble clef. I'll wait to change the others to redirects until I hear your comments. -- Merphant

I like the integration very much - the whole thing seems much clearer now, with the potential confusion between G clef and Treble clef virtually eliminated. Go ahead and make the other clef pages redirects.
Just one thing: maybe it would be best to put the images under "G clef", "F clef" and "C clef" rather than under "Treble clef", etc. That way we know what they look like from the start. This makes it a bit tricky to distinguish between alto and tenor clefs, but probably the thing to do is to put the alto clef under "C clef" and keep the image of the tenor clef where it is. Otherwise, this is great! --Camembert
Or, here's another idea I've just had - how about making the "Treble clef" section a subsection to "G clef", "Bass clef" a subsection to "F clef" and "Alto clef" and "Tenor clef" subsections to "C clef"? So the overall scheme of the article would become:
  • G clef
    • Treble clef
    • Violin clef [or whatever else you want to call it, when I get round to writing about it]
  • F clef
    • Bass clef
    • Baritone clef [if anybody ever wants to write about it]
  • C clef
    • Alto clef
    • Tenor clef
    • [any other C clefs that people want to write about]

Obviously, I don't mean to use bullet points, you'd do it with headings, I guess. The more I think about this, the more I like the idea of it. I won't touch anything for now though. --Camembert

Yeah, I was thinking of laying it out like that too - group by clef symbol then by clef. BTW, anyone got any idea where to find an image of the old-style F-clef, same quality as the existing images? -- Tarquin

Ok, done. As for the other F clef, Your best bet is probably to find some printed music that uses it and scan it in. I made the others with Finale, but it doesn't seem to have that symbol in any of its fonts. It does have the F and G clefs with the 8, but I don't think those are really necessary to have here. -- Merphant

I have some music that has the old F clef that I can scan if necessary, but I'll look around for a better quality image first. I've scoured Sibelius (the program, not the, erm, composer), but can't find it in any of the fonts there, unfortunately. --Camembert
    • I've wrote a small bit on the french clef, baritone clef and the subbass clef. Sotakeit

1639 tenor clef[edit]

File:Britannica Horn Nozze C Clef Note A.png (in old horn music the note sounds a perfect fourth higher than written)

Rather than edit the article directly I would like to call question on the statement made in describing the old tenor or C clef that looks something like a #. The statement as it is at this date says that the note in the graphic is a low E. Unless I am mistaken, I believe it is F3 because the center of the clef, two spaces above, is C4 (middle C). Incidentally, I have seen this clef frequently used in printed music for tenor voice into the mid to late 1900s. Since then it seems to have fallen into disuse. This clef is equivalent to the alto or viola clef (C clef) moved up to the space above the middle line of the staff, and I have also seen that clef used for the same purpose. 64.203.113.231 (talk) 05:59, 14 October 2012 (UTC)

Just to be clear, this is a 1911 encyclopedia article example, describing a piece composed before 1639. Why shouldn't we take it at its word if the caption claims it's 4th line C, even if it looks a bit funny? I don't see what this has to do with the clef article, though. Sparafucil (talk) 22:57, 14 October 2012 (UTC)
Those 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica examples are often unreliable in just this way. The placement of the clef is ambiguous. The important thing, though, is the date. Placement of a C clef on a space instead of a line is a 20th-century "innovation" of dubious value, for precisely the reason brought up here: the reader is likely to assume the standard practice for all clefs (prior to the introduction of this "tenor clef"), which is that they identify a staff line (not a space) with a particular pitch. In the 17th century there could be no such doubt: the note is an E.—Jerome Kohl (talk) 23:54, 14 October 2012 (UTC)
This bogus clef was in several early 20c. music fonts, and its meaning is totally ambiguous. I have seen it used for a C4 tenor clef (as the Britannica article implies), as a C3 alto clef (as in the Sacred Harp, Cooper revisions (1902-1960) where it is clearly defined as C3, and as a substitute for the "octavating" treble clef, where it actually indicates the third space as middle C.Finn Froding (talk) 21:51, 27 May 2014 (UTC)
The font is one thing, the reference to a 17th-century source quite another. Have you ever seen this used for a 17th-century source to indicate octavating treble clef?—Jerome Kohl (talk) 22:53, 27 May 2014 (UTC)
No, I don't believe this form of the C clef existed in the 17th century--it's an artefact of the 1911 Britannica. On the other hand, 17th-century the English publisher John Playford was probably the first to use the G2 "treble clef" (instead of the C4 tenor clef) for tenor voices--this allowed the part to be used by treble or tenor singers, whether in a solo aria or in psalmody. Finn Froding (talk) 13:54, 28 May 2014 (UTC)

Thanks for the image of the typical Renaissance C clef. I don't understand why it has a thick horizontal line in the middle, but it's better than anything I could find online. Finn Froding (talk) 22:04, 28 May 2014 (UTC)

You are welcome. I just looked on Wikimedia Commons and chose the example that seemed most suitable. The centre of the clef is not really a single, thick line, but rather a juxtaposition of the bottom line of the upper "box", the top line of the lower "box", and the staff line passing between them. There is a huge variation in the forms of clefs in early print sources. The one used in the Encyclopedia Britannica is not unique to that source, but is a form found mainly in late-19th-century and early 20th-century prints. I haven't checked, but I think you will find very similar forms in the first edition of Grove's Dictionary. Your information on Playford is interesting. I had never thought about just when this practice began. Certainly the ill-advised attempt to place a C clef on a space instead of a line must be much later. I don't think anyone in the 17th century can have been so stupid. "Octaving" use of clefs of course goes back much further than the 17th century, but only informally. Flutes and recorders, for example, normally played an octave higher than the notation, but this is inherent in the instrumental practice, rather than in the intended use of the notation itself.—Jerome Kohl (talk) 23:55, 28 May 2014 (UTC)

Baritone clef: it'd more clearer if...[edit]

I don't come here often. I don't know what the pressing issues here are. I find one thing that may be confusing for some: two separate baritone clefs. Of course if you think a little you see the 3rd F clef and the 5th line C clef are exactly the same thing, but howbout someone coming here for a quick encyclopaedic bit of info? Both so called baritone clefs should be in the same section. Furthermore it'd be good to insert an explanation of where one form of the baritone clef is found and where the other. Contact Basemetal here 01:40, 15 February 2014 (UTC) PS: I don't know if to make the "obsolete" dagger part of the section titles (for obsolete keys) was such a clever move. This makes referencing those sections more difficult and the information that those clefs are obsolete can go into the text of the section it doesn't need necessarily to be in the title of the section. Contact Basemetal here 01:59, 15 February 2014 (UTC)

Some inconsistencies[edit]

One section name (section "Alto clef") is anchored others are not. There are redirects for some names (for example "viola clef", "treble clef", "tenor clef", "bass clef" are redirects to this page) and not for others. Just thought I'd let you know. Contact Basemetal here 18:44, 15 February 2014 (UTC)

Alto Clef examples[edit]

Which edition of John Cage's Dream is written in alto clef? All the ones I have seen are written switching from treble to bass. Célestin le Possédé (talk) 18:26, 20 March 2014 (UTC)

You've got me wondering too: perhaps I meant Music for Marcel Duchamp from the film Dreams That Money Can Buy. But I can't put my hands on Dream at the moment. Which printing are you looking at? Sparafucil (talk) 19:28, 20 March 2014 (UTC)

The Peters edition I think. It's a pdf. But it would make sense in alto clef for sure. I'll take a look in a library soon. Célestin le Possédé (talk) 23:16, 20 March 2014 (UTC)

Counting notes the right way[edit]

I only count notes from A4 to A5 as a major count (not a minor count) like this: A4-B4-C4-D4-E4-F4-G4-A5 is a correct way. But not from C4 to C5 (C4-D4-E4-F4-G4-A4-B4-C5) because that's not what I want. Should be counted that way instead of using a C-clef.

--Allen talk 03:18, 20 September 2014 (UTC)

Variation in hand-written clefs[edit]

What about including this image or something like it? Andy Mabbett (Pigsonthewing); Talk to Andy; Andy's edits 15:51, 19 October 2014 (UTC)

I like the illustration, especially the Debussy example, which would be very helpful to newcomers to music notation because it shows so clearly the relation of the treble-clef shape to the letter G. Is this a copyright-free image? I notice it does not come from Wikimedia Commons, and while the composers' handwriting as such is undoubtedly out of copyright, the arrangement and labeling may not be. There is also the question of placement. This article is already rather graphics heavy, and the logically obvious place for such an image (the introduction of the G clef) would put it in one of the graphically densest parts of the article.—Jerome Kohl (talk) 22:14, 19 October 2014 (UTC)
I'm going to be contrarian and say that illustration wouldn't really add much. It doesn't show any historical progression; it would be akin to showing handwriting samples of famous authors in an article on the alphabet. The forms of the clefs were fixed before most of these composers were born, and the fact that they wrote them hastily doesn't really add much to the reader's comprehension of the clefs' form and meaning. —Wahoofive (talk) 20:49, 20 October 2014 (UTC)
Agree. Unless there are references to show the historical transformations leading to the modern form, individual examples don't add anything informative. Tayste (edits) 20:55, 20 October 2014 (UTC)