Treble Clef Symbol

By Denise S.           -Learn How to Read Music!


What is the Treble Clef Symbol?


The treble clef is one of the most common symbols found in music. This curly symbol is found on the left side of the bar staff, at the beginning of each line, and for musicians the world over it is a symbol that signifies how the music is to be read.

The treble clef is also known as the G-clef and violin clef. Its main use is to signify that the music on the staff is to fall in the higher tonal range. The treble clef was originally used in choral compositions, used mainly for those singing in the soprano range.

As early as the 16th century some form of the treble clef has been seen. Originally the symbol looked more like the English letter “G” as it marked the line of the staff in which the “G” note was supposed to fall. Over the centuries the clef has morphed into the curly symbol we know of today.

For example, the lines of the staff when marked with a treble clef starting at the bottom are E, G, B, D, and F. When using the treble clef many new musicians use the pneumonic device of “Every Good Boy Does Fine,” to learn the names of the lines. The spaces of the treble staff are F, A, C, and E spelling out the word FACE, which is easy for a new musician to remember.

Because the treble clef designates not only the names of the lines on a particular staff but also the pitch this symbol is usually seen for instruments such as the violin, woodwinds, higher brass instruments, and the right portion of the piano.

The use of the right hand only on a piano is often a misconception associated with the treble clef, as it simply designates pitch and line name not which hand must be used. Some pieces of music will require the entire piece be played in the upper ranges or the entire piece be played in the lower ranges.

In today’s music musicians will seldom see vocal pieces written in anything but treble clef. On occasion, for bass and baritone parts musicians will see the bass clef used. The treble clef is considered the most common symbol used in music as many of the alternate clefs are no longer used.