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This line serves as a reference point by which the names of the notes on any other line or space of the stave may be determined. Only one clef that references a note in a space rather than on a line has ever been used. G and F clefs are placed as treble and bass clefs, respectively, in the vast majority of modern music. Once one of these clefs has been placed on one of the lines of the stave, the other lines and spaces can be read in relation to it. The use of different clefs for various instruments and voices allows each part to be written comfortably on the stave with a minimum of ledger lines.
To facilitate writing for different tessituras, any of the clefs may theoretically be placed on any of the lines of the stave. Since there are five lines on the stave, and three clefs, it might seem that there would be fifteen possible clefs. G-clef on the two bottom lines, the F-clef on the three top lines, and the C-clef on any line of the stave except the topmost, earning the name of “movable C-clef”. Each of these clefs has a different name based on the tessitura for which it is best suited. Of these, the treble and bass clefs are by far the most common. Here follows a complete list of the clefs, along with a list of instruments and voice parts notated with them.
Each clef is shown in its proper position on the stave, followed by its reference note. Diatonic scale on C, treble clef. This is the most common clef used today, and the only G-clef still in use. For this reason, the terms G-clef and treble clef are often seen as synonymous. The treble clef was historically used to mark a treble, or pre-pubescent, voice part. Diatonic scale on C, French violin clef. Diatonic scale on C sopranino clef.
File:Diatonic scale on C sopranino clef. In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, a special clef was used for violin music, particularly that published in France. For this reason it is known as the French clef or French violin clef although it was more commonly used for flute music. The G-clef is placed on the first line of the stave and is identical to the bass clef transposed up two octaves.
Diatonic scale on C, bass clef. Diatonic scale on C bass clef. File:Diatonic scale on C bass clef. This is the only F-clef used today so that the terms “F-clef” and “bass clef” are often regarded as synonymous. Diatonic scale on C, baritone F-clef. When the F-clef is placed on the third line, it is called the baritone clef. Where the F-clef is placed on the fifth line, it is called the sub-bass clef.