F Clef or Bass Clef What is it

The F Clef also known as the Bass Clef is the first symbol that appears at the beginning of sheet music

This clef is placed on every line of music showing the notes which will be sung or played by voices and instruments that can achieve lower notes

The Bass Clef is also called the “F Clef” because because of the fact the symbol has two dots above and below the fourth line

This line corresponds to the note, F. Once you identify this note, it is easy to find the other notes. Simply move up or down the musical alphabet, A-B-C-D-E-F-G

After the treble clef it’s the most commonly used clef due to the wide range of instruments that use it

F Clef Instruments

Instruments that use the F Clef are:

The cello, euphonium, double bass, bass guitar, bassoon, contrabassoon, trombone, baritone horn, tuba, and timpani

It is also used for the lowest notes of the horn, and for the baritone and bass voices

Tenor voice is notated in bass clef when the tenor and bass are written on the same stave

Bass Clef is the bottom clef in the grand stave for harp and keyboard instruments

The contrabassoon, double bass, and electric bass sound an octave lower than the written pitch; no notation is usually made of this fact, but some composers/publishers will place an “8” beneath the clef for these instruments on the conductor’s full score to differentiate from instruments that naturally sound within the clef


The F Clef symbol or Bass Clef symbol is represented by the following:

F Clef Notes | F Clef Symbol | Bass Clef
When you see the F Clef (Bass Clef) on music, the lines and spaces represent the following notes:

**This is only an example, more notes can appear **

F Clef Notes | F Clef Symbol | Bass Clef

History Lesson

Where did the F Clef (Bass Clef) originate from?

No one really knows who invented this useful clef however we may get some idea from the following:

The history of Western musical notation describes an effort toward the development of a simple, symbolic representations of pitch and rhythm

It begins near the end of the 9th century when notation for the Plainsong of the Western Church, better known as Gregorian Chant, was first recorded with “neumes”

These were simple dashes or dots above lyrics that indicated a relative change in pitch

At the end of the 10th century, musical scribes increased the precision of his early notation by introducing a horizontal line to indicate a base pitch

The pitch of this line was indicated by a letter at its start, typically F or C and, as higher range songs become more common, G

The different clefs are designed so most of singers’ notes will fall on the lines or spaces in their range

Neumes were no longer relative only to one another, but to a standard

This was the beginning of the musical staff and hence the start of modern western music


I hope you have found this useful

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