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How to Change the Treble Clef to a Bass Clef

Changing notes written originally on the treble clef to the bass clef may be needed when a songwriter changes his mind and decides a particular musical phrase should be played on a bass clef instrument rather than a treble clef instrument. Since music note values are the same regardless of the clef the notes are written on, changing notes on treble clef is easier than it seems. Nothing needs to be changed other than the staff lines the notes appear on.

Familiarize yourself with both the treble and bass clef notes. The lines on the treble clef are E-G-B-D-F and the spaces are F-A-C-E. Notes above and below the treble clef are written on ledger lines. Notes above the music staff run follow the musical alphabet forward and notes below the staff are in reverse order. Lines for the bass clef are G-B-D-F-A and the spaces are A-C-E-G. The names of the lines and spaces are the only difference in the two clefs.

Transpose each note the same to maintain the same intervals between the notes. An interval is the distance between one note and another. Moving notes from the treble clef equally will maintain the same intervals on the bass clef you had on the treble clef. If you move the first note down one octave, move all other notes down one octave.

Locate the first note on your treble clef. If the note is an E written on the fourth space, the note needs to be an E in bass clef. Go to your bass clef and write the E on the third space of the bass clef. If you want the note to be lower, move to the a lower E on the bass clef, located one ledger line below the bass clef. If the next note is F written on the fifth line of the treble clef, write an F on the fourth line of the bass clef.

Continue to transpose the treble clef notes to the lines and spaces of the bass clef, keeping the same distance between the notes. Nothing else needs to be changed. Note time values and music symbols are the same for both clefs.

Tip

A simple chart indicating treble and bass clef notes can help speed up the process of transposing from treble to bass clef if you are unfamiliar with reading the notes on the two clefs.

About the Author

Carl Hose is the author of the anthology "Dead Horizon" and the the zombie novella "Dead Rising." His work has appeared in "Cold Storage," "Butcher Knives and Body Counts," "Writer's Journal," and "Lighthouse Digest.". He is editor of the "Dark Light" anthology to benefit Ronald McDonald House Charities.