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Old 2006-09-23, 10:07
JonR JonR is offline
Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 67
Originally Posted by feetunderwarpath
Isn't the guitar written a half octave lower than the other instruments?
No, it's an octave higher. (sounds an octave lower)

The note "middle C" on piano, violin, flute, oboe (standard "concert" instruments) is written on the ledger line under the treble clef stave.

In guitar music, middle C is written in the 3rd space up.
So if a pianist was to look at some music written for guitar, they would end up playing it all an octave higher than it should sound.
Likewise, if you were to play music written for piano or violin, you'd be playing it an octave lower than it should sound.

This is because if guitar was written in concert treble clef, most of the notes would be way off the bottom of the stave. Treble clef was designed for high register instruments (and piano right hand), and guitar is mid-range. There is no dedicated mid-range clef (other than the rare tenor and alto clefs), so we adapt the treble clef by lowering the stave by an octave, so it covers (roughly) the middle range of guitar, instead of the top.

Same for bass (double bass or bass guitar). It's written in bass clef (F clef), an octave higher than concert.

(Hey, if you think this is complicated, you dont wanna know about transposing instruments like saxes and trumpets... )
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