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A clef is a musical symbol that is used to indicate the pitch of written notes. When it’s placed on a stave, the clef indicates the name and pitch of the notes on one of the notes. It is essential in order for the musician to be able to read the music, as it tells him which lines or spaces indicate every note.

There are many types of clefs but the most frequently used are: Bass, Treble, Alto, and Tenor. Most musicians learn Bass and Treble clefs since these are used by popular instruments such as piano, violin, cello, and others. Today we’re going to focus on the alto clef.

What is the alto clef?

The Alto clef, also known as C clef because it’s center staff line is the note C, is one of the lesser-known clefs used in music. The symbol of an alto clef is a thick vertical bar, followed by a thin bar just to its right and then a curly figure that resembles the number 3.


So when the C clef it’s centered on the third line of the staff it’s called an Alto Clef. It’s usually called the viola clef since violists play from this clef. However, it is also used by viola da gamba, mandola, bassoons, and trombone on certain occasions since these instruments are on the medium range.

The viola is the primary instrument that uses Alto clef in modern orchestras. The viola is quite similar to the violin, but it’s a little bit larger, richer and lower in tone, and has different strings. It appears often in string quartets, which require two violins, a viola, and a cello and also in classical orchestras.

Trombone players are required to also read Alto clef. Lead trombone parts, also known as first trombone parts since they carry the melodies, are written frequently in alto clef.

The bassoons are used for the rich, dark tones at the bottom of their range. They have to use alto clef when the music requires the top of the instrument’s range, which produces the thinnest tone.

The alto clef is an important clef used in modern music. It’s worth learning, especially if you play a medium-range instrument such as viola, mandola, bassoon or trombone.

We hope you learned what the Alto clef is an best of luck trying to learn it!

Category: Viola

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Like violins and violas, cellos can be found in a variety of shapes and sizes, and choosing the one that suits your needs best is not always easy. In fact, your age, shape, and height can affect your final decision. Below we’ve outlined a few ways to find the cello size you need. So, what size cello do you need?

About cello sizes

Cellos come in a variety of sizes, but the most common ones are the following: 4/4, known as full size, 3/4, 1/2 and 1/4.

Generally speaking, an adult will play the full-size cello, but there is also, the option of a 7/8 size for those having some hard time playing the 4/4 one. Although the sizes mentioned above apply as a general rule, you cannot be really sure that a 4/4 sized cello is ideal for your physical structure.

Therefore, you need to make a more accurate measurement in order to rest assured that you pick the right cello size.

How to measure using a cello?

If you can actually try cellos of different sizes in-person, then you can determine the cello size that seems to fit. To start, sit on a chair with your knees bent at 90 degrees angle. Hold the cello firmly and check if:

  • the neck of your cello lies a few inched away from your left shoulder
  • the upper edge of it rests securely on your sternum
  • the lower corner barely touches your left knee
  • the thickest string of the cello is close to your left ear.

If all of the above conditions are met, then the cello is probably the best for you.

What if I don’t have a variety of cellos available?

If you cannot try on different sizes of cellos, you can have an approximate idea about the one that suits you best by performing three different measurements.

Firstly, you need to know your height. For adults measuring 5 feet and more, a typical full-sized cello is usually the ideal option. If you measure between 4.6-5 feet, then you should probably opt for a 3/4 cello.

Another measurement includes the length of your arm. In order to measure that successfully, you need to measure the distance between the tip of your middle finger and your shoulder pocket. If the number is something like 24 cm or more, then the 4/4 cello size is good. On the other hand, if the measurement shows a number between 22 to 24 inches, then you should probably go with a 3/4 sized cello.

Finally, a good way to measure is to use the distance between the tip of your index finger and the tip of the pinky. A distance between 5-6 cm is a sign that you need a 3/4 cello, while a measurement of 6 cm and more showcases that you need a full-size cello.

Choosing the ideal cello size is vital in order to be able to exercise your performance with ease and not get fatigued. With so many available choices on the market nowadays, you may feel overwhelmed when the time comes for you to choose the ideal size.

However, if you take some important factors into account, including your physical structure and age, then you can narrow down your available choices. Ideally, if you can try on some different cellos, you will be able to find the one that suits your needs best!

Related FAQs:

Category: Cello

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There are a lot of ukulele brands on the market, but not all of them are created the same. We really like the Kala ukulele brand for beginners because we think their starter kit is exceptionally easy to pick up and learn. Plus it comes with free online lessons to learn the ukulele.

Some other great beginner resources:

Category: Ukulele

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