QUESTION

Thanks for your help with the fiddling music. I called Shar and found thatthey had a book with Celtic tunes and another with Irish tunes and so Iordered them. They did have the 48 Folk Songs for Strings but I wasintrigued by these other two and so ordered them. I"ll let you know what Ithink about them when they comeI have another question. I would like to know if you have any advice on howto learn (memorize or whatever) the tenor cleff? I know the bass andtreble but when i see the tenor I always think bass and then move up. Ithought maybe there was a way to learn the tenor cleff so that I would knowright away what note to play when I see it rather than "translate". Ihaven"t played much with it and when I do I have written in the note nameswhich is probably not the right way.

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ANSWER:

I hope my explanation below is more helpful than confusing. :)The bass clef and the tenor clef are a "perfect fifth apart," which meansthat they are five notes apart. For example, the top line of the staff inbass clef is an A; the top line in tenor clef is an E. (Count the notesfrom A to E, ie. A-B-C-D-E is five notes apart, or a perfect fifth.) Themiddle line in bass clef is a D; the middle line in tenor clef is an A.(Count the notes from D to A, ie. D-E-F-G-A is five notes apart, or aperfect fifth). Note that the center of the tenor clef sign, whichindicates middle C, is located on F in bass cleff. F and C are a fifthapart, ie. F-G-A-B-C.A perfect fifth on the staff is three staff lines apart, or three spacesapart. For example, the open D is on the third or middle line of the bassclef staff, and the A is on the fifth or top line of the staff. E on the Dstring is in the third space on the bass clef staff. B on the A string, aperfect fifth higher, is one space above the top line or three staff spacesabove the E.This is all leading the trick I used to use, believe it or not. If you canmentally shift the tenor cleff notes three lines or three spaces up, or youcan think in terms of a perfect fifth higher, you will find the note youneed.Fortunately, our instruments are tuned in perfect fifths, which means thatyou can read the notes as if in bass clef, but play on the next higherstring. This approach only works if the written tenor clef notes arebelow the top line of the staff, where you would play in first position onthe A string instead of the D string. Anything above the top line wouldrequire us to have an E string, which we don"t of course.I hope this helps.

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