I found this handy graphic on the largely defunct* viola.com website showing where the Viola/Alto Clef fits in relation to the other (Treble and Bass) clefs.
You can see why viola music that uses notes written well above the staff on the Viola/Alto clef is frequently written in Treble Clef. The notes shown here are the tunings for the four strings on a viola: C, G, D and A.
To my knowledge, however, notes for viola below the staff aren't written in Bass Clef, as you obviously can't play anything below the open C string.
*I labeled the site largely-defunct, due to lack of updates in the last several months, as well as a majority of external links I tried on the site being broken/out-of-date. I hope things improve for the site, as they used to have a great deal of information and links to viola resources. Credit where credit is due, however.
I drew it out for you. These two C's are the same note. The violin can go down 4 more notes to a G and the Viola can continue down one more octave. So the Viola is a 5th lower.
excelent!!!, thank you very much!!! that is what I was talking about, taking this as a reference we can arrange our violin sheet music in to viola sheet music
So, if I'm understanding this right (and I don't think I am), is the alto clef actually located between the treble and bass? I've never actually seen viola sheet music, so I have no basis for comparison.
I hope that resurrecting this thread isn't too much of a faux pas ...
Here's how I understand it, and someone will be along presently to correct me if I'm wrong or just phrasing it poorly.
The attached drawing is an attempt to illustrate how I think of the relationship between the clefs, using the position of middle C in each one.
Middle C occupies the first line above the staff of the bass clef, and the first line below the staff of the treble clef.
The same note is represented on the center line of the alto clef.
It follows that the E and G on the top two lines of the alto clef are the same notes as the E and G on the bottom two lines of the treble clef.
In the same vein, the F and A on the bottom two lines of the alto clef are the same notes as the F and A on the top two lines of the bass clef.
Thus one could say, in a sense, that the alto clef is between the bass and treble clefs. I prefer to think of the alto clef as overlapping the bass and treble clefs equally.
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