What is the difference between the alto and tenor clefs?

  • Google+ icon
  • LinkedIn icon

For instruments that use a lower register, using the bass clef would sometimes mean lots of ledger lines, which can make a piece of music hard to read.  So, the alto and tenor clefs are used.  The only difference between these two 'C' clefs is that they indicate a different line for middle C to be drawn on.  The alto clef places it in the middle of the stave; the tenor clef places it on the second line from the top.  This allows them to be used for different instruments with different registers.

Ali F. 13 Plus  English Language tutor, 13 Plus  English Literature t...

About the author

is an online 13 Plus Music tutor who has applied to tutor with MyTutor studying at Bristol University

Still stuck? Get one-to-one help from a personally interviewed subject specialist.

95% of our customers rate us

Browse tutors

We use cookies to improve your site experience. By continuing to use this website, we'll assume that you're OK with this. Dismiss