great staff

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Or great stave (or grand staff or stave). Notational device introduced by mus. pedagogues for the purpose of explaining the clefs—The two staves in common use are brought near together. It suffices then to place between them one extra line for Middle C (‘middle’ in a double sense: in the middle of this diagram, as it is in the middle of the piano kbd.). The C clef is placed on this line. The treble (or G) clef now comes 2 lines above and the bass (or F) clef 2 lines below. The treble staff, bass staff, soprano staff (in some choral use in Ger. still), the alto staff (in use in older choral mus., in mus. for the viola, etc.) and the tenor staff (in use in the older choral mus., for the tb., etc.) are seen as sections of the ‘great staff’, with Middle C as the pivot.

Subjects: Music.

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