I’m not going to lie, I was absolutely confused when I saw a score that began with a bass clef. How on earth was I going to classify composition starting with a bass clef? Was it even a score? Was it a sketch? Did I have to rethink my entire series classification? (Eek!)

Full scores (as written by Allan Blank) usually begin with a treble clef, piano scores have treble and bass clefs bracketed. Figuring out where these fit in the record was easy, peasy!

Example of bracketed treble and bass clefs used in writing a piano score

What I was not used to seeing, was a score written for a lower sounding instrument. I was then told this helpful rhyme:

If it sounds low, bass you go!

If it plays high, treble in the sky!

The trombone has a lower pitch, ergo it utilizes the bass clef for compositions. Like the example here for the piece: Dirge for Trombone Quartet.

Dirge for Trombone Quartet by Allan Blank. Note the bass clefs!

Rhyming does have a way of sticking in one’s memory and now I find myself muttering ‘high in the sky…’ or ‘low you go…’ when reading a score!

Also, this does fit nicely into my already established record keeping:

Series I: Original Compositions—Subseries 1: Full Scores for Ensemble