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clef

[klef] /klɛf/
noun, Music.
1.
a symbol placed upon a staff to indicate the name and pitch of the notes corresponding to its lines and spaces.
Origin
1570-1580
1570-80; < Middle French < Latin clāvis key
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples for clef
  • So it is not surprising that a roman a clef about that no-holds-barred campaign should follow.
  • However, the book is not meant to be a roman a clef, and it does not purport to disguise a true story.
  • While knowing how to read the treble clef is a good foundation, many students take the workshop with no prior piano experience.
  • Hand out composition paper and have students draw a treble clef.
  • Each clef is shown in its proper position on the staff, followed by its reference note.
British Dictionary definitions for clef

clef

/klɛf/
noun
1.
one of several symbols placed on the left-hand side beginning of each stave indicating the pitch of the music written after it See also alto clef, bass clef, C clef, soprano clef, tenor clef, treble clef
Word Origin
C16: from French: key, clef, from Latin clāvis; related to Latin claudere to close
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin and History for clef
n.

1570s in a musical sense, "character on a staff to indicate its name and pitch," from Middle French clef (12c.) "key, musical clef, trigger," from a figurative or transferred use of classical Latin clavis, which had only the literally sense "key" (see slot (n.2)). In the Middle Ages, the Latin word was used in the Guidonian system for "the lowest note of a scale," which is its basis (see keynote). The most common is the treble, violin, or G-clef, which crosses on the second line of the staff, denoting that as the G above middle C on the piano.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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