noun Music.
a symbol placed upon a staff to indicate the name and pitch of the notes corresponding to its lines and spaces.

1570–80; < Middle French < Latin clāvis key Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
clef (klɛf)
alto clef bass clef C clef soprano clef tenor clef See also treble clef one of several symbols placed on the left-hand side beginning of each stave indicating the pitch of the music written after it
[C16: from French: key, clef, from Latin clāvis; related to Latin claudere to close]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin & History

1576 in a musical sense, from M.Fr. clef, from L. clavis "key" (see slot (2)). The most common is the treble or G-clef, denoting the G above middle C on the piano.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Example sentences
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.
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