key signature

noun Music.
(in notation) the group of sharps or flats placed after the clef to indicate the tonality of the music following.

Origin:
1870–75

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World English Dictionary
key signature
 
n
music a group of sharps or flats appearing at the beginning of each stave line to indicate the key in which a piece, section, etc, is to be performed

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Warm water is a key signature element of a tropical ocean.
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