- a symbol placed upon a staff to indicate the name and pitch of the notes corresponding to its lines and spaces.
Origin of clef
Examples from the Web for clef
This was what has since become the fourth line, the clef line, of the bass stave.
After a change of clef in the middle of a score this is, of course, not necessary.
She was so tall the girls always considered her in that clef.The Girl Scouts at Rocky Ledge
They could only be written (as they are yet) in one clef—namely, the F clef.Shakespeare and Music
Edward W. Naylor
Clef, klef, n. a musical character placed on the staff by which the absolute pitch of the notes is fixed.
Word Origin and History for clef
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.