Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A symbol indicating the pitch represented by one line of a staff, in relation to which the other pitches of the staff can be determined.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun In music, a character placed upon a staff to indicate the name and pitch of one of its degrees, so that the names of the others may be known.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun (Mus.) A character used in musical notation to determine the position and pitch of the scale as represented on the staff.
  • noun See under Alto, Bass.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun A symbol found on a musical staff that indicates the pitches indicated by the lines on the staff

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun a musical notation written on a staff indicating the pitch of the notes following it

Etymologies

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[French, key, from Old French, from Latin clāvis.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Old French, from Latin clāvis ("a key").

Examples

  • mettre la clef sous la porte clefs en main clé à bougie la clef des champs livre à clef*

    French Word-A-Day:

  • mettre la clef sous la porte clefs en main clé à bougie la clef des champs livre à clef*

    clef - French Word-A-Day

  • He had several nose jobs, his lips thinned, and chin clef put in, among other alterations.

    Michael Jackson's artistic legacy spans the decades

  • I wonder if livre à clef is a 'book key' or an index?

    clef - French Word-A-Day

  • In French, the clef is a key, and in English, the 'clef' is also part of the musical signature.

    Dragonfly in Amber

  • If original, it is likely that the piece was composed in the "soprano" (C1) clef versus the treble clef, meaning that the range of the piece did not stray too far from the bounds of middle-C to the D a ninth above.

    A Mezzo-soprano Manifesto

  • If original, it is likely that the piece was composed in the "soprano" (C1) clef versus the treble clef, meaning that the range of the piece did not stray too far from the bounds of middle-C to the D a ninth above.

    Archive 2007-01-01

  • _Mélanges d'une petite Bibliothèque_ describes a 'clef'.

    The Works of Aphra Behn Volume IV.

  • "Eighteen Acres" (the title refers to the size of the White House grounds) isn't precisely a roman a clef -- there are, for one thing, no characters who suggest George or Laura Bush or Dick Cheney -- but Wallace does seem to be having a bit of sport with two of her erstwhile colleagues.

    Review of "Eighteen Acres," a political thriller by Nicolle Wallace

  • "Eighteen Acres" (the title refers to the size of the White House grounds) isn't precisely a roman a clef -- there are, for one thing, no characters who suggest George or Laura Bush or Dick Cheney -- but Wallace does seem to be having a bit of sport with two of her erstwhile colleagues.

    Review of "Eighteen Acres," a political thriller by Nicolle Wallace

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