(Lat. clavis, Fr. clef, key).
Symbol normally placed at the beginning of every line of mus. to indicate the exact location of a particular note on the staff; also placed at any point where new clef begins to operate. The treble clef places the note G above middle C on the second line (the G clef); the bass clef fixes the note F below middle C on the second line (descending) (F clef); the alto clef, on the middle line, fixes middle C and is used for the va; the tenor clef fixes middle C on the fourth line (ascending) and is used for vc. and bn. parts above the bass staff. The soprano clef, fixing middle C on the first line, is obsolete, but is found in medieval mus. and in some works well into 19th cent. In the following example middle C is represented in five different ways: