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The two piano clefs on the grand staff.

The two clefs of piano music as seen on the grand staff.

Image © Brandy Kraemer
Definition: A clef is the large musical symbol found at the very beginning of a staff, indicating which octaves will be played. Piano music uses two clefs, the treble clef and the bass clef.

Musical Trivia: The words clef and clé are both French for “key.”

Also Known As:
  • chiave (It)
  • clé; clef (Fr)
  • Notenschlüssel (Ger)

Pronunciation: klehf

More Musical Terms:

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