Before entering fully into the definition of the musical key term, we are going to try to establish the etymological origin of the two words that give it its shape:
-Clave is a noun derived from the Latin “clavis”, which can be translated as “key”.
-Musical, on the other hand, comes from the Greek. Specifically, it is the result of the sum of two clearly differentiated elements: “musike”, which means “music”, and the suffix “-al”, which is used to indicate “relative to”.
A key can be a sign that is used to achieve the operation of something or a code that makes it possible to transmit private or secret messages. Musical, for its part, is that linked to music: the combination of sounds with harmony, rhythm and melody.
According to DigoPaul, the musical clef is used to specify the pitch of music that appears detailed on a staff. It should be noted that height is a quality dependent on the frequency of the sound, which makes it possible to differentiate between a low sound and a high sound.
Through the musical key, a certain note is assigned to one of the lines of the staff. This note is taken as a reference for the notes that will appear below. Beyond the fact that the musical clef is included at the beginning of the staff, it can be changed in the course of the composition.
In the same way, the musical key is also responsible for carrying out other functions such as the following:
-Differentiate the name of the notes with respect to the different spaces and even the lines that shape the staff.
-In addition, it also serves to indicate the musical instrument to which that staff is directed. And is that many keys are associated with a specific instrument.
-Of course, it should not be overlooked that they come to associate what the figures of the staff are with the note itself.
The appearance of musical keys is linked to the history of music itself. At first the music was transmitted orally, although later it was decided to write it to facilitate said transmission. In the evolution of notation systems, musical signs and musical keys emerged. As early as the 11th century, musical keys began to be used at the beginning of the annotations.
Three kinds of musical clefs are currently used: the C clef, the F clef, and the treble clef. The clef of C is the oldest musical clef. Then the bass clef and finally the treble clef were created. The signs of the three keys are derived from the letters that were used in the original notation: C (do), F (fa) and G (sol).
The C clef is also called the alto clef. It is used to proceed to record middle sounds and can be of various types, highlighting the C clef on the fourth line or the C clef on the third line.
The bass clef, depending on the position, can be in the fourth line or the third line.
For its part, the treble clef is also called the soprano clef.