A Dictionary of Music and Musicians/Chiavette

CHIAVETTE (i.e. Little Keys, or Clefs). Under this name, the acute Clefs were used, by the Polyphonists, for certain Modes of high range, such as Modes VII, and XIV; while those of more moderate pitch were used for Modes I, III, or VIII, and others of like extent; and the graver forms for the lowest Modes in use such as Mode XIV transposed. The Clefs of moderate pitch were called the Chiavi or Chiavi naturali, and both the acute and the grave forms, the Chiavi trasportati; but the term Chiavette was generally reserved for the acute form only.

It has been suggested, that the system of Chiavi and Chiavette may serve to assist in the determination of the Mode, especially with regard to its Authentic or Plagal character: but this is not true. Palestrina's 'Missa Papæ Marcelli,' in Mode XIV (Plagal), and his 'Missa Dies sanctificatus,' in Mode VII (Authentic), are both written in the Chiavette. Asola's 'Missa pro Defunctis,' in Mode XIV transposed, is written in the Chiavi trasportati. Palestrina's 'Missa brevis,' Mode XIII transposed, is written in the Chiavi naturali. [See also vol. ii. p. 474 a.]

[ W. S. R. ]