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All About Key Signatures

Chris Adams (188) · [archive]
Style: Theory/Reference · Level: Beginner · Tempo: 120
Pages: 1 2 3 4 5

Every style of music, whether it be classical, punk, metal, jazz, blues, etc., share one some common basic boundaries as far as how the music is composed. Let's start with the key signatures. Key signatures with this symbol in them, #, are major key signatures. That symbol represents a sharp, which is when you play a note 1/2 step higher than how it is normally played (a note played the way it would normally be played is a natural) The order of sharps is F,C,G,D,A,E,B (if that order is hard to remember just refer back to this lesson) That means if you make a peice of music with 1 sharp in the key signature, it is an F sharp. If there is 2 sharps, then the two sharps are F#, and C#. If there is 5 sharps, then they are F#,C#,G#,D#,A#. Say you make a peice of music with no sharps in the key signature. That would mean that all the notes you play are natural, or regular. Starting on C (because when there is no sharps it is called a C Major Scale) the notes would simply be C,D,E,F,G,A,B. If you made a peice of music with 2 sharps (which is F# and C#, as said before) then it would be a D Major Scale (I'll talk about how they are named in a little bit). The notes in your peice of music would be D,E,F#,G,A,B,C#. I think by now you get the point. Now to naming the scales, it is pretty simple. Say you write a peice of music and make the key signature have 4 sharps (F#,C#,G#,D#). Your peice of music would be along the E Major Scale. Why? Simple. It would be along the E Major Scale because alphabetically, E comes after D. It's that simple. If you had 3 sharps (F#,C#,G#), then it would be along the A Major Scale. (It wouldn't be along the H Major scale because in music it only goes up to G.) These are all of the key signatures with sharps in them:

Here are examples of some of the major scales (each one are seperated by a measure of rests)

The first scale is C Major, then G Major, then D Major.

Ok so now try and make up a neat riff or chord progression using one of those keys. Remember you don't have to start on the any certain note or end on any certain note, as long as what you write is along the scale you won't to use. Also, most chord proggressions use just a 3 or 4 chords, otherwise it would be too complicated.
All About Key Signatures