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Key Signatures

William Wilson (182) · [archive]
Style: Theory/Reference · Level: Intermediate · Tempo: 120
Pages: 1 2 3

Learn Key Signatures -
A Music Theory Fundamental

What are Key Signatures? Ever notice all those funny sharps and flats at the beginning of music? You know, the ones you are supposed to remember and use throughout the entire piece of music. Sometimes there are a couple sharps, other times you see some flats (and decide to not play that piece of music). That is a key signature. It is kind of like the thumb print for a key. So the key of "G" for instance has a key signature with one #, namely "F#." No other key has that signature, only "G." Now if you know a key's signature you can figure out its scale. If we have the key of "G" and know that its signature is "F#" then the scale contains the notes: G A B C D E F# G. In other words, it has one of each letter name ("A" through "G") and and accidentals (sharps or flats) in the signature are thrown in too. Here is another example "Bb" ("B - flat"). It has a key signature of two flats "Bb" and "Eb". So its scale is: Bb C D Eb F G A Bb. Also notice that key signatures never use both sharps AND flats, it is either sharps OR flats. That will be crucial in remembering them. Here goes...