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enchantedpianist



Joined: 29 Sep 2006
Posts: 41
Location: Vietnam

PostPosted: Fri Sep 29, 2006 1:04 pm    Post subject: Key signature Reply with quote

I'm trying to learn by heart the key signatures: the order of the key, the number of #, b and what they are. Is there a way to memorize quickly?
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PJF



Joined: 19 Sep 2006
Posts: 24
Location: South Louisiana, USA

PostPosted: Sat Sep 30, 2006 5:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes. There is a chart called "The Circle of Fifths". It shows the pattern of the key signatures that occurs in intervals of fifths.

The key of C major, has no sharps or flats.

If you go up a fifth from middle C to the note G on the keyboard, you have just found the major key signature that has one sharp, G major.

To find the key signature with two sharps, all you need to do is go up another fifth, to the note D. There you find the answer, D major has two sharps.

The major key with three sharps can be indentified by going up yet another fifth, to the note A. The key of A major has three sharps.

The major key signature that has four sharps can be found by _____________________ to the note ______.
The key of _______ major has four sharps.

See the pattern? By going up a fifth at a time on the keyboard (C-G-D-A-E-B-F#-C#), you will find name of the major key signature with one more sharp than the last. C major has no sharps, C# major has seven.

The same pattern in reverse is used to find the number of flats in major key signatures.

Starting on middle C (the key of C major has no flats)

Go down a fifth to F. The key of F major has one flat.

Go down another fifth to the black note B-Flat. The key of B-Flat major has two flats.

Go down another fifth to the black note E-Flat. The key signature of E-flat major has three flats.

This pattern also continues. Going down the keyboard, (F-Bb-Eb-Ab-Db-Gb-Cb-Fb). F major has no flats, Fb major has seven.

To find the minor key signatures, all you need to do is first find the major key that is a minor third higher than the desired minor key signature name. That's not as complicated as it sounds. I'll give some examples:

Let's say you want find the key signature of A minor. This can be done simply by finding the major key signature a third higher than A, or C major. C major has no sharps or flats. A minor has no sharps or flats. The key signatures of C major and A minor are identical.

The key of Ab major has three flats. To find the 'relative minor' go down a third, from Ab to F. There's your answer, the key of Ab major and F minor are also identical with three flats.

I know this is a lot of stuff to learn, there are lots of good books on the subject of music theory that can explain it with the benefit of illustrations.

Do you have a teacher? Forum posts are a poor substitute for piano lessons with an actual person.

Any questions? I used many terms you may not yet understand. That's OK. If you need any help, feel free to contact me directly or with a post. I will do my best to help.
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lol_nl



Joined: 18 Sep 2006
Posts: 32
Location: Ede, Netherlands

PostPosted: Sat Sep 30, 2006 3:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Some tips:

1) First learn the major scales/keys.
You can remeber them as a sentence, if that's easier. The letters are (C)GDAEBF#C# [#] and (C)FBbEbAbDbGbCb [b]. I don't know any English tricks for this, but in Dutch you have a perfect sentence made up of these letters. The problem with English is that notes with a sharp or flat aren't just 1 or 2 letters, so if you want to write Ab you have to write "A flat". In Dutch it's just called "As" (same in German). So you can start each word with these letters.

2) Remember that major keys have a rule: Starting from the C, each following key with one flat more or one sharp more goes either a 5th up (with sharps) or a 5th down (with flats).

3) When learning minor keys, remember the following rules:
-Each minor key begins on the 6th of its major key
-Each minor key has 3 sharps less than it's major key with the same name. For example, A minor has no sharps, while A major has 3 sharps. But: D major has 2 sharps, so you can't remove 3 sharps. In that case d minor has 1 flat, etc.

4) Each note that's chromatically 1 key above the other, has 7 more sharps. For example, C major has no sharps and C# major has 7. Cb major has 7 flats, C major has no flats.

Hope this helps!
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"Music is enough for a lifetime, but a lifetime is not enough for music." - S. Rachmaninov
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enchantedpianist



Joined: 29 Sep 2006
Posts: 41
Location: Vietnam

PostPosted: Sun Oct 01, 2006 1:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you very much. I'll try to learn them...
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