Friday, 21 October 2011

Free Music Theory Lessons: What are key signatures?

Hi! Thank you for coming to my music lessons blog. Today I want to share some information on  "Key Signatures". If you find this article or the entire blog to be of interest to you please feel free to subscribe. You can also share this blog with a friend. Now let's get going with today's article.

Key Signature

Music can be written in major and minor keys. Both major and minor keys are based on particular scales. When a piece of music is composed from a major scale we can say that the music is written in a major key. When the composition of a piece of music is based on a minor scale we can say that the music is in a minor key.

In order for us to know the key of a piece of music we need to look for the key Signature.

What are Key Signatures?

Key signatures are sharp or flat signs that comes after the clef sign on the staff. You should note that the key signature comes after both the treble and bass clef. The number of sharp and flat signs is based on the major scale that is used.

For example – C major scale has no sharp nor flat so therefore there will not be any sharp or flat sign at the beginning of the music nor anywhere else.

Below is a diagram showing what the key of C looks like on a piece of sheet music. The diagram is also accompanied by an illustration of the letters in the C major scale.

Below are diagrams of different key signatures and their scale. Key Signatures are named from the relative scales.


The Key Signature for G major is one sharp. The note falling on the F line or space will be called F sharp.


The Key Signature for D major is two sharps. All falling on the C and F line or space will be called C sharp and F sharp respectively.


The Key of F major is one flat. B will be replaced by B flat.


The Key signature for B flat major is two flats. All B and E note on the staff are change to B flat and E flat respectively.


The Key signature for E flat major is three flats. Natural notes such as B, E and A with be change to flat.

Each sharp and flat in a specific key signature takes control of each line and space that they are located on. In other words the sharps and flats that form the key signature of a particular key changes the name of the lines and spaces they are placed on at the beginning of the staff. Therefore if a sharp is placed on the F line then that line will be called F sharp through-out the entire music. The same thing is been applied is the sharp or flat is placed in a space.

This was a great lesson. Thank you for participating.

Please leave your comments! Your comments are very important.

Copyright (c)  October 2011 by Carlinton Singh. All Rights Reserved.


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  2. I love the way you go about things here.

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