News

Lessons

Series

Songs

Books

Access

Tour

About

Search

Major & Relative Minor Key Signatures

Published: 07 Apr 2013 Updated: 13 Feb 2020Visits: 74Code: UL09

Topic: Theory ANY ukulele guitar harmonica Subjects: Theory Beginner

This Download is NOT part of your LearningUkulele.com membership level. Sign-up for Premium Site Access or Upgrade Your Plan your current access level to download this PDF or your can purchase a copy for download.

Each PDF file is a formatted high resolution file that prints out great. You'll need Adobe Reader or a PDF viewing application to view your PDF file.

Major & Relative Minor Key Signatures

A "Key Signature" is a series of sharp or flat symbols placed on the staff, designating the notes that are to be consistently played higher or lower than the equivalent natural notes. Key signatures are generally written immediately after the clef at the beginning of a line of musical notation. Each major and minor key has an associated key signature that sharpens or flattens the notes which are used in its scale.

Additional Content Available for Premium Site Access Plans Only

Can't give it ALL away!

This content requires a Premium / Gold Access Plan or enrolled in the Study with Curt - On-line or Private Lesson Program.

To view additional content for this page you'll need to either Sign In or Register for or Upgrade to a Premium Site Access Plan.

Login or SignUp to View Content

In principle, any piece can be written with any key signature, using accidentals to correct any notes where it shouldn't apply. The purpose of the key signature is to minimize the number of such accidentals required to notate the music. The sequence of sharps or flats in key signatures is generally rigid in modern music notation. For example, if a key signature has only one sharp, it must be an F sharp.

The effect of a key signature continues throughout a piece or movement, unless explicitly canceled by another key signature. For example, if a five-sharp key signature is placed at the beginning of a piece, every A in the piece in any octave will be played as A sharp, unless preceded by an accidental.

  • This Key Signature circle is sometimes called the circle or cycle of fifths or fourths.
  • A sharp or flat is called an accidental.
  • Accidentals are not mixed in the major or minor key signatures.
  • Each successive key signature around the circle includes the previous key signature's accidentals.
  • The last sharp in a key signature is the letter right before the name of the major key.

    Example: The last sharp in G major key signature is F. (A B C D E F G A)

    The last sharp in E major key signature is D. (A B C D E F G A B)

  • The second to last flat for all flat keys except F is the key.
  • The order of Sharps move in perfect fifths. The order of Flats in move in perfect fourths.
  • The primary chords, the I, IV, and V chords of major keys are the chords to the left and right of the key signature. The IV chord is to the left along the circle and the V chord is to the right along the circle.

Download or View PDF for Complete Lesson

Download this lesson's PDF file for the latest, complete, and most up-to-date version of the lesson. As well as additional information not presented on-line.

Members and Active Students need to sign-in to download this lesson's PDF for the complete lesson.

Related Lessons

Related Lessons for Major & Relative Minor Key Signatures.

Key Signatures and the Circle of Fifths and Fourths • Updated: 02 Mar 2021

There is a load of information in traditional "Key Signatures." Unlocking the principles in this circle leads to a better understanding of music and how things work. A key signature is a series of sharp or flat symbols placed on the staff, designating the notes that are to be consistently played higher or lower than the equivalent natural notes.

The Major Scale • Updated: 02 Apr 2021

Called the "learning scale" for a reason. The major scale is a great scale for learning how music and chords work. It’s a core scale from which a majority of your core, essential scales can be derived. There are 15 major scales.

Related Books

Related Books for Major & Relative Minor Key Signatures.

Harmonic Analysis for Scale Selection and Chord Substitution
Updated: Jun 10, 2021

Harmonic Analysis is the understanding of the functional sequence of chords. It is the process used to analyze the harmonic structure of a progression, song or composition. This analysis is then used to make scale selections for improvisation and chord substitution.

Related Songs

Related Songs for Major & Relative Minor Key Signatures.

Any Song Will Do Updated: 07 Dec 2015

This is not really a song, but simply saying that for the purposes of a lot of the lessons and lesson series on this site ANY song will do for exploring the lesson's material and concepts presented in the lesson.

Related Lesson Series

Related Lessons Series for Major & Relative Minor Key Signatures.

Key Signatures - A Major Updated: 01 Jan 2003

The key of A major-F# minor.

Cover the primary and secondary chords and common chord progressions.

Key Signatures - Ab Major Updated: 01 Jan 2003

The key of Ab major-F minor. Covers the primary and secondary chords and common chord progressions.

Key Signatures - B Major Updated: 01 Jan 2003

The key of B major-G# minor.

Cover the primary and secondary chords and common chord progressions.

Key Signatures - Bb Major Updated: 01 Jan 2003

The key of Bb major-G minor. Covers the primary and secondary chords and common chord progressions.

Key Signatures - C Major Updated: 01 Jan 2003

A key signature is a summary of the sharps or flats in a Major or it's relative Natural Minor scale. This series of lessons covers ALL 15 major and relative minor keys with their primary and secondary chords as well as sample common chord progressions.

Key Signatures - C# Major Updated: 01 Jan 2003

The key of C# major-A# minor.

Cover the primary and secondary chords and common chord progressions.

Key Signatures - Cb Major Updated: 01 Jan 2003

The key of Cb major-Ab minor. Covers the primary and secondary chords and common chord progressions.

Key Signatures - D Major Updated: 01 Jan 2003

The key of D major-B minor. Covers the primary and secondary chords and common chord progressions.

Key Signatures - Db Major Updated: 01 Jan 2003

The key of Db major-Bb minor. Covers the primary and secondary chords and common chord progressions.

Key Signatures - E Major Updated: 01 Jan 2003

The key of E major-C# minor.

Cover the primary and secondary chords and common chord progressions.

Key Signatures - Eb Major Updated: 01 Jan 2003

The key of Eb major-C minor. Covers the primary and secondary chords and common chord progressions.

Key Signatures - F Major Updated: 01 Jan 2003

The Key of F Major and its Relative Minor, D minor. Covers the primary and secondary chords and common chord progressions.

Key Signatures - F# Major Updated: 01 Jan 2003

The key of F major-D# minor.

Cover the primary and secondary chords and common chord progressions.

Key Signatures - G Major Updated: 01 Jan 2003

The key of G major-E minor.

Cover the primary and secondary chords and common chord progressions.

Key Signatures - Gb Major Updated: 01 Jan 2003

The key of Gb major-Eb minor. Covers the primary and secondary chords and common chord progressions.

Related Lesson Files, Resources and Assets

Related Assets for Major & Relative Minor Key Signatures.

Key Signatures - Cycle of Fourths and Fifths Updated: 14 Oct 2019

A handy reference chart of all 15 major and relative minor key signatues. US Letter 8.5 x 11 sized.

Key Signatures - Cycle of Fourths and Fifths - A4 Sized Updated: 14 Oct 2019

A handy reference chart of all 15 major and relative minor key signatues. A4 sized.

Site Access Plans for LearningUkulele.com

Forever Access - With Forever Premium Access, you get ALL the benefits of a Premium Access Subscription such as Unlimited 24/7 access to ALL lessons, downloads, songs, play-along jam tracks, videos, email access to Curt, resources, related assets, and ALL books by Curt as FREE downloads. Pretty much everything on the site, and NEVER worry about a subscription or surprise payment again. And jump the queue for responding to any questions.

If you're anything like me (Curt) and getting Subscription overloaded with everything and everybody on-line wanting money from you once a month — I'm with you. For like-minded individuals, this forever plan is a pay once, and you're done.

The price for Unlimited Forever access is right around the cost of a few months of private lessons. I can guarantee there is more than enough material on-line to keep you busy for a long, long time. And, you get all of my books for FREE. That alone is more than the cost of this plan.

Premium Access - This premium gives you Unlimited 24/7 access to ALL lessons, downloads, songs, play-along jam tracks, videos, email access to Curt, resources and related assets. As well as ALL books by Curt Sheller as FREE downloads.

Basic Access - A limited selection of basic lessons — ( currently over 140 ) and 100+ songs for ukulele as well as basic general music reference material — Completely FREE — Simply Register/Signup. HOWEVER - I've been doing ukulele and LearningUkulele.com since 2003 and probably have given too much away already - as reflected in my income from the site in relationship to the time spent on the site. So help support this site and its continued development by signing up for one of the below Premium Access Plans or buy a few of my books. - Thanks, Curt

NOTE: Each higher access level includes ALL the benefits of the lower levels. Private Lessons include all the benefits of a Premium Access Plans as long as you remain a student on the schedule.


Just browsing over both books, they look fantastic! I'm a guitarist and uke player for over 25 years and was thinking about writing a ukulele book but you've already written what I think are the best, most comprehensive and thorough books I've ever seen for the instrument. I just might end up buying every book you've written and I'll be giving my highest recommendation for your books to my friends and students. Thank you so much for taking the time to write such great books!Peter Rhee

Aloha, Curt, All I can say is WOW! What you have accomplished is simply incredible! All the bestGlen Hirabayashi, The Aloha Boys

Folks, if you haven't stopped by Curt's site, do so right now! ..And get his books, they are fantastic. This guy knows his stuff and is able to pass it along too.Alan Johnson Proprietor, The 4th Peg

I can highly recommend Curt's Uke books — I have four of them and they are excellent.fatveg — Portland

Thanks for visiting and checking out the site!

curtieAnim.gif rw.vg.gif

Original Curtie Animation from 1987 for my first web site on a Macintosh II. 34 years ago. Man, does time fly.

“Built for myself (Curt), and sharing with the `Ukulele community!”

LearningUkulele.com has one of the largest collections of lessons, songs, and TABS, Luthiers, ukulele builders, ukulele festival and club information, and, ukulele links on the web. I’ve been on the ®Internet since the early 1990's and This site just never stops growing!!!

Content is added and updated almost daily - so check back often. I really do need to get out more ;-)