Key Signatures - Introduction

A summary of the sharps or flats in a Major or its relative Natural Minor scale.

Published: Jun 30, 2013 Updated: Jun 30, 2013

ANY ukulele guitar music | Subjects: theory

A key signature is a summary of the sharps or flats in a Major or its relative Natural Minor scale.

Key signatures are generally written immediately after the clef at the beginning of a line of standard musical notation. Each major and minor key has an associated key signature that sharpens or flattens the notes which are used in its scale.


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Key Signatures

In musical notation, a key signature is a collection of sharp or flat symbols placed together on the staff. Key signatures are generally written immediately after the clef at the beginning of a line of musical notation, although they can appear in other parts of a score, notably after a double barline.

Although a key signature may be written using any combination of sharp and flat symbols, about a dozen diatonic key signatures are by far the most common, and their use is assumed in much of this article. A piece scored using a single diatonic key signature and no accidentals contains notes of at most seven of the twelve pitch classes, which seven being determined by the particular key signature.

What is a Key Signature?

Key signatures are generally written immediately after the clef at the beginning of a line of standard musical notation. Each major and minor key has an associated key signature that sharpens or flattens the notes which are used in its scale.

ALL 15 Major and Relative Minor Keys

A key signature is a summary of the sharps or flats in a Major or it’s relative Natural Minor scale.

Key signatures are generally written immediately after the clef at the beginning of a line of standard musical notation. Each major and minor key has an associated key signature that sharpens or flattens the notes which are used in its scale.

In addition to the Key of C Major and it's Relative Minor Key of Am, there are 14 additional major keys.

If a song or composition has a major tonal shift a new key signature will be introduced with the previous key signature canceled with the use of the natural accidental.

C Major / A Minor

It all starts with the Major scales and there‘s not better scale to start with than the C Major scale.

Common Keys

Common Rock, Pop, Folk and Country Keys: C, G, D, A, and E.

These common keys can be directly attributed to the popularity of the guitar in popular popular music.

Common Jazz Keys

Common Jazz Keys: C, F, Bb, Eb, Ab, Db, and the lone sharp key of G.

This is directly attributed to the popularity of the trumpet and saxophone in this genre of music. Both the trumpet and tenor saxophone are transposing instruments pitched in Bb

WidipediA: Has a lot of additional information regarding keys and key signatures.


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Key Signatures - Cycle of Fourths and Fifths

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


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Harmonic Analysis for Scale Selection and Chord Substitution

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.

Daily Practice Material for the Contemporary Musician

Scales, intervals and sequences for daily practice for musicians.

Related Lesson Series

Related Lessons Series for Key Signatures - Introduction at this time.

Key Signatures - C Major

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.

Harmonic Analysis for Scale and Chord Selection

Harmonic Analysis is the process used to determine the harmonic function of chords within a chord progression or song. A chord progression is defined as a sequence of chords, each chord has a root and is a particular chord type. The relationship of a chord's to a scale determines its function within that scale's tonality.

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