In musical notation, a set of sharp or flat symbols placed together at left side of each staff, effectively indicating the default pitch class set of the notes to follow.

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583 views

Is it harder to play in a key with more flats or sharps?

This is a very naive question, but I tend to perceive a song with a key signature that has more flats or sharps to be more difficult than the same song written in a key with fewer flats or sharps. ...
4
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3answers
111 views

If the time signature changes, does the key signature change as well?

Consider the following snippet from Where Is My Mind (arranged by Maxence Cyrin). Notice how after the first few bars there's a time signature change. Does the key signature also automatically change ...
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3answers
68 views

Changing the Key Signature

so I play the saxophone (so E flat instrument) and we got a sheet of music to play in the key of B natural minor or concert D natural minor, and i want to practice that key signature so i want to ...
2
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3answers
200 views

Are tonal (sharp, flat and natural) key signatures octave specific? [duplicate]

I recently bought a piano for learning (by myself at the moment) and apart from doing basic exercises, I decided to start learning a piece to get a grip on music sheet reading as I go. On the sheet ...
4
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4answers
197 views

Why are key signatures like E# and B# necessary?

Why do we need key signatures such as E#, B#, Cb, and Fb? Take a look at the scales for E# and B#: E# has 4 sharps and 4 double sharps. The key of F is exactly the same, and it only has one note ...
4
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1answer
93 views

“Ut” and “La” notation on horn and cornet instruments in orchestral score?

I'm looking at an orchestral score from the late 1800's (well, OK, it's "The Mikado" by Arthur Sullivan). In the portion of the score that I am looking at, the non-transposing instruments all have no ...
7
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5answers
2k views

If A minor doesn't have any accidentals, is it still minor?

As part of a music course, we have to compose a 3 minute long piece based on a river's journey. Having finished the composition, we now have to write a set of sleeve notes - basically an analysis and ...
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1answer
149 views

I'm trying to understand the key of a song that uses chords out of the scale

I'm trying to understand what key is the song 'Crush' by Dave Matthews in. It uses all the chords in Bm but it also uses F major and C major as well as D/F#; Why does the F and C sound right with this ...
3
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3answers
156 views

7 sharps on a piano music sheet

I am self taught on piano. There are some notes and symbols that I am trying to learn. I have come across a music sheet that starts with Cmajor and then along the piece it changes to 7 sharps. How do ...
2
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1answer
239 views

Do chord changes affect the key of a song or do all chords in a song belong in the same key?

So I'm not really sure I'm phrasing the question properly but I'll try to explain. My theory level is pretty basic. I'm trying to deconstruct a song and (according to a website) it's in the key CMin. ...
9
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5answers
731 views

Flat symbol in key signature and bar

If i have a flat for a note in the key signature, and then in a bar the same note with an flat symbol, does that mean the note is "double flatted"? For example in the key of D Minor with hash one ...
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4answers
233 views

Is a switch to the relative minor still called a modulation?

I am recording a song which is largely written in C major. About halfway through the song, the emphasis changes to A minor, with chord progressions resolving to the Am chord specifically. Is this ...
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4answers
4k views

If Für Elise is in Am why there is a D# in it?

Für Elise intro starts with E D♯ E D♯, Wikipedia says the key is Am. What scale does it fit? Is it like a blues scale where D♯ is a flat 5? Why D♯ is used in the sheet music? Is it easier to read ...
12
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4answers
616 views

How to choose a key signature for a song that modulates often?

In jazz, let's say, how would one choose a key signature for writing a lead sheet for a song where keys change every few measures or faster? Is writing the key changes explicitly going to be helpful ...
10
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4answers
10k views

What use is knowing how many sharps or flats a key signature has?

Books and articles I've read on learning key signatures seem to focus on mnemonics that tell you how many sharps or flats the key has, but I don't understand how knowing B Major has 5 sharps helps you ...
10
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5answers
629 views

Is a high A in the key of D flat still flat?

I'm learning a song in the key of D flat. I know that any middle A within the song is flat. However, is a high A (above the staff) still flat?
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2answers
480 views

How to insert cautionary key signature before repeat mark using Sibelius 7

I'm arranging wind parts for the following song (excerpt below). This is the end of a repeated section that starts in D major and changes to F major halfway through. So, the repeat mark at the end of ...
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vote
3answers
285 views

Why isn't this a c flat?

I am always wondering why the second c isn't flat? There is no signs before it? I know it is supposed to be played as natural, without natural signature? This question was roughly answered by my ...
12
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6answers
1k views

Do accidentals override key signature?

I am wondering how the accidental in the first chord (see what is circled) is played? Does any accidental simply move the note up or down a half-step from what the note is supposed to be based on the ...
2
votes
5answers
8k views

Hard to tell major from minor

I have a hard time figuring out if a song with a certain key signature is major or minor. I know some sound minor and are and some sound major and are but some sound opposite of what they actually ...
42
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20answers
6k views

What's the point of keys other than C and Am?

I'm VERY new to music theory, just learning. I'm reading about keys and scales right now. From what I understand major keys are all the same except for being shifted by one or more semitones (e.g. C ...
7
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3answers
213 views

How to establish a mode?

I would like to learn about the art of establishing a mode. For example, how to make A minor sound like A minor instead of C major.
5
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2answers
287 views

Placement of F# on Alto Clef

For the past four or so years now, I have been playing the Viola. Y'all know what that means: Alto clef. Up until just a few weeks ago, I have always seen an F# displayed in a key signature like this: ...
9
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6answers
3k views

Why do musicians prefer to play in certain keys?

Why do musicians care about which keys they choose?
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5answers
1k views

General questions about piano sheet music notation

This is the song I wanted to do, not on a piano but in FL Studio. But I don't play the piano so I need some help in dissecting this piece. Those ##C, what do those mean (and what are they called?) ...
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10answers
2k views

Why is there a key signature if I never play those notes?

I'm just getting back to playing on keyboard. I'm trying to play "Ode to Joy" from the piano sheet but I have a basic question. At the beginning of some staffs, on the right of the treble clef I can ...
2
votes
1answer
457 views

Strange key signature?

I have some experience reading music, but today I came across a Bartok piece, "Melody with Accompaniment", part of Mikrokosmos Vol. 2. The key signature has one sharp, C#. I was under the impression ...
6
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2answers
2k views

What is a key signature?

I'm trying to learn the flute and I bought a book that is supposed to help me learn. In one of the first chapters it describes something about key signatures and the circle of fifths and I'm ...
17
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6answers
9k views

How many (major and minor) keys are there? Why?

I am wondering about how many major and minor keys there are and why. Here are some suggestions: 24 keys One could argue that there should be one major and one relative minor key for each of the 12 ...
3
votes
1answer
276 views

Why is B flat in this key sigiture when B is never played?

In the below sheet music B is marked as flat however the only notes played are g g g d e c C. Is that just a typo on the part of the person who made this image and it should be on the upper C or am I ...
18
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7answers
8k views

Why does the Dorian mode on C have two flats?

I'm studying scale modes and I just found on Wikipedia that the Dorian mode on C has two flats... Why is this? Because the Dorian mode is just the major scale (Ionian) starting from the second ...
15
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4answers
2k views

Is G sharp major a real key?

I'm mostly self-taught, so I don't know much in the way of theory beyond the basics. I have heard of G sharp Major a few times. I believe a scale in the key goes as such: G♯, A♯, B♯, C♯, D♯, E♯, Fx, ...
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5answers
962 views

Collective word for sharps and flats in the key signature

On a mailing list I'm subscribed to, someone recently asked what the collective name was in English for the sharps and flats you find in the key signature. Apparently, the closest translation from ...
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3answers
3k views

F# major vs Gb major?

I was looking at Dvorak's Humoresque (op 101 n 7) : it's mostly in Gb major, in the middle it changes to F# minor. This would have looked more natural for me if F# major instead of Gb major were ...
8
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3answers
316 views

Why are the notes in a key signature in a specific order?

See: http://www.8notes.com/school/theory/key_signatures.asp It says that sharps should be defined in the key signature in this specific order: FCGDAEB While flats should be defined in this order: ...
15
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9answers
8k views

How to select a key-signature for a song

There are so many songs in pretty odd key-signatures like 4,5,6 sharps or flats. At least this is my impression when I listen to songs on the radio/net while trying to follow them on my piano/guitar. ...
17
votes
6answers
4k views

With sheet music, how do you determine whether the song is in the major key or the minor key?

For example, if the key signature on the left doesn't have any sharps or flats then it could theoretically be in either the C Major scale or the A Minor scale. How do you determine which one?
27
votes
8answers
3k views

Is it possible to write a song without a key?

"This song is in F Major", "That song is in A Minor", "This song is in D Minor, but modulates to F Major in the middle", etc. Can we say "This song has no key"? Are there songs that have/follow no ...
10
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3answers
787 views

How can I easily translate between a key and a key signature?

Is there a good mnemonic or trick for working out the key signature from a given key? I can always write out the chromatic scale, then count out the appropriate intervals from the tonic, and figure ...
8
votes
1answer
639 views

What is this called? Why is it allowed?

"Golden Train" by Justin Nozuka (YouTube link below) is in the key of Ab major. However he uses a Cb major chord throughout the song, which is not in the key of Ab major. It sounds good and works ...
3
votes
1answer
373 views

A peculiarity in John Tompson's first grade book regarding key signatures

Back in the days when I was studying from John Thompson's First Grade Piano book, I had come across a peculiarity which I could not understand: in pages 13-15 there are pieces which are in the key of ...
11
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4answers
2k views

Equivalent Key Signatures

I've noticed that a variety of pieces in the classical repetoire (certainly at least the piano repetoire), label what seems to be effectively the same key signature differently. That is, I am not ...
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9answers
5k views

Key signature for writing in modes other than major and minor

I have trouble deciding what accidentals to put in the key signature for pieces in dorian, phrygian, lydian or mixolydian modes. There seem to be tradeoffs associated with each choice. For example, ...