Tagged Questions

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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8
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3answers
511 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 ...
5
votes
4answers
84 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 ...
16
votes
4answers
3k 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
votes
4answers
438 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 ...
9
votes
4answers
2k 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
votes
3answers
514 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?
10
votes
2answers
220 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 ...
1
vote
3answers
249 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
votes
6answers
871 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 ...
3
votes
5answers
2k 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 ...
38
votes
20answers
5k 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 ...
3
votes
2answers
139 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
votes
2answers
226 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: ...
8
votes
6answers
2k views

Why do musicians prefer to play in certain keys?

Why do musicians care about which keys they choose?
3
votes
5answers
877 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?) ...
15
votes
10answers
1k 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
277 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
1k 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 ...
16
votes
8answers
5k 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
255 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 ...
17
votes
7answers
6k 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 ...
14
votes
4answers
1k 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, ...
11
votes
5answers
610 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 ...
7
votes
3answers
1k 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
votes
3answers
278 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: ...
14
votes
9answers
5k 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. ...
15
votes
5answers
2k 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?
26
votes
8answers
2k 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
votes
3answers
579 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
626 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
304 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 ...
9
votes
5answers
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 ...
30
votes
9answers
4k 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, ...