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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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 ...
32
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9answers
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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 trade-offs associated with each choice. For example, ...
6
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4answers
88 views

What's the purpose of the key signature information in a MIDI file?

My understanding is that MIDI files use fixed numbers/names for all notes, as shown e.g. in this chart. At the same time, MIDI has a "key signature" meta-event. What's the purpose of the key signature ...
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3answers
570 views

Why isn't there a key signature with F flat?

I think the title asks the question. There are key signatures with Ab, Bb, Cb, Db, Eb and Gb. But no Fb. There's probably no practical reason for my question. I'm just curious.
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1answer
113 views

Piano Accidentals and Key Signatures

I have been trying to pick up the piano and have a few questions concerning accidentals and key signature placement and interaction. I apologize I don't have a digital copy of the music in question ...
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6answers
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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?
12
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5answers
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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 ...
10
votes
3answers
844 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
383 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 ...
15
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9answers
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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. ...
7
votes
6answers
686 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. ...
2
votes
3answers
226 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
votes
3answers
134 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
88 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 ...
4
votes
4answers
220 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 ...
10
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5answers
634 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?
5
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1answer
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“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
votes
5answers
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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 ...
1
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1answer
164 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 ...
11
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4answers
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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 ...
3
votes
3answers
191 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 ...
9
votes
5answers
782 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 ...
7
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3answers
226 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.
2
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1answer
284 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. ...
10
votes
2answers
513 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 ...
15
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10answers
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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 ...
7
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3answers
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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 ...
5
votes
4answers
275 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 ...
12
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4answers
639 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
votes
4answers
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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 ...
18
votes
7answers
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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 ...
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vote
3answers
289 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 ...
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6answers
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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 ...
2
votes
5answers
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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 ...
3
votes
5answers
2k 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?) ...
5
votes
2answers
297 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: ...
2
votes
1answer
497 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
votes
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 ...
8
votes
3answers
340 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: ...
3
votes
1answer
281 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 ...