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I've been sight reading through a book, "easy piano classics", part of the Bastien older beginner piano library. In a few of the arrangements, the key signature indicates that there will be sharps or flats, but those notes aren't used. For example, there is an arrangement in g major but it never contains the F#.

So why not just think of it as a mode of c major and keep the sharps out of it?

marked as duplicate by guidot, Richard, Carl Witthoft, Dom Jun 20 '17 at 13:38

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  • Marking this as an "exact duplicate" is a stretch. Where in the "duplicate" does the actual question that the OP asks in the body of his question appear? Interesting question, too. I vote to reopen, perhaps with an edit of the title. – BobRodes Jun 20 '17 at 17:11
  • @BobRodes from the duplicate "... but in the staffs starting with this key signature I can't find any "F" notes! So what is that sharp symbol for?" and this question " there is an arrangement in g major but it never contains the F#. So why not just think of it as a mode of c major and keep the sharps out of it?" besides the mode conjecture is the exact same example and line of thought. – Dom Jun 20 '17 at 18:44
  • Apologies for not doing my homework! – Michael Stachowsky Jun 20 '17 at 19:13
  • @Dom Yes, "besides the mode conjecture" it is indeed. If you can find me a duplicate of said conjecture in the "exact duplicate," I will concede your point. I will also concede your point if you provide a definition for "exact" that permits the deviation from the "exact duplicate" that you mention. The definition with which I am familiar is "admitting of no deviation." Until you do either, I stand by my original assertion. – BobRodes Jun 25 '17 at 6:27
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Key signatures don't indicate that there will be # or b, as you found out.They do what they are called: they give a sign denoting the key. It's quite unusual with #s that there is no leading note in a tune, but maybe the 'Easy piano' is a bit of a clue.

It's more of a technical thing having a key signature, and often gives the reader lots of clues about what to expect - not just which notes aren't white!

Yes, some pieces could be regarded as being modal - in fact, Ionian and Aeolian are commonplace.

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