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Questions tagged [key-signatures]

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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3 answers
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Can a key signature express Phrygian mode (not just major or minor)?

Relative modes share the same note. I was told the key signature could mean either major or minor. But can it not also mean the other five modes like Phrygian, Locrian, etc.?
Sean's user avatar
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11 votes
5 answers
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Why is the key typically the first and/or last note (or chord) of a song?

Is there a strategical reason when composing for the key to commonly be the first and/or last note (or chord) of a song?
Emotion's user avatar
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6 votes
7 answers
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What is the meaning of the affixed paragraph on Sharps?

I am having a doubt with regard to the below portion of a textbook I am studying. I am new to music theory and therefore, the doubt that I have might sound trivial. But, Kindly help. It says that when ...
noobinvestor's user avatar
6 votes
1 answer
704 views

Why does Musescore interpret Westergaard's A-flat as G? Seeking Clarification on Pitch Spelling

I was reviewing some rules from Peter Westergaard's An Introduction to Tonal Theory. I am really only literate in the key of C major, and so I was notating one of Westergaard's example in MuseScore ...
286642's user avatar
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5 votes
5 answers
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Do enharmonic keys have a preferred name?

i.e do we refer to the key of F# more than the key of Gb or are they truly interchangeable and referred to equally? Or does the context matter? (I’m trying to get a clear hold on what keys are more ...
Ryan's user avatar
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8 votes
4 answers
1k views

Why is the G flat major key signature written with a flat on the lower G and not the higher one?

I was going over the circle of fifths as part of theory, and I was trying to write out the G-flat key signature. I put the G-flat in where the red flat is in the image below, but I realized that the ...
heretoinfinity's user avatar
1 vote
0 answers
94 views

How do find the key signature in "Fantasia on Greensleeves" [closed]

Can someone verify if Ralph Vaughan Williams "Fantasia on Greensleeves" is played in F natural minor/melodic minor scale or C minor, if not which key signature?
Sky8's user avatar
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2 votes
0 answers
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How to notate altered diatonic scales (in this case Mixolydian ♭6)? [duplicate]

If I am notating a piece that's in [mostly] a C Mixolydian ♭6 scale (B♭ and A♭), what approach to notation would be most easily read? Notate everything in a non-standard key signature, B♭, E♮, and A♭...
Theodore's user avatar
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0 votes
2 answers
118 views

I’m looking for information/references on how we developed the Major Mode (Scale/Key) [closed]

As the title says, I’m looking for some information on the history of how the Major Mode (Scale,Key) was developed/designed. I already know a little bit, that is, I am not completely new to the topic, ...
Lecifer's user avatar
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2 votes
1 answer
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Custom scale and key signature

I am currently experimenting with microtonality in LilyPond. Mainly, I would like to switch to the Pythagorean tuning and lower or raise pitches by a syntotic comma, as in the this snippet. However, ...
FKranhold's user avatar
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1 vote
1 answer
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Gymnopedie no 1 key signature [closed]

I have a handbell arrangement of Gymnopedie with Bb in the signature. Normally you know that means key of Fmaj. Is it Fmaj?
Bgivens50's user avatar
5 votes
1 answer
371 views

How do the notes on the treble and bass staves here correspond to each other? (Mozart K331 Mvmt 1 Var. V Measure 100)

In this measure 100 of the Variation V of Mozart's K.331, I'm trying to get it right which note on the treble staff is played at the same moment as which note on the bass staff. In the image I drew ...
GrandAdagio's user avatar
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14 votes
3 answers
3k views

Is it okay to change the key signature in the middle of a bar?

In music notation, is it okay to change the key signature within a measure? Or should I split the meter into two for that? For example, I have the following four quarter notes in one measure with: 𝄞 ♭...
brilliant's user avatar
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2 votes
2 answers
103 views

What’s the correct key analysis for this excerpt?

From the ABRSM G5 workbook. To my mind the excerpt could be in F minor or B flat minor, both contain flat BED (and A). The answer given is B flat minor; why is it not F minor? (Saw this after posting: ...
Ryan's user avatar
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6 votes
5 answers
950 views

accidentals of the treble and bass clef

I don't understand why we have to write the key signature on the bass line? It's already precise on the treble line, so we already know the tonality of the piece. What's more, is it possible in this ...
CelmarCeaumar's user avatar
0 votes
2 answers
141 views

How do scales actually help a person play in a different key?

I've recently started the piano, and I want to learn all my scales so I know them, but I just can't seem to grasp how these scales actually help when I have a different key signature, sure I know the ...
Datbossgamer556 's user avatar
3 votes
6 answers
3k views

Confused about the natural symbol (♮) and the omnipresence of the C major scale in music theory

Something is confusing me in our use of accidentals in modern music theory, and more particularly about the use of the natural symbol ♮. It is not always easy to formulate accurately a mess of ...
Dexter's user avatar
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2 votes
3 answers
156 views

In which cadence can parents reasonably expect multiple key signatures to be introduced in piano instruction?

If a child starts to play the piano at six (at or about the beginning of Grade 1) with a teacher, reading sheet music from the first lesson, at what point can one reasonably expect the pupil/teacher ...
Sam7919's user avatar
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0 votes
1 answer
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microtonal accidentals and theoretical key signatures

In microtonal music, theoretically, microtonal accidentals can be placed to key signature. So can we think microtonal key signatures as a kind of theoretical key signatures? I really appreciate any ...
cplex's user avatar
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4 votes
3 answers
1k views

how does the key signature work (not reading it)

If I find the key signature contains, let's say, E flat, does that only mean only E's are E flat or every note on the staff of the key signature are flats? I've looked up multiple things but I am not ...
kian myers's user avatar
8 votes
2 answers
2k views

Why is french horn not written a 5th above the rest of the orchestra when it is supposed to be? [duplicate]

Here the orchestra plays in D but the french horn is written in C major when it should be written in A major. There are accidentals but I dont understan why the correct key signature is not used?
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0 votes
3 answers
110 views

Finding the key of a song that begins in other key

Most classical musics begin in a key that matches its inital key signature, but some songs doesn't. For example, Schubert's impromptu no. 4, op. 90 begins in A-flat minor, but its key is A-flat major, ...
cplex's user avatar
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1 vote
2 answers
213 views

Trouble reading sheet music - identifying sharp note [duplicate]

I have watched this YouTube video and wanted to play it myself. I downloaded the sheet music from his description. In the following image I have marked the first incident where I wasn't sure about the ...
BoJack Horseman's user avatar
1 vote
4 answers
196 views

How do I recognize the key of a song that doesn't have a "home chord"?

I've just started learning music theory so i don't know if my question is understandable. I've been searching on google, youtube, and here how to be able to recognize the key a song is in by ear, or ...
Kiritsuna's user avatar
11 votes
4 answers
1k views

How to notate a non-standard hexatonic key

I am writing part of a piano piece in a hexatonic "key" containing these notes: C - D# - E - G - Ab - B (I say "key" instead of scale because I'm treating it like a key, deriving ...
I talked with a zombie's user avatar
7 votes
3 answers
3k views

Sharps used in Super Mario theme

Why are there sharps/flats in super Mario theme played on piano as the song is written in C major key. I was reading this sheet music. I have seen many others and they all use sharps but write C major ...
Usercomingsoon's user avatar
11 votes
5 answers
3k views

Why does music from the Classical era rarely use keys beyond 3 sharps/flats?

This is just something I noticed when looking through music from this period. They almost never go beyond 3 sharps or flats. For example, Mozart's symphonies: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/...
OprenStein's user avatar
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2 votes
5 answers
325 views

Is Fantaisie Impromptu actually in G# Phrygian?

I’m new to music theory and the definition of key I’ve learned seems to contradict established fact. I’ve been told that the tonic of a piece is the key where the melody comes to rest, where it feels ...
chopinliszt's user avatar
1 vote
4 answers
193 views

Should a scale like C double harmonic major or C phrygian dominant be notated as a 4 flats or natural key?

I'm not really looking for an "objective" answer, but a list of pros and cons for the 2 options I listed (and maybe other options like notating the key as 3 flats or making a weird custom ...
arcioko's user avatar
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9 votes
3 answers
880 views

What is this key signature used in Gymnopedie 1 - F major or D major?

I'm learning Gymnopedie no 1 from the Faber-music Piano Anthology but I'm confused about the key signature of B-flat. All of the B-flats within the piece are written as a natural and there's an ...
Jgrant's user avatar
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4 votes
1 answer
307 views

How to move placement of key signature in Lilypond

In LilyPond (ver. 2.18.2), I'm notating some Ligeti (as a challenge, mostly). When writing out a snippet of his Étude En Suspens, mm. 18-21, there's a passage with different keys between the bottom ...
pr1268's user avatar
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8 votes
8 answers
974 views

How can Key be understood differently when composing music vs playing it as a musician?

When I was younger, for years, I played musical instruments such as the french horn, violin, acoustic ("standing") bass, electric bass, piano, and electric guitar. During these years, I also ...
the_endian's user avatar
2 votes
2 answers
231 views

Clef with signature keys, entering other notes

I would like to know, suppose a clef with key signature (e.g., G is always sharp), independent of octave, appears at the beginning of the staff. Then every G that appears must be read sharp. Then what ...
Joselin Jocklingson's user avatar
3 votes
3 answers
446 views

Modulating to new keys in blues

I found many threads and YouTube videos on modulation in general, but not specific to blues. I’m getting pretty good at the basic I-IV-V progression in blues, playing some old delta-style or BBking ...
j a's user avatar
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1 vote
0 answers
91 views

Why are some musical pieces using tricky key signatures? [duplicate]

I have learned in solfege classes when I was a kid that each sheet music of a musical piece has a key signature made out of sharps or flats. I understood that this key signature changes when the piece ...
matt's user avatar
  • 111
3 votes
2 answers
187 views

Writing Key Signatures for Polytonality/Frequent Key Modulation

I looked through similar questions and didn't really see anything that answered a broader question so I guess I'll ask it. As I write music, my chord progressions tend to go through a lot of different ...
violetorigin's user avatar
4 votes
2 answers
354 views

Lilypond: Set key change signature before D.C. or D.S., and different key in next line

Imagine you have a piece consisting of 3 parts, say A, B, C, and they appear in order A B A C. You want to typeset this in the following form with Da Capo and a Coda, and a line break after the "...
Michael Fütterer's user avatar
1 vote
3 answers
137 views

How to transcribe key(or mode) signature to word

Here is my method and it work 80% of the time but sometimes it didn't work. What do I do wrong? I know how to do all the major no problem. so: C = 0 D = 2# E = 4# F = 1b G = 1# A = 3# B = 5# and if ...
Math Noob's user avatar
0 votes
2 answers
130 views

How to notate scores when the keys don't admit a heptatonic scale?

I was playing with microtonality. Specifically, equal temperaments other than 12edo. Since the point of equal temperaments is versatility, I wanted them to admit a notion of key signatures similar to ...
Dannyu NDos's user avatar
1 vote
2 answers
513 views

The Grand Staff Revealed?

This is a long explanation (with a question at the end), but I hope it might help some struggling students. I'm embarrassed that I always shunned reading music. I first learned music a lifetime ago by ...
Peter Buxton's user avatar
7 votes
5 answers
2k views

Is D minor also F Aeolian?

If I were to write a song in D minor, could I notate it correctly in F Aeolian? Because the subsequent 4th of the root in F Aeolian would be flat, right? Therefore, D minor and F Aeolian, which in ...
Carter Lang's user avatar
1 vote
3 answers
332 views

Nonstandard key signature names? (7 scale degrees)

I read an interesting point that when we use accidentals it might be fruitful to think of it like changing key signature (locally, I guess). So I naturally started wondering if the more exotic key ...
Emil's user avatar
  • 759
9 votes
4 answers
1k views

Circle of Fifths (Added Sharps and Flats) [duplicate]

I understand that an easy way to determine the 'key' of a piece of music is to either look at the last sharp within the key signature and add a half step (semitone), or look at the second to last flat....
4Matt's user avatar
  • 313
4 votes
3 answers
191 views

Interval quality in key signatures

I have plotted all m2, M7, M2, m7, m3, M6, M3, m6, aug4, dim5 intervals in all key signatures, and it seems that the notes don't move vertically or change accidentals (barring for accidentals in the ...
Emil's user avatar
  • 759
-2 votes
2 answers
204 views

If I ever compose minor key music, for the original key, should I use A minor or C minor? [closed]

The A minor scale is the first and easiest minor key to learn in music since it has no sharps and flats just like its relative key called the C major scale but I've seen some composers like Grant ...
Matthew the Music Fan's user avatar
10 votes
1 answer
578 views

Confusing clarinet key signature changes

I am reading through a miniature score book of the Vorspiel (Prelude) of Die Meistersinger Von Nürnberg by Richard Wagner. It's a piece for orchestra, including two B-flat clarinets. The clarinet ...
Elements In Space's user avatar
-1 votes
3 answers
913 views

WHy can you not play metal in Major keys?

Well you can but people are just going to think you are a Sum 41 cover band. It just seems like the Major key does not translate so well on electric guitar.
Neil Meyer's user avatar
25 votes
2 answers
4k views

What does it mean when one flat in the key signature is in parenthesis?

Can someone please help me make sense of why some flat symbols in the key signature are in parenthesis?
user avatar
12 votes
4 answers
2k views

In what key signature is singing written in, and how do I adapt for alto saxophone?

Note: I am not that good in general music theory but I will try to get my point across as best as I can. I am currently in charge of writing/transposing the scores of a little hobby band. I got the ...
gurkensaas's user avatar
11 votes
5 answers
2k views

Why practice enharmonic equivalent keys as separate keys

In this video Victor Wooten explains that there are 30 keys that people need to practice in as opposed to 24. I found out that the 6 extra keys are actually redundant in the sense that each one of ...
John Cataldo's user avatar

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