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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14
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5answers
3k views

Are accidentals in the key signature and measure additive?

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 ...
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7answers
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Difference between keys and scales?

I am a Tabla (a North Indian percussion instrument) player and I am trying to learn the western music theory. My study was going well until I stumbled upon keys and scales. Now though I know what ...
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5answers
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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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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 ...
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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 note, ...
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2answers
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What is a key signature?

I'm trying to learn the flute and I bought a book to help me learn. In one of the first chapters it describes something about key signatures and the circle of fifths and I'm completely lost. What is ...
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5answers
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Why is music for strings more likely to be in keys with sharps?

One thing I've noticed is that music written for strings, such as violin concertos, are a lot more likely to written in a key like D or A major than something like F or Bb major. I recently saw a ...
27
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4answers
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Where do the double accidentals go in "theoretical" key signatures?

Recent questions led me to discussions of theoretical keys, which are defined by Wikipedia as keys with at least one double accidental in the key signature. (Unfortunately, the source of that ...
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11answers
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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 ...
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11answers
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Are sharp keys "bright" and flat keys "dark"?

I was reading this book and on the "Circle of Fifths" chapter it claims that keys with sharp key signatures (C, G, D, ...) are "often though by musicians" to be "bright" sounding and those with flat ...
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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 are(...
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3answers
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What significance does the Key have on a composition?

I'm struggling to understand how the key signature effects a composition. If you took an average person and played them the national anthem in any key (as long as you stay major of course) they would ...
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10answers
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How to figure out key from key signature?

I know the major scale formula so can easily work out the signature by building the scale from tonic, but I've never learnt it the other way... How to know the key/scale from the signature of sharps/...
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8answers
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Why have I never found any music written in the key of C Sharp Major?

Music is written in almost every key that corresponds to every note that is on my piano keyboard. There is clearly a C Sharp (black key right of C) on my piano keyboard but I don't recall ever seeing ...
25
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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. ...
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7answers
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Do accidentals override key signature and previous accidentals?

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 ...
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2answers
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Why is the key signature not the same as the listed key?

Looking at the following piece, the information says that the key is G minor. However. the score in the "original key" has a key signature of D minor. Moreover, the score transposed to A minor has a ...
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4answers
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Indicating Key Signature Change

Key of C Key Signature has no symbol, so say I was notating music in G Major then wanted to change to the Key of C, how would I show this?
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3answers
957 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 I'...
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12answers
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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, ...
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7answers
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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 ...
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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 ...
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4answers
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Why are some instruments listed 'in F' or 'in B'?

I am looking through scores of pieces that I particularly like. I can't understand (as this is the first time I have come across it) why here, in the manuscript, some instruments are named as ...
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5answers
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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
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How do you identify a key signature's name? [duplicate]

Normally, I'm really bad with key signatures. The thing is, I cannot memorize their names associated with their look. Is there an easy method/technique to recognizing the name of a key signature upon ...
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6answers
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Sight reading piano pieces with sharp or flat key signatures using intervals

I need help with reading piano pieces with key signatures that have sharps or flats (other than C Major or A Minor). I learnt to sight read music using intervals (but do have a very good grasp on ...
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3answers
370 views

Key Signature with all Notes naturalized

I’m still new to piano and just getting into key signatures. In Beatles’ Best (easy Beatles sheet music) Get Back is in G, however, all F’s have a natural accidental next to them. Is this sheet music ...
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2answers
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The key signatures C-flat minor and G-flat minor: do they exist? [duplicate]

Do the key signatures C-flat minor/G-flat minor exist? If yes,what notes are used in them, and they are rarely or frequently used in classical music? Also: DO these keys exist 9((not theorethical) ...
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3answers
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Key signature and chord progressions

I was studying a blues song (Bessie's Blues) in all keys and I seem unable to understand something that seems quite basic. So, in the typical progression for a Bb organ we have C7-F7-C7-C7-F7-F7 etc. ...
3
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3answers
122 views

How could you make a key change sound natural

I've been working on an orchestral piece for a while and I want to include a key change. For example, from Bb major into Eb major. How could one go about changing keys in a way that makes the music ...
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2answers
410 views

How to know which key a song is written in with the same key signature?

How to know which key a song is written in with the same key signature ? For example, the C Lydian scale has the same key signature as G major (G Ionian) AND E (natural) minor (E Aeolian) which makes ...
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8answers
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Brandenburg Concerto No. 5 in D: Why do some recordings seem to be in C sharp?

There are at least two recordings on Youtube of Bach's Brandenburg Concerto No. 5 in D major which seem to be played a half-step lower, in the key of C sharp. I assume this is a artifact of the ...
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3answers
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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.
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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?
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6answers
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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 ...
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2answers
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Is there a key signature for harmonic minor scale?

I know that sharp key signatures are applied in the order: F C G D A E B and that flat key signatures are applied as: B E A D G C F. But these are for major and minor scales, right? Is there a way to ...
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1answer
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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 ...
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4answers
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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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5answers
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Why are different keys necessary / important? [duplicate]

If all major key songs can be played in C major, then why do people play them in other keys? Assume there is no singer involved and we're just talking about what sounds "good". My understanding is ...
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1answer
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Key used by clarinet

I do not understand the key notation for the clarinet in an orchestral score I am looking at. This is an extract from the Andante of the Ravel concerto in G: The clarinet has a different key ...
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9answers
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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. ...
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6answers
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Would you write key signatures for non-conventional scales?

For example, the gypsy scale, I-♭II-III-IV-V-♭VI-VII. Would you write a key signature for a scale like that, that didn't start on B♭ like scales are supposed to? Or would you just add the flat every ...
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8answers
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Why does the circle of fifths only show some notes that are enharmonically equivalent?

I was wondering why the circle of fifths only has three keys that are enharmonically equivalent at the bottom of it namely, C#/Db, Gb/F#, B/Cb. Why only those three? Can’t the other notes in the ...
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4answers
243 views

What are the best criteria for naming a key?

For me, when a song has, say, three accompanying chords, they are generally I, IV and V of a particular key. Thus, in a song with C, D and G, it's squarely in G major. Others have reasoned that some ...
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1answer
464 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 ...
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2answers
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How can a scale sound sadder/darker than the scale with the same key signature?

There is a general principle used to describe the intensity of a mode. The more flat notes there are in the formula of the mode, the darker it sounds. So the Locrian scale is the saddest/darkest mode, ...
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2answers
194 views

Transposing key signatures - how to do so quickly?

I've been attempting to pick up my music theory after a 1 month hiatus, and I've stumbled across transposing key signatures - is there a quick method of figuring out the new key signature? Because ...
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2answers
209 views

How are key signatures for quarter tones denoted?

For example, in 31-TET, all tones are accessible via (double) sharps or (double) flats on CDEFGAB. So there exists key signatures, for example, D double-flat major. (That's same as C half-sharp major.)...
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1answer
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Understanding alternate key signature in Neumeyer's Hindemith analysis

Regarding David Neumeyer's The Music of Paul Hindemith: As you will see in Example 3.12 (below), Neumeyer likes to show us the key without a key signature. While he indicates the key with a simple &...
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2answers
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Is it better to write music in F♯ Major or in G♭ Major?

Is it better to write music in F♯ Major or in G♭ Major? Seeing as they are enharmonic (in our 12-tone musical system), what are the advantages / disadvantages of writing in either, or should it be ...