Kitchieboy's Music Tutor
Learning to Read Music
(But Not Enough to Hurt Your Playing)

Key Signatures

We've mentioned sharps and flats in key signatures.

When you look at a piece of music, how do you tell what key it's in? From the key signature...mostly.

It's easier than Captain Kirk reading a warp signature on Star Trek.

Here's a picture with some mnemonic poems to help you remember the more common key signatures.

Using poems for this was often done in 18th Century music books. The poetry then, as now, wasn't great.

Do read them aloud. It helps you remember.

Go back and look at the sharp keys. If you watch carefully, you'll notice that the key note is always one line (or one space) higher than the sharp that is furthest to the right. Neat trick, huh?

With the flat keys, except for F, the next flat to the right, the "almost rightmost" flat, gives you the key note. This continues through flat keys I didn't show you here.

For the relative minors (aeolian mode minors) start with the key note for 1, (G for a G key signature) and count letters to number 6 (which will be E in a G scale). Or go back and reread the last page on modes.

And if you still need practice to drill key signatures into your head, trying singing the poems (in the correct keys if you can). They can be sung to "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star" among other tunes.

With this and time signatures, you're ready to try some tunes.
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Kitchieboy's Music Tutor - Learning to Read Music
(But Not Enough to Hurt Your Playing)
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