Reading Key Signatures

KeySignatureColorPicture

Reading Key Signatures
(Western Tonal System)

Major Keys

FOUR RULES for reading key signatures

  1. C major has no sharps and no flats
  2. F major has 1 flat – Bb
  3. Sharp Keys – go up a half step from the last sharp – that is the name of the major key
  4. Flat keys – the next to the last flat is the name of the major key

Minor Keys

  •  Major and minor keys which share the same key signature are called “relative”.
  •  To find the relative minor, go down a minor third from the tonic of the major key.  Let’s say we have a key signature of two sharps:   F# and C#.   According to rule number 3 above, we would go up a half step from C#, to the key of D major.  To find the relative minor of D major, count back a third:  D, C#, B.   B is the relative minor of D major.

key signatures

  

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Harmonia

Harmonia, the composition and piano studio of Julie Harris, is a magnet for creativity and talent. Young composers and pianists come to study, share, learn and grow. We enter and win national competitions, but we also give concerts for community outreach, have private piano parties, do special projects for hospitals and schools, and generally have fun while we create musical masterpieces. Come join us!

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