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Key Signature Chart
Finally found a good one!
Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 (1 votes) 
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ELCBK
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April 3, 2021 - 3:54 am
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It's been hard for me to memorize all the basic major & minor Key Signatures from the different charts I've used.  

Granted, I play more by ear - but I still think it's important, for several reasons, to memorize them. 

I finally ran across one the other day that actually makes sense to me! 

I found this free pdf, here -  

https://guitar.ricmedia.com/ke.....e-chart/ 

https://guitar.ricmedia.com/wp-content/uploads/key-signature-chart/key-signature-chart.jpg

 

It's not really that different from many other charts, but this particular chart makes a huge difference to me - so, since everyone learns differently, thought this might be helpful to others. 

...didn't see where Fiddlerman offered a Key Signature chart(?) 

giphy.gif

 

Wish I'd had an organized team of egg decorators, today. (lol)

- Emily

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AndrewH
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April 3, 2021 - 5:27 am
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I don't think I ever made a conscious effort to memorize what key corresponds with what key signature. Instead, there are a few tricks I used until I no longer needed them.

For major keys with sharps: the last sharp in the key signature is 7th degree of the scale (a half-step below the key).

For major keys with 2 or more flats: the second-last flat in the key signature is the key.

Minor keys: the 3rd degree of the scale is the relative major. (Or the 6th degree of the major scale is the relative minor.)

 

Also, there's a mnemonic I like to use for the orders of sharps and flats...

Order of sharps: Father Charles Goes Down And Ends Battle.

Order of flats: Battle Ends And Down Goes Charles' Father.

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Bob
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April 3, 2021 - 9:18 am
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My method is similar to @AndrewH.

I've been in music so long 

the sharp and flat orders are stuck in my head

fcgdaeb

beadcgf

both the same, just reversed.

The major key for sharps is 2 more than the highest in the sig. If f and c then the key is d major (or corresponding minor)

The major key for flats is the flat before the last. If b and e are in sig then key of b major (or corresponding minor). Of course 1 flat HAS to be key of f (just because) ;)

I can't remember the corresponding minors in most cases though. 

I wasn't exposed to the circle of fifths when I was growing up "learning" music. I wish I had been and wish I had been taught more music theory way back then.

I must admit, though, I have a bad habit of not looking at the key signature until its too late (oops)!

Bob in Lone Oak, Texas

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Ilona
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April 3, 2021 - 12:05 pm
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This is the topic I have been thinking a lot. Because I haven't any musical background I'm terribly bad at music theory... I really don't recognize if some piece is for example G-major or A-minor... My teacher said I won't be in trouble because of that, but it would still be interesting to learn this.

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iFIDDLE
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April 3, 2021 - 5:39 pm
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for what its worth... and pertaining to fiddle music not classical..our twacher just calls it modal minor if a tune in minir or dorian..every once in a while will be more specific and define the mode to point out fingering frames and stuff.  I did take time to memorize backn in geetar jazzy days but rarely play flat keys or anything other than C, G, D, or A now and memory is slipping now..i just dont use it on fiddle for what im doing for the time being.....but, what helped me, other than just writing out each key scale when not practicing and away from instrument..was starting in key of C and moving around circle of 5ths by playing a 2,5,1 chord progression and scales on each key until circle was complete on guitar.  if someone wanted they could probably do some arrpegios on violin in the same manner.  I dont..but i wonder if that would be a helpful/useful exercise?  i practiced more therory on the chord instruments i guess.  I should practice scalea in unfamiliar keys along with other techniques on fiddle.  @elcbk I used alot of items like you shared and agree things like that are useful to me.  ive even downloaded scale and fretboard games on phone for practicing during times instrument isnt in hand.

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AndrewH
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April 3, 2021 - 6:47 pm
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The Flesch scale book has a similar take on arpeggios: for each key there is an arpeggio sequence that includes not only the I chord but also a number of related chords.

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ELCBK
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April 4, 2021 - 2:22 am
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Thanx, EVERYONE for the great suggestions! 

I know I'll use them all at some point. 😊

My main objective right now is to be able to look at a Key Signature and read it - exactly like I'd read the notes on the staff.  Then, I can go look at the first few measures (or more) to see if it is Major or minor... or if it's modal. 

I'm pretty sure I remember back (to the Stone Age) as a child - was trying to learn to read notes for the piano.  I would write in the letters underneath the staff, for what corresponded to the notes displayed. 

A simple, visual association - for memorization, no real thinking at this point. 

I saw the chart I posted, as similar - think it's better than writing out Key Signatures in succession on a staff with the name underneath (yes, I thought about doing it 🤣).   

 

giphy.gif 

 

Not going to have it memorized before Fiddle Hell, though. 🙄  It's just around the corner!

Happy Easter!

← my brain... spring-loaded. (lol)

- Emily

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Gordon Shumway
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April 6, 2021 - 10:03 am
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It's a good chart, Emily. You won't find better. Unfortunately, I had it memorised at the age of 10, and my neighbours let me play their piano, so it's hard for me to empathise or help.

Non-pianists are always at a disadvantage when it comes to music theory.

OK, if you practise your E major scales on the violin, it makes it easier to play a piece in E major, but crudely put, on a violin every scale is just a half-inch higher than the last, and they are mostly played by ear, so the scales don't teach you much - they just help you get comfortable with where your left hand should be.

I've seen people on harmonica forums worrying about the circle of fifths (as they have to when it comes to cross-harp), and I always tell them to buy a cheap keyboard. OK, cheap keyboards sound really nasty, but it's cheaper than studying theory lessons at school.

Andrew

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ELCBK
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April 7, 2021 - 5:15 am
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@Gordon Shumway -

Thanx, Andrew! 

If you are suggesting it's just easier to visualize all the scales on a keyboard - then I agree! 

I only took a little piano when I was a kid, but still I naturally tend to visualize everything on a keyboard - just didn't help me read the Key Signature without thinking. 

I am actually proud that now I'm seeing the rest of the notation more as violin/viola, strings and finger placement on the fingerboard - instead of on piano keys. (lol) 

If I get frustrated, I try to remind myself who exactly came up with this system of notation... it wasn't a violinist... or a pianist. 🙄

https://www.mfiles.co.uk/music.....tory.htm 

 

https://i.pinimg.com/originals/58/8e/27/588e27594348841ac22e64875f01f976.jpg

 

...sleepless nights give me way too much time on my hands - questionable quality time. 🤭

- Emily

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Fiddlerman
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April 8, 2021 - 3:07 pm
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In many ways, those of us who started playing an instrument at a very early age have it easy. I never had to think about learning key signatures either. 😁

"The richest person is not the one who has the most,
but the one who needs the least."

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ELCBK
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April 8, 2021 - 10:18 pm
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I don't understand what learning at an early age has to do with this. 

When I was young and learning to read music, no one ever said a thing about the key signature other than it told you what notes to play flat - and what notes to play sharp for a particular piece of sheet music. 

I can now see that the chart in my 1st post is of no help to anyone, other than myself.

Thank you - I appreciate ALL your input! 

 

60e3600607d7f8ac8739c49df99d7e32--nursery-decals-nursery-rhymes.jpg

- Emily

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iFIDDLE
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April 8, 2021 - 10:30 pm
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ELCBK said....

I can now see that the chart in my 1st post is of no help to anyone, other than myself.

Thank you - I appreciate ALL your input! 

 

60e3600607d7f8ac8739c49df99d7e32--nursery-decals-nursery-rhymes.jpg

- Emily

  

GregW said
.........  @elcbk I used alot of items like you shared and agree things like that are useful to me.  ive even downloaded scale and fretboard games on phone for practicing during times instrument isnt in hand.

  

ahem...

tongue

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AndrewH
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April 8, 2021 - 10:40 pm
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I don't see what starting young necessarily has to do with it either.

I also wouldn't say the chart is not useful. For me, the chart is useful for visualizing why the sharps and flats in key signatures are arranged the way they are, but not nearly as useful for internalizing the key signatures for playing purposes. They're two different thought processes in my mind, one used for analyzing a piece of music and another for playing it.

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ELCBK
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April 8, 2021 - 11:27 pm
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Sorry Greg, thought you meant other stuff was helpful. (lol) 

 

Thanx Andrew - yes, this was only one.  You put it into words better than I could. 😏 

 

There are so many beginner members, it's disheartening sometimes - not hearing from them.  Seems like they don't even notice anything posted.

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Gordon Shumway
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I suppose what the OP may be asking is how to memorise the chart?

As a visual thing (and potentially distracting with all its detail), the chart is difficult to memorise unless you have a good visual memory. Few people do. Otherwise, basically, it's best to work out how it is organised and practise reciting that, so you can be fast at it.

Begin with C and then go up in perfect fourths (or down in fifths) reciting "F, Bb, Eb, Ab, Db" counting the flats on your thumb and fingers, adding one each time.

[Yes, AndrewH reminds me that the order of the flats is another thing to remember. It's the same as the above: systematically B,E,A,D]

(the exotic ones like Gb you can leave until later - Romantic pianists liked them in the 19th century, but I'm not sure if many other people did, lol. Also, I don't know if there's genuine theory behind what happens where the multiple flats and the multiple sharps overlap*). This is going round the chart anti-clockwise, and it will familiarise you with perfect fourths. It will also familiarise you with minor thirds, as the minor keys are a minor third down from their relative majors - D, G, C, F, Bb, all containing flats because their relative majors do.

Then go down from C in fourths, (or up in fifths), clockwise, reciting "G, D, A, E, B" [Get Down And, Err, Boogie], counting the sharps on your thumb and fingers. The relative minors being E, B, F#, C#, G#. [order of sharps F,C,G,D]

(if you extend all these sequences further, you'll see that it's just one sequence for major and minor keys and accidentals with different starting and stopping places)

 

Or any system that works for you.

 

* There's talk about the mystical feeling behind each key sig, but what happens if you write for an orchestra in C#, do you write for the trumpets in D# or Eb, spoiling the mystique of the sharps? (mainly satirising here)

Andrew

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ELCBK
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April 9, 2021 - 5:18 am
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giphy.gif

I was just sharing the chart -

Thank You!

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iFIDDLE
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Nigel Tufnel's fusion of Mozart and Bach in Dm is some proof that Dm is the saddest of all keys.  He is known for fusing those two styles into what he refers to as Mach compositions.

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ELCBK
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April 9, 2021 - 3:24 pm
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https://smallimg.pngkey.com/png/small/81-812495_omg-funny-emoji.png

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Fiddlerman
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April 13, 2021 - 8:24 am
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I think that starting early helps your ability to understand music theory. Perhaps because you automatically play in the key signatures without having to give it so much thought, which in it's turn helps understand rudiments, views on music and musicology. I could be wrong.
However, I don't think it's a huge difference. Many young people never give theory much thought until they are older and wiser. 😜

"The richest person is not the one who has the most,
but the one who needs the least."

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