Key Signature
 

Key Signature

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Key Signature    00:17 on Sunday, July 20, 2008 Vote for this post Vote against this post 0 votes

happy-gal
(47 points)

Can anyone offer some advice on how to regognise key signature? I find it very difficult when the key signature (sharps) are written on next to the base or treble clef and I have to look and work out which notes to play as a sharp. It is ok when the sharp is written above or next to the particular note that has to be played as a sharp, but when the sharp key signature is put at the end and not against the note, I find it extremely hard to work out. I have got some pieces that I am trying to learn that my teacher gave me, but when I try them at home I play what I think the notes are, only to find that I should be playing one or more of them as a sharp. I have one piece which had several F sharp notes, but I did not have a clue which ones were supposed to be played as sharps because it was not apparent to me by reading the key signature. On the music they put the F sharp key signature more or less at the top of the stave, so how am I supposed to know that its an F sharp? I have been learning piano and music for just about a year now and I got so frustrated about this that I was ready to quit as its soooo hard. I have no problem whatsoever learning pieces and playing nice music if someone could point out the key signature, but doing it on my own is impossible. Help before I throw in the towel and give it all up.

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Re: Key Signature    07:08 on Sunday, July 20, 2008 Vote for this post Vote against this post 0 votes

rennabell
(5 points)

You can work it out based on how many sharps there are in the key signature.
One sharp = F
Two sharps = F and C
Three sharps = F, C and G

And for flats...

One flat = B
Two flats = B and E
Three flats = B, E and A

Besides, you an usually tell from how it sounds! Just memorize it so you don't have to bother with looking at confusing music!

Hope this helps,
Renny.

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Re: Key Signature    09:01 on Sunday, July 20, 2008 Vote for this post Vote against this post 0 votes

JOhnlovemusic
(1278 points)

Key signatures are important and when you do learn them I think you will like them much better than individual sharps and flats. After playing a year I am somewhat surprised you are just now dealing with key signatures. How were you taught your scales?

The sharps (or flats) in a key signature are not random, so learning the pattern, as suggested immediately above, is quite good advice. One # means you are in G major (F#).
One # next to any clef sign will always be the same, F sharp.

The key signature should be as easy for you as the clef sign. It is common practice to place the F# up on the top line of the treble clef, but it applies to all F's, in all octaves. It is teling you the scale you will be using so you don't have to figure out each and every note. If you have not learned scales other than C, then I can see where this might be difficult and if that is the case relax . . . . .It might seem difficult at first but it will be much easier when you learn your scales and key signatures.


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Re: Key Signature    13:38 on Sunday, July 20, 2008 Vote for this post Vote against this post 0 votes

MusicalPanda
(267 points)

If you still don't understand sharps and flats after a year, I suggest you learn them right away, because you'll fall into a habit of thinking everything is in C major (or A minor) and that can make songs sound very wrong!

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Re: Key Signature    13:41 on Sunday, July 20, 2008 Vote for this post Vote against this post 1 vote

Canadian
(903 points)

For Identifying the Key of a piece:

For sharps:
1. Look at the last sharp eg. in A major the last sharp is a G#
2. Raise the last sharp 1 semitone eg. G# raised 1 semitone is A
3. So it's A major!

For Flats:
1. Look at the second to last flat eg. in A flat Major is an A flat
2. That's the key! (A flat Major!)

<Added>

And for the order of Sharps:
F,C,G,D,A,E,B,

There's a nice little sentence to help you remember it:

Father Charles Goes Down And Ends Battle

For Flats is it just the opposite!
B,E,A,D,G,C,F,

Now, if you reverse the sentence, it works for flats too!

Battle Ends And Down Goes Charle's Father

Hope this helps!

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Re: Key Signature    16:37 on Sunday, July 20, 2008 Vote for this post Vote against this post 0 votes

happy-gal
(47 points)

Thanks. Some helpful things. Since I am posting on here for the answer does that mean I am not being taught properly? I thought that when I started to learn to play the piano, I would do a certain amount of playing, and also a certain amount of theory away from the piano, you know... like one lesson playing and the next lesson completely on theory and no playing.

I did ask for theory lessons but my teacher said it was not necessary because you have to learn whilst playing.

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Re: Key Signature    17:03 on Sunday, July 20, 2008 Vote for this post Vote against this post 0 votes

MusicalPanda
(267 points)

If you've just played for 1 year, it's not required to do theory, but if you wanted to do theory and you piano teacher said you shouldn't, I suggest getting a new teacher. You can't learn theory just from playing. How can you learn the circle of fifths that way? You haven't even learned any of the key signatures! I suggest getting a new teacher.

Also something that will helps with fifths and key signatures. If you take your starting key (say C major) and go up a fifth (to G) you add 1 sharp. So basicly, going up in fifths will give you the different amount of sharps. Basicly meaning if you go up whole steps you add 1 2 sharps each time.

E.g.

G-1
A-3
B-5
C#-7

C-0
D-2
E-4
F#-6


Just a little trick to remembering how many sharps for each note.

Same goes for flats, but I dont want to type out the whole thing.

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Re: Key Signature    02:17 on Monday, July 21, 2008 Vote for this post Vote against this post 0 votes

happy-gal
(47 points)

Well, I am loathed to find a new teacher. I like the one I have, and we have a good raport. The teachers at my music school are not allowed to be employed unless they are up to Grade 7 standard and have a teaching certificate. I know this because they recently advertised for a piano teacher, and someone I know was interested so I just asked what sort of person they would need. So.. if you are up to Grade 7 or 8.. you know what you are doing... practically and technically. I have no reason to doubt my teachers ability for playing and knowing the theory, as she does explain things while we go along as to why we play like we play and what things mean when we play them a certain way.. its just that I would have preferred a couple of lessons completely on theory and nothing else... I can always study on my own by looking up on the internet etc and reading books... but if I am not getting that at the lesson... what am I paying my money for? I think it would be different if I wanted to seriously study music to a professional level, but this is just a hobby for me,,,,, but even a hobby should be done well otherwise what is the point

<Added>

My music school that I go to does have a good reputation. They were recently in the newspaper for being able to teach pupils and get them through their grade exams and the pass rate was very high. Perhaps it is just me and want to run before I can walk. After all.. I have learnt something because a year ago I could not even play with two hands and had no idea what a rest was or what stacato etc meant. At least I can now tell the difference between lagato and stacato and can play and recognise the difference.

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Re: Key Signature    02:28 on Monday, July 21, 2008 Vote for this post Vote against this post 0 votes

rennabell
(5 points)

If I were you I wouldn't bother getting a new teacher. My teacher never taught me any of this stuff. Just work it out yourself. It shouldn't be too difficult. I'm sure your teacher will be able to teach you these things if you ask though. :D

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Re: Key Signature    17:40 on Monday, July 21, 2008 Vote for this post Vote against this post 0 votes

happy-gal
(47 points)

Thanks I will update how I get on. I can play about 10 pieces quite nicely which are straight forward but I really want to progress and get better and am pushing myself hard to learn. I found two handed playing hard at first but now it is easy. This will be easy but I have to perservere. Thanks again for all your helpful suggestions

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Re: Key Signature    18:24 on Monday, July 21, 2008 Vote for this post Vote against this post 0 votes

MusicalPanda
(267 points)

So you say they only have to be at an RCM grade 7 or 8 to teach? All teachers in Canada should at least have grade 10, if not ARCT. How is someone grade 7 going to teach someone grade 10?

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Re: Key Signature    16:25 on Tuesday, July 22, 2008 Vote for this post Vote against this post 0 votes

happy-gal
(47 points)

I live in England and the music school I attend is not like the Royal College of Music where students are seriously studying music to become professionals. My music school is in the town where I live and most of the students do it for a hobby. As for teachers who teach beyond Grade 8. Grade is the highest level of the Grade exams for any instrument in the UK. I have no idea what students do if they want to go beyond that stage. Perhaps they take a degree and become professional and then obviously their teacher would have to know more knowledge than someone up to Grade 8. For the average person who just wants to learn for enjoyment Grade 8 is fine

   

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