Key signatures may not be for those seeking out beginning guitar lessons. This is for intermediate and advanced guitar players. In order to become a good guitar player, this information won’t help a bit, especially in the early stages of learning. Lots of players such as myself have a thirst for knowledge. I hope you find this interesting.
Key signatures are another critical concept and component of reading and writing musical notation. There is a tremendous amount of material to absorb in this book, and this may require the most memory skills. The key signature is carefully placed after the clef symbol on the grand staff to simplify the reading and writing process. By putting the key signature right after the clef sign, rather than elsewhere, musical notation becomes less confusing to read.
The beginning and ending notes of a major scale are called the keynote/s. They may also be referred to as the tonic or root note of the scale. This indicates that the keynote becomes the name of the scale, and is the first note of the scale. So, if a piece of music is in the bG [G-flat] major scale, it is in the key of bG [G-flat] major.
Sharps and flats are used to produce the needed and correct interval patterns between whole and half notes. The system allows for the flats or sharps to be consistent thorough out the piece of music, unless one particular note has an added accidental. Otherwise, as learned earlier, the flats or sharps right after the clef are to be followed throughout the composition. The signature tells you the key, and the clef identifies in sharps or flats* [see* below] the letter name of the keynote, [A, B, C, D, E, F, etc.].
The set of sharps that determine a specific key signature are as follows: F C G D A E B.
The way to use flats is simple in theory, reverse the order: B E A D G C F.
*There are only two keys that do not use any sharps or flats. C major and C minor.
Each sharp or flat indicates, the raising of, or lowering of the tone of the note with which it is associated, by one semitone.
The major scale system can arranged in a certain pattern which is called the Circle of Fifths. A circle of fifths may be described as an added sharp which corresponds to each key. So every sharp added to the signature key produces a key which is a perfect fifth interval higher than the previous key. Every minor key has a relative major to it.
When turned counterclockwise, the addition of flats that correspond appropriately are called the relative minor. Each added flat produces a key which is one perfect fifth lower than the prior key. Every major key has a relative minor linked with it.
More specifically, the circle of fifths is a closed circle arranged with all 12 pitch names so that when turned clockwise on the circle, the perfect 5th interval or sharps pattern emerges. The opposite is true for flats. The tool helps to visualize, learn and remember key signatures, and to find the related keys and remember the order of sharps and flats in key signatures. I have a circle of fifths wheel. It is invaluable to the beginner.
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