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Key Signatures Made Easy



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hi everyone this is been done it from

learn how to read sheet music calm I'm

really excited about this seven-minute

video that I've got for you today

because I'm going to be tackling a topic

that I know lots of you find really

really difficult and that is key

signatures but I'm really confident that

I've got some great ideas as to how to

make this whole thing easy to understand

and easy to read we're going to look at

four things we're going to look what it

is a key signature tells us I'm going to

reveal to you the secret to reading any

key signature and I do mean any key

signature we're going to look at the

pitfall that you need to avoid and Waka

also going to take care to beware of

those pesky key changes that keep coming

up in pieces of music so firstly what

does a key signature tell us what a key

signature tells us two things

firstly it tells us the key that a piece

is written in and secondly as a result

of this it tells us how many sharps and

flats we should play in a particular

piece of music so just those two things

that is key signature is telling us so

let's have a look at an example here

we've got an example now if you've never

seen a key signature before this hash

symbol here which is actually a sharp

symbol is the key signature and you'll

see it at the beginning of a piece of

music and the beginning of each stave

and what this tells us is simply this

because this sharp symbol is on the top

line there which we know is an F in the

treble clef what that's saying is that

every time we see an F written in this

piece of music we should play f-sharp

instead okay so we shouldn't play F

natural we should play F sharp it's

telling us that it's in the key of G

major

the same would work if it was in the

bass clef here we've got a sharp again

on the F line so it's the fourth line up

in the bass clef which is an F and that

again says whenever you see an F note in

this piece of music you are going to

play an F sharp

instead simple as that let's have a look

at some flats here are the flats those

of you new to flats they look a bit like

an italicized B and we've got two flats

in this

particular key signature one is on the

middle line and one is on the fourth

spaceup so one is on the B line and one

is on the e space and what that tells us

is that every time we see a be written

in this piece of music we are going to

play a b-flat also every time we see an

e written in this piece of music we are

going to play an E flat there's the same

in the base clef there's a flat on the B

line and there's a flat on the e space

and it says whenever you see a B or any

you are going to play a B flat or an E

flat it tells us that the key is B flat

major so what's this secret that I've

been going on about the secret is this

count up one note from the last sharp of

your key signature and you'll be able to

tell straight away what key it's in so

let's have a look at our example here's

G again there's only one sharp in this

key signature so the last sharps got to

be F sharp there if we count up one note

F to G that tells us that the key is G

it's G major so have a look at another

example see if it continues to work here

we've got two sharps we've got an F

sharp and a C sharp

okay let's count up one note from the

last shot C to D and that tells us that

the key signature is D major so let's

have a look at this key signature and

utterly terrifying prospect

all of these sharp symbols well actually

it doesn't need to be terrifying anymore

because there's the last sharp it's an a

go up one note a to b that tells us that

the key signature is b major it really

is as simple as that

you should be able to impress your

musical friends with your newfound

knowledge that you can read any key

signature that has a sharp in it good

news is there's a similar rule for the

flats and it's this you need to look at

the penultimate flat of the key

signature have a look at this key

signature B flat and E flat look at the

penultimate note that's B flat and that

tells us the key signature is B flat

major let's have a look at this one B

flat E flat a flat D flat look at the

penultimate note a

at a flat major let's have a look at

another terrifying one lots and lots of

flats here simple to work out look at

the penultimate flat it's on a G it's

got to be G flat major like to really

really simple secrets that mean that you

can straight away and be able to tell

which which key and repeat any piece of

music isn't it's absolutely fantastic I

love it and so what's this pitfall well

the pitfall is this every major key has

a relative minor okay they are their two

keys that share the same key signature

and you find the relative minor by

counting down three note names so here's

our example of what we know is G major

if we count down three note names G f E

and we know that it's relative minor is

a minor same four flats hey we've got B

flat major here be a G we know that it's

relative minor is G minor so you've got

to just be a little bit careful that you

working out well is in the major or the

minor so how do we do this we need to

look at these two following things

firstly look at the first and last base

notes or chord symbols if there are some

in the piece that you've got of the

piece of music because most pieces of

music start and end on the root chord of

of the key of the scale okay not all but

the vast vast majority of pieces do that

so if you look at the first and last

bass note and it's a you're trying to

work out whether it's G major or a minor

and the first and last base notes are

both G's that's going to tell you that

it's probably in G major if they're both

E's well then it's highly likely it's

going to be an E minor the second thing

to look out for is are there any

accidental sharps knocking around on the

piece on the seventh note of the minor

scale so again if I'm trying to work out

is it in G major is it in E minor okay

and I'm seeing lots of D sharps knocking

around on the piece of music then I'm

going to think hold it this is probably

going to be an E minor because D is the

7th note of the minor scale so a couple

of things just to look for there to

avoid the pitfall finally let's think

about these key changes I always look

out for

when you look at a piece of music for

the first time are there any key

signatures coming up okay here we've got

a piece of music that starts in G so we

think are great I've only got to play F

sharps but then it moves to D major and

suddenly we've got to place C sharps as

well so always look out for those and

also beware of accidentals okay here

we've got a piece of music where this

first bar the key signature F sharp does

in G major so that note we should play F

sharp but having said that we've then

got this accidental coming up here which

counteracts the key signature and tells

us we should play it a natural there

okay and that carries on until the new

bar and the new by revert to the key

signature so a few things to be aware of

that

but the big thing is remember that

secret of how to read key signatures in

sharps and flats and I'm really really

confident that this is going to take

your musicianship to a new level

straight away to get a head start on

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