Grade 1:11 - Keys & Key Signatures
Previous: Lesson 10 - Scales of G, D & F Major
As we saw in the last section, each scale has different sharps or flats.
These notes from the scales also make their key signature. Music is written within a key signature, this means the notes used in the piece are taken from that key (of course there are exceptions). To make the music cleaner, we don’t write the sharp or flat symbols every time they come up, instead, we write the key signature at the start of the music, and every time that note occurs in the music, it will be the ‘sharp’ or ‘flat’.
So, in G the key signature will have an F# (same as the scale). This means an F# is played in place of F every time, unless told otherwise (with the natural symbol). In D, we have the F# and C#, and so on - look back at lesson 10 if you want to go over the scales.
Writing the key signatures
Key signatures are drawn in specific positions,
The F# is drawn here on the top line, not in the
bottom gap, even though this is also an F.
As we saw earlier, the sharp keys occur in a specific order (First the key of G, with one sharp the F#. Then the key of D, with two sharps, the same F#, then the C#).
The key signatures are always written in the same order, from left to right, the F# is drawn first, then C# is added for D major. When we come across other sharp keys in later grades, they will always start with these two sharps.
The flat keys work in a similar way to the sharps, we only need the first one for grade one, which is F major with B flat. This is drawn on the middle line.
Every other flat key will start with this Bb and build on from there.
We also have to remember where the sharps and flats are written in the bass clef.
Here are all the key signatures for grade 1. Note where the sharps and flats are written in each clef.
If you want more information or context on key signatures, we have a video lesson which you can watch here. This covers all key signatures, it is far more advanced than you need for Grade 1, but gives you a good understanding of the system as a whole, I think you'll get a lot out of it.
Next: Lesson 12 - Intervals
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