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10 November 2019

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Major Keys to Four Sharps or Flats

Workbook (NEW for 2021) with answers HERE

Or download a printable worksheet with answers
as a member of MusicOnline UK
for this lesson HERE

In Grade 2 you were expected to know up to 3 sharps or flats, so in this grade there is not that much more to learn. At this stage it might be helpful to look at all the keys you should know in a table.

Key             Key Signature
E major       F, C, G, D
A major 
     F, C, G
D major 
     F, C
G major   
C major       No sharps or flats
F major 
B major 
    B, E
E major   
   B, E, A
A major 
    B, E, A, D

Can you see a pattern here?

  • Each key loses a sharp (or adds a flat as you go down the list)
  • The order of the sharps / flats is the same and this is the order that they should be written in a key signature as in the example of an E major key signature in the treble clef below.
  • Notice also that there is an interval of a 5th between each of the keys, and between each of the sharps or flats. This is known as the cycle of 5ths, (because as you learn a few more keys they will go round in a "circle" and start back at the beginning.
For example there is an interval of a 5th up to G major, another 5th up to D major, another 5th up to A major etc etc

Then looking at the flats from D to A is a 5th, likewise A to E and so on. The same is true with the sharps, from F to C is a 5th, as is C to G - G to D etc etc. So as long as you can count to five you can work out any key signature.

Practice this topic with our workbook
"Music Theory Practice - A Complete Course"
New for 2021 

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