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Lesson 4.6 - Keys up to 5 sharps or flats

Major Keys

In the previous level you learned up to 4 sharps or flats, so in this grade there is not that much more to learn. The new scales for this grade are shown in bold in this table.

Key        Key Signature

B major  F♯, C♯, G♯, D♯, A♯

E major   F♯, C♯, G♯, D♯
A major   F♯, C♯, G♯
D major   F♯, C♯
G major   F♯
C major   No sharps or flats
F major    B♭
B♭ major  B♭, E♭
E♭ major  B♭, E♭, A♭
A♭ major  B♭, E♭, A♭, D♭
D♭ major B♭, E♭, A♭, D♭, G♭


As was explained in the previous level, there is a pattern of fifths between all these key signatures. Starting at the bottom with D flat major the fifth note of each scale is the scale above in the table. A flat is the fifth note of D flat major, E flat is the fifth note of A flat major etc.

Also the distance between all the sharps and flats is a fifth. 

From G flat to D flat is a 5th
From D flat to A flat is a 5th
The same is true with the sharps
From F sharp to C sharp is a 5th
From C sharp to G sharp is a 5th
Here is how these key signatures look in the bass and treble clef 
Be careful of the order and placement of the accidentals

Notice also the pattern of the placement where you put the sharps or flats.There is a pattern with the sharps that goes high, low, high, low, but the final A sharp breaks the pattern. With the flats it is easier, start low and then alternate high, low, high, low.


Minor Keys

You previously learned that every major key has a relative minor. Therefore the two new major keys you just learned will have two new relative minors. i.e.

G♯ minor is the relative minor of B major ...and
B♭ minor is the relative minor of D♭ major.
 But there's more!!

Up until now in this course you have only needed to know the harmonic form of the minor scale with its raised 7th.
In Grade 4 ABRSM and Grade 3 Trinity College Music Theory, you also need to know the melodic minor scale.

In a melodic minor scale the 6th and 7th notes are raised on the way up ONLY and these notes revert back to key signature on the way down.

Consider this scale of G minor 

On the way up the 6th and 7th notes which are normally E flat and F, (according to the Key Signature),  are raised to E natural and F  sharp and on the way down they revert back to F and E flat (as per Key Signature).

This table summarizes all the key signatures of the minor scales you need for this level along with the notes that need to be raised for both harmonic and melodic minor scales.


Harmonics raise 7th, melodics raise 6th and 7th ascending only

Notice the F double sharp in G♯  minor as you raise the 7th - F♯  to Fx

Download a FREE Worksheet for this lesson, with answers HERE

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