If you're looking at a piece of music and you need to know what key you're in, this table should help.

Look at the music and see what sharps or flats there are.

 
Key of No. of Sharps Notes involved
C 0              
G 1 F#            
D 2 F# C#          
A 3 F# C# G#        
E 4 F# C# G# D#      
B 5 F# C# G# D# A#    
F# 6 F# C# G# D# A# E#  
C# 7 F# C# G# D# A# E# B#
Key of No. of Flats Notes involved
C 0              
F 1 Bb            
Bb 2 Bb Eb          
Eb 3 Bb Eb Ab        
Ab 4 Bb Eb Ab Db      
Db 5 Bb Eb Ab Db Gb    
Gb 6 Bb Eb Ab Db Gb Cb  
Cb 7 Bb Eb Ab Db Gb Cb Fb


Gman,

As a possible addendum to your tip 194 -- determining the key signature of a piece of music....

An easy way to determine the key signature of a song with sharps or flats is to use a 'mnemonic', i.e., a phrase that helps jog your memory.


-- As you start with one sharp, and add one sharp at a time....

"Good Deeds Are Excellent But Few"


-- As you start with one flat, and add one flat at a time...

"Fat Boys Eat Apple Dumplings Greedily"


I learned those from my band director in high school (which was about the time that cavemen beat on hollowed-out tree trunks with sabre cat tiger bones).

By the way, I enjoy your guitar tips and use quite a few of them.

Sincerely,

Mark M.
Maple Valley, WA

 

Also see my Tip 196 on the subject.


HOME
                         BACK TO PLAYING TIPS