Basic Key Signatures – Where Music Theory becomes the Musicians Playground

key changeLet’s explore the element of music theory key signatures. 

Music Key Signatures (Keys for short) are the playground used by chords and scales. 

They provide the structure for moving around the harmonic system with chords and scales. Thus giving definition to the movement of music. 

The key signature defines and places sharp and flat notes with in a system where you can built scales as well as chords using the fundamental mathematics of music.

Without the foundation of key signatures you are note really reading music, but reading the notation of music one note by another note. This is like reading a book letter by letter. 

Having a foundation of keys and using scales and chords associated with any key allows you to form words and sentences in music.

Key Signatures Foundational Knowledge

circle-of-fifths-logoThe most often used tool to understand key signature relationships is the Circle of Fifths.

This small circle shown here is the tool used to walk through the process of creating the keys. 

The lessons in this section provide a quick way to learn key signatures using this method.

This fundamental knowledge of keys is necessary in order to work with different chords and scales. 

Changing a key signature can and will change the character of the chords and notes played. 

The same song played in one key will have a sound quality different in another. 

There is a complete explanation of this in technical terms, but for the purpose of the workshop it is not important for actually learning the key signatures. 

The starting point to learn Key Signatures is with the key of C. It has no flats or sharps in the major scale. Refer to the scales page for definitions of major scale.

This section of our site provides a lesson to learn how keys are developed in principal. 

To really get them down cold you will need to consider our learning resources.

Learning Resources