Monday, January 8, 2018

Read Any Key Signature

Read Any Key Signature

You learned a lot of theory in the Magic Keys song. (Read and watch it here)

Now you can recognize major key signatures for C, F, and G. 

But did you know you ALSO have enough knowledge to figure out ANY key signature?  It's true!  I want you to feel like you can find Do whenever you want to. You have the power!

Lots of Flats

What if the signature has flats?  Purple Magic students know that the flat goes on FA.  Think of the key of F. The flat is on FA (Bb).

When a signature has a lot of flats, look at the most recent flat added and count backwards 3 steps... Fa, Mi, Re, Do to find Do.

Let's try one with 2 flats. Where is Do?  Well, the last flat is on E.  So Eb is FA. Now walk down the scale: Mi-Re-Do = D-C-B.  Is Do on B?  Well, I just noticed that the previous flat added was a B.  So B is also flat. This is the key of Bb major.

If the last flat is an Ab, the key is Eb major. If the last flat is Gb, the key is Db major.

ANY time there are flats...the last flat added is FA in the scale. Baby step down Mi-Re-Do to find Do.  You'll start to notice a pattern... Do is always on the second-to-last flatted note! 

SHORTCUT!: Just find the second-to-last flat and it's Do.

Lots of Sharps

What if the signature has sharps? Orange Roots students know that the sharp goes on TI. "And Do is G because the F sharp is the Ti."

When a signature has sharps, look at the last sharp added and take one more step up. You just found DO!

ANY time there are sharps... play the newest sharp, and take one baby step up. That is Do!  If the last sharp is C#, the key is D major. If the last sharp is G#, the key is A major. If the last sharp is A#, the key is B major. 

You Know a Lot

Now you and your student officially know a LOT about key changes, all from learning "Magic Keys". Yes, learning the words to these songs is powerful and will stick with your student for a long time.  You never need to be afraid of key signatures. You can always find Do.

* PS: Every key signature represents both one major key and one minor key. 

Zero sharps and flats means both C major and A minor. How can you tell if the song is major or minor?  Try this trick...look at the last note of the song. Since Do is home, almost all songs end on Do. If the last note is an A, it's probably A minor instead of C major. 

-Gina Weibel. MS
Let's Play Music Teacher

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