Need To Memorize Key  Signatures?



It's not too difficult to memorize key signatures. The way I memorized them was by using sayings. With key signatures, there are 3 things you need to memorize.

       1. The order of the sharps and flats
       2. The order of the keys (and how many sharps or flats they have)
       3. Where to put them on the staff


Order of Sharps and Flats


First is the order of sharps. You can memorize the order of sharps with this saying: Father Charles Goes Down And Ends Battle. The first letter of each word stands for a sharp.

To memorize the order of the flats you can make up a saying if you want. What I do is remember that the first 4 spell a word: BEAD. After that I remember that the ones that follow are GCF.

If you have trouble remembering the last 3, remember that the next flat is always 4 notes higher than the last one.


Order of the Keys


Next in trying to memorize key signatures is memorizing the order of the keys. You know that the key of C has no sharps or flats. From this key you can figure out the order of the rest.

First the sharps. You can memorize the order of the sharps by counting up 5 notes from the last one. For example, the key with one sharp is G. You can find it by going C-D-E-F-G. The next one is is D - 5 notes up from G. You may have heard this being called the "Circle of 5ths."

To memorize the key signatures with flats in them, you can count up 4 notes. There is also another way. The key of F has only one flat - Bb. The key with 2 flats is Bb. Bb has 2 flats, Bb and Eb and so the next key in the order is Eb. Whatever the last flat is, it's the next key in the order.


Where To Put Them on the Staff

The final part of trying to memorize key signatures is where to put them on the staff. It's not very hard. For the sharps in the treble clef, you start on the top line of the staff. Follow the pattern of up - down - up - down. The only exception is A. It should look like this:

Memorize Key Signatures - Treble Clef Sharps

Bass clef sharps start on F and then follow the same pattern of up - down - up - down.
Memorize Key Signatures - Bass Clef Sharps

The flats have the opposite pattern. They start on B and go down - up - down - up. It looks like this.

Memorize Key Signatures - Treble Clef Flats

In the bass clef, the flats do the same thing. Here's what it looks like:

Memorize Key Signatures - Bass Clef Flats



Those are my tips to help you to memorize key signatures. If you need to know anymore about key signatures, try going back and checking out the main key signatures page.



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