Music Literacy
Basic Music Theory
The Basics
The Major Scale
Key Signature
Minor Keys

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Circle of Fifths

Below is a chart showing all of the major key signatures.

Circle of Fifths - Major Keys

You will notice that the number of sharps increases as you move clockwise from C; the number of flats increases as you move counter-clockwise.

Recognizing the Key Signature

It's not necessary at this point to memorize all the key signatures, but there are a couple tricks to help you quickly recognize what key a song is in.

For sharp keys:  the name of the key is always one half step up from the last sharp.

For flat keys:  the name of the key is always the second-to-last flat listed.

For C and F, there's no special trick; you'll just have to remember these.

Why is it called that?

This chart is called the Circle of Fifths, because the interval between each of the keys as you move clockwise around the circle is a fifth.  We will begin talking about intervals in the next lesson.

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