Learning Music Theory Effectively

List of Music Keys

Posted by in Music Theory Rudiments

A List of Music Keys:

Just How Many Key Signatures Are There?

Often, new music students will say there are 12 keys of music, but what they are referring to is the twelve keys they can identify on a keyboard or piano.

So it would make sense to believe there are only 12 key signatures (also known as keys). However, since you have the ability to have keys with double names this opinion falls apart quickly.

Key Signatures in Music

Major Key Signatures

There are fifteen (15) name labels for basic major key signatures. They can be grouped into the following:

· One key has no sharps or flats

· Seven keys have sharp names (with up to 7 sharp notes)

· Seven keys that have flat names (with up to 7 flat notes)

Here’s your list of Major Key Signatures

C major has no sharps or flats.

Key signatures with sharps: G, D, A, E, B, F#, C# (progressively each adds a sharp up to 7)

Key signatures with flats: F, Bb, Eb, Ab, Db, Gb, Cb (progressively each adds a flat up to 7)

3 sharp keys and 3 flat keys have different names but have the same notes called by a different name.

What, same notes different names?

Double label key signatures

Double Label Key Signatures

On the piano if we look at F# it can be called Gb as well, therefore they are the same note, but have a different name. This is true for the key signatures as well.

Now, learning the 15 major key signatures seems like it might be a big task to accomplish! It will take some doing, but it isn't as hard as you might think.

Minor Key Signatures

But wait there's more! There is also a minor key for every major key, thus doubling the number of keys to 30. And what if I told you there were 3 types of minor scales that would apply to the minor keys.

Does your head hurt yet?

Here’s your list of Minor Key Signatures

The minor key is related to the major key at a minor third interval down. For the harmonic minor the effect of the scale is to flat the third and the seventh will be a sharp key. (yes it’s a little more complicated than that, but it works)

“A” minor is related to C. The C is the minor third and G# is the major 7th and is sharp.

Minor key signatures which are related to the sharp major keys, in order: e minor, b minor, f# minor, c# minor, g# minor, d# minor, a# minor

Minor key signatures which are related to the flat major keys, in order: d minor, g minor, c minor, f minor, b flat minor, e flat minor, a flat minor

How to Manage Keys

It seems that this is nearly completely out of control having to deal with so many keys.

At first it seems that way, but here is the thing, it can easily be broken down into manageable categories. We have patterns and groupings to help get through the key issues (pun intended).

Major and Minor keys have relationships that make them easier to manage. Using simple music math you will be able to find patterns and simple systems to learn them.

So really all you need to learn is how to form a major or minor key and then consider on what note it starts. The patterns remain the same, but the note names and thus the key names change.

Key Signature and Scale Lessons

There are easy methods to learn all the keys and you can use the workshop lessons to accomplish just that.

Our Key and Scale lesson is a comprehensive lesson on learning key signatures in music and the associated music scales. It is designed to help you get focused and learn the overall structure of these music elements quickly and effectively.

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