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Key Signature Identification

Key signatures provide many pieces of information for reading music. The key signature lists the accidentals to be placed on the notes, information that has direct application for instrumentals who then adjust fingerings corresponding to the chromatically adjusted notes. More helpful for singers is that key signatures can be used to determine the tonic for the music to follow. As long as a singer knows the tonic, then can read all diatonic music, that is, music without accidentals on the notes. A more thorough understanding of keys and key signatures is required for reading chromatic music, that is, music with accidentals on the notes. To learn more about key signatures, begin with the lesson key signatures I and proceed through the next several chapters.

Shortcuts to determine the key from the key signature

Using movable DO solfege, we can determine the major key of a key signature by finding DO. DO names the major key. If DO is A, then the key is A major. Be sure to include any accidental that is on the note when you identify the key. If DO is B and there is a flat on B in the key signature, then the key is Bb major.

Sharps: For a key signature containing sharp, the last sharp is always TI, so the next note up is always DO.

Flats: For a key signature containing flats, the last flat is always FA and the second to last flat is always DO.

Settings for this exercise allow you to do the following:

• select the clef used
• select the number of sharps and flats possible in the presented key signatures
• select a time limit per problem
• minor keys (LA) in 2017