Downloading is a PRO account feature. Try for free. To print parts, please upgrade to a Pro account first. Go Pro. Select part. Download PDF Print. The convention for the notation of key signatures follows the circle of fifths. Starting from C major or equivalently A minor which has no sharps or flats, successively raising the key by a fifth adds a sharp, going clockwise round the circle of fifths. The new sharp is placed on the new key's leading note seventh degree for major keys or supertonic second degree for minor keys. Similarly, successively lowering the key by a fifth adds a flat, going counterclockwise around the circle of fifths.
The new flat is placed on the subdominant fourth degree for major keys or submediant sixth degree for minor keys. There are thus 15 conventional key signatures, with up to seven sharps or flats and including the empty signature of C major A minor.
The relative minor is a minor third down from the major, regardless of whether it is a flat or a sharp key signature. Pieces are written in these extreme sharp or flat keys, however: for example, Bach 's Prelude and Fugue No. The modern musical Seussical by Flaherty and Ahrens also has several songs written in these extreme keys. The key signature may be changed at any time in a piece, usually at the beginning of a measure , simply by notating the new signature, although if the new signature has no sharps or flats, a signature of naturals, as shown, is needed to cancel the preceding signature.
If a change in signature occurs at the start of a new line on the page, where a signature would normally appear anyway, the new signature is customarily repeated at the end of the previous line to make the change more conspicuous. In traditional use, when the key signature change goes from sharps to flats or vice versa, the old key signature is cancelled with the appropriate number of naturals before the new one is inserted; but many more recent publications whether of newer music or newer editions of older music dispense with the naturals and simply insert the new signature. Similarly, when a signature with either flats or sharps in it changes to a smaller signature of the same type, strict application of tradition or convention would require that naturals first be used to cancel just those flats or sharps that are being subtracted in the new signature before the new signature itself is written; but, again, more modern usage often dispenses with these naturals.
When the signature changes from a smaller to a larger signature of the same type, the new signature is simply written in by itself, in both traditional and newer styles. At one time it was usual to precede the new signature with a double barline provided the change occurred between bars and not inside a bar , even if it was not required by the structure of the music to mark sections within the movement; but more recently it has increasingly become usual to use just a single barline.
The courtesy signature that appears at the end of a line immediately before a change is usually preceded by an additional barline; the line at the very end of the staff is omitted in this case. If both naturals and a new key signature appear at a key signature change, there are also more recently variations about where a barline will be placed in the case where the change occurs between bars.
For example, in some scores by Debussy, in this situation the barline is placed after the naturals but before the new key signature. Hitherto, it would have been more usual to place all the symbols after the barline.
In key signatures of five or more sharps or of seven flats, one occasionally encounters variant positions of particular symbols in the key signatures, both of them in the bass clef. An example of this can be seen in the full score of Ottorino Respighi 's Pines of Rome , in the third section, "Pines of the Janiculum" which is in B major , in the bass-clef instrumental parts. Except for C major, key signatures appear in two varieties, "sharp key signatures" "sharp keys" and "flat key signatures" "flat keys" , so called because they contain only one or other. This table shows that each scale starting on the fifth scale degree of the previous scale has one new sharp, added in the order given above.
In all other "flat major scales", the tonic or key note of a piece in a major key is four notes below the last flat, which is the same as the second-to-last flat in the signature.
In this case each new scale starts a fifth below or a fourth above the previous one. A key signature is not the same as a key ; key signatures are merely notational devices. They are convenient principally for diatonic or tonal music.
The key signature defines the diatonic scale that a piece of music uses without the need for accidentals. Most scales require that some notes be consistently sharped or flatted.
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For example, the only sharp in the G major scale is F sharp, so the key signature associated with the G major key is the one-sharp key signature. However, it is only a notational convenience; a piece with a one-sharp key signature is not necessarily in the key of G major, and likewise, a piece in G major may not always be written with a one-sharp key signature; this is particularly true in pre-Baroque music, when the concept of key had not yet evolved to its present state. In any case, more extensive pieces often change key modulate during contrasting sections, and only sometimes is this change indicated with a change of key signature; if not, the passage in the second key will not have a matching key signature.
Keys which are associated with the same key signature are called relative keys.
When musical modes , such as Lydian or Dorian, are written using key signatures, they are called transposed modes. Exceptions to common-practice-period use may be found in Klezmer scales, such as Freygish Phrygian. The above 15 key signatures only express diatonic scale.
Other scales are written either with a standard key signature and use accidental as required, or with a nonstandard key signature.
If not bound by common practice conventions, microtones can also be notated in a key signature; which microtonal symbols are used depends on the system. The common practice period conventions are so firmly established that some musical notation programs have been unable to show nonstandard key signatures until recently. The use of a one-flat signature developed in the Medieval period, but signatures with more than one flat did not appear until the 16th century, and signatures with sharps not until the midth century.
When signatures with multiple flats first came in, the order of the flats was not standardized, and often a flat appeared in two different octaves, as shown at right. In the late 15th and early 16th centuries, it was common for different voice parts in the same composition to have different signatures, a situation called a partial signature or conflicting signature. This was actually more common than complete signatures in the 15th century.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.