|posted: 6/8/2006 at 5:03:13 PM ET|
Here's a trick to recognizing Major Key Signatures:
For Flat Keys: Memorize the fact that one flat is the key of F. For all others, the name of the key is the same as the second to last flat (read left to right). For example, in a key signature with three flats, Bb, Eb, and Ab, Eb is the second to last flat and also the name of the key. This works for all flat keys, all the way up to Cb.
For Sharp Keys: Look at the last sharp in the key signature and then count up one half-step. This gives you the name of the key. For example, in a key with four sharps, F#, C#, G#, and D#, D# is the last sharp. One half-step up from D# is E, so E is the key in this case. This works for all sharp keys all the way up to C#.
Minor key signatures are a little more difficult, and here you need to look at the piece to determine the tonic and chord structure, but knowing your Major Key signatures is the first step.