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Topic: Key
From the Music Questions forum.

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AuthorTopic:   Key
Registered User

posted: 5/29/2006 at 6:51:31 PM ET
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I have review the reading music section. But how do you know what key a piece is written in? How do you change the key?

Registered User

Asheville, NC

posted: 6/1/2006 at 9:18:03 AM ET
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This depends. Usually you can tell the key by looking at the key signature and the first and last notes of the piece. When you change keys ultimately the piece will most likely return to the original key that it started in.
"Be Not Afraid" JPII

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posted: 6/8/2006 at 5:03:13 PM ET
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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.

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