Key Changes

I have written about intervals before, and I have also written about the modes of the major scale, Now let’s put this stuff onto our instruments. Obviously you will not be using exclusively C major all the time, so lets look at the other keys. First and foremost when the old classical masters were putting their heads together and creating what we know of as music they had to establish common ground. This is where music theory emerged.

When you look at the beginning of a song, there is usually a series of sharps or flats on the staff. If you ever looked at it carefully you would know that they are laid out in a very specific order. So first I will give you the order of sharps.

F, C, G, D, A, E, B.

The order of flats are:

B, E, A, D, G, C, F.

Now the way to remember the order of sharps is Fat, Charlie, Gets, Drunk, After, Every, Beer.

The order of flats obviously spells the word BEAD and then you have GCF after bead. I find if you say the word BEAD and then GCF the GCF kinda sounds like a hairball caught in your throat or something, damn hairballs. You wont forget the order of flats now.

So what you can do is draw a circle with c on top and go around it on the right side with the sharps (which is the circle of fifths), and the left side with the flats, (cycle of fourths. Now C obviously has no sharps or flats, so you need to number them starting with G as one. On the flats F would be one.

Cycle of Fifths

Now when you look at a piece of music and you see a series of sharps or flats, count them and you will know what key you are in. To know what sharps or flats they are simply follow the order of sharp or flats and you will have your answer:) So in the key of A there are three sharps. They are F#, C#, G#. So you could write out C Aeolian and replace the f, c, and g, with sharps. This is important when you are writing a particular piece. You can create chords with each key very easily. Lets look at G major. Here is how you can do it.

G major

So all I have done is follow the formula for the major scale w, w, h, w, w, w, h.

Follow the formula for the harmonized major scale Maj, Min, Min, Maj, Dom, Min, Dim.

And I plugged in the modes with the note placement. It is really that simple.

If you need to contact me my email address is [email protected] And if you live in The Memphis area and you need the best instruction money can buy please sign up for lessons before all my slots are filled. Thank you and enjoy the column and my others.