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Student NotesThere are many tips for figuring out what key a song is in. In 28 years, I've never seen a professional musician in any format use any of these so called tips. The only people I've seen use these tips are the Intro-to-music teachers. As far as I know, the only way to learn the different Key Signatures is to memorize them. The more songs you play, the faster you will learn the different Key Signatures. It is less important to know what key you are in and more important to know which notes will be flatted or sharped. However, when we get into chord progressions, it will be easier on you if you take the time to memorize this stuff ahead of time.

Here is what you would need to memorize:

  • In the Key of C, there are 0 sharps and 0 flats.
  • ---------------
  • In the Key of G, there is 1 sharp.
  • In the Key of F, there is 1 flat.
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  • In the Key of D, there are 2 sharps.
  • In the Key of B flat, there are 2 flats.
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  • In the Key of A, there are 3 sharps.
  • In the Key of E flat, there are 3 flats.
  • ---------------
  • In the Key of E, there are 4 sharps.
  • In the Key of A flat, there are 4 flats.
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  • In the Key of B, there are 5 sharps.
  • In the Key of D flat, there are 5 flats.
  • ---------------

If you memorize these Keys and which notes are sharped or flatted, you will be covering 90% of the songs ever written. There are songs written in the key of F sharp which has 6 sharps, C sharp which has 7 sharps, and G flat which has 6 flats, but they are rarely used outside the world of classical music.

12 Note Companion

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