Understanding the similarities between key signatures.

October 13, 2016

Mat Creedon

Understanding the similarities between key signatures.

Let me first show you a chromatic scale starting on C.

These are all the notes there are period, there are only 12 in total.
(Unless you are using quarter tones, but we can save that for another topic)

| 1  | b2  | 2  | b3 | 3  | 4 | #4 | 5  | b6  | 6 | b7  | 7  | 1 | 
| C  | Db  | D | Eb | E  | F | F# | G  | Ab | A | Bb  | B  | C |

As you can see in the scale above I have also numbered the alphabetical letters.
I believe that numbers are far faster to use when judging distances, unless of

course you love algebra.

Now lets have a look at the C major scale

| 1  |   | 2  |   | 3  | 4 |   | 5  |    | 6 |    | 7  | 1 | 
| C |    | D  |   | E | F |   | G  |    | A |    | B | C |

As you can see we have only included 7 of the 12 notes from the chromatic scale.

Now lets have a look at the G major scale.

| 1  |   | 2  |   | 3  | 4 |   | 5  |    | 6 |    | 7  | 1 | 
| G  |   | A |   | B  | C |   | D |     | E |   | F#| G |

As you can see the C major & G major scale use mostly the same notes except for 
F# in the G major scale. 

But most importantly you can also see that they both use the same number

pattern, which is:
| 1  |   | 2  |   | 3  | 4 |   | 5  |    | 6 |    | 7  | 1 | 

leaving out these notes of the chromatic scale.
|    | b2  |    | b3 |    |   | #4 |    | b6  |   | b7  |    |   | 

Both of these scales will sound similar as they are both using the same numbered

distances. To give you another example, if I was to play the song Smoke on the water

in the key of C it would still be the same song if I played it in the key of G.

Another example is that you can say "hello" in English & "ciao" Italian. They both mean
the same thing but use different alphabetical letters.

Some musicians place to much importance on the alphabetical letters and wind up 
getting confused. Its far more straight forward to use the numbers. Many great Jazz

musicians & classical composers use this method as it requires less algebra. Allowing

them to concentrate on being creative.

Next week I will explain how to get the most out of using the numbers in replace of

alphabetical letters.

Here is a list of all the Key Signature for your viewing pleasure.

| 1  |   | 2  |   | 3  | 4 |   | 5  |    | 6 |    | 7  | 1 | 
| C |    | D |   | E  | F |   | G |     | A |    | B | C |

| 1  |   | 2  |   | 3  | 4 |   | 5  |    | 6 |    | 7  | 1 | 
| G |    | A |   | B  | C |   | D |     | E |    | F#| G |

| 1  |   | 2  |   | 3  | 4 |   | 5  |    | 6 |    | 7  | 1 | 
| D |    | E |   | F# | G |   | A |    | B |  | C# | D |

| 1  |   | 2  |   | 3   | 4 |   | 5  |    | 6  |   |  7  | 1 | 
| A |    | B |   | C# | D |   | E |   | F# |   | G# | A |

| 1  |   | 2  |    | 3    | 4 |    | 5  |    | 6 |      | 7    | 1 | 
| E |   | F# |   | G#  | A |   | B |    | C# |    | D# | E |

| 1  |   | 2  |     | 3    | 4 |    | 5   |    | 6    |    | 7   | 1 | 
| B |   | C# |    | D#  | E |   | F# |    | G# |     | A# | B |

| 1   |   | 2  |     | 3     | 4 |    | 5   |    | 6    |    | 7   | 1  | 
| F# |   | G# |   | A#   | B |   | C# |    |D# |      | E# | F# |

| 1   |   | 2  |     | 3     | 4  |    | 5   |    | 6    |    | 7   | 1   | 
| C# |   | D# |   | E#  | F# |   | G# |    |A# |      | B# | C# |

| 1  |   | 2  |   | 3  | 4 |     | 5  |    | 6 |   | 7  | 1 | 
| F |    | A |   | Bb | C |    | D  |    | E |   | F | G |

| 1   |    | 2  |   | 3   | 4  |    | 5  |    | 6 |   | 7  | 1  | 
| Bb |    | C |   | D   | Eb |   | F |     | G |   | A | Bb |

| 1   |    | 2  |   | 3   | 4  |    | 5  |     | 6 |   | 7  | 1  | 
| Eb |    | F |   | G  | Ab |   | Bb |    | C |   | D  | Eb |

| 1   |    | 2   |   | 3   | 4  |     | 5  |     | 6 |   | 7  | 1  | 
| Ab |   | Bb |   | C  | Db |    | Eb |    | F |   | G | Ab |

| 1   |    | 2   |   | 3   | 4  |     | 5  |     | 6   |    | 7  | 1  | 
| Db |   | Eb |   | F  | Gb |   | Ab |     | Bb |   | C | Db |

| 1   |    | 2   |    | 3   | 4  |     | 5  |      | 6   |    | 7  | 1  | 
| Gb |   | Ab |   | Bb  | Cb |   | Db |    | Eb |    | F | Gb |

| 1   |   | 2  |     | 3     | 4  |    | 5   |    | 6    |    | 7   | 1   | 
| Cb |   | Db |   | Eb  | Fb |    | Gb |    |Ab |    | Bb | Cb |

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