When you see this you will think it looks horrendous. It does. But you already know every single item. And you have a far better alternative interpretation.

So let’s bite the bullet.

Every sheet of music that you encounter will begin, in the top left corner, with a “Key Signature”. This is a pattern of sharps or flats, in a set sequence. The key of “C” will have zero sharps and zero flats. All other keys will have either sharps or flats (never a mix of both), up to 7 of them. Here are the 14 major signatures.

Key Signatures

Compare this with your Circle Of Fifths, and you’ll immediately see that the circle gives you this table in the blink of an eye. Let’s say you pick up a sheet of music and it has the signature for Db. You won’t even begin to try working out what it means. You will see 5 flats. You will think “Circle; C at the top; flats go anti-clockwise; 5 positions is Db“. You will place your thumb on Db and you will play [2, 2, 1], 2, [2, 2, 1]. In doing this you will automatically play the key sequence Db Eb F Gb Ab Bb C Db. Thus you automatically play the 5 flats (Bb Eb Ab Db Gb), which are the flats marked on the key signature.

That’s how simple this is, when you use the right tools. Don’t even spend another second on this page. Don’t try to remember it. Don’t print it. Just delete it from your head.

The Circle gives you it all.


Well, that’s the end of the “freeby” stuff. What are your thoughts?

Is it a whole bucket load easier than you expected? Is it massively more “sensible” and “straightforward”? Would you like to see more? Do you have suggestions on how it could be improved?

Go to town. Chuck your thoughts into the comments box below.

If you would like to see the remaining lessons I’d be happy to send them to you. Just drop me a donation, using the button at the top of the page, and then request the lessons using the form on the “Contact Me” page.

If you live in the UK, near the border of SE London and North Kent, and you’re ready to “Learn Piano In 4 Hours” under my personal instruction, just put your request into the same form on the “Contact Me” page.

Use the same form if you want to give your parents or grandparents the gift of personal “Learn Piano In 4 Hours” tuition. We can work together to make it a surprise for them.




2 thoughts on “Key Signatures

  • Hi
    just found you but sadly live long way away
    also found the jaques hopkins you mention was about to take the 1st course at £80 ish

    do you think its a good one to get started on. his others go up to £500 for things you dont seem to need.

  • Hi Martin.

    Thanks for your visit. I’m glad you found me. What a pity we are not more local to each other. And I’m sorry to have taken so long to respond to your question.

    I would balk at paying £500 for any course. Most courses come up on deals from time to time and, by being patient, I’ve never paid more than £30 for any of the many courses I’ve enjoyed.

    I don’t know your skill level but the fact that you are here suggests “very early beginner”, so I’m guessing that your “get started” means absolute square one.

    The ideal starting point is, of course, me 😉 But since that’s out of the question I would suggest Rosa Suen at Udemy. There’s a link on my “Reviews” page.

    Rosa’s courses regularly come up on deals for £10, either via udemy or YouTube or her website.

    Robin Hall is another excellent starting point, and I paid under £10 for his course.

    The way to get these super deals is to visit their websites and follow the “buy” instructions, but don’t hit the “Pay Now” button. Just cancel out. A few days later you’ll get an email with a deal offer. Don’t accept it. A week later you’ll get a better deal.

    This works with all internet sales sites, so it’s not special to Robin or Rosa.

    Alternatively how do you fancy helping me with an experiment? Do you think I could teach you via Skype? I’ve often wondered if it’s viable. Maybe we could both learn something?



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