Father Charles

In order to make use of different keys, it is necessary to memorize which notes are sharp or flat in that key. You could write them out, like I did in my last post, and memorize them, but their's an easier way. Just memorize the following phrase:

Father Charles Goes Down And Ends Battle

In this phrase (which means nothing at all), the beginning letter of each word is each note name:

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

The phrase just helps you remember the order of notes, which, as you can tell are not in their normal order. Instead of being arranged how they would appear on a keyboard, they are arranged by the number of sharps and flats that they have. So, on top of each letter, we put a number that indicates the number of sharps in that key, starting with "C." Remember that if we follow the pattern of TTSTTTS, the key of C has no sharps or flats.

#'s 6-0-1-2-3-4-5
----F C G D A E B

C has no sharps, G has 1, D has 2 and so on. The key of F is a special case--it actually has 1 flat. However, the key of F# has 6 sharps. F# is the black note just above F. (See the diagram in my last post.)

Now, for the flat keys, we put a number below each letter.

#'s 6-0-1-2-3-4-5
----F C G D A E B
b's 1-7-6-5-4-3-2

The key of C is another special case. You can find out very quickly on a keyboard that there is no such thing as Cb. Therefore, the 7 "flats" are actually 7 sharps in the key of C#. Similarly, there is no such thing as "Fb," so the 1 refers to F and the 6 sharps refer to F#. Just remember that the smaller numbers on "F" and "C" refer to the natural keys, and the larger numbers refer to the sharps of those keys.

#'s 6-0-1-2-3-4-5
----F C G D A E B
b's 1-7-6-5-4-3-2

From this we find that Gb has 6 flats, D has 5, A has 4, and so on.

Not only does Father Charles tell you how many sharps or flats there are, it also tells you what notes are sharp or flat. Take the key of E for example. It has 4 sharps. Starting at the left of the chart (on "F") we can count up 4 note names:

#'s 6-0-1-2-3-4-5
----F C G D A E B
b's 1-7-6-5-4-3-2

That gives us the 4 notes that are sharp in the key of E: F#, C#, G#, and D#. We do the same thing for finding flats in a flat key, only we start on the right (on B). Let's findwhat notes are flat in the key of Db. Db has 5 flats, so starting on "B" we count to the left 5 note names.

#'s 6-0-1-2-3-4-5
----F C G D A E B
b's 1-7-6-5-4-3-2

The flat notes in Db are Bb, Eb, Ab, Db, and Gb. Now you try it. Find and name the sharps or flats in the following keys:


Leave a comment to tell me what you found. I'll have the answers in my next post. Watch out for C and F!

Tim Heider

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Sharp Flats

Did you try it--making major scales starting on different notes? Here's a little chart that will tell what notes are in several different keys. Remember that the distance between the notes in a major scale are Tone, Tone, Semitone, Tone, Tone, Tone, Semitone.

A: A, B, C#, D, E, F#, G#, A
B: B, C#, D#, E, F#, G#, A#, B
C: C, D, E, F, G, A, B, C
D: D, E, F#, G, A, B, C#, D
E: E, F#, G#, A, B, C#, D#, E
F: F, G, A, Bb, C, D, E, F
G: G, A, B, C, D, E, F#, G

These are just 7 of the 14 keys. Since the pattern for finding these notes are the same, each scale sounds the same when they are played, except starting on and containing different notes. The intervals, or distances between notes is the same. So, it is possible to sing a melody in the key of B, containing certain notes, and sing the same melody--but with different notes--in the key of D. If a song is too high for a person to sing in G, he can lower it to another singable key without changing the melody at all. (Don't worry if you don't understand--it will all come together later.)

A melody is an arrangement of notes within the key signature. A key signature is the number of sharps or flats in the key. Like a signature, each key has a designated number of sharps of flats that distuguishes one key from another:

A: 3 sharps----Ab: 4 flats
B: 5 sharps----Bb: 2 flats
C: 0 sharps----C#: 7 sharps
D: 2 sharps----Db: 5 flats
E: 4 sharps----Eb: 3 flats
F: 1 flat-------F#: 6 sharps
G: 1 sharp----Gb: 6 flats

The "b" means "flat," so you have the key of A, and also the key of Ab. If you look at the diagram in the previous post, you'll notice that there is no F flat, E sharp, C flat or B sharp on the keyboard. Because of this the key signatures of F and C and their related keys look different than most. Instead of having 1 sharp, the key of F has 1 flat. True, Bb is the same as C#, but in the key of F, it is called Bb. In a flat key, and in F, all the black keys are called flat. In most other keys the black keys are called sharp. There's a little phrase that will help you remember how many sharps or flats there are and I'll tell you what that is in my next post.

Tim Heider

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