#1
Hi guys,
I've just started learning music theory a few days ago and it is going pretty well for the most part. The thing I am struggling with most right now is speed, automatically knowing what a note is written in standard notation, working out the specific interval of two notes quickly..

But this problem seems extra tedious. I am doing some exercises on musictheory.net, and one involves Note identification.

It is problems like these that have me stumped:



The note in standard notation is A. However, the key signature is Db major. Since the Db Major Scale has the note Ab and not A, the correct answer is Ab. So everytime I come along a problem like this I have to work out the major scale for the key signature which is a lengthy process. Each problem ends up taking me 5 minutes without paper.


So, what is the best way I should proceed?

Is there a skill, trick or technique to working out which notes are sharp/flat?
Do I have to remember each individual note which is a sharp/flat for each key signature?

Is it not worth the time trying to memorize these? Do musicians normally know the notes off by heart for each individual key signature (major and minor)?
-Hill
#2
I'm not sure if I'm missing something to the question here, but I generally just look at the key signature to see what the note is (in terms of sharp/flat/natural)...

Liek as you said, that would be an A in C major, but as it's in Db major the A is Ab...as the key signature suggests.
#3
The idea of the key signature, is to show you what sharps/flats you have in a key, rather than using accidentals all over the place.

So when an A is written, when the key is Db, as you've shown, this means that you play an Ab, as shown in the key signature.

Just to clarify you know what you're talking about, the notes that are flattened/sharpened are indicated in the key, by a sharp or flat sign, on the same line/space on the stave.

Its best to have a circle of 5ths (sharps) and 4ths (flats) at hand until you feel confident that you can answer questions on it.
#4
Look at the note, look to the left, there is a flat symbol in the space of the staff that represents A.

Therefore it is an Ab.

I'm not sure why you are over-complicating this.
#5
Quote by Stud_Muffin

Just to clarify you know what you're talking about, the notes that are flattened/sharpened are indicated in the key, by a sharp or flat sign, on the same line/space on the stave.

Its best to have a circle of 5ths (sharps) and 4ths (flats) at hand until you feel confident that you can answer questions on it.


Ughhhhhhh, particularly at the first paragraph I quoted makes me want to smack my head in shame. That would explain why musictheory was trying to teach me the "Battle Ends and Down Goes Charle's Father."

Now key signatures make infinite more sense.

Thanks both of you!
-Hill
#6
Quote by L.A.P.D.
Look at the note, look to the left, there is a flat symbol in the space of the staff that represents A.

Therefore it is an Ab.

I'm not sure why you are over-complicating this.



It's as simple as that. The Circle of Fifths (and Fourths) is crazy in my opinion, it's easier just to memorize each scale. I know it's hard and takes a bit of time, but it will make things so much easier and quicker in your head. I suggest you keep doing exercises like that note identification and things will just stick in your head.
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#7
Quote by thePTOD
It's as simple as that. The Circle of Fifths (and Fourths) is crazy in my opinion, it's easier just to memorize each scale. I know it's hard and takes a bit of time, but it will make things so much easier and quicker in your head. I suggest you keep doing exercises like that note identification and things will just stick in your head.



Really? It took me literally 20 seconds to memorise the circle of fifths.

I just remember FC Gdaeb because it sounds like the name of a Polish football team. You can work out keys in seconds just from that. Its not hard and doesnt take a bit of time such as your method does.
#8
Ok, one more unrelated question...



To me, none of the answers seem to fit. The generic interval is 2, but the first note is an E## (equivalent to an F#) while the second note is an F, which is -1 half steps on a keyboard. A Diminished Second Minor is 0 steps. That would be the case if the first note were a E#.

I'm just going to assume I'm missing something important/vital. I mean, d2 is definitely the closest but it's not spot-on is it?
-Hill
#9
Quote by Hill
Hi guys,
I've just started learning music theory a few days ago and it is going pretty well for the most part. The thing I am struggling with most right now is speed, automatically knowing what a note is written in standard notation, working out the specific interval of two notes quickly..

But this problem seems extra tedious. I am doing some exercises on musictheory.net, and one involves Note identification.

It is problems like these that have me stumped:



The note in standard notation is A. However, the key signature is Db major. Since the Db Major Scale has the note Ab and not A, the correct answer is Ab. So everytime I come along a problem like this I have to work out the major scale for the key signature which is a lengthy process. Each problem ends up taking me 5 minutes without paper.


So, what is the best way I should proceed?

Is there a skill, trick or technique to working out which notes are sharp/flat?
Do I have to remember each individual note which is a sharp/flat for each key signature?

Is it not worth the time trying to memorize these? Do musicians normally know the notes off by heart for each individual key signature (major and minor)?


You just started a couple of days ago. How quickly are you expecting to go through this?

How are you learning music theory? Teaching yourself is one of the slowest ways there is to learn. Its also the cheapest, so there's a trade off. You have to be both teacher and student in your approach.

The only answer I suggest is to keep at it. Automatic and instant will come in time. Personally, I'd say the technique you need most is patience, and perspective. How long would it take you to learn Russian, if you taught yourself?

Best,

Sean
#10
that above example seems so overly complicated. i dont even know how to assist on the answer

however, i have a few things for key sigs.

FCGDAEB for the sharp F-1 flat C-nothing - G 1sharp(F#) - D 2 sharps (F# C#) etc.. thats the pattern for sharps .. Father Charles Goes Down And Ends Battles

BEADGCF Bb- 2 flats(Bb Eb) Eb -3 flats (Bb Eb Ab) Ab - 4 flats (Bb Eb Ab Db) etc.. theres the pattern for flats.. i remember this as BEAD Greatest Common Factor.

hopefully this helps
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#11
Quote by thePTOD
It's as simple as that. The Circle of Fifths (and Fourths) is crazy in my opinion, it's easier just to memorize each scale. I know it's hard and takes a bit of time, but it will make things so much easier and quicker in your head. I suggest you keep doing exercises like that note identification and things will just stick in your head.



Go solo and improvise over a progression of Satin Doll and post up using your memory of scales. It changes keys 3 times. This should be interesting. You'll see really quickly how fast you'll fall apart. The thing is, until I hit Jazz I'd have agreed with you that for most simple music such as rock, metal pop etc, this Co5 doesnt come into play as often, but you hit the right music, and it will flat out smoke you, if you don't know these Co5.

Try it over Satin Doll and you'll see what I mean.

Best,

Sean
#12
Quote by Hill

To me, none of the answers seem to fit. The generic interval is 2, but the first note is an E## (equivalent to an F#) while the second note is an F, which is -1 half steps on a keyboard. A Diminished Second Minor is 0 steps. That would be the case if the first note were a E#.

I'm just going to assume I'm missing something important/vital. I mean, d2 is definitely the closest but it's not spot-on is it?


You're right, a diminished second is the same as a unison, what you're missing is the key signature.
#13
Quote by jazz_rock_feel
You're right, a diminished second is the same as a unison, what you're missing is the key signature.


Ughhhhh hang my head in shame. Can't believe I missed that in a thread about key signatures. Thanks!
-Hill
#14
Quote by knutjob
Really? It took me literally 20 seconds to memorise the circle of fifths.

I just remember FC Gdaeb because it sounds like the name of a Polish football team. You can work out keys in seconds just from that. Its not hard and doesnt take a bit of time such as your method does.


This. The order of sharps is F C G D A E B. So if the key signature has three sharps in it, those sharp notes are going to be F sharp, C sharp, and G sharp.

The order of flats is B E A D G C F, the same thing backwards. 3 flats in the key signature give us a B flat, E flat and A flat.

Eventually you will memorize the names of the keys just by how many sharps or flats are in the key signature.
Quote by UtBDan
this man hits the nail on the head.
#15
Quote by Sean0913
Go solo and improvise over a progression of Satin Doll and post up using your memory of scales. It changes keys 3 times. This should be interesting. You'll see really quickly how fast you'll fall apart. The thing is, until I hit Jazz I'd have agreed with you that for most simple music such as rock, metal pop etc, this Co5 doesnt come into play as often, but you hit the right music, and it will flat out smoke you, if you don't know these Co5.

Try it over Satin Doll and you'll see what I mean.

Best,

Sean



What's more, most jazz standards were not written by guitar players. As soon as you get to a key that is comfortable for an Eb of Bb instrument a lot of guitar players brought up on rock and blues are left scratching their head