#1
Lets go with C Harmonic minor for simplicity...

Take C major, make the parallel minor by adding 3 flats, and we have C Minor.

So our key signature is now 3 flats. I need to raise the 7th degree by a halfstep, so I see that Bb is our 7th. I naturalize the B flat, which raises it and I get C harmonic minor with a key signature of a Natural and two flats.

Now, about F harmonic minor...

F major has a single flat, so we add 3 flats and get F Minor.

We now have 4 flats on B, E, A, and D. I see that the 7th degree is Eb, luckily, all I need to do is naturalize it. I now have F harmonic minor with a key signature that contains a flat, a natural, and two flats.

One more, so stay with me...

Im going to try Bb Harmonic Minor.

Goto the key of Bb Major, which has two flats, and we convert it to its parallel minor which has five flats, B, E, A, D, and G. I see that the 7th is Ab, lucky me, once again in the key signature. Naturalized, I see that the key signature is 2 flats, a natural, and 2 flats.

So, every time I add a flat in this case, does it just bump up where the natural should go? As in Db harmonic minor will have 3 flats, a natural, and 2 flats, and Gb Harmonic minor will have 4 flats, a natural, and 2 flats, and so on for all keys that can be derived from flats?

Obviously I shouldn't always rely on flats for such things, and I will be taking a look at sharps right after this...
Last edited by Life Is Brutal at Jun 10, 2011,
#2
With the harmonic minor, you keep the natural minor key signature, and only naturalize/sharpen the note that needs to be sharpened. Itd be annoying flattening the 7th whenever needed other than in a leading tone
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#4
a key signature will NEVER include a natural sign - the only time it will do that is when the key changes, and even then, it's not displayed every time the key signature is.

the key signature of F minor is 4 flats, regardless of whether you use harmonic, melodic, or natural. there's no such thing as the key of F natural minor, or G# melodic minor, or A# harmonic minor. it's F minor, G# minor, and A# minor.
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#5
I thought that naturals were allowed in key signatures for whatever situation, as I've played many pieces in concert band that had them. But, looking back they were most likely for transitions of key, as Aeolian said.

So if I wanted to use F harmonic minor in a piece, I would use the normal key signature of F minor and just use natural signs on the E? I was hoping to find a way to do it without the use of accidentals in the notation, but since I'm unable to use key signatures in such a way... Regardless, I felt it was a good question.
#6
Quote by Life Is Brutal
I thought that naturals were allowed in key signatures for whatever situation, as I've played many pieces in concert band that had them. But, looking back they were most likely for transitions of key, as Aeolian said.

So if I wanted to use F harmonic minor in a piece, I would use the normal key signature of F minor and just use natural signs on the E? I was hoping to find a way to do it without the use of accidentals in the notation, but since I'm unable to use key signatures in such a way... Regardless, I felt it was a good question.

I thought it was a good question, but if you didn't wanna use accidentals, itd be best to use the regular minor key sig anyway, because you only really use the raised 7th in the dominant chord. Not saying you cant use it elsewhere, but thats where it generally is used, and say you wanted to use a Cmaj in the key of Amin, if you used the raised 7th, youd have to write a natural for every G used in the piece, besides where youd want it. Its just easier and less tedious to use the natural key, rather than put the raised 7th directly in
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#7
The harmonic minor scale does not have a separate key signature from natural (parallel) minor. An accidental is used in the music to naturalize or flat the seventh degree of the scale. Using the C harmonic minor example, there is no key signature with just an Eb, Ab and B natural. The key sig would be Eb, Ab and Bb. If the seventh degree is naturalized, it would be written as an accidental.
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#8
The harmonic minor is not a key, that is why it is not given a key signature. Keys are minor or major, and that is all. Harmonic minor was originally used to give the dominant chord in a minor key major tonality and increase the dominant to tonic tension/resolution. Or something like that.