#1
Everywhere I'm reading something different, I assumed there were 12 keys a song can be in following the 12 note scale A Bb B C C# D Eb E F F# G G#

However a major scale I printed off has 14, Basically includes Gb and Db (along with C# maj and says they are both enharmonic c# and Db I mean) major...

Can anyone clear this up for me! its so annoying the way C# can be known as C# or Db it just confuses crapp out of me!

Please help lol
#2
Depends on context.

Write the scales out and count your flats/sharps and you'll see the difference.
#3
There are 12 major keys.

Whether a note is referred to as C# or Db is a naming convention. You only use each letter once when writing a scale out. For example if C is already used the next note chromatically would be Db.
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
Soundcloud
#4
Equal temperament is used on fretted instruments, pianos, keyboards where the octave is divided equally into 12 and thus we only have "12 diatonic major keys" instead of 15.

Enharmonic names occur due to the fact that the 7 letters "A-B-C-D-E-F-G" are repeatedly used to name the 7 notes of each key signature in standard notation - i.e. flats/sharps/naturals... or accidentals.

1) Key of C Major
2) Key of G Major
3) Key of D Major
4) Key of A Major
5) Key of E Major
6) Key of B Major <~> 14) Key of Cb Major
7) Key of F# Major <~> 13) Key of Gb Major *
8) Key of F Major
9) Key of Bb Major
10) Key of Eb Major
11) Key of Ab Major
12) Key of Db Major <~> 15) Key of C# Major

Other instruments which do not use equal temperament, such as violin, make use of all 15 key signatures.

From a statistical perspective, you can extract 4095 combinations
("musical as well as non-musical") from the 12 notes of a one-octave chromatic scale
(EQUALLY TEMPERED), C-C#-D-Eb-E-F-F#-G-Ab-A-B with the enharmonic names considered as one.

1 note combinations = 12
2 note combinations = 66
3 note combinations = 220
4 note combinations = 495
5 note combinations = 792
6 note combinations = 924
7 note combinations = 792
8 note combinations = 495
9 note combinations = 220
10 note combinations = 66
11 note combinations = 12
12 note combinations = 1

Out of the 7 note combinations stated above, 12 of these will be the
DIATONIC MAJOR KEYS > 12 KEY SIGNATURES.

The total number of possible scale and chord ROOT FORMULAS you can form from
"1-b2-2-b3-3-4-b5-5-#5-6-b7-7" is 2048 combinations, again, with the enharmonic names considered as one.
Last edited by ha_asgag at Apr 25, 2013,
#5
Quote by Captshiznit
Everywhere I'm reading something different, I assumed there were 12 keys a song can be in following the 12 note scale A Bb B C C# D Eb E F F# G G#

However a major scale I printed off has 14, Basically includes Gb and Db (along with C# maj and says they are both enharmonic c# and Db I mean) major...

Can anyone clear this up for me! its so annoying the way C# can be known as C# or Db it just confuses crapp out of me!

Please help lol


There are 15 theoretically possible major keys that share the same set of notes with their Relative Minor counterparts. Think of it this way: There is a Key where all 7 notes are natural (C major) then 7 keys that have natural notes and sharps starting with G major where only F is sharp, D major where F and C are sharp, A major where F, C and G are sharp, all the way through to C# major where all 7 notes are sharp. Same goes for flat keys. F major has one flat (Bb) Bb major has 2, itself and Eb, Eb major has 3, Bb Eb and Ab and so on through to Cb major in which all 7 notes are flat.

7 keys that include natural notes and sharps, 7 that have flats and one that contains neither, just natural notes for a total of 15. Remember I said 'theoretically possible'? Although the Key of Cb 'exists', why would we use it when B major contains the same pitches and is easier to write down and process? Same with C# major, we would use Db major. And seeing as F# and Gb are enharmonic equivelents, then the keys of F# major and Gb major would contain all the same pitches, just named differently.

Hope this helps. Good luck
#6
Consider the lowly piano. It has 7 white keys (natural notes), and 5 black keys, (either sharp or flat), in every octave.

Here's the diagram: C, (C#/Db), D, (D#/Eb), E, F, (F#/Gb), G, (G#/Ab), A, (A#/Bb), B, & then the octave C.

Every black key could potentially be 2 keys, since it has 2 possible names. But we use "enharmonic equivalents" to determine a single major key name for each black key.

When a major key is formed using this pattern, (in 1/2 tones, semitones, or single frets), 2, 2, 1, 2, 2, 2, 1 You need one of each letter in the musical alphabet, (A, B, C, D, E, F, & G) to create a TRUE major scale. If you go past a note, that places a sharp (#) sign in the key signature. If you stop before a note, that places a flat (b) in the key signature.

The absolute name of a major scale is determined by which key letter name, will yield the least number of sharps or flats in the key signature.

For example, the key of "G# major" would have 6 sharps and one double sharp in the key signature. So, instead it is named "Ab major" which only has 4 flats in the signature.

Every key has a minor key equivalent which shares the same signature. Some random pairs are C/Am, D/Bm, G/Em. The "relative minor" begins on the 6th note of every major key.

If you should hear talk about "melodic minor", or "harmonic minor", remember these aren't key, they're just "scales.

The "relative minor", is also known as the "natural minor".