Hey, I'm havin' somewhat of a problem here... pretty much, I'm trying to comprehend the order of sharps and flats. I have sharps down pretty much (the whole FCGDAEB thing, where in the key of A there are 3 sharps, FCG... and so on) but I'm having a much harder time on the flats...

So, how do I figure out how many flats are in a key? Any and all advice on this is much appreciated! Thank you!!
It's the exact opposite!

BEADGCF is the order of flats in the exact opposite direction from C (going up 4ths instead of going up 5ths).
Quote by XacrossXwatersX
Hey, I'm havin' somewhat of a problem here... pretty much, I'm trying to comprehend the order of sharps and flats. I have sharps down pretty much (the whole FCGDAEB thing, where in the key of A there are 3 sharps, FCG... and so on) but I'm having a much harder time on the flats...

So, how do I figure out how many flats are in a key? Any and all advice on this is much appreciated! Thank you!!
Since you know the order of sharps, you automatically know the order of flats: B E A D G C F

My students (and I!) have found this little memory hook helpful:

Sharps Sharp Sevenths and Flats Flat Fourths.

So here's how this works:

The last sharp in the key signature affects the seventh tone of the scale. If the last sharp in the key signature is G#, then the seventh tone of the major scale is G# which, as we all know, gives us A Major.

The last flat in the key signature affects the fourth tone of the scale. If the last flat in the signature is an Ab, for example, all we have to do is lay out the basic tones so that an Ab is the fourth tone. Here we go: E F G A. Hark, if we make E the first tone of the sequence, A ends up in the fourth slot. So, we're talking about some variation of an E Major scale. We know the A is flatted, but what about the other tones. Well, if Ab is the last flat, we simply look at our handy sequence of flats (B E A D G C F) and right away we can see that, if Ab is the last flat, then B and E must also be flatted.

We're on the home stretch now. Starting at Eb, then, we end up with the following tones:

Eb F G Ab Bb C D Eb

Piece of cake. Just remember...

Sharps Sharp Sevenths and Flats Flat Fourths

I love this stuff!
All things are difficult before they are easy.
- Dr. Thomas Fuller (British physician, 1654-1734)
Quote by Freepower
For everything you need to know - gpb0216.
Last edited by gpb0216 at Sep 29, 2006,
Edited - because I'm mildly retarded.

And an easy way to remember the circle of fourths (rather than fifths) is the word BEAD:

C
F
Bb
Eb
Ab
Db
Gb
B
E
A
D
G

Hi, I'm Peter
Last edited by Dirk Gently at Sep 29, 2006,
Quote by Dirk Gently
And an easy way to remember the circle of fourths (rather than fifths) is the word BEAD:

C
Bb
Eb
Ab
Db
Gb
B
E
A
D
F