#1
I dont see any of these anywhere (i must not be looking hard enough) and i have a hard time making the A# major scale. will someone work these out for me or explain why i cant find them? Also, is there an Fb Major scale? Cb major scale? I beleive so... please help me stop my own confusion.
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#2
A#=Bb so its Bb C D Eb F G A Bb i have no idea what the enharmonic equivilant for A# would be, but those are the pitches. And the Fb scale would be the E major scale. E F# G# A B C# D# E. and Cb is the same as B. B C# D# E F# G# A# B
"Blues is what you got when everything else is
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#3
The reason you dont see those anywhere is becuase they are not normally used. (possibly never? someone else could probably answer that)

instead of A#..... Bb major ( 2 flats... much easier to read, and a very common key)
instead of Fb...... E major ( 4 #s )
Instead of Cb....... B major ( 5#'s )

According to my list of major keys signatures (from a book here in front of me).... Those keys you mention dont exist... Or at least are not in common useage.
#4
A# major: A# - B# - Cx - D# - E# - Fx - Gx
Fb major: Fb - Gb - Ab - Bbb - Cb - Db - Eb
Cb major: Cb - Db - Eb - Fb - Gb - Ab - Bb

An easy way of writing them is to find the major scale of the natural notes (A, F and C here) and then make every note flat or sharp.

They exist in the sense we can write them out (although I can't say I've ever seen them used) because their enharmonic equivalents (Bb, E and B) are used to make reading a piece of music easier (it's harder and is more time consuming to read and process double flat and double sharps).
#5
Quote by Johnljones7443
A# major: A# - B# - Cx - D# - E# - Fx - Gx
Fb major: Fb - Gb - Ab - Bbb - Cb - Db - Eb
Cb major: Cb - Db - Eb - Fb - Gb - Ab - Bb

An easy way of writing them is to find the major scale of the natural notes (A, F and C here) and then make every note flat or sharp.

They exist in the sense we can write them out (although I can't say I've ever seen them used) because their enharmonic equivalents (Bb, E and B) are used to make reading a piece of music easier (it's harder and is more time consuming to read and process double flat and double sharps).


Thanks alot, exactly what i was looking for.
If you want to jam in/around Mooresville NC message me.
#6
A# B# C## D# F G A
Is what I end up with, a double sharp doesn't work though, I dont think they key exists, its an enharmonic key to Bb major as munky said above, use that instead :P I think the other ones will be similar

EDIT: Aw i doo dooed my scale
Quote by cakemonster91

*chuckle* A peanut. With a face.



Go to your staff paper and re-write this song a half step down so on the paper it'll be like you have a "C" just move it down to a "B#"




Know your theory, then play like you don't.

#7
Quote by Peanut1614
A# B# C## D# F G A
Is what I end up with, a double sharp doesn't work though, I dont think they key exists, its an enharmonic key to Bb major as munky said above, use that instead :P I think the other ones will be similar

EDIT: Aw i doo dooed my scale


Basically they are not practical from a playing or writing standpoint, so they are generally not used.
They exist in thoery. Not sure why you would want to bother with them, other than curiousity. which is good enough reason I guess =)
#8
The reason we never see A# major is that our system of notation allows a maximum of seven sharps or flats in the key signature. The key of A# major would require 10 sharps in the signature. Hence, you'll never see the key of A# major. The key of A# minor, however, most certainly does exist. As the relative minor of C# major, A# minor has seven sharps in its key signature.
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.
#9
A# major exists. Double-flats and double-sharps are an important part of enharmonic theory, especially on transposing instruments. As a trumpet player (most trumpets being a transposed instrument that's written pitch is a tone lower than it actually is -- IE a note written as a D on trumpet sheet music is actually a C) I would see A# major while everyone else is playing in G# major, a key that, like A# major, exists. An Alto sax player would see this if the concert key is C# major, which also exists.

There's a whole bunch of ways to derive this. The fastest way for me (well, I have this all memorised, but whatever) is as follows...
Let's look at A major.

A B C# D E F# G# A

Because it's becoming A#, we have to SHARPEN every degree of the scale ONCE, regardless of whether it's already sharpened or not. We're transposing the entire scale UP one semitone, and due to the rules of enharmonics, when doing this we must keep the LETTERS the same, changing only the ACCIDENTALS.

A# B# C## D# E# F## G## A#

It's not magic.

EDIT: I do indeed have an alto sax piece written in A# major. It's not easy to read but it's not as uncommon as some of you make it out to be.
People writing songs that voices never shared
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#10
Quote by Me2NiK
A# major exists. Double-flats and double-sharps are an important part of enharmonic theory, especially on transposing instruments. As a trumpet player (most trumpets being a transposed instrument that's written pitch is a tone lower than it actually is -- IE a note written as a D on trumpet sheet music is actually a C) I would see A# major while everyone else is playing in G# major, a key that, like A# major, exists. An Alto sax player would see this if the concert key is C# major, which also exists.

There's a whole bunch of ways to derive this. The fastest way for me (well, I have this all memorised, but whatever) is as follows...
Let's look at A major.

A B C# D E F# G# A

Because it's becoming A#, we have to SHARPEN every degree of the scale ONCE, regardless of whether it's already sharpened or not. We're transposing the entire scale UP one semitone, and due to the rules of enharmonics, when doing this we must keep the LETTERS the same, changing only the ACCIDENTALS.

A# B# C## D# E# F## G## A#

It's not magic.

EDIT: I do indeed have an alto sax piece written in A# major. It's not easy to read but it's not as uncommon as some of you make it out to be.
I'm sorry, but you are mistaken. I have no trouble at all dealing with double-sharps and double-flats, but just because they exist does not mean we can use them in key signatures. I'll say it again: The key of A# major does not, indeed cannot, exist in our system of notation.
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.
#11
I think they're called hypothetical keys. They exist theoretically but would have no purpose to exist practically. You're right if the song was written in G# concert the alto would have to play C#... which is a functional key. Regardless if any instrument was thrown into a hypothetical key a composer would just put it into the enharmonic key. If the alto was in D#, concert B#, and Bb instruments' C# major the composer would just put the alto into into Eb major, concert C or Bb instruments' D. There would be no need for the D# key because as far as I know D# and Eb would function identically scale and chord-wise.

I'm still a little shaky on transposing instruments but that should make sense.
Last edited by jazz_rock_feel at Oct 4, 2007,
#12
Quote by gpb0216
The reason we never see A# major is that our system of notation allows a maximum of seven sharps or flats in the key signature. The key of A# major would require 10 sharps in the signature. Hence, you'll never see the key of A# major. The key of A# minor, however, most certainly does exist. As the relative minor of C# major, A# minor has seven sharps in its key signature.


there we go. I knew there was a better way to explain it, thanks !

Hypotheticals aside.... it all comes down to the fact that the system doesnt accomodate it, so for all practical purposes, it doesnt "exist".
#13
Quote by jazz_rock_feel
I think they're called hypothetical keys. They exist theoretically but would have no purpose to exist practically. You're right if the song was written in G# concert the alto would have to play C#... which is a functional key. Regardless if any instrument was thrown into a hypothetical key a composer would just put it into the enharmonic key. If the alto was in D#, concert B#, and Bb instruments' C# major the composer would just put the alto into into Eb major, concert C or Bb instruments' D. There would be no need for the D# key because as far as I know D# and Eb would function identically scale and chord-wise. I'm still a little shaky on transposing instruments but that should make sense.
Yes, I suppose virtually any key could exist, hypothetically. Using your example, the key of D# would require nine sharps in the signature, or five sharps and two double-sharps (Fx, Cx, G#, D#, A#, E# & B#). As another example, the key signature of Cx (C double-sharp) would require 14 sharps, or seven double-sharps (Fx, Cx, Gx, Dx, Ax, Ex & Bx). Is this playable? Sure, given enough patience and tolerance for frustration. Would the piece sound exactly the same if played in Cx's enharmonic, D major (two sharps)? Yes. Which would a sane person choose? It's a no-brainer.

These theoretical musings, however, have exactly zero effect on our current system's notational limitations: a maximum of seven sharps or seven flats. Given this constraint, the key of A# major is both theoretically and practically impossible.
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.
#14
Quote by gpb0216
I'm sorry, but you are mistaken. I have no trouble at all dealing with double-sharps and double-flats, but just because they exist does not mean we can use them in key signatures. I'll say it again: The key of A# major does not, indeed cannot, exist in our system of notation.

...

We can and do use them in key signatures. Transposing instruments use them all the time. By your logic any key signature past five sharps and/or flats is contingent because there's an enharnomic equivelant with less accidentals. But that's just not how music is written; concert scores in "unnecessary" key signatures, which often deal with instruments that are transposed differently, must make practical use of so-called "theoretical" key signatures to keep in line with modern musical theory. When music is transposed enharmonic relevance must be maintained.

I play a piece that has a section that is in concert F# major. Now, I don't know if you've ever played in a big band environment, but not all instruments are notated in concert pitch (for whatever reason, I don't know). Bb trumpets (the most common variety), as well as tenor saxes, certain clarinets, and if I'm not mistaken baritone saxes have their music written a whole tone higher than the actual pitch produced by the instrument (as I mentioned in my previous post; a Bb Trumpet D -- written as a D on sheet music -- is actually a C)). To compensate for the fact that every note as notated has been raised a pitch, the key signature must also change. If you were to simply notate every note a whole tone higher without changing the key signature, you're not doing a true transposition as many of the notes won't have actually been transposed a whole tone higher; they would be less or more, as dictated by the key signature.
Therefore, based on this forced transposition up a whole tone (once again, I don't understand why trumpet music is notated this way, it's dumb, hopefully someone can explain it to me some day) the key must also be transposed up a whole tone so that everyone's playing the same notes; F# major becomes G# major, adding two sharps to the key signature and effectively making an eight sharp (seven and one double) key signature. Not Ab major, because that doesn't make sense, nor is it a correct transposition; the way it would be written would be painfully awkward (more painfully awkward than reading a chart in G# major) as would the actual transposition process. It's not theoretically sound nor is it logical to transpose a piece that is in F# major to Ab major for the purpose of playing it on the trumpet or any other transposing instrument.

You can tell me that this doesn't happen but I
a) Have theory on my side
b) Have not one, not two, but three pieces of music for the Bb Trumpet that have double sharps in the key signature and would take a picture of each of them if doing so would mean that much to you. I also have an alto sax piece that is in concert B major and therefore notated in G# major. You should note that B major is NOT a contingient key signature and that an enharmonic equivelant of B major will never have less accidentals than five. Therefore meaning that it would be completely and 100% impossible, by your logic, for an alto sax player to play a piece of music in concert B major that is properly notated. If that doesn't make it clear enough for you, I don't know what will.

Good enough?
People writing songs that voices never shared
No one dared
Disturb the Sound of Silence
#15
Heres a wiki definition that might add to the discussion:

"Impossible and theoretical keys are really one and the same; basically, they are keys that have no possible conventional key signature.
For example the key of D flat minor cannot logically exist, as its key signature would have to contain a double flat - an impossibility in conventional notation."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Impossible_and_theoretical_keys


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Key_signature
this link has a list of all the "conventional" key signatures.

notice there is no A# major or Cb, or Fb.

You can write in them if you want.... just dont make me sight read it!!! =)
Last edited by GuitarMunky at Oct 5, 2007,
#16
I suggest you read the talk page of the first article (also note that that is has not been classified for quality and the entire article is uncited, which wouldn't be bad if the writers logically justified their position but it's not logically justified, other than that it's possible to substitute them for less sharps/flats). It's not theoretically sound to label a key signature as impossible because there are ways of deriving it practically. And so-called impossible key signatures are often used anyway because there's no other substitute. If the key signature can and is used and its use makes theoretical sense, its classification as "impossible" is ridiculous.
I'm not one to criticize the merits of Wikipedia but that article is flawed, as it presents impossible key signatures as something that is entirely intangible, and it does this without considering enharmonic transposition where key signatures with more than seven accidentals are tangible, and sometimes necessary. I would edit it myself but it's two in the morning and I need to sleep.
People writing songs that voices never shared
No one dared
Disturb the Sound of Silence
#18
Quote by Me2NiK
...We can and do use them in key signatures. Transposing instruments use them all the time. By your logic any key signature past five sharps and/or flats is contingent because there's an enharmonicic equivelant with less accidentals. But that's just not how music is written; concert scores in "unnecessary" key signatures, which often deal with instruments that are transposed differently, must make practical use of so-called "theoretical" key signatures to keep in line with modern musical theory. When music is transposed enharmonic relevance must be maintained. I play a piece that has a section that is in concert F# major. Now, I don't know if you've ever played in a big band environment, but not all instruments are notated in concert pitch (for whatever reason, I don't know). Bb trumpets (the most common variety), as well as tenor saxes, certain clarinets, and if I'm not mistaken baritone saxes have their music written a whole tone higher than the actual pitch produced by the instrument (as I mentioned in my previous post; a Bb Trumpet D -- written as a D on sheet music -- is actually a C)). To compensate for the fact that every note as notated has been raised a pitch, the key signature must also change. If you were to simply notate every note a whole tone higher without changing the key signature, you're not doing a true transposition as many of the notes won't have actually been transposed a whole tone higher; they would be less or more, as dictated by the key signature.
I do indeed have a great deal of experience playing in the big band environment, specifically with the United States Navy Atlantic Fleet Band. Not once, ever, have I seen a chart containing either double-sharps or double-flats. If you would be so kind as to point me to a specific piece of published literature displaying either of these accidentals in the key signature, I would truly appreciate it.

Therefore, based on this forced transposition up a whole tone (once again, I don't understand why trumpet music is notated this way, it's dumb, hopefully someone can explain it to me some day) the key must also be transposed up a whole tone so that everyone's playing the same notes; F# major becomes G# major, adding two sharps to the key signature and effectively making an eight sharp (seven and one double) key signature. Not Ab major, because that doesn't make sense, nor is it a correct transposition; the way it would be written would be painfully awkward (more painfully awkward than reading a chart in G# major) as would the actual transposition process. It's not theoretically sound nor is it logical to transpose a piece that is in F# major to Ab major for the purpose of playing it on the trumpet or any other transposing instrument.
This is simply incorrect. There is no reason whatsoever, theoretical or otherwise, to force a player to read double-sharps or flats simply to avoid mixing signatures (i.e., some with sharps, some with flats). The player reading the part has no idea what the other players are reading, and doesn't care, anyway. If the part is correct tonally, then it's correct. And if you're more comfortable reading a chart in G# (even though that key doesn't exist, either) than in Ab, then you are absolutely, positively the only musician I've ever heard of who does. And in my more than 40 years of playing gigs, I've known a lot of musicians, including horn players, reed players, keyboard players, woodwind players and string players - in short, players who read every clef you can imagine. And again, not once have I ever seen a chart containing double-sharps or flats, either professionally published or hand-written. There is simply no reason to use what would be an extremely awkward and theoretically incorrect notation.
You can tell me that this doesn't happen but I
a) Have theory on my side
b) Have not one, not two, but three pieces of music for the Bb Trumpet that have double sharps in the key signature and would take a picture of each of them if doing so would mean that much to you.
Yes, please do that. I'm assuming you have in hand pieces of professionally-published literature.
I also have an alto sax piece that is in concert B major and therefore notated in G# major. You should note that B major is NOT a contingient key signature and that an enharmonic equivelant of B major will never have less accidentals than five. Therefore meaning that it would be completely and 100% impossible, by your logic, for an alto sax player to play a piece of music in concert B major that is properly notated. If that doesn't make it clear enough for you, I don't know what will. Good enough?
No, I'm afraid not. I've never encountered the term "contingent key signature" and have no idea what you're talking about. I don't play alto sax, but you certainly haven't made clear why an alto sax player can't play a piece with five sharps (B major). Are the alto sax players your know somehow deficient in interpreting key signatures?

Finally, referring to your statement that you have theory on your side, I'd like to encourage you to consult the Harvard Dictionary of Music. If you do, you'll find, under the entry for Key signature the statement that there are a maximum of 15 key signatures: seven containing sharps, seven containing flats, and one containing neither sharps nor flats. I'm not making this stuff up.

All the best,
gpb
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.