#1
Hi, for the past week I've been diving into music theory. Got myself a work book and beginning to understand new concepts. There is one thing I would like to clarify before I progress.

I know how to use the phrase BEAD-GCF to find the sharps and flats in most keys e.g E major: a step below E is D, D is fourth from the right, E major scale has 4 sharps D#G#C#F#. I can't however seem to apply the same rules for sharp majors (expect C# F#)

My book has not gone into it and expects me to know while building triads. Im I looking at this the wrong way? or does it use a different rule?

Thanks
#2
i learned BEADGCF will give you the flats. C has no flats, F has one flat on the B, Bflat will have 2 flats on nthe B and E, Eflat will have 3 flats on the B E and A and so on.

on the other side, FCGDEAB will give the sharps. C has no sharps, G has 1 sharp on the F, D has 2 sharps on the F and C, E has 3 sharps on the F C and G, and so on.

thats for the major scales.

the minor scales have the same pattern, but instead of the C having no sharps/flats, its the A. So a B minor scale would have 1 sharp on the F, an F# would have 2 on the F and C.
And on the other side, a D minor scale would have one flat on the B, a G minor would have 2 flats on the B and E, and so on.

sorry if this makes no sense, i have the flu right now, but hey i tried.

edit: im a complete idiot, and did not answer your question at all. I never learned how to do those either, i usually just wound up counting. sorry.
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#3
Cheers anyway thats another way to look at the BEADGCF thing. I do like my way better as you only need to know one direction.

Yeah I've been writing the whole thing down when I need it aswel, there must be a nice little rule for it though.
#4
Okay, what you're doing there is counting in what's called perfect fourths.

The way I look at it is that you start with C major, which has no flats, then move to F major, which has one flat (Bb), then to Bb, which has two (Bb, Eb) and so on, through the pattern C, F. Bb, Eb, Ab, Db, Gb, Cb, Fb.

You go the other way for the sharps, because you're counting in perfect fifths for these (which are an octave minus a perfect fourth).

So for these, you once again start with C, but this time you go to G, which has an F#, then to D, which has F# and C#, and so on, in the pattern C, G, D, A, E, B, F#, C#.

This actually gives you all of the keys, by one name or another, for example there is no A#, but there's a Gb which is the same, just with different names for the notes. If you actually wanted these extra sharps, you could either work with the Gb scale and just rename each (which is probably easier), or do it a more correct way, like this:

Once you reach the C# major scale, you've sharpened every note once. However, this doesn't stop you sharpening each again, which is called a double sharp, and written as, for example, Gx, meaning G double sharp. We use a double sharp rather than just the name for the next note because this way we ensure that each note is used once and only once, rather than make a scale with two G degrees and no F's, for example.

If we continue the pattern, we get C, G, D, A, E, B, F#, C#, G#, D#, A#, E#, B#. The next scale would be Fx, which is the same as G, so we've gone round in a circle, which is why this is called the circle of fifths.

So, working with G#, we now raise the F again, exactly like we would if it was just G, making the scale G#, A#, B#, C#, D#, E#, Fx, G#.

This means that to find A# major, we'd use A#, B#, Cx, D#, E#, Fx, Gx, A#. And if we count the number of sharps in there, we get 10, which makes sense as it is the 10th one along in the circle of fifths.

Hope that helps to clear things up a bit.
#6
Thanks toxica, I've read your post a couple times and its making sense. I'll give it some time during my next theory session tonight to really get to grips with it.
#7
Quote by rock_and_blues
There is no such thing as A# major....there is Bb major, which is the enharmonic equivalent.


A#major does exist. A# and Bb are considered enharmonically equivalent, however they vary by a few cents (cents being hundredths of a semitone). This is due to math. Following the circle of fifths we end up going in a circle, except the notes around the circle are named different, but played the same (due to the nature of most western instruments). Fifths are the ratio of 3/2. Twelve fifths from Bb is A#. Also following the circle, we find they should be 7 octaves apart. Octaves have a ratio of 2/1
Lets do the math. We know that we must multiply 3/2 by its self for each time we go up a fifth. therefore We can conclude that the difference between Bb and A# while going around the circle of fifths should be (3^12)/(2^12). This equals 531441/4096, which in decimal form is 129.746337890625. The closest power of two to this is 2^7 which is 128. Now we can divide these two numbers to find out how close Bb and A# really are.
129.746337890625/128 = 1.0136432647705078125. Therefore we can see that A#'s frequency is 101.36477% of Bbs. This is approximately one cent difference. Therefore A# major, and Bb major, allthough played enharmonically, differ by slight amounts in theory.
#8
Quote by isaac_bandits
A#major does exist. A# and Bb are considered enharmonically equivalent, however they vary by a few cents (cents being hundredths of a semitone). This is due to math. Following the circle of fifths we end up going in a circle, except the notes around the circle are named different, but played the same (due to the nature of most western instruments). Fifths are the ratio of 3/2. Twelve fifths from Bb is A#. Also following the circle, we find they should be 7 octaves apart. Octaves have a ratio of 2/1
Lets do the math. We know that we must multiply 3/2 by its self for each time we go up a fifth. therefore We can conclude that the difference between Bb and A# while going around the circle of fifths should be (3^12)/(2^12). This equals 531441/4096, which in decimal form is 129.746337890625. The closest power of two to this is 2^7 which is 128. Now we can divide these two numbers to find out how close Bb and A# really are.
129.746337890625/128 = 1.0136432647705078125. Therefore we can see that A#'s frequency is 101.36477% of Bbs. This is approximately one cent difference. Therefore A# major, and Bb major, allthough played enharmonically, differ by slight amounts in theory.



jesus christ man lmao....well my bad, i was taught that they were litterally same.
#9
Quote by rock_and_blues
jesus christ man lmao....well my bad, i was taught that they were litterally same.


They are litterally the same. The human ear can only pick out differences greater than 5 cents, and this difference is less than 2 cents... Therefore they are virtually the same

It is impractical to play in the key of A# major, but it is not entirely impossible.
#10
They are litterally the same. The human ear can only pick out differences greater than 5 cents, and this difference is less than 2 cents... Therefore they are virtually the same



right thats what i was getting at, why go through the trouble of playing in A sharp major when you could easily play in Bb major
#11
Quote by rock_and_blues
right thats what i was getting at, why go through the trouble of playing in A sharp major when you could easily play in Bb major


It makes sense in certain instances. Sure it has 10 sharps, but other scales in A# don't have 10 sharps. A#Locrian has only 5 sharps, where as Bb Locrian has 7 flats. In this case A3 would make more sense. Then if you use pitch axis, you would play A# major and not Bb major.

Also certain instruments, like the violin and trombone can play A# and Bb slightly differently, and in this case A# is different from Bb, and therefore just as useful as any other tonal center.

You probably will never play anything in A# major, but it still exists, mainly in theory, so Im going to have to say its real.
#12
Quote by isaac_bandits
It makes sense in certain instances. Sure it has 10 sharps, but other scales in A# don't have 10 sharps. A#Locrian has only 5 sharps, where as Bb Locrian has 7 flats. In this case A3 would make more sense. Then if you use pitch axis, you would play A# major and not Bb major. Also certain instruments, like the violin and trombone can play A# and Bb slightly differently, and in this case A# is different from Bb, and therefore just as useful as any other tonal center. You probably will never play anything in A# major, but it still exists, mainly in theory, so Im going to have to say its real.
I'm sorry to disappoint you budding theory gurus, but the key of A# Major does not exist. Our system of notation allows a maximum of seven sharps or flats. As already noted, the key of A# would require 10 sharps. And for better or for worse, there is currently no way to display a 10-sharp signature without using the very ungainly (at least as they relate to key signatures) double-sharps. We're simply going to have to make do with the enharmonically-equivalent Bb.

And while it is certainly true that fretless stringed instruments like the cello, viola and violin, among others, routinely interpret an A# as being a different pitch from Bb, this does not justify building an entire key signature around the A# pitch. Please refer to the Circle of Fifths (not fourths) if you have any questions about how key signatures work.

All the best,
gpb
All things are difficult before they are easy.
- Dr. Thomas Fuller (British physician, 1654-1734)
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For everything you need to know - gpb0216.
#13
Quote by gpb0216
I'm sorry to disappoint you budding theory gurus, but the key of A# Major does not exist. Our system of notation allows a maximum of seven sharps or flats. As already noted, the key of A# would require 10 sharps. And for better or for worse, there is currently no way to display a 10-sharp signature without using the very ungainly (at least as they relate to key signatures) double-sharps. We're simply going to have to make do with the enharmonically-equivalent Bb.

And while it is certainly true that fretless stringed instruments like the cello, viola and violin, among others, routinely interpret an A# as being a different pitch from Bb, this does not justify building an entire key signature around the A# pitch. Please refer to the Circle of Fifths (not fourths) if you have any questions about how key signatures work.

All the best,
gpb


But it does exist. Most books only teach up to seven sharps, but it is possible, but highly unlikely, that someone could replace 3 of them with double sharps and play in A# major. Its mainly a theororetical key, and it can be used for music exams to display someone's musical knowledge. I know it makes no more sense than the key of Cb, but it is still real.
#15
Quote by isaac_bandits
But it does exist. Most books only teach up to seven sharps, but it is possible, but highly unlikely, that someone could replace 3 of them with double sharps and play in A# major. Its mainly a theororetical key, and it can be used for music exams to display someone's musical knowledge. I know it makes no more sense than the key of Cb, but it is still real.
I'm sorry, friend, but it's back to the woodshed for you. I'm an honor graduate of the Armed Forces School of Music and was a Piano Performance major following my tour with the Navy music program. Not once, ever, in all of the college-level theory courses I've taken has any professor even hinted of the existence of a key signature outside the current seven-sharps-or-flats system. I've played literally thousands of charts and traditional compositions and not once, ever, have I seen either a double-sharp or double-flat in the key signature.

This topic has appeared many times in this forum. Every time I've weighed in and have been challenged on this point, I've asked those who have argued (quite passionately, at times) that these "special" key signatures do indeed exist to produce a commercially-produced chart or piece of sheet music employing it. Not once, ever, has anyone posted an image of or link to such a document.

I submit the same challenge to the readership. If anyone can produce a commercially-published piece of music employing a double-sharp or double-flat in the key signature I will immediately issue a public apology for my hard-headedness and will never again mention the current notational key-signature maximum of seven sharps or flats as depicted in the Circle of Fifths you see directly above this post.

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.
#16
Quote by gpb0216
I'm sorry, friend, but it's back to the woodshed for you. I'm an honor graduate of the Armed Forces School of Music and was a Piano Performance major following my tour with the Navy music program. Not once, ever, in all of the college-level theory courses I've taken has any professor even hinted of the existence of a key signature outside the current seven-sharps-or-flats system. I've played literally thousands of charts and traditional compositions and not once, ever, have I seen either a double-sharp or double-flat in the key signature.

This topic has appeared many times in this forum. Every time I've weighed in and have been challenged on this point, I've asked those who have argued (quite passionately, at times) that these "special" key signatures do indeed exist to produce a commercially-produced chart or piece of sheet music employing it. Not once, ever, has anyone posted an image of or link to such a document.

I submit the same challenge to the readership. If anyone can produce a commercially-published piece of music employing a double-sharp or double-flat in the key signature I will immediately issue a public apology for my hard-headedness and will never again mention the current notational key-signature maximum of seven sharps or flats as depicted in the Circle of Fifths you see directly above this post.

All the best,
gpb


I agree that there will not be a published piece of music written in A# major. However, it still does exist in theory, which means that its possible for a piece to be in it, but its so impractical that they do so.

Its also impractical to write a song in C# major, as it has 7 sharps, when you could use Db major which has 5 sharps, and is therefore easier to write songs in.

Can you explain why anyone would use C#major?