Why Is That F 'Sharp'? Understanding Key Signatures on Guitar

Have you ever wondered why there's an F# note in a G major scale?  Or why an F major has a Bb?  And why is it named Bb and not A#?!  

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Why Is That F 'Sharp'?  Understanding Key Signatures on Guitar
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Have you ever wondered why there's an F# note in a G major scale? Or why an F major has a Bb? And why is it named Bb and not A#?!

Well, it will depend entirely on the musical 'context'. What that means is what 'key' the music is in. Musical keys are created from major scales, and so a solid understanding of why sharps and flats appear in certain major scales is so essential to develop our understanding of melody and harmony.

A 'key signature' consists of a certain number of sharp or flat notes that the music will contain. These sharp or flat notes are derived from respecting major scale formula and the rules of a diatonic scale.

Remember that the major scale formula is Tone-Tone-Semitone-Tone-Tone-Tone-Semitone (or for all you guys in The States - Whole step-Whole step-Half step-Whole step-Whole step-Whole step-Half step). A little more than that, each letter of the musical alphabet will appear in order (so, if we're thinking about a G major scale the first note will be G followed by A B C D E and F).

In this video lesson I will show you exactly how sharp and flat notes appear in scales and why these notes can only have one name.

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