Wednesday, January 12, 2011

"Unforgettable" Sharp Key Signatures/Scale Aid

One of those "unforgettable" moments for me as a piano student was when my first teacher taught me this little trick for remembering the sharp key signatures. I can still visualize her writing out the goofy letters on my notepad as she sat in the chair beside me and it has stuck with me ever since.
The number of pencil strokes used to draw each of the letters (w/ a few clever adaptations like a rounded 1 stroke G and a pointy B) correlates with the number of sharps in each of the major key signatures).
This method would be especially effective with a kinesthetic learner if you have them write the letters along with you. I am primarily a visual learner... so just watching her draw this mnemonic device has stuck with me for life.


  1. How clever! Thanks for sharing!

  2. I also use this with my students using the number of strokes it takes to draw the letters, and they love it!
    Here is another thing I tell my students that everything has to equal 7 because that is how many letters are in the alphabet.

    I tell them that C is called the all or nothing key....Cb has all 7 flats and C# has all 7 sharps and the key of C has none.
    0+7= 0.
    G has 1 sharp so Gb has to have 6 flats and that equals 7. 1+6= 7.
    D has 2 sharps so Db has to have 5 flats and that equal 7. 2+5=7
    A has 3 sharps so Ab has to have 4 flats and that equals 7.
    E has 4 sharps so Eb has to have 3 flats and that equals 7. Etc...
    B has 5 sharps so Bb has to have 2 flats and that equals 7.
    F# has 6 sharps so F has to have 1 flat and that equals 7.

    I've made a handout for my students so they can clearly see what it looks like. I am sure this looks weird typed out like this, but my handout doesn't. : ) I would be happy to share it with anyone who would like to have it.