Quickly Learn and Remember how to Spell
The Major and Natural Minor Scales

Created by
Max Maxwell

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What You Learned With The Key / Note Images

The first letter of each image name can represent the notes that can be sharp or flat in major keys.

fin = F, car = C, gear = G, die = D, arm = A, ear = E, bike = B

This list of images, when used as a list of notes, will allow you to know the name of all sharps or flats that exist in any key in the order that they appear on the musical staff.

Major Keys With Sharps

There are seven major keys that have notes, which are sharp in its key signature.   To know the names of the notes that are sharp in any Major key with sharps, you must name the notes (as represented by the list of images) starting with fin and recite them in the forward order.

Examples: If a major key has two sharps, you just see the first two images (fin, car) but say the two notes in forward order (F, C). Remember to say “sharp” after each note.  A key with only two sharps has F# and C# as the two sharps. If the key has four sharps you see the first four images in the forward order (fin, car, gear, die) but say the first four notes. A key with four sharps has  F#, C#, G# and D# as the four sharps. The number of the sharps in any major key with sharps always corresponds to the same number of images, and their note names, that are on the Key / Note Image list in the forward order. The forward order of images / notes is also the order that the sharps appear in the key signature on the staff.

Exercise 2-A:
Practice visualizing the Key / Note Image list in the forward order. As you visualize each image, say the note it represents and say the word “sharp” after each note. Cover the answer below while you practice.

ANSWER:  F#, C#, G#, D#, A#, E#, B#

Major Keys With Flats

There are seven major keys with flats in their key signature. Because of the orderly mathematical structure of music, the same list of images will tell you the order of notes, as they appear on the staff, for flats. You just have to recite the Key / Note Image list backwards.

Examples: If a key has two flats, you just go to the end of the Key / Note Image list and move backwards (bike, ear) but say the notes (B and E). Remember to say “flat” after each note. A key with only two flats has Bb and Eb as the two flats. If a key has five flats you just see the five images starting with the bike in backward order (bike, ear, arm, die, gear) but say the notes (Bb, Eb, Ab, Db, Gb). The number of the flats in any key with flats always corresponds to the same number of images, and their note names, that are on the Key / Note Image list in the backward order.

Exercise 2-B:

Practice visualizing the image list in the backward order (from bike to fin). As you visualize each image, say the note it represents and say the word flat after each note. Cover the answer below while you practice.

ANSWER:  Bb, Eb, Ab, Db, Gb, Cb, Fb

Before doing the exercise below, keep practicing the two exercises above until you can quickly name the seven sharp notes in the forward order and the seven flat notes in the backward order.

Exercise 2-C:

Number from 1 to 14 on a piece of paper. Using the Key / Note image list, answer the questions below with the list of notes that are sharp or flat for each number of sharps and flats.  Remember to write a sharp or flat sign beside each note name.

Name the notes that are sharp or flat if a major key has...

 1. 2 sharps _______________________ 8.  2 flats  _______________________ 2. 5 sharps _______________________ 9.  5 flats  _______________________ 3. 6 sharps _______________________ 10. 6 flats  _______________________ 4. 1 sharp   _______________________ 11. 1 flat    _______________________ 5. 3 sharps _______________________ 12. 3 flats  _______________________ 6. 7 sharps _______________________ 13. 7 flats  _______________________ 7. 4 sharps _______________________ 14. 4 flats  _______________________

Scroll Down the page to get the answers:

Exercise 2-C: 1) F# C#  2) F# C# G# D# A#  3) F# C# G# D# A# E#  4) F#  5) F# C# G#

6) F# C# G# D# A# E# B#  7) F# C# G# D#  8) Bb Eb  9) Bb Eb Ab Db Gb

10) Bb Eb Ab Db Gb Cb  11) Bb  12) Bb Eb Ab  13) Bb Eb Ab Db Gb Cb Fb  14) Bb Eb Ab Db

Make sure you know this lesson well before continuing. Each lesson builds on previous lessons, so lesson by lesson mastery is very important!

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