Monday, July 5, 2010

How to Identify Minor Key Signatures|The Solfeggio-Chromatic Scale

In the tutorial regarding Music Theory for Singers, I have introduced the major and minor key signatures but the presentation is too theoretical. In Part 2, I will give a series of examples on how to illustrate using those principles in actual musical notation with a music sheet.

Exercise Number 1: Identify the key signature of this music:

Since there are 3 sharps, according to the table in the music theory for singers, it is A major, hey wait…but the 1st note is fa # or F#, so it should be the minor. The final answer is that the key signature of the above screen shot is F sharp minor.

Exercise Number 2: Identify again the key signature of the music shown below:

Well, since there are no sharp or flats. By principle it should be a C major key. You may asked, how I know the minor of C major. The minor of C major is A minor. A minor like its major does NOT also have sharp or flats.

A minor can be identified if the first note is La (A note) and there are no sharp or flats in the staff.

Exercise Number 3: What is the key signature below?

The first note is re (D note) and there is one flat. It is a D minor key signature.

Exercise Number 4: Is it in E minor or a G major key signature?

It is not an E minor key because the first note is not “mi” (E note). So since there is one sharp in the staff and it is not starting in mi note, therefore the above key signature is in G major.

The Solfeggio-Chromatic Scale Equivalent in Musical Notation:

Chromatic scale is using letters (A, B, C, etc) while the solfeggio notation is not. I highly recommend you will memorize this one for easier interpretation of musical notations:

Chromatic in sharp progression – Solfeggio Equivalent:
A – la
A#- la#
B- ti
C- do
C# - do sharp
D- re
D#- re sharp
E – mi
F – fa
F# - fa sharp
G – so
G# - so sharp
A – la

Chromatic in flat progression (pitch the same as above, but presented in flat rather than sharp)
A –la
Bb – ti flat
B – ti
C- do
Db- re flat
D – re
Eb – mi flat
E – mi
F – fa
Gb – so flat
G – so
Ab – la flat
A – la

Therefore with the above given progression, we can say that the following is just the same, or in equivalent pitch:

A# - Bb = la sharp or ti flat
C# - Db = do sharp or re flat
D#- Eb = re sharp or mi flat
F#- Gb = fa sharp or so flat
G# - Ab = so sharp or la flat

If you play a chromatic progression in the piano, the sharp or flats are using the black color keys of the piano.