How To Tell What Key You Are In When You Have Sharps (#) In The Key Signature!

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If you're going to be able to know what chord progressions are likely in each key, you obviously need to know how to find the key of a song quickly -- correct?

Here's how to instantly find what key you are in when there are sharps in the key signature of a song:

You know that the flats in any key signature always occur in the same order - B E A D G C F.

Sharps also occur in the same order -- except that order is BACKWARDS from the order of the flats. Instead of B E A D G C F, the order of the sharps is:

F - C - G - D - A - E - B

They always occur in that order in a key signature. You can memorize them by saying the flats backward, or make up a silly saying of some kind such as Fat Cats Go Down Alleys Eating Bologna.

All you do to find the key is:

Go up 1/2 step from the last sharp = that IS the key

And you already know that if you have no flats or sharps in the key signature, you are in the key of C major (or A minor -- but we'll take that option up later).

Get this down cold -- so you immediately know what key you're in when you have sharps in the key signature of a song. Why? Because once you know what key you are in, you also know which 3 chords are the most likely -- right?

Now that you know how to find the key of a song, it's time to get into chord progressions proper. Tune in same time, same station, next week, when we'll take up our first chord progressions named "Oh Duh!"

This page updated on October 26, 2013.