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Chapter Ten Intervals: The Circle of Fifths and the Key Signatures of the Major Scale The Pattern of the Major Scale When major scales begin on notes other than C, sharps or flats must be used to produce the correct pattern of whole and half steps (WWHWWWH) The Keys with Sharps The only scale among the major keys with no sharps or flats is C major. If a scale begins a perfect fifth higher than C, it will have one sharp. This process may be continued until all the notes of the scale are sharped. The order of the scales is C G D A E B F# C# The order of sharps is FCGDAEB. The Keys with Flats The major flat scales are found by beginning each scale a fifth lower than the preceeding scale, beginning with the fifth below the C major scal. This process is continued until all the notes of the scale are flat. The order of scales is Cb Gb Db Ab Eb Bb F C The order of flats is BEADGCF The Circle of Fifths The order of all the sharp and flat scales can be shown by a circle because by moving in either direction in perfect fifths, you eventually return to the starting key. The Key Signature Music using the notes of a particular scale is said to be “in the key” of the first note of that scale. When a composer writes music in keys that have sharps or flats, it would be quite cumbersome to have to write a sharp or flat sign in front of every affected note, so a key signature is used at the beginning of every staff to show which sharps or flats are in the key. Because the pattern of sharps and flats never varies, it is easy to tell at a glance the key. Accidentals When sharps, flats, or naturals that are not part of the key signature are used, they are placed to the left of the note that they affect. They are called accidentals. When an accidental occurs, it affects all notes of that pitch that follow it in the same measure. The effect of an accidental is canceled by the bar line. If a sharp or flat has been used at the beginning of a measure, and a note without accidental is need later in the measure, a natural sign must be used.