# Why Some Keys Have Sharps And Others Have Flats

Let’s look at the graph below:

Key Signatures can get tricky. Asking this question is like saying in math “why not have just a plus sign (+) instead of both a plus (+) and minus sign (-)”

Well, truth is, if a note goes up a half step it doesn’t become flat (unless its in a key signature). And saying that a key is in Bb (2 flats) isn’t the same as saying its in A# (3 sharps, and 5 double sharps). To call a single note two different titles is referred to as an Enharmonic

The key of D as 2 sharps (F# and C#), so you can’t say D has 2 flats (Gb and Db) because Bb has 2 flats (Bb and Eb)

The answer is inside the Intervallic Code:  W W H W W W H  (W stand for Whole Step, and H stands for Half Step) I made the H’s red so they stand out more.

No matter what Key Signature you start with, you must follow W W H W W W H in order to build a Major Scale. So to build C major it would be C D E F G A B (notice how it follow the Intervallic Code). The same goes for every other key such as D major, G major, Bb major, etc.

This code changes, though, when you build minor scales. Since minor scales start on the 6th note of the Key (i.e. ‘A’ in the key of ‘C’) then your Intervallic Code will also start on the 6th degree. So Instead of W W H W W W H, the new code would be W H W W H W W

Capistrano School actually has a great post on this, too.

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• isabel

uummm….i just want to ask if you know which keys have sharps and flats like do# and others…..pls reply back.thank you.

• isabel

also which black keys will be used…

• http://www.waltribeiro.net Walt Ribeiro

I don’t understand the question. Please be specific ;)

• http://www.waltribeiro.net Walt Ribeiro

I don’t understand the question. Please be specific ;)

• bob

Hi,

I am 67, had 2 years piano when I was 7, and now play every day the cord way (the piano man way). Anyway, I have been trying to find out why just because the key scale has sharps or flats in it, sheet music publishers do not include the sharp/flat signs throughout the music. I just can’t remember them. So, I go through the piece and mark them by hand. Is it just me? Or, am I just missing some type of training. I never practiced scales, for example. Please advise.

thanks

Bob

• bob

Hi,

I am 67, had 2 years piano when I was 7, and now play every day the cord way (the piano man way). Anyway, I have been trying to find out why just because the key scale has sharps or flats in it, sheet music publishers do not include the sharp/flat signs throughout the music. I just can’t remember them. So, I go through the piece and mark them by hand. Is it just me? Or, am I just missing some type of training. I never practiced scales, for example. Please advise.

thanks

Bob

• http://www.waltribeiro.net Walt Ribeiro
• http://www.waltribeiro.net Walt Ribeiro
• =]

hey, i know this might sound like a stupid question, but i just starting learning how to play piano(your vids are very helpful by the way) and i was just wondering: in which direction do you read the notes? i know that each beats has its own section, but do you read everything from left to right? or do you read from the upper part of the section to the lower part of the section, and then move on to the next section? i’m not sure if i’m making sense….but if you understand this question please let me know in which direction to read the notes? if not let me know i’m not making sense so i can restate the question. thanks =]

• =]

also, how do you know which notes are major and which notes are minor? i’m trying to teach myself how to play but it can be very confusing :-/

• =]

also, how do you know which notes are major and which notes are minor? i’m trying to teach myself how to play but it can be very confusing :-/

• http://www.waltribeiro.net Walt Ribeiro

I just saw this question now, my apologies.

I’m not understanding any of your questions. Put them in list order, and try to clarify them. I want to help you!

• http://www.waltribeiro.net Walt Ribeiro

I just saw this question now, my apologies.

I’m not understanding any of your questions. Put them in list order, and try to clarify them. I want to help you!