Fundamentals of
SCALES AND KEY SIGNATURES

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5. Placement of Sharps in a Key Signature.

a. Sharps are placed on the staff in the following order (Figure 2-8).


Figure 2-8: Order of Sharps.

b. To determine this order, begin on F (the first added to the staff). Count up five letter names to C. Then begin on C and count up five more letter names to G sharp. Continue this pattern until all seven sharps are identified (Figure 2-9).


Figure 2-9: Determining Order of Sharps.

c. Sharps are placed on a staff in a specific pattern. The first sharp, F , is placed on the fifth line of the treble staff and the fourth line of the bass staff. The second sharp, C, is placed below the first sharp. The third sharp is up, the fourth sharp down, the fifth sharp down, the sixth sharp up, and the seventh sharp down. Figure 2-10 indicates the correct placement of sharps in a key signature.


Figure 2-10: Placement of Sharps.


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Last Updated: March 31, 2012