Fundamentals of

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6. Placement of Flats in a Key Signature.

a. Flats are placed on the staff in the following order (Figure 2-11).

Figure 2-11: Order of Flats.

b. To determine the order of flats, begin on B flat (the first flat added to the staff). Count up four letter names to E. Then begin on E and count up four more letter names to A. Continue this pattern until all seven flats have been identified (Figure 2-12).

Figure 2-12: Determining Order of Flats.

c. The first flat, B, is placed on the third line of the treble staff and on the second line of the bass staff. The second flat, E, is placed above the first flat. The third flat is down, the fourth up, the fifth down, the sixth up, and the seventh down (Figure 2-13).

Figure 2-13: Placement of Flats.

NOTE: The order of flats in a key signature is opposite the order of sharps (Figure 2-14).

Figure 2-14: Order of Flats and Sharps.

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Last Updated: March 31, 2012