We already know that the musical alphabet contains only seven letters. But, did you know there are also seven sharp keys and seven flat keys in the treble clef key signatures in music?
That makes a total of fourteen key signatures for treble clef. Wait a second…
I thought there were a total of fifteen key signatures on treble clef! Where is the last one?
Well, the only key signature we will not talk about is the Key of C.
It is the easiest key of all with no flats or sharps in the key signature. Let’s talk about the rest of the key signatures in treble clef.
Treble Clef and Key Signatures
The treble clef key signatures can be divided into two groups; the sharps keys and the flat keys.
If you recall, the key signature is the area between the clef sign and the time signature.
Since we are talking about all key signatures in treble clef, the key signature is found right after the treble clef sign.
Treble Clef Sharp Key Signatures
We have a total of seven sharp keys in treble clef. They are G, D, A, E, B, F#, and C#.
Treble Clef Key Signature Order for Sharps
G = 1 sharp, F#
D = 2 sharps, F#, and C#
A = 3 sharps, F#, C#, and G#
E = 4 sharps, F#, C#, G#, and D#
B = 5 sharps, F#, C#, G#, D#, and A#
F# = 6 sharps, F#, C#, G#, D#, A#, and E#
C# = 7 sharps, F#, C#, G#, D#, A#, E#, and B#
Did you notice that all of the sharps listed above follow the order of sharps? Also, pay attention to how they look on the music staff in treble clef.
The sharps follow the same order on the music staff and appear in the same line or space every time.
The F# will always be located on the top line, the C# in the third space, the G# sitting right on top of the staff, the D# on the fourth line, the A# in the second space, the E# on the fourth space, and the B# in the third line.
Why do we do this? The key signature has been standardized to help you tell at a glance what sharps are in the key signature.
The same is true for the flat keys.
Treble Clef Key Signatures Flats
There are also a total of seven flat keys in the treble clef. These include F, Bb, Eb, Ab, Db, Gb, and Cb.
Treble Clef Key Signature Order for Flats
F = 1 flat, Bb
Bb = 2 flats, Bb and Eb
Eb = 3 flats, Bb, Eb, and Ab
Ab = 4 flats, Bb, Eb, Ab, and Db
Db = 5 flats, Bb, Eb, Ab, Db, and Gb
Gb = 6 flats, Bb, Eb, Ab, Db, Gb and Cb
Cb = 7 flats, Bb, Eb, Ab, Db, Gb, Cb and Fb
Just like the sharps, all of the flats listed above follow the order of flats. You’ll find this same order on the music staff too.
The flats will also appear on the same exact line or space every time just like the sharps.
The Bb will always be located on the third line, Eb in the fourth space, Ab in the second space, Db on the fourth line, Gb on the second line, Cb in the third space, and Fb in the very bottom space.
Circle of Fifths vs. Circle of Fourths
Both of the sharp keys and flat keys listed above are each five notes apart from each other.
For example, if we start on G (1 sharp) and move to D (2 sharps), we are moving forward in the musical alphabet five notes.
This is called the circle of fifths.
To see this pattern in the flat keys, you have to work backward through the keys starting with Cb moving up to Gb.
What if you go back through the sharp keys? Well, you move through the musical alphabet now in fourths or every four notes.
Starting at the top of the flat keys (F) and moving down (to Bb, then Eb, etc.) will give you the same result. It’s pretty interesting, huh?
Treble Clef Key Signatures In Music Assignment
Your assignment is to memorize all key signatures in treble clef. Keeping them in your memory bank is very handy when you are reading music.
Use the circle of fourths vs circle of fifths patterns and relationships discovered above to your advantage.
Being able to see this will help you remember the treble clef with key signatures easier.
Try making some treble clef key signature flashcards to test your knowledge or buy a set listed below.
You’ll be surprised at how quickly you can learn these!
Music Key Signature Flash Cards
- Key Signature Flashcards- Minor, Major & Relative Major-Minors - Really fun design!
- Alfred's Essentials of Music Theory: Key Signature Flash Cards (Major and Minor), Flash Cards
- Alfred's Key Signature Teacher: All-In-One Flashcard (White)
Master key signatures with these flash cards covering the major keys, minor keys, and their relatives.
A set of 48 key signature flash cards for treble, bass, and alto clefs. It correlates with the Alfred's Essentials of Music Theory Books, but can be used with any beginning music theory course book.
Practice learning the key signatures with this all-in-one interactive double-sided flashcard. Learn the order of sharps and flats and all major and relative minor key signatures.
Recommended Music Theory Reference Guides
This foldable 8x10 inch music theory cheat sheet is an excellent quick reference guide when you need to find the answer fast. The side 3-hole punch allows you to keep it in a 3-ring binder. It is sturdy and folds out featuring music theory and notation on the front and music history on the back.
A practical pocket-size music theory dictionary and music notation reference guide that is perfect for all musicians from beginner to professional.
A convenient music theory book that is small enough to fit in your pocket, backpack, or instrument case. A great reference guide for all musicians at any level of music study.