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Thread: Key of F# or Gb

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  1. #1
    dwest2419
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    Key of F# or Gb

    Hi guys back with another thread. Im having a problem here. I cant tell whether to call the key of F# or Gb by its real name. Because is there accidentals? There's either two F chords or two B chords. Here's what I mean

    (F#maj) G#min A#min Bmaj C#maj D#min (Fdim)

    or

    Gbmaj Abmin (Bbmin) (Bmaj) Dbmaj Ebmin Fdim

    Which one to call it F# or Gb or neither?

  2. #2
    Registered User Color of Music's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dwest2419 View Post
    Hi guys back with another thread. Im having a problem here. I cant tell whether to call the key of F# or Gb by its real name. Because is there accidentals? There's either two F chords or two B chords. Here's what I mean

    (F#maj) G#min A#min Bmaj C#maj D#min (Fdim)

    or

    Gbmaj Abmin (Bbmin) (Bmaj) Dbmaj Ebmin Fdim

    Which one to call it F# or Gb or neither?
    Particularly, these are the only keys with this problem; therefore, you clearly need context!

    Other keys have this problem to, but the reason F#/Gb is "intimidating" is because they have the same quantity of accidentals: six flats/six sharps. So, what is comes down to is, if no sheet music is provided: "Which I do I choose?" and here, it's just a matter of preference.

    For most people, it's easier to deal with flats as opposed to sharps:

    Bb - Two flats vs. A# - Four sharps and three double sharps - Cx, Fx and Gx (Yes, double sharps KS exist, but not practical). Most would go with two flats. Or take Eb - two flats vs. D# - five sharps and two double-sharps - Fx and Cx)

    However, the reverse argument is made quite alot and more often than the former:

    Let's take the key of B. This has five sharps: F-C-G-D-A. However, it's enharmonic equivalent (EE for short), Cb - has seven flats: B-E-A-D-G-C-F. This means that when reading sheet music, there will be no accidentals on any of those seven notes (as the KS affects it) or there will be a tons of accidentals to cancel out the ones in the key signature. The very same thing is true with C# with seven sharps. (Btw, the relative minors are not excluded either - Cb/ab - seven flats; C#/a# - seven sharps. Likewise, with the above keys with double sharps: A#/fx; however, this is definitely where the EE KS is much, much better! D#/b# (This alone would confuse people because on the minor side of things, it looks like two accidentals)

    Therefore, again, as a musician or performer unless the composer has made it quite clear, you think in terms of the easier, er, more concise, key signature. This isn't to say that Cb and C# (The most common ones aren't used and Cb especially has its reasons ...)

    Would you rather look at seven sharps or five flats? Would you rather look at seven flats or five sharps? Either way, provided there's no context (ie: sheet music), the ear is going to hear B and Db respectively, although the Major/minor EEs may be verbalized.

    What I mean is: A song that's played is Cb is said to be in the key of B; however, a song played in the relative minor of B will more than likely said to be in Ab minor (the correct key in context is G# minor as the relative major to Ab minor is Cb major). Do you see how the ear can be wrong without context - whether visual, written or verbal?

    Context, Context, CONTEXT! (This can't be stressed enough!)

    Btw, the Fdim should be an E#dim and the Bmaj should be CbMaj! (Like I said, context; the key signatures provide it. Gb = Six flats. F# = Six Sharps)
    Last edited by Color of Music; 02-10-2013 at 08:48 PM.

  3. #3
    dwest2419
    Guest
    Color of Music how about this try of naming the Gb scale like this

    Instead of

    Gb Ab Bb B Db EB F

    how about

    Gb Ab Bb Cb Db Eb F

  4. #4
    Registered User
    Join Date
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    19
    It is called enharmonics. Two chords/notes/keys that are are the same but have different names. You can really call it either. Just be aware that when notating the music, if using the key signature of Gb you will be using flats in the piece. Likewise, if you call it F#, then you will be using flats when notating the music.

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