2.Th+ B-flat,

Key Signatures

Today's session introduces B-flat, the note between A and B.
In text it is written as Bb, with the flat sign following the letter-name (it is surprisingly difficult to put musical signs into text on the web so a lower-case b is used instead of a proper flat sign). In actual music, the flat sign is written before the note, like this -

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Howeever, if are going to use a flattened scale-step consistently, there is a better way of showing it -

Key Signatures

Most pieces of Western music are built around 7-note scales. The key signature tells you which scale. It is a collection of sharp or flat signs placed immediately after the clef and at the start of every line of music.

The following piece, for instance, is in a G minor mode that includes six naturals and Bb. The key signature is therefore just a single flat written on the B-line (i.e. the B- line passes through the rounded part of the flat sign). This tells you to always play Bb rather than B. Notes that go unmentioned in the key signature are assumed to be naturals.

  • The tune below is adapted from a Renaissance dance tune.
  • Practice the run F - G - A - Bb - C before you start.
  • Count & clap the rhythm first.
  • Aim for 132bpm. Count two bars in and start on the second '4'.

Go back to the last right-facing repeat-mark and play the music again. Then skip ending 1 and proceed directly to ending 2.

Come back to here from the end of the piece.

Go back to the last right-facing repeat-mark.


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Keep your right thumb on F and use your ring finger for Bb.

Start with your fingertips in place and keep them close to the keys at all times.

Here's how the tune should have sounded (on C, Bb, Eb instruments).

Reading Exercise No.14

The tune below is very well-known so, if you're doing everything right-ish, you'll almost certainly recognise it.

  • Check the key signature
  • Notice that the tune starts on count 2
  • Count two full bars in and start on the next 2
  • Aim for 156bpm