Major Key Signatures and the Magic of “7”

Major Key Signatures and the Magic of “7”

Alan Glasser
[email protected]
Tri-County Regional Vocational Technical High School

TI:ME Technology Areas Addressed:



High School


Music Theory


None needed, other than access to a copier/printer


40 Minutes

Prior Knowledge and Skills:

Reading treble and bass clef, understanding of sharps and flats, understanding the concept of Major keys and signatures

NAfME standard of 1994 Addressed:

NAfME standard of 1994: Reading and notating music.

NAfME 2014: Creating 


No materials are needed for this lesson except the required pre-knowledge and a copy of the lesson and the accompanying
“Identify Key Signatures” worksheet.


The students will reinforce their learning of key signatures by associating the number “7” with sharp and flat keys. They will develop a sentence using the letters CGDAEBF#C# that will help them to recognize the number of SHARPS in the Major keys (0-7). As the number of accidentals in the sharp and flat keys always add up to seven, this tool will be useful in identifying key signatures. (Example: A major has 3 sharps and A flat Major has 4 flats. 3+4=7)


Instructor will review the major key with the class. It is assumed that the students are familiar with this concept before presenting this lesson. Introduce this lesson by explaining the “Magic of 7” as explained above, and ask each student to devise a sentence using these letters in order: C G D A E B F# C#. (One of my piano students uses: Can Good Dogs Always Eat Big Fat(#) Chickens(#)) but each student should create one that is meaningful to them and that they can MEMORIZE. I would allow about 20 minutes for the above and then have them associate each word in their sentence with the corresponding number from 0-7 (C=0, G=1, D=2, A=3. E=4, B=5. F#=6 and C#=7). At this point, distribute the “Magic of 7” sheet and the corresponding 2 page worksheet entitled, “Identify Key Signatures”.


Evaluation can be achieved by:
1.oral review such as , “how many sharps in A Major and how many flats in A flat Major? What do these numbers add up to?
2. checking of the 2 page work sheet
3. asking each student to share his/her sentence using CGDAEBF#C# and vote for the most creative (or comical or easiest to remember or silliest)

Follow Up:

Oral drill with numbers (for example, teacher or student calls…”5 sharps” another student replies ” 5 sharps = B major and B Flat Major = 2 flats; 5+2=7.
Variations on this game are many.

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