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Flats and sharps
In music notation you'll find the key signature, with sharps or flats, just behind the clef. The key signature indicates which notes are sharp or flat.
When a piece of music changes key (modulation), the new key signature is displayed on the staff after a double barline.

This is the scale of A major without a key signature:

scale - Basslessson

The same scale, but with key signature:

Sharps and flats always appear in the same order.


Sharps



Order: F# - C# - G# - D# - A# - E# - B#

Sharps

You only have to remember the first one, F#.
Add a fifth (3½ steps) to the F# to get the next sharp: F# - G# - A# - B# - C# - D# - E# - F# - G# etc.
Again, add a fifth to C# for the 3rd sharp, etc.
Of course it's more efficient to learn the sequence by heart.


Flats



Order: Bb - Eb - Ab - Db - Gb - Cb - Fb

Flats

It's the same principle here. Remember the first one, Bb,
but this time add a fourth (2½ steps) to get the next one: Bb – C – D – Eb – F – G – Ab etc.