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EMT Lesson Four  How to understand keys and key signatures

Cycle of fourths — the more common way to calculate flat key signatures

It should also be noted that, when calculating the notes in the flat (b) key, a more commonly used method is to go up a fourth (five semitones above the previous note) to calculate the key signature – as an alternative to going down a fifth. This is known as the ‘cycle of fourths’.

Figure 19. The cycle of fourths (keys with flats in the key signature)   (Enlarge)

Figure 19. The cycle of fourths (keys with flats in the key signature)

Next: Circle of fifths