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Easy Way To Remember Sharps & Flats

by JazzMaverick

4 Dec 2008
Views: 41772

So starting off you have all probably heard of this "Circle of fifths" thing. I thought it was a piece of crap when I first learnt it and couldn't get it at all. So I discovered an easier way to remember the sharps and flats, and it also helped me to understand the Circle of fifths, too.




So, for the sharps, I'll name the keys in order of how many sharps there are.

Key of G = 1 sharp
Key of D = 2 sharps
Key of A = 3 sharps
Key of E = 4 Sharps
Key of B = 5 Sharps
Key of F# = 6 Sharps
Key of C# = 7 Sharps

Now, to remember this, I used words for each Key letter and it became a story. This is the only story I've been able to make out of it, but if you're able to make one yourself, be my guest.

Goes Down And Ends Battle, Father Charles

Now, to remember the order of the sharps that are in each key I'm using the same words for each, like so:

Father Charles Goes Down And Ends Battle.

Just incase you don't get this, F# is the only sharp in the key of G.
F#, C# are the only two sharps in the key of D.
F#, C#, G# are the only sharps in the key of A.
And so on.

Pretty much the same thing for the Flats, too.

Key of F = 1 Flat
Key of B = 2 Flats
Key of E = 3 Flats
Key of A = 4 Flats
Key of D = 5 Flats
Key of G = 6 Flats
Key of C = 7 Flats

Key order:

Father's Battle Ends And Down Goes Charles

Order of Flats:

Battle Ends And Down Goes Charles' Father.

Same thing with the sharps, Bb is the only flat in the key of F and so on.




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Comments:

01
12.05.2008
  DSC

Nice one Jazzy

I use the same technique, except I use

Father Christmas Goes Dancing After Every Breakfast

02
12.05.2008
  JazzMaverick

haha now that's a new one! Awesome. Thanks for that.

03
12.05.2008
  GRX40

I learned it as Fat Charlie Goes Down And Eats Breakfast (incidentally, from a fat teacher who was eating candy and drinking soda constantly), but I like Father ... Battle better since it can be reversed for the flats and it still makes sense as a sentence.

I saw this same remembering device for the first time only a few days ago, so it's kinda cool to see it again.

04
12.05.2008
  JazzMaverick

Yeah, I like how this one can be used for everything, exactly why I found it so easy. Though I'm glad you've also got something to remember it by.

05
10.21.2013
  Simonpea

I found this really helpful. The only suggestion I have is that you specify the obvious so say there are 7 sharps in the key of C#. Dumb I know, but I did a double take when I read 7 sharps in the key of C.
An unrelated point I can't see anywhere else to post. Some of the links take me to pages where all I can see are pop up ads, and no way to get to the link. Maybe the links are broken or pages blank ? Would be useful to know. This looks like one of the most useful and accessible sources for me on the web!

06
12.01.2013
  JazzMaverick

Thanks Simon, I've corrected that, it was genuinely my typing mistake. :)

Both links also work for me, perhaps it was just a temporary glitch?

Thanks for checking out the lesson and I hope the rest have helped too! :)

07
02.04.2014
  nullnaught

.
I like to think of the word bead then fcg for the flats. Then the same thing backwards for the sharps. That is how i remember them best. :)

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