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E-sharp harmonic minor key signature

The Solution below shows the E# harmonic minor key signature on the treble clef and bass clef.

The Lesson steps then explain how to write the key signature using both clefs, including the display order and line / space staff positions of the notes, and the sharp / flat accidentals.

For a quick summary of this topic, have a look at Key signature.

Harmonic minor key signature keys
KeyCC#DbDD#EbE[E#]FbFF#GbGG#AbAA#BbBB#CbAll On 1 page

Solution

1. E-sharp harmonic minor key signature

This step shows the enharmonic equivalent of the E# harmonic minor scale key signature on the treble and bass clef, including the note name adjustments relative to the natural minor scale in the same key.

The E-sharp harmonic minor scale has 5 sharps, 2 double-sharps.

E-sharp harmonic minor scale
No.12345678
NoteE#F##G#A#B#C#D##E#

Warning: The E-sharp key is a theoretical harmonic minor scale key.

This means:

> Its key signature would contain either double-sharps or double flats.

> It is rarely used in practice, because it is too complex to use.

> It is not shown as a minor key on the Circle of fifths diagram, which contains the most commonly used minor keys.

> There is always an identical harmonic minor scale that you can use in its place, which is on the Circle of 5ths.

> The F harmonic minor scale sounds the same / contains the same note pitches, which are played in the same order, and so it can be used as a direct replacement for the E-sharp harmonic minor scale.

F harmonic minor scale
No.12345678
NoteFGAbBbCDbEF

These note names are shown below on the treble clef followed by the bass clef.

Rather than use a key signature that would in theory contain double sharps or flats, usually the key signature of the replacement minor scale F, above is used, as shown below.

F harmonic minor key signature

F harmonic minor key signature

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bass clef iconBass Clef:MidiMP3treble clef iconTreble Clef:MidiMP3
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Lesson steps

1. Piano key note names

This step shows the white and black note names on a piano keyboard so that the note names are familiar for later steps, and to show that the note names start repeating themselves after 12 notes.

The white keys are named using the alphabetic letters A, B, C, D, E, F, and G, which is a pattern that repeats up the piano keyboard.

Every white or black key could have a flat(b) or sharp(#) accidental name, depending on how that note is used. In a later step, if sharp or flat notes are used, the exact accidental names will be chosen.

Sharp and flat note names

The audio files below play every note shown on the piano above, so middle C (marked with an orange line at the bottom) is the 2nd note heard.

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bass clef iconBass Clef:MidiMP3treble clef iconTreble Clef:MidiMP3

2. E-sharp harmonic minor notes

This step shows the number of sharps or flats in this theoretical harmonic minor scale

The E# harmonic minor scale has 5 sharps, 2 double-sharps.

To understand why the E-sharp harmonic minor scale has 5 sharps, 2 double-sharps, have a look at the E# harmonic minor scale page, which shows how to identify the note positions and names for this scale.

E-sharp harmonic minor scale
No.12345678
NoteE#F##G#A#B#C#D##E#

E-sharp harmonic minor scale

This harmonic minor scale is based a natural minor scale that is not on the circle of 5ths - E# natural minor scale, which means that its key signature would have double sharps or flats.

So rather than use this complex key signature, usually the key signature of a simpler equivalent scale would be used.

In ths case, the harmonic minor scale having the same note pitches played in the same order is the F harmonic minor scale, so its key signature will be used instead below.

F harmonic minor scale.

F harmonic minor scale
No.12345678
NoteFGAbBbCDbEF

The next step will show the F natural minor key signature as a basis for calculating this harmonic minor key signature.

Audio downloads
bass clef iconBass Clef:MidiMP3treble clef iconTreble Clef:MidiMP3

3. F minor key signature

This step shows the number of sharps or flats in the related natural minor scale so the two scales can be compared for differences.

The F natural minor key signature has 4 flats, which is different to the harmonic minor scale above.

F minor scale has 4 flats
No.12345678
NoteFGAbBbCDbEbF

F minor key signature

F minor key signature

To calculate the F harmonic minor scale from the F natural minor scale, the 7th note position of the natural minor scale - note Eb is raised by one half-tone / semitone, as shown in the next step.

However, the harmonic minor key signature next to the bass or treble clef will not reflect this raised note, as explained in the next step.

Audio downloads
bass clef iconBass Clef:MidiMP3treble clef iconTreble Clef:MidiMP3

4. F harmonic minor key signature adjustments

This step shows the F harmonic minor key signature on a treble and bass clef, together with a table showing the note adjustments that need to be made relative to the natural minor scale.

Below is a table showing the note name adjustments that describe the difference between this harmonic scale note and the natural minor scale, whose key signature it uses.

The 7th note of the natural minor scale needs to be raised by one half-tone / semitone, which will result in adjustment action on the existing natural minor note name.

F harmonic minor key signature adjustments
NoNatural minor
note name
Harmonic minor
note name
Adjustment
action
Adjustment
name
1FFNoneSame
2GGNoneSame
3AbAbNoneSame
4BbBbNoneSame
5CCNoneSame
6DbDbNoneSame
7EbECancelledNatural
8FFNoneSame

F harmonic minor key signature

F harmonic minor key signature

The natural minor key signature of the bass or treble clef is used, with the differences between the two scales shown as adjustments next to the note names on the staff, not in the key signature itself.

Audio downloads
bass clef iconBass Clef:MidiMP3treble clef iconTreble Clef:MidiMP3
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