Key Signatures

The following charts present and analyze the 12 chromatic keys in 7 modes of the major scale organized in a variety of ways. Essentially delivering comparable key signatures (nuances). Arranged first by mode, second by key.


The column following the illustrated scale contain a summary of the flats or sharps. Flat’s and sharp’s are accidentals (black keys on a keyboard). A flat (b) refers to a tone which deviates by a half step lower than it’s comparable major scale degree tone. While a sharp (#) deviates by a half step higher.

The columns, or section, to the far right presents a more streamlined version of the scale’s signature by omitting the scale degree numbers as well as the spaces between degrees. This is useful for quick comparison’s, finding relative modes, and pattern recognition.


Accidental keys may be referred to as either sharp or flat depending on which mode is represented. Study the keys signatures arranged by mode to understand which distinctions are used. 7 of the 86 scales represented here (12 keys x 7 modes) may be equally referred to as sharp or flat. For instance F# and Gb, found at the top and bottom of the first chart on the following page, is the same scale. As you can see this scale could be equally referred to as a sharp or flat. These 7 scales, which are relative to each other, are indicated throughout this section with an asterisk*.