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The notes of the G Major scale appear on staff lines as shown below. We can fit three octaves of G Major within the paired staff lines.
Every time a note appears on the F lines, the sharp (#) symbol is put before it as an accidental, to show that it is really F#.
Because F always means F# in the G Major scale, it is inconvenient to do this every time the note is used. Instead, a sharp can be placed at the start of every staff, to indicate that all F notes are to be played sharp.
This is known as the key signature of the G Major scale. Only one F line on each clef is marked in this way, even though the treble clef, for example, also has an F in the space between the bottom two lines.
The same three octaves of the G Major scale shown above can now shown more simply as follows.
The note F# would be called an accidental in the C Major scale, but not in this case, because it rightfully belongs to the G Major scale.
In fact, F natural is now the accidental, because it does not belong. The following shows how the note sequence E, F, F#, G is written in the key of G.
First the natural symbol is used as an accidental, to override the sharp of the key signature, and then the F needs to be 'resharpened' afterwards, with a sharp accidental.
Every key has a different key signature, as we will see shortly. The absence of a key signature always indicates the C Major scale.
All Major scales apart from C Major have at least one sharp or flat (and most of them have several) but there are no Major keys which have both sharps and flats in their key signature.
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