Unit C10 – Tonality

Students are formally introduced to tonalities by studying a selection of major keys. At the completion of Unit C10 students should be confident at the following skills:

  • understanding what a key signature is
    • at this stage you can either introduce the concept of a tonal centre/home note, or you could do a more simplified version, as appropriate to the individual student.
  • finding the key signature of a piece.
  • playing pieces in the following keys:
    • C major
    • G major
    • D major
    • F major

Crossover topic included in C11 – Technical Exercises

  • what the tonic note of a scale is (specifically of C major, but potentially able to work it out for other keys).
  • what the dominant note of a scale is (specifically of C major, but potentially able to work it out for other keys).


  • Most tutor books provide a good introduction to key signatures, and can be used as the basis for a more thorough explanation.
  • When students start a new piece encourage them to check the key signature before they start to play. This is a good habit to get in to early!
  • Some early pieces don’t use key signatures, and instead only use accidentals. If your student has any favourite pieces like this revisit them and ask your students to work out the key of the piece from the accidentals.


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Stage C – Scales and Key Signatures Pack

This pack contains four worksheets that introduce the concept of key signatures, major scales, and tonic and dominant notes.

  • Tones and Semitones in a Major Scale: introducing the pattern of tones and semitones in a major scale. Students are asked to write the major scales of C, G, and D, and identify where the tones or semitones are. 
  • Key Signatures Quiz: An introduction to the key signatures of C, G, D, and F majors. 
  • Tonic and Dominant: An introduction to tonic and dominant notes in C, G, D, and F majors
  • Tonic, Dominant, and Key Signatures: Further exploration of key sigantures, and the tonic and dominant of the above keys.