Most composers do not wish to write in every flat or sharp that occurs, especially since most pieces have recurring flats or sharps. The key signature is located right behind the time signature and it is usually a collection of flats or sharps and sometimes neither. A key signature with no flats or sharps is C Major or A minor.
signatures with sharps
Basic rule: The last sharp to the right, go up a half step. The name of that line or space is the major key.
Signatures with flats
Basic Rule: Go to the 2nd to last flat on the right and that is the name of the major key.
Special note: if there is only one flat the key is F.
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