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Old 12-15-2012, 09:18 AM   #1
Sy_B
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Simple key question

What key is a song in if it uses the chords D,A,G,E,C,D. All major. I would think D major, but C and E (majors) aren't in D as far I know. Maybe they are accidentals or something?


Also, what's a good way to go from D major to D# major, with subtlety?

Last edited by Sy_B : 12-15-2012 at 09:21 AM.
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Old 12-15-2012, 10:05 AM   #2
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Where does the song resolve?
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Originally Posted by Sy_B
Also, what's a good way to go from D major to D# major, with subtlety?

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Old 12-15-2012, 10:17 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sy_B
What key is a song in if it uses the chords D,A,G,E,C,D. All major. I would think D major, but C and E (majors) aren't in D as far I know. Maybe they are accidentals or something?


Also, what's a good way to go from D major to D# major, with subtlety?

We can give you the answers, but it'll only sort you out for this very question you posed. As soon something else crops up of a similar nature, you're gonna be screwed.

Teach a man to fish and all that, you know?
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Old 12-15-2012, 02:16 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sy_B
Maybe they are accidentals or something?


Maybe.

Quote:
Also, what's a good way to go from D major to D# major, with subtlety?


It's not easy. D and Eb are actually pretty are away from each other as keys go, because keys are "close to" each other when they share a lot of common notes.

Whereas five of the seven diatonic notes of D and Eb are different. They are almost as far away from each other as it is possible to be. (Only Ab is further away, although of course Db is equally far away).

Often the best way to get to a far-distant key, particularly if you want it to flow, is by traversing intermediate keys. Transpose to something closer, then transpose to D#. You could also circle-of-fifths it around - just keep descending fifths until you get there. So you'd pay D G C F Bb Eb and then you're there. Turn the Bb into a Bb7 to make the landing stick a little more clearly.

If that's too slow for you, you could just play D Bb7 Eb but how smooth that sounds is going to depend on the context. In a void it's okay, but sometimes that Bb7 will sound really out of place.

Last edited by HotspurJr : 12-15-2012 at 05:12 PM.
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Old 12-15-2012, 04:05 PM   #5
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Or you could just do a shift modulation. That's no fun though.

Edit: Nor is it subtle, I missed that part of the post.

In terms of the key question, it's impossible to tell without any context. If all of those chords are in succession, I would say it resolves to G, since there is a IV V leading into it, but it just as easily could be D, or A. It could even be E if done right.
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Old 12-15-2012, 04:15 PM   #6
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I don't know the song but I'm assuming you're right and that it's in D. Modal mixture allows you to draw from diatonic chords in the parallel minor if you're in a major key, which would give you the C (bVII). E major is the V/V in D, giving you a momentary tonicization of the V chord.

You can try shifting from D to Eb this way:

D - Em - A7 - D - G - Gm - Bb7 - Eb

the analysis would be:

I - ii - V7- I (establishes D as the tonic for this example, not necessary in your song)

I - IV - iv(iii of Eb) - (V7 of Eb) - I

I haven't played it but it should work in theory.
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Old 12-15-2012, 06:39 PM   #7
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Thanks, as far as where it resolves, I would suppose it resolves at D major (because it ends there in the chorus) but I'm not quite sure what resolve even means.

This is a song I'm writing now which is why I don't know too much about it technically yet.

The reason I'm trying to go from D to D# is because I think that the bridge part sounds best in D#, but I don't like the rest of the song in D#, too high. So I'm trying to figure out ways to have a solo section or something that gradually shifts it so that it sounds like D# belongs there by the bridge. Maybe the bass part starts to shift under the solo, not sure.

Normally when you teach a man to fish so he knows how to do it in the future, it involves teaching a man to fish. Otherwise the man just keeps grabbing into the murky water and his hand is eaten by piranhas.

This is how the melody is sung over the chords, if this helps.
F# E E F# D D C# C# D B
(D) F# E E F# D D D D G F# D
F# E E F# D D C# C# D B
B C# D F# E D E D E E F# E D
D F# E D E
D G G G G F# E D

Food1010 So to me this further reinforces it being in D major because that melody is definitely D major, starting on the 3rd and ending on the tonic, but not all the chords make sense still.

Hotspur I'll take a look at the circle of 5ths, but how exactly do I use it for this? And how can I tell if something is accidental or not?

fearofthemark: Oh god, modes. I don't understand them as well as I should, I constantly think I'm using a mode but then I just find out it's another key... but are you saying that modes makes the C and E ok in D?

I attached a tuxguitar of it, should clear things up.
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File Type: zip whatKeyEtc.tg.zip (1.1 KB, 27 views)
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Old 12-15-2012, 08:37 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sy_B
fearofthemark: Oh god, modes. I don't understand them as well as I should, I constantly think I'm using a mode but then I just find out it's another key... but are you saying that modes makes the C and E ok in D?


nonono, modal mixing is just a name. It does have some roots in modes, but that's not really how you have to think about it. you can also call them "borrowed chords" if that makes it easier on you. The very basic idea is that you can "borrow" chords from a minor key even if you're playing in a major key. An example of this is in Space Oddity, where Bowie sings "and I think my spaceship knows which way to go." The chords are C - F - Fm - C. So while the A flat in Fm isn't diatonic to (doesn't exist in the major scale of) C major, you can borrow it from the minor and it'll sound good. Try playing C- F- Fm - C, you'll hear how pretty it sounds.

the E is a different story.

A V chord (so a G if we're in the key of C) really really really wants to resolve, or move to, the I chord (C in this case). So if G, the V of C, really wants to resolve to C, we can infer that the D (the V of G) really wants to resolve to G. This chord progression, D - G - C, or if we want to make the resolution stronger, D7 - G7 - C, sounds good, even though D major isn't diatonic to C. We call this D chord the V/V (pronounced five of five) because it's a chord based the fifth scale degree of the fifth scale degree of C. That's why you can use a E major in the key of D major, even though E major has a G# that is not in D major.
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Last edited by fearofthemark : 12-15-2012 at 08:59 PM.
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Old 12-15-2012, 08:40 PM   #9
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From D major to Ebmaj (i.e D#maj)


Tritone substitution in D = (Eb7 )
Tritone substitution in Eb = (Fb7 ) = E7

D,A,G,E,C,D

|D D D D | A A A A | G G G G | G G G G |

|E E E E | C C C C | D D D D | D D D D |

then

|D D D D | A A A A | G G G G | G G G G |

|Gm Gm Gm Gm | C7 C7 C7 C7 |

|Fm Fm Fm Fm | Bb7 Bb7 Bb7 Bb7 |

|Eb |
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Old 12-15-2012, 08:51 PM   #10
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The progression i showed you,

D - Em - A7 - D

G - Gm - Bb7 - Eb

uses both of those ideas to modulate from D to Eb. I'm using Eb because it is much more common than D# as a key signature, and it makes analysis/explanation easier.

The first four chords are a I - ii - V7 - I progression, extremely common in jazz. This is just a setup that makes it clear we're in the key of D.

One nice way to modulate is to get to a chord that is shared by the two keys you're modulating between, and use that as a "bridge" between the two keys. Unfortunately, we'll have to be a bit inventive because there are no two chords directly shared by D and Eb.


When you go to the G, you're playing the IV chord of D. The Gm can be considered a borrowed iv chord from D minor, just like in Space Oddity. But Gm is also the iii chord of Eb major. So it acts as both at the same time, allowing you to modulate. I chose to use Bb7, the V7 of Eb next because a V7-I resolution is the strongest and immediately puts a person's mind in the new key.
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Last edited by fearofthemark : 12-15-2012 at 08:55 PM.
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Old 12-15-2012, 10:17 PM   #11
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D - Bm7 - Bbmaj7 - Bb7 - Eb

Bbmaj7 is parallel D minor scale. Bb7 reinforces the tension further to a perfect cadence in the new key.

tis the Edit

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Old 12-16-2012, 01:36 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sy_B
Thanks, as far as where it resolves, I would suppose it resolves at D major (because it ends there in the chorus) but I'm not quite sure what resolve even means.


Then more than anything else, you need to work on your ear. Develop your ability to transcribe. Use the functional ear trainer (downloadable for free at miles.be). You MUST be able to hear a resolution in order to understand music.

Quote:
Hotspur I'll take a look at the circle of 5ths, but how exactly do I use it for this? And how can I tell if something is accidental or not?


Well, the idea is that any major chord likes to drop to the major chord a fifth below it - that's a very pleasing resolution. In fact, the V-I resolution is so ingrained in our musical culture that it's called a "perfect cadence" and is often used to establish a key center.

Notice how the ii-V-I sequence is just two steps of this ladder: ii-V is dropping a fifth, and V-I is dropping another fifth.

Now, the trick I showed you involves ignoring whatever chord shows up diatonically, and just using the major chord of the note you land on - so you just keep dropping fifths until you get where you want to be. This sequence ends up being tonally ambiguous - your ear has a hard time finding a resolution until you settle in Eb.


fearofthemark: Oh god, modes. I don't understand them as well as I should, I constantly think I'm using a mode but then I just find out it's another key... but are you saying that modes makes the C and E ok in D?

I attached a tuxguitar of it, should clear things up.[/QUOTE]
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Old 12-16-2012, 06:32 AM   #13
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The song should start with an upbeat so the first bar should be shorter (the song starts on the 3rd beat, not the first beat). And I would edit the drums, they are a mess. I would try to find the 1st beat.

The key is D and the chord progression is I - V - IV - I - bVII - IV - I - V - IV - II - IV - V - I.

So C and E are non diatonic chords. But it's very usual that songs use non diatonic chords.

And I wouldn't try to modulate to Eb. Why can't that part be in D too? It's just 1/2 step difference and nobody will notice it. Or then modulate to E (that is used a lot). Again, 1/2 step difference, nobody will notice it. (If we talk about being too high or too low. People will notice the modulation but not if it's too high or too low because there's hardly any difference if the song went 1/2 steps higher or lower.)
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