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Old 09-28-2012, 11:08 PM   #1
J2G
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"In the key of"?

What does that mean exactly? I know, noob question.
But I've overlooked that statement everytime I heard it in a tutorial or w/e.

(Ex.) "though i'm playing in the key of E, it still sounds nice to move around sometimes to get the right sound".
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Old 09-28-2012, 11:13 PM   #2
jazz_rock_feel
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I had a little explanation written out, but this is actually a pretty decent article:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Key_%28music%29

Basically a key is a set of harmony that confirms the tonic chord. The key of E major refers to the harmony that serves to confirm an E major tonic.
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Old 09-28-2012, 11:16 PM   #3
Christian Davis
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Well, there are different pitches or notes you can play. If you played in the key of E, your notes in the scale would be E, F#, G#, A, B, C#, D#. Playing "in the key" of something is just setting that first pitch(In this case, E) as your tonal center and what you play revolves around that. Hopefully this makes sense, but your question is a little vague. You can switch to a different key(modulation), etc.

Basically: Playing in the key of "X" means that what you are playing revolves around "X" note or pitch.
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Old 09-29-2012, 12:04 AM   #4
J2G
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Okay both answers helped thanks guys.
And definitely now understand that those would be the notes from the scale, that's cool. Soo now that I know that, does this mean that if someone were to play in "the key of E" that they would make chords from the Emajor scale to fit the song?
If so I'm gonna try some random stuff.
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Old 09-29-2012, 01:12 AM   #5
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^^^ Chords derived from the scale are a good place to start, but you'll find in keys that you can play pretty much anything without having a great effect on the tonal center. Once you can listen to a song an identify the tonal center simply by doing so, your ears will be the greatest asset you'll have in terms of what effect w the things you play have on the key.
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Old 09-29-2012, 03:33 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by J2G
Okay both answers helped thanks guys.
And definitely now understand that those would be the notes from the scale, that's cool. Soo now that I know that, does this mean that if someone were to play in "the key of E" that they would make chords from the Emajor scale to fit the song?
If so I'm gonna try some random stuff.
A great many songs revolve around the chords of the 1st, 4th, & 5th notes of a major scale. Or, what you going to see defined as: I, IV, & V chords. When chords are formed from a MAJOR SCALE, the note pattern causes the 1st, 4th, 5th notes of the scale to produce major chords. The other scale degrees, 2nd, 3rd, 6th, cause minor chords to be formed when they're harmonized. The 7th not of the scale causes a "diminished" chord to be formed. But, we're going to forget about that for the moment.

In your example of E major, the I, IV, V chords would be; E ((I) tonic), A, ((IV) subdominant)), & B ((V) dominant)). Sooo, E, A, B major chords, will be found in a preponderance of songs in E major

You count up the scale in ANY key, and the structure remains the same. The major chords in G major would be: G (I), C (IV), & D (V).

Now, if you'd like to try picking out songs by ear, this may help. In simple songs with I, IV, V progressions. You muck about until you find one major chord. Then you try and find the IV, & V. If you're not sure the "I" is indeed the tonic, you can do a simple exchange of the two other major chords. Suppose you hear a G major and a D major chord. Your next step would be to try to fit A or C major chords into the song.

Now, if you hear a G, C, & D major, the song is likely in G major. However, if you hear an A major chord, the song could be in D major. D major I, IV, V chords would be D (I), G (IV), & A (V). Remember G major chords were, G, C, D ? So, D is D, G, & A. By simply flipping the "odd man out chords" of C & A, we've firmly established the tonal center.

And yeah, it's way more complicated than that, but learning the names of the I, IV, V chords of all major scales, will go quite far to help to augment you ear training.

Last edited by Captaincranky : 09-29-2012 at 03:35 AM.
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Old 09-29-2012, 12:03 PM   #7
metalmetalhead
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when I learned I IV V It greatly helped me picking up quick progressions. learning little things like that you automatically pick up on the sounds.

The key of a song is kinda like "home" for the song. like ya could almost play that 1 chord through the whole thing and it would sound good.

If you analyzed the music you would find the chords usually are in harmony with the key of the song. what I mean is the notes within the chords match the notes in the scale that the key is in.

take a scale A B C D E F G A (a minor) Make some triads

A C E m
D F A m
G B D M
A C E m

the chords fit. this helps know the quality of the chords Major or minor.
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Old 09-30-2012, 03:11 PM   #8
J2G
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Loads of information, thanks I'll follow up with another post after I'm done experimenting for a few hours, this was really helpful!
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