#1
Hi

I apologize if this is one of those stupid question threads....

I heard a friend play a chord progression that I liked very much. I would like to figure out what key its in. I have had no luck so far so here I am. It goes like so:

C major with the low G fretted

The C major chord moved up a step like this

|-0-|
|-3-|
|-0-|
|-4-|
|-5-|
|-5-|

and an E minor

Thanks.
#2
Quote by vodkanoodle
Hi

I apologize if this is one of those stupid question threads....

I heard a friend play a chord progression that I liked very much. I would like to figure out what key its in. I have had no luck so far so here I am. It goes like so:

C major with the low G fretted

The C major chord moved up a step like this

|-0-|
|-3-|
|-0-|
|-4-|
|-5-|
|-5-|

and an E minor

Thanks.


So it's ...

C/G - Dadd11/A - Em


key = Em

progression = VI VII i
shred is gaudy music
#3
wow thank you! That was fast. How do you figure it out if you don't mind explaining?
#4
Quote by vodkanoodle
wow thank you! That was fast. How do you figure it out if you don't mind explaining?


NP, glad to help.


Well, I know the Major and minor keys by memory, and the associated chords.

This chart may help a bit, but keep in mind, I learned over years, not from memorizing a chart. (it's good for reference though).

Major and minor keys & associated chords

as an example if you look at they key of em on that chart, you will see all of the associated chords..

em F#dim G Am Bm C D

Your progression... C D Em (simplified here)
shred is gaudy music
Last edited by GuitarMunky at Aug 27, 2009,
#7
Quote by vodkanoodle
So it's the old story. You have to learn it by rote or experience thanks Munky.



Thats what worked for me anyway. NP
shred is gaudy music
#8
Quote by GuitarMunky
NP, glad to help.


Well, I know the Major and minor keys by memory, and the associated chords.

This chart may help a bit, but keep in mind, I learned over years, not from memorizing a chart. (it's good for reference though).

Major and minor keys & associated chords

as an example if you look at they key of em on that chart, you will see all of the associated chords..

em F#dim G Am Bm C D

Your progression... C D Em (simplified here)


Just to add to this. Generally speaking, if you want to figure out the key a progression is in, look for two major chords which are one step apart. In most
cases those will be the the IV and V chords. in this case the C and D are a step apart. C and D are the IV and V chord of the key of G. So now all you've got to do is figure out if the key is actually G, or it's relative minor, which is Em. In this case since you're resolving to the Em so that's you're key.
#9
That makes good sense. I know the two general formats for harmonizing chords so that will work well whilst I'm getting to know the keys by heart.

Thanks
#10
The above are good methods, sure, but there is a more reliable method. The key of a song (not necessarily related to the key signature, but normally is) is where the root of the scale is. If you're in G major, it's a major scale whose root is G. If you're in Db minor, it's a minor scale whose root is Db. That's what a key really is.

The root note of a scale has more significance than most newcomers are led to believe. It's not just the note that scale is based off of, it's where the scale resolves. Always. Resolution is a determining factor. If it resolves somewhere else than the root note, you're not thinking in the right scale. It just so happens that your chord progression resolves on E minor, so the key is E minor.

It's hard to explain in text how resolution sounds. In a textbook way, it's where all tension is relieved. It's where the song feels comfortable ending on. Play this once: C-B7-Em. That also resolves on Em. To compare, play these two: C-B7-Em-C and C-B7-Em-B7. They might sound better in your opinion, but neither of them feel complete -- there is tension left over when it ends, so it definitely doesn't resolve on C or B7.

As an exercise, find out where this progression resolves: G-Am-C-D. What I normally do is play each of these once and listen for which one sounds the most complete: G-Am-C-D-G, G-Am-C-D-Em, G-Am-C-D-C, G-Am-C-D. See what I did there? I play the progression four times, ending it on a different chord within the progression each time. I hold the last chord out too.

These two examples I have are the easiest kinds of resolution to hear (it's called a perfect cadence, actually). Your progression is a little harder to hear, but it's still pretty easy. Progressions like this are called strong progressions because they have a strong harmonic movement that determines the root note. Progressions which have a more ambiguous resolution are called weak progressions. Neither of them are considered better or worse, they're just names.
#11
^ The key of the song is always the first or last chord so there's no point in testing out the ones in between. Having a song resolve half way through a progression would make little sense, our ears would actually either then percieve that to be the start of finish. When a progression ends on the first chord it would usually play the last chord for a bar, perhaps even decrease in speed, then strum the first chord of the progression once. So in this case you're ending on the first bar of the pattern. Otherwise, your progression will resolve on that last chord, likely strum that chord once then sustain. This time that pattern ends the last bar. Here are some examples:

For the latter, a circle progression in the key of D major:

Bm7 / Em7 / A7sus4 / D

And for resolving to the original chord, a I-IV-V progression in C major:

Cmaj7 / Fmaj7 / Cmaj7 / G7 ---> starts over again
C
Quote by Night
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Last edited by Wiegenlied at Aug 28, 2009,
#13
Quote by Wiegenlied
^ The key of the song is very often the first or last chord, but not always


Fixed

An example of a chord progression that doesn't start or end with the key's root chord is the autumn leaves jazz standard.

Here is why http://www.ultimate-guitar.com/columns/general_music/the_crusade_part_7_analyzing_a_chord_progression.html
Last edited by Myshadow46_2 at Aug 28, 2009,
#14
Or, you know, he could play the other combinations to help get a feel for where it is and isn't resolving.

Why can't I give legitimate advice on this forum without someone trying to argue something incredibly petty?
#15
Quote by Eastwinn
Or, you know, he could play the other combinations to help get a feel for where it is and isn't resolving.

Why can't I give legitimate advice on this forum without someone trying to argue something incredibly petty?


Actually, I thought your method was fine, it's perfect for beginners to use there ear to find the cadence when they don't have enough of scales/keys to figure it out, I was just trying to elaborate on it.

Quote by Myshadow46_2
Fixed

An example of a chord progression that doesn't start or end with the key's root chord is the autumn leaves jazz standard.

Here is why http://www.ultimate-guitar.com/columns/general_music/the_crusade_part_7_analyzing_a_chord_progression.html


In these cases I would assume the ending chord is deceptive due to means of subsitition. For example, for the Autumn Leaves progression you sited:

Am7 | D7 | Gmaj7 | Cmaj7 | F#m7(b5) | Bm7 | Em7

Ends on Em7 - E B G D, which has all of the notes of the G major chord - G B D.

But, I stand corrected, progressions do not always have end on the first or last chord, but they will 99.999% of the time. And I doubt you would see modern usage outside of jazz or prog.
Quote by Night
wtf is a selfie? is that like, touching yourself or something?