#1
Say I have a song of power chords.

How would I know whether it is in the key of CM or Am?
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#3
Quote by STE 969
Say I have a song of power chords.

How would I know whether it is in the key of CM or Am?


Power chords are root and 5th, they dont have a third and are not a "chord" and do not create a diatonic key in and of themselves. They may *suggest* some sort of resolution. For example it may feel like it wants to go to A, and not C so...loosely speaking you can say its tonal gravity is A.

Now if you were playing these as power chords:

A C# F# and E - Id suggest the key of A Major, because, the chords roots themselves, exclude it from being notes out of A minor, but if they were A C F and E, those would be consistent with A minor, AND exclude it from being A major.

Knowledge of chords scales and keys could help you understand what I wrote above, and answer this question easily.

Best,

Sean
#4
Quote by STE 969
Say I have a song of power chords.

How would I know whether it is in the key of CM or Am?


What exactly are the power chords of your song? Without that, we have no way of accurately answering your question.


regarding power chords in general

power chords in many cases can be seen as implying larger chords. The context determines what those implications are.

for instance E5 D5 C5 can imply Em, D, C
shred is gaudy music
Last edited by GuitarMunky at Jan 4, 2010,
#7
Quote by Sean0913
Power chords are root and 5th, they dont have a third and are not a "chord" and do not create a diatonic key in and of themselves.
Uh, yes they do. You can have a diatonic key with only single notes if you want.

Quote by Sean0913
A C# F# and E - Id suggest the key of A Major, because, the chords roots themselves, exclude it from being notes out of A minor, but if they were A C F and E, those would be consistent with A minor, AND exclude it from being A major.
Irrelevant. I don't know why you shifted the focus from relative keys to parallel keys. A major is not in the picture, and thus neither are accidentals which you mentioned.
Only play what you hear. If you don’t hear anything, don’t play anything.
-Chick Corea
Last edited by food1010 at Jan 4, 2010,
#8
Quote by food1010
Uh, yes they do. You can have a diatonic key with only single notes if you want.


I can see why you'd point that out. I just took a simplified approach and geared my response in the ways that I feel are relevant to is prior knowledge and the question itself.

I don't see how I can go in that direction with him without going over his head. I can think of a few reasons that it might actually apply to his immediate understanding and use.

What I was aiming to say, was, at his level, to not try to work keys out using power chords - it's better to understand harmony to start with, and then you can look at a Power chord in context and determine its possible key. If he was asking about single melodies, I could see bringing that point up.

For example, if he sight reads. Its relevant to the user if he is writing melody only and wants to know the key, but neither of these are a part of his question, and I doubt he has the background knowledge to make meaningful use of that idea, based upon his question.

I took a parallel approach to the answer because, he asked about relative and that gets more into, use your ears "where does it really want to go" as to what key it is. I'll let you guys get into that.

I wanted instead to show, ways to take any power chord progression and show how to determine a possible key, not just focus my answer to a C major A minor ( was looking between the lines) ... because possibly in the future there will be other chords he might run into and want to know what key they are in as well, so I gave a suggestion using a Parallel use of A - one that suggests A Major and and one that suggests A Minor.

That is relevant, contrary to your claim. His first sentence was "say I have a song of power chords". This suggests that in general he wanted to know what power chords do in suggesting keys. He used Cmaj and Am as an example. I saw past that and looked at how he could use knowledge of diatonic harmony to get the answers he is after. Can he do that now? Maybe not, but at least he has a definite suggestion if he ever wants to be able to work out such questions for himself. Maybe it will inspire him to start looking into that, I hope.
Last edited by Sean0913 at Jan 4, 2010,