#1
so if i have written a riff and i want to know what key it is in how does one do that.


this is one of my riffs for an example.


d|----------------2--------------
a|4--0-6-4-0---2--0-4-2-0--4
e|2------------------------------2


anyways please explain in detail how you determine what key it is in, thank you


better shred than dead
#3
Pick out all the notes, eliminate all of the repeats, line them up in order starting with the first note you play, and then determine the Scale.

I'm not sure if that is even right, but I think it might be in the key of F#(?)
#4
You find out the notes that you are playing. And then what scales go along with it.
When you have the scales you can determine your key
#5
Your posted riff could be in different keys.
There are no chords with it so some of the notes could be from outside the key.
Howerer, since your first chord is a F# i'd say F#m.
#6
You find out the key by it's resolution. A shortcut to that is to look at the notes you played, figure out the couple very likely keys they might be in, and try resolving on to them.
In this case it seems like F#m.
#8
Quote by eiirish
Wouldn't that fit into the e major/c#minor scale?
Yep.
Only play what you hear. If you don’t hear anything, don’t play anything.
-Chick Corea
#9
Quote by shredda2084
so if i have written a riff and i want to know what key it is in how does one do that.


this is one of my riffs for an example.


d|----------------2--------------
a|4--0-6-4-0---2--0-4-2-0--4
e|2------------------------------2


anyways please explain in detail how you determine what key it is in, thank you




In detail:

I take all your notes, starting on the F# on the 2nd fret and lay it all out:

You have F# C# D# A B E

Then I make it in Letter order and look at the intervals

F# A B C# D# E

Depending on my other notes in the song, I could use those to build a possibility, but lets suppose that your notes ARE the song it just repeats over and over for 3 minutes and stops.... On F#

I see that I can form chords from this. Can do this because I know how to look at the letters of any scale and determine what chords are "inside". This uses knowledge of triads and extended chords and the instant ability to tell what notes make up any chord.

Using this ability, I see an F#m and A major and a B Major and an E5

I see a relative major/minor possibility since I have knowledge of scales and chords and keys, and the F#m, A Major possibility stands out immediately. So knowledge of Chords and scales and keys is in use.

I see F#m is the relative minor of A major So I could look at this as part of the F#m scale, but is it Natural, Harmonic or Melodic?

F# G# A B C# D E F# - My natural minor scale. I see a D# and not a D in the riff so that eliminates natural minor.

I see also the A and B as possible IV V chords in the key of E major, and knowing Diatonic harmony I can test these other chords:

E F#m A B C#m

So in detail I used my knowledge of scales, chords triads, keys, the ability to know the notes in any chord and the ability to construct any key, which allowed me to answer this question. It seems like a lot, but applying it in practice, takes me seconds. Writing it out in detail takes a lot longer.

So now I see I'm starting on a different note than E but a written Key signature I could say it would suggest E Major. Your melody though may not sound Major or even want to resove to E. If it's built of the F# I might look at that melodically as coming from an F# Dorian, using my knowledge of the Modes, the D# is a natural 6. This scale if we knew what the G was, if written out, F# G# A B C# D# E F#, is F# Dorian.

I played the riff and it wasn't half bad!
Last edited by Sean0913 at Jan 6, 2010,
#10
As you haven't really got chords to go on, I'd work it out using the circle of fifths - if you've got the notes F# C# D# A B E then looking at the order of sharps you've most likely got a key sig with F# C# G# D# - 4 sharps. Which gives you either E Major or its relative minor, C# minor. Then I'd look at what it resolves to (what note it wants to end on) to work out the tonic to decide whether its in E Major or C# minor (or modal).