#1
So, I have been brushing up on my music theory lately and I have been practicing playing in different keys utilizing the circle of fifths/fourths and memorizing each scale and the note/position along the whole fretboard.

What shook me is today I saw someone on youtube play a piano piece in c major. They were utilizing black keys in the piece which are all sharps and flats and I thought do not exist in c major.

Could somone please explain this to me?
#2
You're correct on the fact that there are no flats/sharps in C major, but there is not like a rule that stops you from using black keys. You can still use black keys whilst having C major remain as the tonal center, for example when using passing tones like the flat 5th. Chromatic passages play big roles in this kind of stuff.

Also, when someone modulates during a piece but still ends in C major again (for example, modulating to G for the chorus or something) the song will still be considered C major.

Any more questions? I'll be glad to help you
#3
well of course they exist, even if they are not in the key of c major. they are utilized, most likely through melodic devices that allow for borrowing notes outside of the key, such as secondary dominants or sorts of key changes. if you posted the youtube link i may be able to help a bit more, but its hard to say without hearing/seeing what the person was playing.

edit: ^he explained it better. nonharmonic tones (ex: passing tones), while often in the key of c major, can use notes outside of the key. i just like secondary dominants, which basically temporarily change the key using V's or vii's (they're much more complicated than that, but i would start with nonharmonic tones before learning secondary dominants)


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Last edited by chipmunksurfer at Jul 4, 2010,
#4
Make sure you understand intervals and how they relate to scale construction and accidentals and modulation will make more sense.
Oh yeah.

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EDIT: D minor is the saddest of all keys.
#5
The main point of C major is working around/toward the C major chord. There can be chromatic alterations while in any key.
#6
Quote by Funk Monk
What shook me is today I saw someone on youtube play a piano piece in c major. They were utilizing black keys in the piece which are all sharps and flats and I thought do not exist in c major.
Could somone please explain this to me?


Most if not all pieces of music contain Sharps/Flats (accidentals) these are usualy followed by a natural sign which then makes the note in question 'Diatonic' (according to key).
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#7
Quote by Dodeka
The main point of C major is working around/toward the C major chord. There can be chromatic alterations while in any key.
Excellent way to describe it.

Quote by John Swift
Most if not all pieces of music contain Sharps/Flats (accidentals) these are usualy followed by a natural sign which then makes the note in question 'Diatonic' (according to key).
This is a confusing way to describe it in my opinion, because sometimes sharps/flats are diatonic and naturals are accidentals.
Only play what you hear. If you don’t hear anything, don’t play anything.
-Chick Corea
Last edited by food1010 at Jul 5, 2010,
#8
Okay so it is okay to go outside of scale notes if utilized properly?

To explain further, I was just surfing youtube looking for improvisation ideas to add in my practice when I saw this piano piece and like I said what confused me was the flats and sharps. The passing tone explanation makes sense to me as I have found myself using black keys as passing tones in the past.


Thanks for help clearing up confusion.
#9
Totally Ok to go outside of the scales, as long as it sounds goood to you! Sometimes it may not work well, but if you can pull t off, it can sound much better then any boring song that stays in it's key the whole time...
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#10
Quote by Funk Monk
Okay so it is okay to go outside of scale notes if utilized properly?
Exactly.
Only play what you hear. If you don’t hear anything, don’t play anything.
-Chick Corea