#1
I get so confused when it comes to the key of a song, I know whether I am in key or not, I just don't understand it fully.

I've heard that in order to be in key that every note in your song needs to be under a certain key, for example I try to write in F Major, so should every note in my song be in F Major? Surely that can't be the case.

But then I've also heard that in order to be in key each part of the song has to begin with the key's root note, but then what is defined as a part?

I would appreciate if someone could clear this up for me.

Thanks.
#2
I will try, but it is much, so It´ll will be short.


You know how in the scale of C the notes are C, D, E, F, G, A, B and back to C?

When you then play in the Key of C you play those 7 notes and use those seven notes to make chords and modes of the mayor scale of C. Of course, there is always exceptions. So beware.

A "Part" can be divided by beats, songs structure even your own personal preference. Usually, let us say that you have the Chord Progression of C, Am, Em, F. Then when you hear the chord of C you start playing a mayor or minor scale of C on the root note which is C. When you move over to another chord, you start on that note, but still in the key of C (modes).

But that is a roughly as it can get, so I suggest you buy some books on the subject. Personally I suggest Music Theory by Hal Leonard
#3
Well, I'd disagree with each part of the song beginning with the root note...

But as far as how a key works -- if a song is in Fmajor, it normally uses the following notes: F, G, Ab, B, C, D, E. It doesn't always have to include every note I listed, but those are the notes that fall under the key of Fmajor. So, if a song is in the key of Fmajor, the songwriter tends to use chords like Fmaj, Bmaj, Cmaj, and Emin. (They really should use Edim, but most people don't.) Basically, the idea is to use notes and chords that fit the scale that is used as the key.
#4
hmm, but chords aside, say I write a lead part, a solo for example, should all the notes of that be in the F Major scale or can I use notes that aren't in F Major?

The whole reason I'm wondering about this is because I harmonize in minor thirds quite a lot, so I will harmonise using the F Major Scale by skipping a note in the scale and using the next (F to A, Bb to D, etc).

And if the note isn't in F Major how would I harmonize it?
#5
Quote by KarmaShade

I've heard that in order to be in key that every note in your song needs to be under a certain key, for example I try to write in F Major, so should every note in my song be in F Major? Surely that can't be the case.


You are correct, you can play notes outside of the key. They are called accidentals.

Quote by KarmaShade

But then I've also heard that in order to be in key each part of the song has to begin with the key's root note, but then what is defined as a part?


That is incorrect. A key is determined by the notes in use but also, more importantly, where the music resolves. A part would be a section of the music e.g a verse, chorus, solo etc.
#6
Quote by crazysam23_Atax
Well, I'd disagree with each part of the song beginning with the root note...

But as far as how a key works -- if a song is in Fmajor, it normally uses the following notes: F, G, A, Bb, C, D, E. It doesn't always have to include every note I listed, but those are the notes that fall under the key of Fmajor. So, if a song is in the key of Fmajor, the songwriter tends to use chords like Fmaj, Bmaj, Cmaj, and Emin. (They really should use Edim, but most people don't.) Basically, the idea is to use notes and chords that fit the scale that is used as the key.

Fix'd.
OP, you generally would have most of the notes in key, but you can always use accidentals.
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#7
Right thanks for clearing that up everyone, so now my question goes to the harmonizing part:

I will harmonise using the F Major Scale by skipping a note in the scale and using the next (F to A, Bb to D, etc).

So if the note isn't in F Major how would I harmonize it?
#8
Jump up by the same interval.
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#9
I assume you mean move up three semitones?

But is that the definitive way to do it? Considering some of the harmonies made by F Major would sometimes be four semitones.
#10
Quote by KarmaShade
I get so confused when it comes to the key of a song, I know whether I am in key or not, I just don't understand it fully.

I've heard that in order to be in key that every note in your song needs to be under a certain key, for example I try to write in F Major, so should every note in my song be in F Major? Surely that can't be the case.

But then I've also heard that in order to be in key each part of the song has to begin with the key's root note, but then what is defined as a part?

I would appreciate if someone could clear this up for me.

Thanks.


There are diatonic Keys, where each note comes from the scale itself and each chord comes from the scale itself, i.e F Major scale, then all the chords build from the scale and the melody that comes from it. Its the most basic and strictest of the ideas but namely because it truly establishes the foundation. Once you have it down, you can look at parallel Major Minor keys, chordal substitutions etc, and this gets more into an "overall how does the song find its center of gravity" approach, or what may be called Tonal Harmony. But you have to understand how to work inside and what makes it inside and how it works, before you then contextually explain and understand the more liberal ideas of outside playing and composing.

You walk before you learn to run. I suggest a thorough absorption of diatonic harmony.

Best,

Sean
#11
Thanks, I'll look that up, still could use some help with the harmonizing though.
#12
Quote by KarmaShade
So if the note isn't in F Major how would I harmonize it?
I think it's safe to say that if you're harmonizing in thirds and you come across a note that is out of key, you should harmonize it with a note in the scale that forms a third. For example, if you come across an Eb in F major, you'd harmonize it with a G (forming a major third, rather than a minor third if the note was E natural).
Only play what you hear. If you don’t hear anything, don’t play anything.
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#13
Quote by food1010
I think it's safe to say that if you're harmonizing in thirds and you come across a note that is out of key, you should harmonize it with a note in the scale that forms a third. For example, if you come across an Eb in F major, you'd harmonize it with a G (forming a major third, rather than a minor third if the note was E natural).


Nice one, never thought of that, so I should harmonize it with either the note three semi-tones up (if it is in the scale) or use the note nearest to it in the scale?
#14
Quote by KarmaShade
Nice one, never thought of that, so I should harmonize it with either the note three semi-tones up (if it is in the scale) or use the note nearest to it in the scale?

To make it easier to think of, you could just count up a third with letter names in the key and from my experience, that should work.
In F major for example:
F -> A
C -> E
G -> Bb

I'm sure food can provide more insight here since I haven't experimented with harmonizing a whole lot yet.
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#15
Quote by KarmaShade
Nice one, never thought of that, so I should harmonize it with either the note three semi-tones up (if it is in the scale) or use the note nearest to it in the scale?
Well, sort of.

Don't harmonize in "three semi-tones" though. That's an inefficient way to go about harmonizing. Obviously you should be aware of what kind of third you are using, but I think a more effective way to go about it is by looking at the note names.

For example, if you're going to harmonize E F# G# F# E in thirds, how you should go about this is counting up two notes in the E major scale. You have the following notes:
E F# G# A B C# D#. Looking at the E, you're going to take a third. Not paying attention to accidentals, you're just gonna go E - F - G. Some type of G is some kind of third above E because of where it falls in the alphabet. In the case of E major, you're going to use a G# because that's part of the scale.

Obviously, you're not always going to harmonize with a scale tone, but for the sake of understanding two part harmony, this is the best way to begin.
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#16
It's kind of funny, I was in the same boat as TS was at one point (on the harmonization issue). I would just use parallel harmonies, but one day I decided to see if what harmonizing using major/minor thirds, according to the scale. It sounded great. Then I mentally face palmed because Iron Maiden is my favorite band, and this kind of harmony had been staring me in the face this whole time.
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#17
Quote by food1010
Well, sort of.

Don't harmonize in "three semi-tones" though. That's an inefficient way to go about harmonizing. Obviously you should be aware of what kind of third you are using, but I think a more effective way to go about it is by looking at the note names.

For example, if you're going to harmonize E F# G# F# E in thirds, how you should go about this is counting up two notes in the E major scale. You have the following notes:
E F# G# A B C# D#. Looking at the E, you're going to take a third. Not paying attention to accidentals, you're just gonna go E - F - G. Some type of G is some kind of third above E because of where it falls in the alphabet. In the case of E major, you're going to use a G# because that's part of the scale.

Obviously, you're not always going to harmonize with a scale tone, but for the sake of understanding two part harmony, this is the best way to begin.


Yeah, I understand now.

Thanks for your help
#18
I'd like to point out that if a key is in F major, you can have "every note" occurring in F major.

First you have the F major scale, which is typically used in the F major key. The guitar, bass and vocals can use this scale.

Secondly the chords in the key of F major, they're made up of the notes of the F major scale.

So not only can you have songs just using the notes from one key, but it's extremely common, and used in the majority of music.
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