#1
2 questions, how do I go about getting the key of a song that's just riffage (not open spam), do I get all the notes then see which key they all fit into, or should I make simple chords behind them (with keeping it in the same key) and then just find the key that those chords are in.

Also how do you know when the key of a song has changed, because I'm still a beginner at distinguishing key changes so if its not blatantly obvious theres been a key change I'm clueless about it.
Gear
- Synyster Schecter Standard
- Peavey Vyper 15

I'm currently using Cubase 5 for any recording purposes.
#2
try to see which note it feels home in
the notes way works but if the song has aot of accidentals it might throw you off

and if a song changes key you can usually hear a shift from the usuall
#3
I actually figure out which chords are in the song, and then go from there for the key.

Also, if you are at home at your computer, maybe look up the bass tabs, and see what notes they have. It's a lot more basic, and easier to find the key, I find.
I see myself as an intelligent, sensitive human, with the soul of a clown which forces me to blow it at the most important moments.
-Jim Morrison
#4
ok thanks I was just wondering about the key change because I tried finding the key for this one song (dear god by a7x) when I was just starting with theory like 4 months back. None of the chords matched together so I thought it was probably a bunch of key changes but the song flows so well so I don't know how to get the key for songs like that.
Gear
- Synyster Schecter Standard
- Peavey Vyper 15

I'm currently using Cubase 5 for any recording purposes.
#6
Quote by !Mike!
ok thanks I was just wondering about the key change because I tried finding the key for this one song (dear god by a7x) when I was just starting with theory like 4 months back. None of the chords matched together so I thought it was probably a bunch of key changes but the song flows so well so I don't know how to get the key for songs like that.
Don't just throw every note the guitar plays into the mix. You will need to see that some of those are "working" to provide an overall tonality while others are for decoration and not as important from a harmonic point of view. For the Dear God song look at the overall chord shapes if any are played or suggested (which there are). You will start to see the underlying chord progression. You could get away with playing this song simply by strumming these basic chords and singing overtop. But it's the extra notes that add another level of beauty to the music.

A lot of really nice songs use this kind of approach where they take a kind of melodic approach to playing chords. Instead of just strumming chords they play fills and runs that suggest chords or appear between the chords creating greater depth, interest and a sense of melody in the rhythm that counters the melody in the lead vocals or lead guitar. Sometimes this will be accompanied by yet another guitar playing straight chords, or perhaps a slight variation on what the first guitar is doing.

Check out Little Wing by Jimi Hendrix (also check out the awesome cover by Stevie Ray Vaughan), Patience by Guns'n'Roses, Under the Bridge by Red Hot Chilli Peppers.

Interestingly enough Red Hot Chilli Peppers guitarist John Frusciante specifically points to Little Wing as a direct influence for the guitar parts for Under the Bridge. (Link - John Frusciante see from about 4:29) I wouldn't have picked it unless I had heard him say it. In particular check out 0:30 to 0:55ish where he plays the chords fairly straight then the next part from 0:58 where he plays the same chords with some fills thrown in (still fairly straight) but it gives an idea how this melodic kind of rhythm playing works.

So yeah there will be some chords suggested so look for those and work on key from there. It is common to use passing tones neighbouring notes and such that are technically out of key but they are resolving into tones that ARE in key (most of the time) so you can't just gather all the notes played and say - hey it's this key.

====

As for key changes. You should feel a change in the overall sound of the music. Key changes often appear at different parts of the music - from verse to chorus or in the bridge or the solo might be in a different key. If I had more time I would post some references to some key changes because the best way to learn to recognize key changes is to hear some. Once you've heard a few you'll realize that they are usually pretty easy to hear and you will have noticed hundreds of them - you just may not have realized they were key changes. (non musician's hear key changes - they just might not know that was what made the change)
Si
Last edited by 20Tigers at Apr 26, 2011,
#7
Quote by Woffelz
Figure out what note it resolves on?



Yep, and become familiar with pitch collections as a whole. The more exposure you get to notes in general, while being able to understand their function, in the big picture (theory) the better you will get at perceiving keys and changes.

Best,

Sean
#9
Quote by CreepingDeath13
not stealing TS's thread but how do you figure out what note it resolves to?


The last note played.

Grab you guitar and play a note/chord that sounds exactly the same as the last one to find out.
Woffelz

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#10
Quote by Woffelz
The last note played.

Grab you guitar and play a note/chord that sounds exactly the same as the last one to find out.

oh ya, i knew about that, i usually just refer to that as the chord that makes the song sound finished and not left hanging. I though resolved was some kind of technical figuring out process .
#11
Its definitely not necessarily the last note played. You'll be able to hear it more often than not. And a lot of songs don't even end on the I..
"Experience is not what happens to you. It is what you do with what happens to you." - Aldous Huxley
#12
ahem, there aren't 100% rules in music, but usually the rule is, the last major chord in a song, this is probably a 75-80% , maybe...haha...you see, songs can have intros, and outros, that can tweak you up....rock or blues tunes usually(haha) stay in 1 key, but could have many chord, all in that one key.....jazz is sort of defined by songs that use multiple keys, but how you analyze them is by following the II -V's ....like am7-d7-g(key of g) then cm7-f9-BM7(maj 7) EbM7-key of Eb-am7-d7-g-back to key of g.....the rules in music theory let you predict how a song is gonna go, and in this way all songs are the same.....how the author "breaks" the rules is what makes songs different....otherwise, all songs would be...the same-c-f-g...haha.... good luck...bluespower
#13
The easiest way to find what key you are in is simply listen and figure which note is the resolution.

Other way would be to figure out which notes ares used and this will automatically give you the key (circlr of fifths)

If you are a beginner you could try the I chord which is usually the first in the song especially in the stuff you hear on the radio
#14
Quote by CreepingDeath13
not stealing TS's thread but how do you figure out what note it resolves to?


Simply by listening...

Melodys tell a story. The 1st degree of the scale (the resolution) feels like "home" in muscial phrases

If this doesn't make any sense to you, you probably should practice some ear training to help you distinguish pitches better
#15
When your playing the melody, you should be able to stop on a note, that makes it sound like the song is finished. If you try to end on the wrong note there should be dissonance (it sounds tense, almost hurting your ears if there's enough of it) but if you end on the right note, there should be a resolution (it sounds like the end of the song, sounds safe, no tension). That note should be your key, and after that you need to study it more to find out if its major or minor or whatever...

That's the best way I can describe it. oh and p.s. often times the song will end on the note the key is in, but that's always the case. There are plenty of songs that end on a different note than the tonic (the note the key is in, 1st scale degree), they usually sound very dissonant. a lot of people might say the songs ending sounds bad because of it...
"When that day comes I shall Futterwacken ... vigorously."
~ The Mad Hatter



#16
Don't just look at the notes, a song/piece could use all 12 notes of the chromatic scale and still be in the key of C.

Read up on harmony, cadences, keys, The basics.
#17
Find out the chords, then use certain tricks to get it.
For example Emin to Fmaj has got to be in C major because the 3rd degree is a half step away from a major triad, but sometimes you play neapolitan chords, the neapolitan chord for a major or minor scale is playing the second degree but one half step lower, and then play a major chord of that.
So for example Amin, second degree B, flatten that B to Bb, Play the Bb major chord.
This would give use 2 half steps up from a major to minor.
If you see a Bdim you automatically should know that the piece is in Cmajor because the Dim triad is half a step away from the root.
If you see 2 major tiads one whole step apart, you should know that those are the 3 and 4 degrees.
Etc.
There may be exceptions made when not working in diatonic music.
#18
^Neapolitan 6ths are bIIb chords, stop getting ahead of yourself and giving out wrong infomation
#19
Quote by griffRG7321
^Neapolitan 6ths are bIIb chords, stop getting ahead of yourself and giving out wrong infomation

Do you know the site musictheory.net?
This is a quote ''* Next, let's build the Neapolitan of E Minor.

* Again, we need to figure out the second scale degree. In E Minor, this is F#.

* Lower it to F natural.

* Now, build a major triad. This results in F–A–C.

* Thus, an F major chord is the Neapolitan of E Minor.''
That's exactly what I did.
A minor.
Second degree B.
Lower it to Bb.
Build a major triad. This results in Bb-D-F
Thus,an Bb major chord is the neapolitan of A minor.
Last edited by liampje at Apr 29, 2011,
#21
Quote by griffRG7321
^ Yes, and that information is wrong.

Don't learn theory on the internet.

Can you please explain why an A major in Bmajor works?
I mean like the relative minor is G#.
The flattened second degree is A.
And Steve Vai plays this in Hand on heart.
So mind to explain why that A major works in Steve's song?
#22
It works because it sounds good. The bVII chord is borrowed from the parallel minor.

And buy a goddamn theory book,
#23
Quote by griffRG7321
It works because it sounds good. The bVII chord is borrowed from the parallel minor.

And buy a goddamn theory book,

Ok, so now I won't have to worry about theory, cause I can answer everything with it works because it sounds good.
A G7 to a C doesn't sound good it works because it sounds good.
EDIT: OMFG Wikipedia also is wrong http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neapolitan_chord
Last edited by liampje at Apr 29, 2011,
#24
Wikipedia can be edited by anyone, you get some people saying there are "Neapolitan chord"s, but the textbook definition in a bIIb chord, over inversions aren't Neapolitan chords, they are just bII and bIIc.

I'd be surprised if you even knew what a N6 sounded like.

And I just told you why the bVII works.
#25
Quote by griffRG7321
Wikipedia can be edited by anyone, you get some people saying there are "Neapolitan chord"s, but the textbook definition in a bIIb chord, over inversions aren't Neapolitan chords, they are just bII and bIIc.

I'd be surprised if you even knew what a N6 sounded like.

And I just told you why the bVII works.

I made this new topic asking it in a seperate one what a neapolitan chord is.
The link is right here https://www.ultimate-guitar.com/forum/showthread.php?p=27064622#post27064622